Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Christian Science Monitor: Campaign Finance vs. Republican Majority

The point made by many about the futility of campaign finance reform is that money cannot be kept out of politics and, therefore, it is a waste of resources to try. I refute that proposition by saying that just because it is impossible to stamp out murder, I believe we can all agree that it is a worthwhile enterprise to try.

Real problems with campaign finance reform stem from the belief of some people that there are no problems with money dictating the outcomes of political competition and thus the course of American government. Conveniently enough for many of these people, the money generally flows from them or to them (or they dream that one day it will).

Perhaps hoping for a conviction for Delay in this case is fanciful. However, this development should embolden the enemies of dirty government and encourage people to keep pursuing those whose opinion of government is that it cannot, and as a result should not attempt to, rise above the level of common politics. I hope for the sake of the crusaders who have not yet given over completely to the cynicism that politics breeds, that something, anything will come of these indictments and this will not be a vindication for criminals.


At 10:40 AM, Blogger RFTR said...

They're phony indictments, exile. The only reason the second set were pursued is because the first set will be dismissed based on briefs that have already been filed. The statute that the prosecutor alleges were violated in the conspiracy charges were not in effect at the time the action allegedly occured. Case closed.

So now he charges money laundering--a likewise difficult charge to process.

Yes, Delay may be sleezy, but he honestly is very unlikely to have broken any laws.

And that's the whole point. No matter how many laws you pass, someone is going to find a way to flaunt them without breaking them.

And by passing more and more restrictive laws, you are creating an environment where a guy like Delay, who can find ways to do that, is just that much more valuable to a political establishment. If you extend that far enough, you could blame people like you for the creation of schmucks like Delay.

At 3:33 PM, Blogger Exile said...

I agree that obviously the restrictive laws introduced in the recent past have made Tom Delay a valuable commodity, but doesn't blaming the well-intentioned victim run counter to conservative values of accountability.

And just because the laws in place still leave room for sleaze like Majority Leader Delay, does not mean than no proposals can improve things. I know that you are still not convinced by partial public financing, but I believe (1)that money does not equal speech as per Buckely and (2) there needs to be some public mechanism to level the playing field in order to make intrigue like that of Delay irrelevant. If you give commensurate funding to his opponents, not only will we have more competitive elections, but people like Delay will become less valuable. We (yes I mean the government) need to do more and not less.

and to answer your question about where the money comes for my new spending binge, it should come out the next decade of tax breaks for Bush, Clinton, Kerry, Delay, and all of their associates.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Exile said...

also, just because somebody can get off on a technicality, that doesnt mean that they did not get away with a crime. there is such a thing as the spirit of the law.

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Knownothing said...

I think too much attention is being paid to getting rid of money in politics. Actually, I think that there may be no greater evil in politics then campaign finance reform. I'm one of those people who truly believes that a strong third party could really energize politics and leaders, and could improve a lot of the discourse that goes on both in and about politics. With two old viewpoints saying the same stuff back and forth, there isn't much room for improvement. Three, four, or even five voices could really have an effect on how this country is run.

So, the reason why I think finance reform is so terrible-- in this country, the only guys getting elected are the ones with the money. We all know this. They have both their own money, and the backing of their parties. By cutting off an individuals ability to raise funds, you are in effect cutting them out of the race. And since independents don't have any major backing party, they need to raise as much funding as possible.

Therefor, I believe that the McCain/Feingold bill was a giant step backward for this country. It helped solidify the two party system, and until the situation changes, I doubt we will see many moderate or unique views in the power alleys of this country.


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