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  • Campaign Finance Reform

    Rough transcript / commentary of oral arguments before SCOTUS.

    With changes to the court's composition, it now seems possible that McCain-Feingold will be overturned.
    Last edited by Apophis; 04-26-2007, 02:09 PM. Reason: SCOUTS == SCOTUS :)
    A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

    "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

  • #2
    Re: Campaign Finance Reform

    Wow...Not the easiest article to follow (because of it reads more like a transcript - which it is) but after two reads I think I get it. Not good. I hate attack ads. Not good at all.
    LoyalGuard

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    • #3
      Re: Campaign Finance Reform

      Lots of people share your concerns, Loyal. I don't like ads of any sort, but I don't really watch television.

      However, I don't understand how this law was not struck down, with prejudice, the first time around. McCain - Feingold is a clear affront to the First Ammendment. And even if there were no Constitution, I would still be quite aghast at a law which aims to restrict explicitly political speech - especially a law which curtails political speech right before an election!

      Television commentary shows such as the Factor et al. can say what they want when they want. Newspaper Op-Eds can do the same. Candidates may say whatever they like about themselves. But in the thirty days before the election, private citizens may nor organize themselves to purchase TV commercials which discuss candidates?? Wha?
      A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

      "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Campaign Finance Reform

        CFR was/is crap, hope it gets dumped. A blatant violation of the constitution and they let it pass....ridiculous.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Campaign Finance Reform

          You have hit on a lot of the poignant issues here Tybalt. I admit I am not very well versed in these campaign finance reform and related issues but plan to get more informed since with the way things seem to be shaping up, the '08 presidential campaigns seem to weigh fundraising more than any election before it. Will the candidates with the most funds win their respective party's nominations barring all other factors?

          I can't argue against the free speech aspects of the legislation. My rough voice of support for it can only be that it seems the intention of the legislation was to attempt to prevent politically motivated groups using the guise of free speech to influence an election outisde the bounds of the law.

          Using the WRTL example from the article, I think it was pretty clear that they were trying to get the politican defeated - not sway opinion, and therefore related to the election.
          LoyalGuard

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Campaign Finance Reform

            What's wrong with using speech to defeat a politician?
            A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

            "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Campaign Finance Reform

              Originally posted by xTYBALTx View Post
              What's wrong with trying to defeat a politician?
              I think the heart of the issue is these types of efforts are backed by soft money that aren't under the regulatory guidelines of federal elections.

              If you want to defeat a candidate because your group disagrees with his/her views, then by all means work towards his/her defeat, but do it within the rules. When these types of attacks are made so close to an election they in essence become part of the oppositional campaign and need to follow the same guidelines as regular campaign activities or meet the exclusionary clauses.

              Really,the whole thing kinda makes me ill. I am kinda playing devil's advocate here because in a lot of ways I agree CFR sucks...I just don't know what the alternatives are!
              LoyalGuard

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Campaign Finance Reform

                I don't think it's true that independantly funded advertisements are indistinguishable from campaign contributions. Campaign contributions cannot be earmarked; once I donate $2000 to Lieberman, I can't tell him how to use it. And advertising, specifically TV advertising, is only a part of what Lieberman will spend his "war chest" on. He also has to coordinate volunteers, poll the public, court influential individuals, put his whole campaign up in hotels throughout the country, pay for masses of airplane tickets (or rent a jet!), the list goes on.

                Private groups' advertising on television just seems so American. If I don't like issue X or politician Y, then I can buy some advertisements telling everyone why! Or, if I don't have enough money to pay for one myself, I can accept donations from other individuals and we pool our resources. The latter example is exactly what the SCOTUS case is about. Barring private citizens from sharing political views - whatever the timing or format - just seems wrong.
                A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Campaign Finance Reform

                  Originally posted by xTYBALTx View Post
                  Private groups' advertising on television just seems so American. If I don't like issue X or politician Y, then I can buy some advertisements telling everyone why! Or, if I don't have enough money to pay for one myself, I can accept donations from other individuals and we pool our resources. The latter example is exactly what the SCOTUS case is about. Barring private citizens from sharing political views - whatever the timing or format - just seems wrong.
                  I agree with to a point, but there has been many instances were tv stations refuse to sell advertising space based on the message. I would think it better that people have access to both sides of an issue, but where that is not possible due to private interests censoring what you get, perhaps saying no to both sides is best.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Campaign Finance Reform

                    When speech costs money, only those with money will be able to speak. I think there is a natural impulse to want to limit the voices of the well-funded when those voices drown out the less funded. Hence public campaign financing, the equal time clause, etc. Inelegant reactions to a pernicious problem.

