Hillary Clinton

Gots to Do What They Gotta Do to Get a Bill

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Me, yesterday:

[L]ook for the breathless commentary about how all these records are being broken… and money dominates our politics and it's just so sad.

Hardball, yesterday.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Andrea, what does that mean? Explain to me—maybe I do know, but I don`t like it. I find this so unsavory.

ANDREA MITCHELL: I know. It`s awful.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Here we are, and they`re going out and killing people around the world to spread democracy, and what are we spreading? A form of government based on how much money you can raise from rich people mainly.

Gosh, all you need is some sad-ass Scottish fugue piping in the background and this could be the last act of a Ken Loach movie.

First, the candidates aren't "mainly" getting their money from "rich people." John McCain got more than 80,000 donors to chip into his campaign, as did Barack Obama. All told, about 300,000 people donated to the candidates between January and April 1. It's possible that they were all millionaires (there are around 3 million of them in the U.S. after all), but unlikely, as most of the donors didn't fork over the maximum donations.

Second, who cares if they're rich? There are two possible campaign finance regimes: One where all the candidates get the same money from a public fund, or one where the candidates with the most appeal raise the most money. Under the first regime, only the establishment candidates benefit. Under the second regime, candidates whose appeal, charisma, ideas, et cetera outstrip the frontrunners can prove that appeal and surge ahead. Which is what's happening this week as the Giuliani, Romney, Obama and Edwards campaigns reveal their hauls and which is why Hillary Clinton says stuff like this:

I believe we have to move, eventually in our country, toward a system of public financing that really works for candidates running for federal office. I will support that as president.

Message: I'm not dominating the field like I wanted to, so if you competitors could, uh, go away? Yeah. That'd be greeeeat.

NEXT: Stoners vs. Drunks

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  1. Matthews is pissed because the leading fundraisers on both sides(Clinton, Romney) more or less have the same position as Bush when it comes to Iraq.

    As far sas the scope of money in presidential politics, it’s probably a fundamental law that the level of money is proportional to the level of federal spending. We are looking at the coming prospect of a 10 trillion dollar federal budget and the 1 billion dollar presidential campaign.

    My position, probably the libertarian position, is that if you want to reduce the scope of private money in presidential campaigns, reduce the size of the federal budget. It’s pretty simple.

  2. Good stuff, David. My guess is the talking heads think that it makes them look like they’re caring and connecting with the audience by lamenting the influence of “big money”.

    I wonder how much Mitchell and Matthews contribute to politicians?

  3. “There are two possible campaign finance regimes: One where all the candidates get the same money from a public fund, or one where the candidates with the most appeal raise the most money. Under the first regime, only the establishment candidates benefit. Under the second regime, candidates whose appeal, charisma, ideas, et cetera outstrip the frontrunners can prove that appeal and surge ahead.”

    Uh, yeah, like those two millionaires who made the McGovern campaign happen. I guess the ability to raise money really does reflect public opinion.

  4. I think it can be looked at as a good thing. A woman, an African-American, a Mormon, and a New York Italian gathered more money than the traditional, WASPY candidates.

  5. I have gone through your site its good and excellent. and i found many interesting things to read and to gathered information about it, so here i am linking u relevant site to gain more details.

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  6. Weigel, those of us that lean libertarian but actually support campaign finance have always done so with the understanding that it would lead to the “second regime.” Good to hear that you admit that is how the system seems to be working out.

  7. Isn’t it strange how monopolists always want to rig the system in their favor and then tell you they’re doing it in your interest? I’ve got eyes, man.

    This happens with other issues, too.

  8. Rich people have more disposable income for pointless luxuries like politics.

  9. In 1996 Phil Graham raised gazillions of dollars and didn’t last past New Hampshire. Before that, John Connolly raised millions in 1980 and got precisely one delegate at the 1980 Republican National Convention. Money does not always traslate into votes.

  10. I’d have to agree with Kaligula. I have a problem with so much money being invested by private individuals, corporations, etc because it comes down to a simple concept. Campaign contributors spend money to either impose their will or gain (or sometimes maintain) favorable conditions for themselves or their business. When the stakes go up more money gets spent. I’m not repulsed by the act of a campaign donation, I’m repulsed by the result.

  11. David, you seemed to be about to make a point, but then you glibly danced right over it: “Second, who cares if they’re rich? There are two possible campaign finance regimes: One where all the candidates get the same money from a public fund, or one where the candidates with the most appeal raise the most money.”

