There have been a couple of diaries of late making the case against corporations and corporatism, pointing out that, as long as unholy sums of money are required to wage and win election campaigns, corporations will continue to have undue influence over politics and policy.
One of the first solutions proffered to address this problem is banning private election contributions altogether and funding elections entirely publicly. And while this has a certain appeal to it, I'm beginning to get the idea it's just pushing the problem one level out...
The main problem I believe public election funding has is: How does one bootstrap oneself into the constituents' awareness?
Here's a simple test: Without Googling, can you name both Senators for your state? Can you name which Congressional district you reside in, and the Congressperson who represents it? If yes to all, congratulations, I daresay you are ahead of 80% of your fellow citizens. So election to a lower office won't guarantee you the level of popular awareness you will need to run for the Presidency (recurse outward for successively lower offices). So how would one generate that awareness if all one is allowed to draw on are (limited) public funds? And if you're outside the process entirely, how do you break in?
The other issue that seems a problem is people trading fame developed in another endeavor for political capital. The two most obvious (and disasterous) examples of these are Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. True, there are positive examples, such as Clint Eastwood's stint as Mayor of Carmel, CA; and Senator Al Franken seems to be acquitting himself well.
At some level, everyone entering politics trades on their reputation earned in other fields. But does it ever ascend to the level of "cheating?" By that I mean, if one uses the (theoretically) boundless resources from one field of endeavor to leverage an entrance into politics whose resources are circumscribed, does that circumvent the intent of publicly funded elections?
Just some idle thinking before lunchtime...