<homer>Big wheel keep on turnin'! Proud Mary keep on burnin'!</homer>
<marge>No, no! That's CC
There's been quite the kerfluffle of late about the "shadowy" 527 committees
and such, which has brought up again the question that I thought we'd settled: Campaign Finance Reform.
The McCain-Feingold (AKA Shays-Meehan) law had one overriding aim: to stop politicians' constant panhandling for big dollars and being bought by big donor interests. And that has, indeed, happened.
Unfortunately, the tightening restrictions on hard money raised by parties squeezed soft money through the only loophole left: The formerly innoccuous 527 committees
. These committees have been around longer than you might think, but the restrictions placed on them--they are absolutely forbidden from coordinating with campaigns, for example--made them unattractive as long as parties had the power of the soft money.
But the very restrictions that made 527s unappealing to politicos pre-McCain-Feingold are what make the 527s unappealing to us voters now: Since they cannot advocate for any candidate in their advetising, the only thing they can do is denigrate the other candidate in the race. That's why you never hear the Swift Boat Veterans Still Holding A Grudge About Kerry's 1971 Senate Testimony (SBVSHAGAKST) telling you to vote for Bush--they can't. All they can do is tear down Kerry. MoveOn's 527 ads (they also have a PAC, which can
coordinate and advocate but which is subject to much stricter rules) do the same thing--attack the Bush administration without any positive words about Kerry. So while the McCain-Feingold law didn't necessarily create
the 527 monster, it certainly made the monster more visible.
Besides that, many people feel that McCain-Feingold was an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.
Regardless of how you feel, CFR is staying in the spotlight for at least the next little while. But what say you? Is it a constitutional thing to take the money out of poiltics? Did McCain-Feingold go too far or not far enough? If you were king or queen, what would your campaign finance policy be?
Jay Bullock, Iron Blogger Democrat