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A lot of shock is being expressed at the George W. Bush fundraising machine, which expects to pile up about $200 million for the 2004 campaign.

Actually what it is... is shock and awe (search), fundraising style.

Bush is hoping to pile up so much dough so fast that the Democrats are like Saddam Hussein — buried in rubble trying to figure out how to crawl out into the light of day.

The Bush team is actually talking about it in terms of demoralizing the nine Dems, who will be struggling to pile up a few paltry millions and will be so desperate for free TV time that they'll be hosting cable access shows.

The even worse news from the Dems is that they can't complain too much about taking money from the special interests. (If they the Dems could only get those special interests to write the checks to them, they'd gladly take the money.)

The problem is what it always was. Money is the mother's milk of politics and nothing seems to change it. I can't decide if it's only a slightly annoying bad thing, or a really calamitous bad thing.

What I do know is that we had a huge national debate with a lot of screaming and yelling about campaign finance reform (search), and it finally passed.

And this is what we get? New reform laws in place and there's more money than ever in politics?

And by the way, some of the key provisions of the campaign finance law haven't even come up for judicial review year. Many people expect some of that law to be tossed by the Supreme Court.

So it's worth asking: What was really accomplished by our new campaign finance reform law? Anything?

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