                    One idea is to bring political ads under the same federal guidelines as truth in advertising laws. Allow the FTC or FCC to monitor ads for lies and respond with legal action as appropriate. Only problem with that is that the FTC and FCC are currently managed by political appointees, and so the system is vulnerable to significant partisan influence.
                    In game handle: Steel Scion
                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Re: Campaign Finance Reform

                      Originally posted by Steeler View Post
                      Only problem with that is that the FTC and FCC are currently managed by political appointees, and so the system is vulnerable to significant partisan influence.

                      Highly vulnerable and by the time a resolution is reached, the election is over.

                      Lucky Shot

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Campaign Finance Reform

                        We as private citizens are free to say what we like, and the television stations - also owned by private citizens - are free to refuse service to anyone. I still don't see the problem. Paid TV advertisements are only one of many kinds of free speech. And, again, the organization before SCOTUS right now is not just one rich guy throwing money at smear ads. It's a whole bunch of private citizens organizing around one issue, getting their money together... and buying smear ads. But freedom of speech includes the freedom to say objectionable things. And anyone who has donated to MoveOn.org, the NRA, AARP, etc, has had their contributions harmed by McCain-Feingold.

                        If I, as an atheist pro-choicer who owns a TV station*, want to refuse vociferously pro-life ads such as those before the SCOTUS right now, what's the problem with that? It's simply freedom and democracy at work. Having the government mandate what sorts of political discourse I must have or may not have on my TV station sounds a bit... well I don't want to inject any strong words into our discussion, but it sounds pretty messed up.




                        *I am an atheist pro-choicer, but alas do not own any TV stations :]
                        Last edited by Nikolas; 04-26-2007, 04:30 PM.
                        A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                        "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Campaign Finance Reform

                          Originally posted by xTYBALTx View Post
                          We as private citizens are free to say what we like, and the television stations - also owned by private citizens - are free to refuse service to anyone. I still don't see the problem. Paid TV advertisements are only one of many kinds of free speech. And, again, the organization before SCOTUS right now is not just one rich guy throwing money at smear ads. It's a whole bunch of private citizens organizing around one issue, getting their money together... and buying smear ads. But freedom of speech includes the freedom to say objectionable things.

                          If I, as an atheist pro-choicer who owns a TV station*, want to refuse vociferously pro-life ads such as those before the SCOTUS right now, what's the problem with that? It's simply freedom and democracy at work. Having the government mandate what sorts of political discourse I must have or may not have on my TV station sounds a bit... well I don't want to inject any strong words into our discussion, but it sounds pretty messed up.

                          *I am an atheist pro-choicer, but alas do not own any TV stations :]
                          Except a private citizen cannot just set-up a tv station that broadcasts over public airwaves. They are highly regulated entities, and the government already controls to some extent what will and will not be broadcast. To me this implies that tv stations have some sort of responsibility to the people who grant them the license to broadcast. In the interest of the public good, anyone with the means should have access to this medium, but that is simply not the case. I don't see anything wrong with having some kind of rules to correct this type of imbalance and bias.

                          But I don't think this was the point of your original post anyways...so I apologize for taking it a little sideways.

                          In principle I agree with you, there should be no limits on free speech, especially political discourse

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Campaign Finance Reform

                            No, it totally goes with the same theme from the original post. No worries there. But we can get around the "public service" component of TV stations by limiting our discussion to cable and satellite networks.
                            A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                            "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Campaign Finance Reform

                              Originally posted by xTYBALTx View Post
                              No, it totally goes with the same theme from the original post. No worries there. But we can get around the "public service" component of TV stations by limiting our discussion to cable and satellite networks.
                              Yeah, I thought about that when I wrote the above. But by then people are probably preaching to the converted/unreachable in many instances anyways.

                              I don't see how SCOTUS restricts any free speech, only the timing at which it occurs.
                              I'm sure you're not allowed to stand outside a polling stations with a megaphone yelling at people as they go in as well (sorry if I'm wrong here..I'm 99% sure). To me this is similar, although a different medium.

                              Although you do have an extremely valid point with regards to Op-Eds and "news" (I'll use the term lightly) shows.

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