Monologue: Another one bites the dust!

It’s still early in the season, but the mainstream media is breathless with all things relating to potential Republican presidential nominees.

Haley Barbour has now backed out, bitten the dust, so to speak, having no fire in the belly to put up with a campaign, as he put it. I can’t say I blame him, but it was nice to think about a Haley Barbour candidacy for a while. He’s a good egg, to coin a phrase from my youth.

And, as I expected, Ron Paul has filed to form a presidential exploratory committee. But that just seems to be a hedge bet. Does anyone know the reason for this? If so, please call in now. I’m sensing a bit of desperation from Republicans and Tea Partiers right now. They’re looking for a national leader and the sooner they know the field of candidates, the better.

Okay, times up. The reason people form an exploratory committee is because it allows them to begin a campaign (i.e. raising money), without having to put up with Federal Election Commission disclosure laws.

The FEC’s “Candidate Registration Brochure” says the following:

Before deciding to run for federal office, an individual may first want to “test the waters” — explore the feasibility of becoming a candidate. For example, the individual may want to travel around the state to see if there is sufficient support for a possible Senate candidacy.

An individual who spends money only to test the waters (but not to campaign for office) does not have to register as a candidate under the election law. Nevertheless, funds received and spent to test the waters are subject to the Act’s limits and prohibitions, blah, blah blah.

In a nutshell, the “exploratory committee” announcement of a candidate gives that candidate some press and delays the ultimate financial reporting mandates of FEC law. They get a pass until they remove the “exploratory” term from their filings, a bureaucratic loophole that appeals to, well, bureaucrats. Okay, fine, but I want to know who the hell’s running, for real, right now!