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Monday, June 16, 2008

Limiting political speech won’t create good government

In the latest Democracy Rising Newsletter, Tim Potts takes on two issues: redistricting and campaign finance. On redistricting I agree with him – we should not let those running for re-election draw the borders of their district – and I have also written on how Cerberus is keeping that reform in limbo.

On campaign finance limits, Potts takes to task Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl for vetoing a bill that would offer limits similar to federal election law. I will take Tim to task using the same rhetorical questions manner he favors:

  1. Is the federal government free from influence of special interests, thanks to campaign finance restrictions?
  2. Does Tim think that limiting political speech will provide for a better informed public, or serve the public in any way?
  3. Does Tim really believe that elections would be more competitive with campaign finance limits, even though all the evidence indicates that limits favor incumbents and result in less competitive elections?
  4. If campaign finance limits were such a good idea, why does every corrupt politician and big city political machine favor them?

So long as government gives taxpayer handouts to favored businesses, regulates all aspects of the economy, and consumes one-third of personal income in taxes, special interests will always find a way to influence politicians. The only way to "get money out of politics" is to limit the size and role of government.

1 comment:

Mark Rauterkus said...

Hold the phone:

I worked to de-rail the campaign finance reform bill in Pgh about three years ago. Then, after begging, got onto the group to help draft this version. Then it was changed a bit with amendments.

I don't speak for Tim -- but for myself.

Of course none have pledged to make politics free from influence of special interests. That is an absurd wish. But, campaign finance reform can put an upper price tag on that influence.

Do you think that corporations feel left out and rights have been denied because there can be no corporate donations to candidates?

Just as goffy.

Of course it would be great to have the conventions paid for by the parties and not the taxpayers. But that is a different matter.

Campaign finance reform does not limit political speech. Your speech is always a right you have to yourself. A donation is not a speech. Rights are not able to be purchased. Speech is still free.

I do think that campaign finance reform will better serve the public.

I feel that elections will be more competitive with finance limits. Different. More people will run too. That is more important. It is hard to be more less competitive than the case now when too many run without any opposition.

Every corrupt politician and big city political machine does not favor campaign finance reform -- because Luke Ravenstahl just vetoed the bill.

The Pgh campaign finance reform was not with any part of government giving taxpayer handouts to favored businesses.

We agree that a way to "get money out of politics" is to limit the size and role of government. So, it makes sense then to limit the size and role of donations to candidates.