    In other words, you have given no justification at all for why only the wealthiest citizens should be the ones who decide who has the most appeal, you’ve just celebrated it, and then given us a false dilemma to set it against to boot. If the giving caps were somewhere in the range of 20$ maybe I’d buy it.

  12. The issue isn’t money. It’s tranparency or the lack of it.

    Given the state of the Internet, there is no reason why a candidate shouldn’t post a list of every contribution including donor and amount.

    I don’t really care if a candidate is beholden to some big donor so long as everyone in the world knows it.

  13. The only way to get money out of politics is to reduce the power available to politicians.

  14. The problem is that the Executive and Legislative branches have too much power. Who would really give a shit how much “influence” money buys when that translates into no real power.

  15. Unclaimed Money Search, eh?

    If I found enough money to be rich, I could support political candidates. This plays into my hands quite nicely…


  16. Given the state of the Internet, there is no reason why a candidate shouldn’t post a list of every contribution including donor and amount.

    Right, because nobody has a right to anonymous political speech! We should just undo every campaign finance law, and we should undo the primary system. Just have one election, every candidate, in November. Sure, that’ll be sub-optimal given the voting system we use (AND HOW!) but it’s not like it matters. I sincerely doubt such a thing could deliver us worse outcomes.

  17. Right, because nobody has a right to anonymous political speech!

    You have secret ballots. Isn’t that enough?

    I don’t see anything in the constitution that guarentees anonymity when giving cash to candidates for public office.

  18. I think the argument that cash = speech is bullshit.

    You have a 1st ammendment right to say or print anything you want. I see that as extending to every new-age medium as well. I don’t see how the 1st gives a right to anonymity though.

  19. “political speech?”

    Does that mean Congressman William Jefferson did nothing more than listening?

  20. Does that mean Congressman William Jefferson did nothing more than listening?

    joe,

    That what the HR types refer to as “active listening.”

  21. campaign donation != bribe

  22. But, seriously, if you think any set of arbitrary rules that congress critters themselves must enforce are going to stop political and campaign corruption, you’re a damn fool.

  23. campaign donation != bribe

    When Charles Keating was asked if he expected his contributions to have an influence on the senators, he replied that he damn well expected them to anser the phone when he called.

    And I don’t care about that as long as the contributions are public record. Trying to exempt “small” contributions would just lead to efforts to scam the system (big contributions chopped up into little contributions to avoid reporting requirements).

  24. you’re a damn fool.

    I won’t argue against that.

  25. Does that mean Congressman William Jefferson did nothing more than listening?

    As is apparent from the Wikipedia account, Jefferson was supposed to give that cash, on behalf of a US company, to an official in Nigeria.

    That is definitely illegal. It may or may not be immoral. Regardless of all that, it is not akin to a congressman accepting campaign contribution or taking a bribe. it would only be akin to those things if the money, or some portion thereof, was for Jefferson himself.

  26. The only way to get money out of politics is to reduce the power available to politicians.

    Right. Essentially, just about every policy debate we indulge ourselves in is a sideshow compared to the real power — tax money. Reduce taxes everywhere, at every turn, and you reduce power. As much as I’m concerned about constitutional issues and the proper juxtaposition of state v individual, its all really window dressing to the main problem, which is the govt just flat out has way, way, way, way, waaaaaayyyyy too much money to play with.

  27. “campaign donation != bribe”

    “legal immigrant != illegal immigrant”

  28. campaign donation != bribe

    I’ve been hearing this for years, and yet people and corporations still behave as if it’s not true. So… why are they still doing it? Last I checked, none of these entities likes throwing money away.

    I’m curious: has any study been done comparing the two scenarios David mentioned? For example, do incumbents benefit at higher percentages in countries that have publicly-financed campaigns?

  29. I don’t get how Dave’s “translation” bears on Clinton’s statement. How is saying she would support public financing an exhortation for her competitors to go away?

  30. In other words, you have given no justification at all for why only the wealthiest citizens should be the ones who decide who has the most appeal, you’ve just celebrated it, and then given us a false dilemma to set it against to boot.

    Say it with me:

    Free.
    Speeech.

  31. To all those saying “The only way to get money out of politics is to reduce the power available to politicians.” Its true, but its also impossible to reduce the power that Congress utilizes when there is so much money pouring into the system.

