(1) The way you preserve candidates from being bought wholesale is to punish those who sell themselves like $10 whores. All McCain-Feingold did was to limit the constitutionally protected right of free speech. If I make widgets, and I need some political protection to make sure that no other person sells widgets cheaper than I can, and I go out and buy Sen. McCain who pushes through legislation that gives me preferential treatment in the production and sales of widgets, *then punish Sen. McCain for being a whore.* As I said before, McCain-Feingold did nothing to limit the wholesale purchase of congressmen/women and senators. All it did was force more creative loopholes (the now infamous 527 groups, etc). Money will always flow where influence will be sold. Get rid of the immoral influence peddlers, but don't destroy the constitution in order to do it.
(2) Not without doing a lot of research that I don't have a lot of time for currently, but I believe my assertion is correct with perhaps a correction of the adjective "wide." There is a big difference between "registered" and "active." It has long been my belief that if you went county by county and state by state you would come up with far more registered Democrats than you would registered Republicans. The difference on election days is that, on average, (and please understand I am speaking in broad terms) conservatives are more likely to vote than liberals. The reason being that people are more adamant about protecting something they believe does not need to be changed, rather than actively seeking to change something. (If you disagree with me, look at how many exercise machines end up in garage sales and garbage dumps.) This plays out quite frequently in relation to bad weather - in inclement weather only those voters who are truly devout tend to vote. In NM that typically bodes well for Republicans (who are greatly outnumbered except in a few counties). The exception to this scenario is when people are SERIOUSLY bent on change, and then political persusion means little. Reference the huge victories that Reagan orchestrated - the first being a call for change from the Carter policies, the second being a call to "stay the course."
(3) I live in the United States in the year 2008. Prior to 1960 the pundits said the US would never elect a Catholic. Oops. The pundits said an actor could never be elected president. Oops. I live and work around people (mostly conservatives) who loathe McCain, and if he wins the Repub. nomination they will stay home and sip hot chocolate on election day. That is, unless Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, in which case they will get out and vote against Clinton, but they will NOT be voting in favor of McCain. If, and I emphasize IF, the Democrats close ranks and rally behind Obama they have a far greater chance of influencing independent voters than does McCain. McCain just has too long of a history. The Reagan conservatives will NOT support McCain.
BTW - I believe the same dynamic applies to Clinton. Her negatives are just too great, even among Democrats. Or, maybe, especially among Democrats. Perhaps she can close ranks and rally the party behind her, but look what happened in SC. She pulled out Slick Willie and lost by 28 percentage points. Obama won predominately white Iowa, and predominately black SC. That to me is a fascinating fact.
I personally admire Obama because he is appealing to the higher angels of our country, much in the way Kennedy did and (although I am going to get creamed for this statement) much in the way Reagan did. Kennedy and Reagan wanted to be president because they wanted to lead the greatest nation on earth. Clinton I wanted to be president because he was a megalomaniac and the biggest prize is the oval office. (By the way, remember that more people voted against Clinton *twice* than voted for him. Its just that the Republicans and independents split their vote, therefore Clinton won the election.) His ineptitude in governing resulted in the Democrats losing the Senate and the House for the first time since dinosaurs walked on the earth. The current Bush wanted to be president to eliminate Hussein, which he did. His ineptitude will result in the Democrats retaking both Senate and House for the next millenium. Clinton II wants to be president to regain power of Clinton I and to punish a LONG list of enemies (she will just be Bush redivivus in that regard).
I think Obama wants to be president because he wants to lead a great nation and make it even better. After 8 years of Clinton I and 8 years of Bush II, I say that is a far nobler goal than we have seen in almost a quarter of a century.
Just my opinion, folks.