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(Yahoo)   The whiny editorials pretending there's some way to completely separate politics and money have already started   ( divider line
    More: Dumbass  
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284 clicks; posted to Politics » on 20 Dec 2006 at 3:59 PM (16 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook

28 Comments     (+0 »)
2006-12-20 3:06:17 PM  
There is a way: If public officials were well read philosophically, understood the Constitution, actually read the legislation they introduce and vote on, and acted out of genuine concern for the general wellbeing of the public.

But, that might get in the way of getting rich, making your friends rich, and returning campaign favors, so it will never happen.
2006-12-20 4:03:39 PM  
they stopped?
2006-12-20 4:04:33 PM  
I don't think there'd anything I care about less than the way campaign's are financed. Long as they tell us where the money comes from, I don't care how much they spend.
2006-12-20 4:08:19 PM  
Simple solution so it'll never be considered.
Only registered voters who are eligible to vote in each specific election would be allowed to contribute to the campaigns of the candidates in that election. No dollar limit but full disclosure of who gave and how much.

/Too clear and simple to work.
2006-12-20 4:14:10 PM  
And the whiny headlines pretending there's nothing wrong with allowing monied interests to dictate politics have already started.
2006-12-20 4:26:13 PM  
I just wish the whole campaign crapola would go away for a year or so.
2006-12-20 4:28:10 PM  
Action Replay Nick

There is a way: If public officials were well read philosophically, understood the Constitution, actually read the legislation they introduce and vote on, and acted out of genuine concern for the general wellbeing of the public told that peddling their votes in return for campaign financing was treason .

2006-12-20 4:30:15 PM  
Oops. That should read "tantamount to treason."
2006-12-20 4:34:19 PM  
Forbid congressmen from owning stocks.
2006-12-20 4:36:31 PM  
Poopspasm: told that peddling their votes in return for campaign financing was treason .

somehow I think one of them swinging from the gallows might straighten the rest of them up...
2006-12-20 4:37:02 PM  
I've never been comfortable with the idea of money as "free speech." All humans (save the tragically birth-defected) have the innate ability to express themselves with words in one way or another, but not all have money to spend to "express" themselves politically. How is it fair in any way to equate money with speech this way?
2006-12-20 4:50:15 PM  
carmody, "fairness" isn't really an issue. However, I do agree with you that the idea of money == speech is a very questionable one. That's one of my least-favorite SCOTUS decisions in quite awhile. (aside from Kelo)

The problem is, money is NOT speech. If you fling a bunch of it around (literally) it doesn't say anything except, "I'm an asshole with so much money I can throw it away." Money is a speech ENABLER.

So is a bullhorn.

Yet I don't see SCOTUS ruling we all have constitutional rights to megaphones so that all of us have equal opportunity to shout each other down at equivilent volumes.

So I'm not sure why spending money suddenly becomes an inherent right when used to enable speech.
2006-12-20 4:50:20 PM  
How about this, you and anyone or any group are allowed to donate whatever amount of money to an election/re-election campaign. Here is the catch, that money is all donated to one big fund, and anyone who gets on the ballot for that race gets an equal share of that fund. For the election of the POTUS you have to be on the ballot for 40 out of 50 states.

2006-12-20 5:38:37 PM  
Geez we can't even tell who is felon or just comes from a corrupt neighborhood, why don't we start the debate there instead? I'd like to know how many stolen cars are registered in my name, for instance.
2006-12-20 5:40:02 PM  
or if I was actually ever inherited anything or not
2006-12-20 6:02:47 PM  
What about publicly funded elections? Make the politicians able to only accept money from registered voters with a cap on the amount and no more PAC's or corporations giving money nor able to engage in 'Swiftboating' campaigns.

I think politics has to change, that we have to stop letting people do what Bush did; jump into the higher office from next to nowhere. Too many see a two or four year stint in government as merely a stepping stone towards a better job as a lobbyist or similar. Those in higher office should have to spend a certain amount of time in lesser positions, to have a certain level of senority in public service.
2006-12-20 6:53:31 PM  
2006-12-20 7:44:35 PM  
Um, Subby there is a way. It's called clean elections, where candidates all receive an equal amount of public money with which to run their campaigns. There are already a few states which do this, and it surprisingly doesn't cost the taxpayers much money.
2006-12-20 7:46:05 PM  
Letting the government determine who's worthy of getting the financing that is de facto necessary for campaigns on a significant scale means that the government is in charge of determing who's a viable candidate. This has some obvious abuses, like setting the bar high enough that only major-party candidates have any chance at all.

