Thursday, February 21, 2008

Some effects of Campaign Finance Laws

For various reasons I'm not a fan on Ann Coulter. However, on occasion she makes some pretty decent polemical points and her recent column on the effect of campaign finance laws is a good example. Her basic point is that a politician such as Reagan, whom she admires, was able to get enough financial support from a relatively small group of rich admirers and thus did not have to beg everybody and their sister for every nickel and dime they can afford to give to his campaign. I think the article is a good illustration of what the campaign finance laws are causing in practice. She writes:
What a bizarre coincidence that a few years after the most draconian campaign-finance laws were imposed via McCain-Feingold, our two front-runners happen to be the media's picks! It's uncanny -- almost as if by design! (Can I stop now, or do you people get sarcasm?)

By prohibiting speech by anyone else, the campaign-finance laws have vastly magnified the power of the media -- which, by the way, are wholly exempt from speech restrictions under campaign-finance laws. The New York Times doesn't have to buy ad time to promote a politician; it just has to call McCain a "maverick" 1 billion times a year.
Unfortunately I think we can expect ever more such restrictions on free speech since the current high dollar figures in use will no doubt be used again to argue that there's too much money in politics. The end result that supporters of such laws are aiming at seems to be publicly financed campaigns, a frightening prospect.

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