Last updated: February 19. 2013 4:01PM - 296 Views

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No matter which candidates now have emerged as Election Day victors – and as of this writing early Tuesday afternoon, we have no idea which Ds, Rs and independents carried the day in federal and state races – it's hard to feel good about American democracy.

Far too much money, and far too much of it from undisclosed donors, flowed into this year's campaigns. The slugfest between President Obama and Mitt Romney resulted in a staggering outlay of more than $2 billion, perhaps as much as $3 billion. And for what? Much of that money apparently paid for intelligence-insulting and insincere TV ads, such as those shown incessantly in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton media market during the contest's closing days.

Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker nicely summarized how plenty of voters probably are feeling post-ballot counting. No matter which man you preferred, there is something unsatisfactory about the end of this race, she wrote.

In her commentary released for publication today, she drew attention to the spirit-draining nature of this presidential campaign fueled by ridiculous sums of cash, which undoubtedly could have been allocated for better use. That's a lot of health insurance and a lot of hurricane recovery, she noted.

In the race for U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, meanwhile, the challenger reportedly ponied up more than $16 million of his own money, while the incumbent, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Scranton, confided he needed to devote so much time to scrounging for campaign contributions that traditional campaigning suffered. In other words, he infrequently met with potential voters to explain his positions on the issues.

War chests bulged in certain U.S. House races, too. In their respective contests, Lou Barletta, a Republican from Hazleton, and Matt Cartwright, a Democrat from Moosic, each raised more than $1.2 million, according to tallies at OpenSecrets.org, a website of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics.

With so many dollars involved in today's selection process for our public officeholders, it raises questions. Where will the seemingly limitless spending go from here? And exactly what does all that money buy?


Follow the money

Track donations made to candidates and learn how money in politics affects your life. Visit The Center for Responsive Politics' website at this address: www.opensecrets.org.

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