IMHO, if somebody wants to spend his money backing unpopular candidates, it's his right to do so.

2006-12-20 9:08:18 PM  
How about we ban paid political advertising and instead require TV and radio stations to provide free air time for debates and position statements from each candidate, in equal proportions, as a condition of receiving a broadcast spectrum license?

If they have nothing to spend the bribes on, they have no reason to accept them in the first place.

/yes, I know that my suggestion would require a constitutional amendment
2006-12-20 9:11:46 PM  
SideshowBob --
Same problem. You either have clowns coming in and "running" just so they get free air time in which to rant, or you give incumbent officials the power and the severe temptation to set the bar high to effectively eliminate third-party candidates while grandfathering in the two major parties.

See the bizarre situation with the Gray Davis recall circus, the 100+ candidates (on the ballot, mind you) and the quibbling over whether runing Schwarzenegger movies might require granting 2-hr blocks (well, probably 3 after commercials...) to the rest of the clowns.

2006-12-20 9:22:31 PM  
In any event, there's plenty of possible means of corruption other than direct campaign assistance -- trips, gifts, jobs for family and friends or for the Honorable Member after leaving office, so forth.

The issue is not so much the campaign financing but
(1) weak conflict-of-interest and ethics rules, enforced on a largely partisan basis
(2) low accountability through such things as voice votes, unattributed earmarks, and voters who pay more attention to soundbites than to actual voting records or similar data

(1) is pretty damn hard to fix, unless you want to compel public servants to only invest via blind trusts; to bar them from working for/consulting with companies and other organizations according to some criteria, -and- somehow deal with benefits for interested and connected third parties
(2) is essentially impossible, given that busy voters are apathetic voters; even in the recent highly anomalous tossing-out-of-Republicans, how much of it was because of the party and not the candidate (ex. tossing out Sen. Chaffee? Not tied to corruption or support for Iraq, if memory serves; appears to have been a casualty of anti-GOP sentiment more than anti-Chaffee sentiment).

2006-12-20 11:01:50 PM  
Separating politics from money is impossible. However, separating politicians from their money is not. How about this -- and this is one that I, for one, would vote for in a second given the last political campaign: politicians can buy and pay for all the political ads they want on teevee, radio, etc., but it is entirely up to the stations when to run them. (Or, for billboards, which billboards to post them on.)

I would LOVE to see all political ads relegated to the time between one o'clock and six o'clock in the morning.

/In 1996 I actually wore out the mute button on my remote and had to get a new one.

//Was more cautious this time, switching to other channels (half of which had the same damned ads on.)
2006-12-21 1:58:23 AM  
As the first editon of my book explains, all you have to do is stop giving power to people who WANT power.

It aint rocket science.

Unfortunately I cannot divulge anymore without risking millions of dolllar yet to come when my patented technique for fixing humanity comes to fruition.
2006-12-21 2:48:23 AM  
Korovyov: It isn't up to the government to pick and choose who they sponsor, you just have to get a certain amount of signatures from voters saying that they'll support you and then you're in.
2006-12-21 3:33:43 AM  
Alien5151 --

(1) Set the number of signatures to a very high number.
(2) Rule that a party which earned ballot access before, gets it far more easily.
(3) Retain an army of lawyers used to challenge the signatures used to bring other candidates.

This is not theoretical. This is current practice. Both major parties will happily set rules so that they don't have to collect signatures every time, and to oppose third parties which they think might bleed off some of "their" voters. The end result is that the major parties make it difficult for anybody else to even get to the starting line.
2006-12-21 3:46:25 AM  
...I'll also note that if you're starting out with a low profile, and you're not permitted to raise private money, it's going to be rather difficult to get signatures (real ones; it's not like internet petitions are good for anything at all) on the usual scale that they're likely to require.

Under the present system, if you can convince people with enough resources, you can buy media access that might plant a name so that your petition-takers (be they volunteers or paid) can actually work efficiently (taking signatures from people who know enough to be ready to sign) rather than needing to verbally give a biography to every single individual potential signer. Otherwise, you're largely dependent on the generosity of those already in power -- and they have every incentive to set the bar extremely high, because they'll meet it far easier than anybody else.
2006-12-21 3:37:50 PM  
all you have to do is stop giving power to people who WANT power.

We have a winner!

Current politics lead to the question of "Why would someone spend 500k or their own money for a job that pays
Not to mention other peoples money. The answer of course, is that it is worth it. If we reduce the power of politicians, there will be less money in politics because buying one wont be worth as much.

"When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators." - PJ O'Rourke
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