July 10th, 2001

NPA

(no subject)

July 9, 2001

Can't think of a hell of a lot to say today. Oh, wait-politics.

Spent nearly the whole day at home. Sent the folks to "Memento", which they reacted to as I thought they would.

Politics: I received a mailing today from some public-policy organization asking me to send letters to Speaker Hastert and Minority Leader Gephardt to get them to pass the house version of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill. The mailing was quickly disposed of. I think McCain-Feingold is a bad bill. (BACKGROUND: McCain-Feingold's main thrust is the prohibition of so-called "soft money" contributions. Soft money is money donated to the political parties in unlimited amounts by people and corporations to circumvent the already in place limits on direct contribution to candidates. Soft money is usually used to buy time to put TV commercials on the air, among other things.) Money in politics is a lot like the drug trade. McCain-Feingold, like the laws against importing and distributing drugs attempts to affect supply without any regard for demand. Under McCain-Feingold, there would still be the same demand for money (especially for TV time-more on that later) that exists today, but it would be harder to get it. Which means more $500-a-plate fundraisers for candidates trying to raise cash to get elected. Now, I mentioned TV time before. All the direct mailings, signs on peoples' lawns, bumper stickers and old-fashioned going-out-and-meeting-the-people pressing the flesh in the world aren't as effective as a well-run TV campaign, at least for federal (and most state-level) offices. TV time costs money. And, as I said, these candidates are going to need just as much money (the demand is still there), but, under McCain-Feingold, would be denied a primary source for it. There are solutions-free TV time, total federal funding of elections-things that would probably shake the two-party system pretty well-but none of these things are provided by McCain-Feingold. There are those who might say, "McCain-Feingold is just the start!" Really? I doubt it. Once the politicians come up with a way to limit themselves and their re-electability, will they voluntarily limit or change the way things are done again? It doesn't strike me as likely. Indeed, I can more easily see more public clamor for campaign finance reform met with responses of "We gave you that McCain-Feingold you wanted! What more do you want?" We need a better bill.

Today's Link Of The Day is Operation Clambake, the home of anti-Scientology thought on the web. Scientology is just too goofy for words, and Clambake (don't ask me where the name comes from) does a good job of exploding it. http://www.clambake.org/

JHR
7/10/2001 3:26 AM