T Nation

McCain & The 1st Amendment

I haven’t seen this posted yet.

John McCain on the Imus show:

“He [Michael Graham] also mentioned my abridgement of First Amendment rights, i.e. talking about campaign finance reform…I know that money corrupts…I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I’d rather have the clean government.”

I understand this is McCain’s honest opinion (which is one of the many reasons I don’t like him), but why voice it? Who is he appealing to with that kind of statement?

I can’t think of any way at all that he can defend that statement in the primaries (if he decides to run for president again), whether he runs as a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. Maybe the Green Party and Ralph Nader will get behind him, but other than that, who?

I honestly think McCain has a screw loose. It is no wonder he is such a media darling.

Restrictions on campaign financing are not going to replace corrupt government with cleaner government. They are going to replace government corrupted (but also held in check) by a wide array of disparate interests with government more deeply corrupted by a narrower group of interests.

  • There will be no restriction on money spent “objectively” reporting the news (except maybe eventually there might be restrictions on news media that are not “legitimate”).

  • There will be no restriction on money spent “educating” future voters at colleges and universities.

  • There will be no restriction on money spent informing voters about the wonderful projects that each congressman or legislator has provided for his own district (while efforts to remind the public about the cost of such projects to the country or state as a whole and associate such costs with particular candidates or parties will face financial restrictions).

The whole idea that further campaign finance restrictions are going to “take the money out of politics and make it cleaner” is so frustratingly blind.

[quote]NealRaymond2 wrote:

The whole idea that further campaign finance restrictions are going to “take the money out of politics and make it cleaner” is so frustratingly blind.[/quote]

I’ll bet McCain understands this. He just doesn’t care. All the man wants to do is grandstand. He is dead wrong on most of his pet issues too.

[quote]doogie wrote:

I can’t think of any way at all that he can defend that statement in the primaries (if he decides to run for president again), whether he runs as a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. Maybe the Green Party and Ralph Nader will get behind him, but other than that, who?[/quote]

I hope you are right. He seems to think–with good cause mind you–that the American people are more concerned with the supposed benevolent outcome of such a policy than they are with the universal adherance to Constitutional ideals. Where’s the harm, right? Diminish free speech a little over here, roll back corruption over there, so long as the outcome is good, who cares!

It’s our own fault; every time someone gets the bright idea to curtail our rights–or increase the power of government–for some greater cause, and we allow it to happen under the guise of progress, we slide a little further down that slippery slope. It’s no wonder a guy like McCain doesn’t even give it a second thought…

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
NealRaymond2 wrote:

The whole idea that further campaign finance restrictions are going to “take the money out of politics and make it cleaner” is so frustratingly blind.

I’ll bet McCain understands this. He just doesn’t care. All the man wants to do is grandstand. He is dead wrong on most of his pet issues too.[/quote]

John McCain is a genuine war hero, and I would be loathe to make negative assumptions about his motives based on bad policy positions and “grandstanding”.

I think he is just blind.

[quote]NealRaymond2 wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
NealRaymond2 wrote:

The whole idea that further campaign finance restrictions are going to “take the money out of politics and make it cleaner” is so frustratingly blind.

I’ll bet McCain understands this. He just doesn’t care. All the man wants to do is grandstand. He is dead wrong on most of his pet issues too.

John McCain is a genuine war hero, and I would be loathe to make negative assumptions about his motives based on bad policy positions and “grandstanding”.

I think he is just blind.

[/quote]

He has a history of grandstanding and using hollow “think of the children” arguments on many issues such as steroids, supplements ultimate fighting etc.

He is a smart enough man to learn the facts. He just chooses to ignore them.

I am too cynical to think he is blind to them.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
I honestly think McCain has a screw loose. It is no wonder he is such a media darling.[/quote]

can you imagine…

a voting choice between hillary and mccain?

holy crap, how’s that for a lose-lose election nightmare…

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
NealRaymond2 wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
NealRaymond2 wrote:

The whole idea that further campaign finance restrictions are going to “take the money out of politics and make it cleaner” is so frustratingly blind.

I’ll bet McCain understands this. He just doesn’t care. All the man wants to do is grandstand. He is dead wrong on most of his pet issues too.

John McCain is a genuine war hero, and I would be loathe to make negative assumptions about his motives based on bad policy positions and “grandstanding”.

I think he is just blind.

He has a history of grandstanding and using hollow “think of the children” arguments on many issues such as steroids, supplements ultimate fighting etc.

He is a smart enough man to learn the facts. He just chooses to ignore them.

I am too cynical to think he is blind to them.[/quote]

Not blind to the facts. Blind to the greater sweep, significance, and larger consequences. Myopic might be a better word.

The point of free speech is to create a marketplace of ideas were all citizens can express their views. Excessive campaign spending can actually act to limit this marketplace- if one buys up all the airtime, others are unable to express their views and reach the people. I agree with McCain that we should limit campaign spending, but I do not like his reasoning.