To answer the questions posed by the prompts:
1. I am for campaign spending limits. However, in a country as large as the U.S., I believe that low to moderate spending limits will force candidates to discount rural areas, a problem that already is seen in political campaigns. This will widen the gulf between urban and rural voters even more. A high cap on spending will result in a system that basically mirrors the current system with campaign money buying access and influence. I think there must be an optimal number, but I am not sure what that number is.
2. While money might not be the direct cause for a winning campaign, it certainly helps. Last week's reading showed that campaign spending, particularly near the election date, increased poll results. The article also showed that there was a correlation between how much more a candidate spent on advertising over his opponent and the resulting shift in public opinion. Further, as I outlined in my previous post and mentioned in this week's Vanity Fair article, wealthy donors shape the political climate and society by putting their money into campaigns that mirror their morals. The Koch brothers and fellow mega-donor Paul Singer are supporting candidates who share similar ethical views on issues like gay marriage, abortion, government surveillance and gun control. Campaign money can be both a force for civil liberties and one against.
3. I am not particularly schooled in current campaign laws, but I do believe when a sitting president is spending time making speeches to benefit future candidates, we have a problem. I believe the goal of campaign finance reform should be one that results in elected officials who pay more attention to the needs of their electorate than that of large companies or political allies.