The reporting about the just-upheld campaign-finance law has been confusing, probably because the law itself is so confusing. At any rate, yesterday I stated, apparently erroneously, that issue ads which implicitly target candidates were banned in the 60 days before an election and 30 days before a primary. It seems that the law only heavily restricts such advertising by imposing rules on how the money for it can be raised and spent. But the ads are not banned. See? The state isn’t so bad after all.
You’ve got to sympathize with the campaign-finance reformers. They don’t have it easy. You try removing the appearance of corruption from an intrinsically corrupt enterprise.
P.S.: With respect to Keith Halderman's post: any congressman who admits that he voted for the bill believing it to be unconstitutional while assuming the Supreme Court would kill it has committed an impeachable offense. There may be a separation of powers (in theory), but members of Congress take an oath to uphold the Constitution too. On that matter, there is no division of labor.
The Supreme Court has upheld the fascistic campaign-finance law, which limits how much money people can give to political parties (who’d want to do that?) and, even more egregiously, bans political “issue ads” by private groups in the last 60 days of campaigns. The 5-4 majority said the appearance of government corruption justifies these restrictions. In other words, the distributive state requires the suppression of free speech and private property (money). Or in still other words, if the powers that be can make people think the system isn’t corrupt, it can carry on indefinitely.
Oh, one last thing: this is one of the bills that President George W. Bush didn’t veto. (He hasn’t vetoed any, actually.)
Oh great. The Bush people are looking for “unifying national goals” for the second term. Ideas being kicked around include going to the moon (again?), extending life spans, and eradicating childhood illnesses. According to the Washington Post, “One person consulted by the White House said some aides appear to relish the idea of a ‘Kennedy moment’ for Bush, referring to the 1962 call by President John F. Kennedy for the nation to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth by the end of the decade.” (Groan.) An administration official “said Bush's closest aides are promoting big initiatives on the theory that they contribute to Bush's image as a decisive leader even if people disagree with some of the specifics. ‘Iraq was big. AIDS is big,’ the official said. ‘Big works. Big grabs attention.’”
This puts Bush squarely in the neocon “national greatest conservatism” camp. As he says on the campaign trail, he wants “great goals worthy of a great nation.”
As a libertarian I know likes to say, Are we to be spared nothing?
I sure hope the current controversy over Bush’s steel tariffs puts to rest the fallacy that protectionism is in the “national interest.” Here’s a clear case where wine for one interest group (steel producers/workers) is poison for another (auto producers/workers, among others). “Buy American” is not only wrong-headed; it’s also incoherent.
P.S.: I'm taking great pleasure at Bush's predicament.
So U.S. forces have finally captured Saddam Hussein. Talk about mixed feelings! The murderous bastard deserves to die a long slow death at the hands of the Iraqis he so brutally oppressed. But the thought of U.S. troops hunting down another country’s dictator makes me sick.
Can the Bush supporters spell “chutzpah”? On TV they are falling all over themselves to praise Bush for his political courage in scrapping the steel tariffs. Excuse me—but who put the tariffs on in the first place? His courage supposedly lies in his willingness to risk losing the swing steel states for the sake of free-trade principle. But the supporters neglect to point out that Bush was getting pressure from a swing steel-using state (namely, Michigan), as well as states such as Florida that would have suffered from European retaliation sanctioned by the World Trade Organization. His stated reason for ending the tariffs? They worked! By the way, he promised to protect the steel industry from"dumping." Some man of principle. Humbug!