We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The frazzled Left would like to limit your free political speech, as was clear from Stalin's quote which we quoted in QQQ last week. Now that we no longer have a monolithic leftist media, they are getting very upset about diversity of ideas. However, the Left historically likes to limit available viewpoints. Bad idea, for a country full of thinking, imaginative people. Important piece by Anderson in Opinion Journal. Quotes:
The irony of campaign-finance reform is that the "corruption" it targets seems not to exist in any widespread sense. Studies galore have found little or no significant influence of campaign contributions on legislators' votes. Ideological commitments, party positions and constituents' wishes are what motivate the typical politician's actions in office. Aha! reformers will often riposte, the corruption is hidden, determining what Congress doesn't do--like enacting big gas taxes. But as Mr. Will notes, "that charge is impossible to refute by disproving a negative." Even so, such conspiracy-theory thinking is transforming election law into what journalist Jonathan Rauch calls "an engine of unlimited political regulation."
Uh huh. Yup.
McCain-Feingold, the latest and scariest step down that slope, makes it a felony for corporations, nonprofit advocacy groups and labor unions to run ads that criticize--or even name or show--members of Congress within 60 days of a federal election, when such quintessentially political speech might actually persuade voters. It forbids political parties from soliciting or spending "soft money" contributions to publicize the principles and ideas they stand for. Amending the already baffling campaign-finance rules from the 1970s, McCain-Feingold's dizzying do's and don'ts, its detailed and onerous reporting requirements of funding sources--which require a dense 300-page book to lay out--have made running for office, contributing to a candidate or cause, or advocating without an attorney at hand unwise and potentially ruinous.
McCain wanted the goody-goody independent image. This is the price we pay for his goo-goo image.
Not for nothing has Justice Clarence Thomas denounced McCain-Feingold's "unprecedented restrictions" as an "assault on the free exchange of ideas."
For sure. The man speaks the truth.
Campaign-finance reform has a squeaky-clean image, but the dirty truth is that this speech-throttling legislation is partly the result of a hoax perpetrated by a handful of liberal foundations, led by the venerable Pew Charitable Trusts. New York Post reporter Ryan Sager exposed the scam when he got hold of a 2004 videotape of former Pew official Sean Treglia telling a roomful of journalists and professors how Pew and other foundations spent years bankrolling various experts, ostensibly independent nonprofits (including the Center for Public Integrity and Democracy 21), and media outlets (NPR got $1.2 million for "news coverage of financial influence in political decision-making")--all aimed at fooling Washington into thinking that Americans were clamoring for reform, when in truth there was little public pressure to "clean up the system." "The target group for all this activity was 535 people in Washington," said Mr. Treglia matter-of-factly, referring to Congress. "The idea was to create an impression that a mass movement was afoot--that everywhere they looked, in academic institutions, in the business community, in religious groups, in ethnic groups, everywhere, people were talking about reform."
That is what is called "advocacy." This advocacy is performed by the people Horowitz calls "the deep swimmers of the Left."
Mr. Treglia urged grantees to keep Pew's role hush-hush. "If Congress thought this was a Pew effort," he confided, "it'd be worthless. It'd be 20 million bucks thrown down the drain."
Read entire. Everyone, regardless of their politics, should be upset with what is happening. This is infringement of free political speech, and it is an insidious erosion of the Constitution. Repeal McCain-Feingold.