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November 02, 2006

Comments

Allan Bartlett

I agree completely Matt. All one has to do is look at Irvine's draconian contribution limits of $390 per person for a city soon to be populated with 200,000 people. One person has already given over 100k to Hometown Crony Guide this cycle. There are no limits for all intents and purposes, just loopholes to drive trucks through.

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Bruce Matthias

Allan, you and Jubal are not only correct, your discussion is critical to fair and productive elections. The only comment I would add is that with elimination of contribution limits we MUST have full and immediate disclosure of these contributions via the internet. These disclosures should be made within a few hours of the money being received and there must be names of individuals with contact information provided. There must me severe and swift penalties on the donor and the recipient if the disclosure laws are violated (even if broken by a victorious candidate!)

Jubal

Absotively.

One Who Knows

Is it possible to pass a campaign reform ordinance in the City of Orange without the wholehearted blessing of Shirley Grindle?

It appears that she and elected officials at all levels of government have entered into a pact to protect incumbents by making it impossible for a challenger to amass any funds. As for changing the rules, she is like John Kerry, simply unable to admit mistakes of any kind.

Will the new Council in Orange be willing to incur her wrath?

Hasn't she endorsed some of the candidates?

Shirley Grindle needs a life

This woman really contributes nothing and passes herself off as the 'moral' authority from such a high horse, she'd break her neck if she were to fall off. She really needs to butt out and stop intefering in Orange Politics.

Bladerunner

If Bartlett is so against the Irvine restrictive ordinance then why all the whining about the Agranistas driving those Mack trucks?

While I like the instant posting of contribution requirement, it would still leave us with a system where the rich and powerful(ie, wealthy folks, big business, big labor) dominate the debate and have inordinante influence on elected officials. On the other hand, I have no rebuttal to your argument that water(& campaign cash) will find its way around barriers to reach the lowest level.

That being said, I think it would be great to have some jurisdictions implement just what you are proposing Jubal. I also think it would be good to have some jurisdictions enact public financing. The genius of our system is that states and localities are supposed to be the laboratories of ideas. Arizona and Maine have a Clean money-public financing component. Maybe you can convince some jurisdictions to enact the Sunshine Campaign Finance Law. Lets see how they do after 5 years.

Jubal

BR:

The rich and powerful will always have the ability to dominate debate regardless of the campaign finance system in place, because they are rich and powerful.

I don't contend that abolishing contribution limits and instituting immediate contribution reporting is a perfect solution. After all, campaign finance "reforms" treat a symptom not the disease -- which is a large, powerful government the decisions of which can affect the fortunes of so many. Such a government cannot help but create special interests seeking to protect existing favors, gain new ones or deny them to rivals.

But since that is the government we now have, we'd best give voters the tools to easily find out who is donating to whom so they can factor that into their voting decisions. Furthermore, abolition contribution limits is the system most consistent with liberty -- and the system most conducive to political challengers.

Liberals mythologize Eugene McCarthy's 1968 challenge to Lyndon Johnson as some sort of "children's crusade" when the plain truth is McCarthy was only able to mount it due to the financial support of a handful of wealthy donors. If the current federal campaign laws were in effect in 1968, McCarthy's campaign would have been a forgotten historical footnote, and Lyndon Johnson would have secured the Democratic nomination for a second term.

I bring that up because given the the McCarthy campaign's hallowed place in liberal mythology, it's always puzzled me how fiercely dedicated so many liberals are to a campaign finance reform system that would have prevented that campaign from ever taking place -- or at least from having acheiving the proportions it id.

As for public financing of campaigns, it is tyranny to tax someone and use their money to propound beliefs he or she may find noxious. And I, for one, do not relish putting control of the campaign purse strings in the hands of the government. That is a step away from freedom, not toward it.

Bladerunner

I agreee on rapid reporting. As for public financing, it seems to have some beneficial impacts in Arizona and Maine--more middle income candidates, less influence of special interests since their ability for pay to play is restricted. I understand the down side and I respect your ideological argument. People who oppose taxes often complain that the Government is spending their tax follars on programs they object to. It sucls but is the byprodict of a democracy. I'd just like to see us do what our federal system was set up to do---let differerent states and localities experiment to see what works and what doesn't.

Bladerunner

On the Clean for Gene campaign, the money from a few angels certainly helped but a)all the money in the world wouldn't have done a thing but for the widespread dissafection by many young people for the Vietnam War and b) pMcCarthy was working the system as it was then. Had there been campaign laws,501c3's, MoveOn.orgs and others would have filled the gap. That, after all, is at the crux of your non-ideological argument against public financing, que no? People--and money--will find ways around artificial barriers.

Jubal

BR:

Whatever beneficial impacts public finance may have are immaterial fail to overcome the argument against it on principle.

True, the government uses our tax dollars for purposes we don't agree with. A number of Americans object to the use of their tax dollars to buold nuclear weapons or wage war in Iraq -- but defesne spending is an unarguably Constitutional function.

Taxing one man to subsidize the political campaign of another man isn't. Besides that, it's just wrong.

Jubal

As for McCarthy, it goes without saying that voter dissatisfaction with the Vietnam War was a necessary pre-condition for the vitality of his campaing. But he needed both -- the financing of his angels, voter dissastisfaction and the college volunteers. And even if you played that campaign under current rules with 501c3s, McCarthy wouldn't have been in control of his message -- so who knows how the campaign would have turned out?

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