A date which will live in infamy?

The DC Examiner reminded me that September 7 is destined to become the day free speech died in America:

Something almost without precedent in America will happen Thursday. That’s the day when McCain-Feingold — aka the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 — will officially silence broadcast advertising that contains criticism of members of Congress seeking re-election in November. Before 2006, American election campaigns traditionally began in earnest after Labor Day. Unless McCain-Feingold is repealed, Labor Day will henceforth mark the point in the campaign when congressional incumbents can sit back and cruise, free of those pesky negative TV and radio spots. It is the most effective incumbent protection act possible, short of abolishing the elections themselves.
Read the whole thing. And weep.

The problem with weeping, though, is that it doesn't accomplish anything. What would accomplish something would be the repeal of this noxious law which opportunists in both parties passed, and which the president was so shortsighted as to sign.

In that respect, I agree with the Examiner's conclusion:

By election day, it should be clear to all reasonable persons that McCain-Feingold was a serious mistake and, like Prohibition, ought to be repealed. But proponents of campaign finance reform have always been right about one thing — there is an incredible amount of money in politics and voters should know who it is coming from and to whom it is going. Thus, McCain-Feingold should not simply be repealed; it ought to be replaced with a new law that uses transparency in campaign finance rather than censorship in political expression.
Too bad they can't make McCain-Feingold an election issue.

(I guess that would be illegal....)

posted by Eric on 09.01.06 at 09:48 AM


The single biggest thing I argue with my father about is how bad McCain-Feingold is. I think it is so bad that I would only vote for McCain if he were running against David Duke, while he thinks it is no worse than most laws.

It is terrible to see people so calm about a real, serious removal of the right to free political speech in America in the 21st century.

Jon Thompson   ·  September 1, 2006 11:10 PM

Sometimes I think people are so burned out that they either don't care anymore, or don't want to care. If they become desensitized or callused, an appearance of calmness may result. I've seen calm looking people do some pretty radical and crazy things given the opportunity and the motivation...

Eric Scheie   ·  September 2, 2006 10:29 AM

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