Monday, February 25, 2002
In other political news, here's a link to a symposium from The New Republic on Campaign Finance Reform. What I think is notable about this is that, of the 4 editors chosen by TNR to air their views about the current round of campaign finance reform, none give it wholehearted support. All think it will be largely ineffective. Two think it is an outright bad idea, and a third thinks it will mostly have the effect of moving the Democrats to the right (which may or may not be bad, but is certainly not what The New York Times - the bill's strongest supporter - wants or expects to happen). Only one editor voices tepid support for the law, admitting that it is only a stopgap measure towards a system which would - my polemical view here - nearly wipe out private political activity in the United States.
I supported Senator John McCain in the last election cycle. Interestingly, TNR supported him, too, a rare instance in which they made an endorsement in a GOP primary. Campaign Finance Reform was never a significant reason for my support of McCain - rather, I supported him mostly because he was a rare pre-9/11 politician who seemed interested in smoking evildoers. But, because I liked him, and because I was profoundly disgusted by the 1996 Clinton campaign's taking money from Red China, I was mildly supportive of McCain's signature cause.
But since it began to appear that Campaign Finance Reform would become a reality, I have not heard a single coherent argument for the bill. the best argument I've heard is from Mickey Kaus, who said, in effect, that the bill should be supported because it will at minimum confuse the various players in political campaigns, and in that confusion new and interesting things could happen. This doesn't strike me as sufficient reason to do real damage to the First Amendment, as the issue ad ban does.
Has anyone heard a good argument for this bill? Does anyone know where, say, AIPAC stands on it?