Thursday, March 30, 2006 6:46 PM
5 Comments »
The impeachment of Bush and Cheney would be, of course, thoroughly justified. There are ample grounds for convicting them of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” They are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in Iraq, of both Iraqis and Americans, in an illegal war whose purpose was to seize control of the world’s third largest oil reserves.
Comment by Spitfire — January 18, 2006 @ 4:28 am
Don’t regulate the contributions. Do away with the NEED for them.
Taxpayer funded campaigns, limited in scope and duration, a la Canada, England, and pretty much everyone else, is the way to go. Eliminate the need for the bribery, you eliminate the undue influence those with access to large amounts of campaign contributions might have.
And voila, lobbyists can lobby without being shaken down for money. Legislators can run for office without begging for money. And the people will have the same voice as the lobbyist when they call upon their legislators - one vote.
Comment by John Burns — January 18, 2006 @ 6:24 pm
As long as the United States keeps the First Amendment in our Constitution it will be impossible to limit the scope and duration of political campaigns. There is no getting around that, nor should there be. Generations of Americans have fought and died for the right to say what they will about politics and politicians, and it will be a cold day in hell before we give that up.
The experience of Canada and England is illustrative of the problems these “campaign limits” create. In those countries the media are the final arbitor of politics because they are the only entities that can broadcast whatever they wish, whenever they wish, about political issues. As the values and opinions of the media tend inevitably towards the left, all politics in those countries gravitate towards leftist positions (much to the detriment of those country’s economic, security, and political standing, by the way). The average Canadian or Briton has LESS say in how his government is run and LESS access to information about politics and politicians (at least over the airwaves) than the average American.
As for limiting campaign contributions, I believe the Supreme Court has erred grieviously in allowing the government to limit political speech by limiting the kinds and amounts of money that can be collected and spent on campaigns. The answer to the problem of lobbyists wielding sacks of cash is not to further restrict political speech, it is to make all contributions totally transparent; post every contribution on the web, detailing who gave it and whom he represents. Then step back and let the people decide for themselves how they feel about each candidate and his backers.
Comment by Jim Stegall — January 18, 2006 @ 10:01 pm
Fair points, except for this one:
“The average Canadian or Briton has LESS say in how his government is run and LESS access to information about politics and politicians (at least over the airwaves) than the average American.”
The average Canadian or Briton is far more informed about the workings of his government, and far more likely to shed the current occupant of any given office than is the average American. I’ve lived in Canada - I was there when the Tories went from a majority to two seats in one election.
Public financing is the answer to the bribery. Pure and simple. If you want endless campaigns, fine.
I see the regulation of campaign funding and spending not as speech control, but volume control. THe government can’t stop me from talking on the court house steps, but they can stop me from doing so at 700db so that nothing else can be heard in the courthouse square.
Comment by John Burns — January 24, 2006 @ 2:05 pm
In Canada and the United Kingdom there is no such thing as a First Amendment. Citizens can be fined for political speech that would be considered par for the course here in the U.S., and elected officials can and have sued media publications for slander. There are also fewer media outlets, and these all tend to say the same things (lack of competition). Combine that with the government imposed campaign restrictions and you get an ill-informed electorate debating a narrow range of political ideas.
While it’s true that Canadians and Britons are generally well-educated about the structure and function of their governments, it does not follow that they are as well-informed about what’s going on behind the scenes. When I was in England a few years ago I discussed this with some Englishmen who had lived in the U.S. for a while, and it was they, not I, who pointed out these differences.
Oh, and despite the public financing of campaigns, they still have bribery, influence peddling, etc.
Comment by Jim Stegall — January 24, 2006 @ 4:25 pm