John McCain

John McCain's Meltdown

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Yesterday on Face the Nation--that venerable American institution that somehow manages to pull fewer eyeballs than reruns of Ronco informercials--Sen. John "McNasty" McCain (R-Ariz.) flipped out on the Federal Election Commission. As the Washington Times reports:

The Federal Election Commission leadership is "corrupt" and should resign for refusing to regulate political groups that are spending millions of dollars to attack both presidential candidates, Sen. John McCain said yesterday.

The Arizona Republican and co-author of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law called the FEC "disgraceful and despicable in its conduct" for allowing independent groups to exploit the Section 527 tax designation and raise millions of donations in soft money….

Mr. McCain said commission Vice Chairman Ellen Weintraub is an "apparatchik" of the Democratic Party and that Chairman Bradley Smith, a Republican appointee, does not believe in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, so both "should resign because they refuse to enforce the law."

Whole thing here. McCain's knickers are in a twist because his vaunted attempt at "campaign finance reform"--a.k.a. abridging the First Amendment--has failed miserably. Like all previous attempts to "keep the money out of politics," "level the playing field," blah blah blah, McCain-Feingold was a bust before it even got underway. McCain's just trying to shoot the messenger on this one. More pathetically still, he's even playing the shame card:

"I say shame on you, Mr. Soros, and shame on all of the people who are funding these, both from the Republican side as well as the Democrat side," Mr. McCain said. "We're not trying to shut you up. We're saying live by the same rules. In other words, the hard money that funds my campaign," Mr. McCain said.

Hey, shame on you, Sen. McCain! Since when did more political speech become a bad thing? When it's no longer under the direct control of Democrats and Republicans? While I disagree with George Soros on just about everything outside of some aspects of drug policy, his billions have helped energize the political debate. And so have the relatively paltry dollars spent by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. We know politics is show biz for ugly people. Now we're learning that it's show biz for apoplectic control freaks.

Reason interviewed FEC chair Bradley Smith here and here.