Monday, February 23, 2004

Will v. McCain-Feingold, II

OK, this time George Will took on the badly misnamed 'campaign finance reform' law with intent. If only this sort of rhetoric was being issued prior to the President signing the legislation.

Supposedly, the principal purpose of McCain-Feingold was to ban large "soft money'' contributions to the parties, ostensibly for "party-building'' purposes. The delusional assumption of many McCain-Feingold enthusiasts was that when such contributions were banned, the people who had been eager to exert political influence by such contributions would say "Oh, well'' and spend their money instead on high-definition televisions. Or something.

Actually, McCain-Feingold was moral grandstanding by many liberals who had no intention of abiding by its spirit -- or its letter, for that matter -- any more than they had abided by already existing campaign finance law. To compensate for Republican advantages in raising strictly limited hard dollars, Democrats quickly formed a slew of committees technically disconnected from the party but allowed to receive unlimited soft dollars.

Of course, conservatives will have to do the same things... as will libertarians, socialists, or anybody else who wants to get a message out.

Will again failed to mention the biggest beneficiaries of McCain-Feingold: incumbents of any party. Sitting legislators are news by virtue of being legislators. Any time they want something for free that would cost anyone else a lot of money- publicity- they can generate it via a press conference.

Am I being paranoid to suggest that when the drooling saps who complain endlessly for a 'level playing field' catch on to this, that the likely casualty is press coverage of politicians? This is treacherous ground!

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