Only $100 Million to Run For President? Thank God for McCain-Feingold

This was in yesterday’s Washington Post, in an article entitled “Money’s going to talk in 2008”:

Michael E. Toner, the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, has some friendly advice for presidential candidates who plan to be taken seriously by the time nominating contests start in early 2008: Bring your wallet.

“There is a growing sense that there is going to be a $100 million entry fee at the end of 2007 to be considered a serious candidate,” Toner said in a recent interview.

Simply put, McCain-Feingold is a failed joke. The McCain-Feingold bill was put forth by Arizona Senator John McCain, who never met something that didn’t deserve regulation, and Democrat Russ Feingold.

John McCain has buddied up with lots of Democrats in an effort to do good works. Just look at the names of the following bills and you’ll realize that bipartisan bad ideas are a McCain staple. The “McCain-Feingold bill”, the “McCain-Kerrey bill” (Bob Kerrey, Nebraska Democrat), the “McCain-Feinstein bill,” the “McCain-Lieberman bill,” the “McCain-Leahy bill,” the “McCain-Edwards-Kennedy bill” and the “McCain-Kerry” bill. John McCain’s been in bed with more Democrats than a 20 year veteran Berkeley prostitute.

A quick look at even the seemingly noblest of intentions of McCain-Feingold and the failings are obvious. Did making federal candidates say “I approve this message” bring about a huge decline in negative ads? The thought behind that was, if a candidate had to say “I approve” visibly and audibly, the candidate wouldn’t allow negative or false material in an ad they were so closely associated with. How well that’s working.

The lesson learned from the “I approve this message” idea is that it’s not possible to shame a politician whose goals create a tunnel vision incapable of glimpsing peripheral ridicule. It’s nothing personal, it’s just the nature of the profession. Forcing candidates to visibly and audibly “approve” a message to put an end to negative ads is like installing video surveillance cameras in your living room and assuming it will intimidate your dog enough to make him stop licking himself.

CFR helped take the money out of the process, too. The $600 million-plus presidential race in 2004 proved that. The problem with McCain-Feingolds that it contains more loopholes than the wall between a high school girls’ locker room and the wood shop.

By the way, in 2002, the Federal Election Commission voted 4-2 to exempt the Internet from the “Campaign Finance Reform Act” – better known as the aforementioned “McCain-Feingold law.” In 2004, a federal judge overturned that FEC exemption, and with it dug up a shot at a source of revenue the government’s been wringing their hands over since Al Gore invented it– the Internet. Outcry from bloggers, free-speech advocates and some politicians has slowed the federal steamroller, but it’s still in gear with the motor running.

With all these candidates in need of $100 million to run for president, congress, and everything else, eliminating the money from politics is more important than ever, so the McCain-Feingold people will have to come after the wallets of the rest of us next. Taking the money out of politics is expensive!


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Author: Doug Powers

Doug Powers is a writer, editor and commentator covering news of the day from a conservative viewpoint with an occasional shot of irreverence and a chaser of snark. Townhall Media writer/editor. alum. Bowling novice. Long-suffering Detroit Lions fan. Contact: