THE PLANK JANUARY 23, 2007
The Times has a sad story today lamenting the
likely death of the public financing program for presidential campaigns.
Hillary Clinton has already decided to forgo the program, as she knows
she will be able to raise a lot more than the $150 million that public
financing would provide her if she chose to run in accordance with its restrictions. As
goes Hillary, so goes the rest of the pack. Even John McCain, the patron saint of campaign finance reform, is expected
to opt out, and the Times reports that he has
removed his name from a bill to broaden the program.
Campaign finance reform has not received much attention in recent years,
an unfortunate thing. I can see no way in which legislators will be
able to grapple with certain issues--such as health care and a energy independence--unless
they strip the poisonous taint of money from the process of political
That means providing free airtime to qualified candidates (as is done in
many Western European countries) and broadening public financing.
Politicians, at the most local level, are naturally opposed to anything
that stands in the way of a lifetime political career and will even
resort to unconstitutional means to
kill common-sense measures like term limits and campaign finance reform.
So, while Hillary Clinton carries on her "conversation" with the country
(never has a "conversation" had such a forgone conclusion), we ought to
keep in mind that she's helping to kill campaign finance reform in the