    So long as companies can make large donations, they will. So long as they make large donations, they will expect returns.

    So long as congressmen accept large donations, they will think they depend on large donations. So long as they think they depend on large donations, they will naturally provide the benefit of the doubt or outright favor those that provide them the large donations.

    Its nearly impossible to get Congress to cut its own power anyway, and its absolutely impossible to get them to cut their power in a system where they think that they depend on using that power to get reelected and keep their jobs.

    Libertarians are normally so good at recognizing the foils of human nature. Why don’t they see this?

  32. Libertarians are normally so good at recognizing the foils of human nature. Why don’t they see this?

    And what is your proposed solution?

    My solution would be to kill McCain/Feingold; lift all limits on contribution; require all contributions to be published and accessible on the Internet; then let a million bloggers sift through contriutions and voting records to show any “purchase” of outcomes.

  33. “Say it with me:

    Free.
    Speeech.”

    OK.

    “$$$$.
    $$$$$$.”

    Can you read that? I can’t.

  34. My solution would be to kill McCain/Feingold; lift all limits on contribution; require all contributions to be published and accessible on the Internet; then let a million bloggers sift through contriutions and voting records to show any “purchase” of outcomes.

    I would have absolutely no problem with this. I’m pragmatic. I agree that it is a chicken/egg issue regarding power & money in politics. One begets the other. I see libertarians in general actively looking for ways to reduce governmental power, while at the same time acknowledging the fact that people should be free to back their own political agenda. And I don’t see a conflict in that stance.

  35. People seem to be confusing the issue. McCain/Feingold definitely attacked free speech with the provisions that limit certain groups from running certain ads. It does not follow from this that giving money to a candidate themselves is an act that also falls under free speech. Personally, I see the latter act as a flat out bribe.

    As to Mr. Weigel’s question as to “who cares if they’re rich”. One reason is that the rich already hold a lot of the power in the private market (this is fine). If they also have all or most of the power in government then they pretty much hold all power. When ideally, power in government should be equal among all citizens. Anyway it matters less that the group in control of government is rich and more that one group has more say in government than other groups.

  36. When ideally, power in government should be equal among all citizens.

    And where did you get that idea?

  37. There was a time when there was no campaign “reform.” We had presidents like Washington, Lincoln, Teddy and Franklin Rosevelt.

    also, the media, which incessently covers the amount of money spent and the poll numbers, covers nothing else, necessitating candidates spending money to talk about anything else (Yes, what they say about their proposed programs is pap – but isn’t it the media’s fault for not even asking?). Honestly, when was the last time you saw a news media story on the health plan of Obama, Clinton, or McCain?

  38. I think the argument that cash = speech is bullshit.

    You have a 1st ammendment right to say or print anything you want. I see that as extending to every new-age medium as well.

    Well, carrick, seeing as you can’t print anything or use the intertubes without spending cash on things like ink, paper, printers, computers, etc., I would say that you have a little problem in maintaining both that “cash does not equal speech” and “The 1A lets you print anything you want.”

    If you’re not allowed to expend resources distributing your “speech”, then your right to free speech becomes the right to converse with people in your immediate vicinity.

  39. When ideally, power in government should be equal among all citizens.

    And where did you get that idea?

    I think it was on an episode of Saved by the Bell. Or maybe it was Full House, I’m not sure.

  40. Well, joe, you know me, always hating on immigrants. Wait, no, I think you’ve got me confused with John in your gotcha matrix.

  41. I wonder how much Mitchell and Matthews contribute to politicians?

    From 1987 to 1994, Chris Matthews gave $2,000 to Jim Moran (VA) and Tony Coelho (CA), both Dems.

    http://www.newsmeat.com/media_political_donations/Chris_Matthews.php

  42. R C, Free Speech means the government cannot regulate the content of your speech. The 1st amendment is not a guarentee of access to the means of distribution of your speech.

  43. Government imposed spending limits on political advertising is evil and should be abandoned as soon as possible. It is unfortunate that the courts have upheld them.

    However, these spending limits are in no way the equivalent of shutting down broadcasters or publishers for putting out a message that the government doesn’t like.

  44. R C, Free Speech means the government cannot regulate the content of your speech. The 1st amendment is not a guarentee of access to the means of distribution of your speech.

    But it’s a prohibition against government deciding how much access you can get, or it’s damned meaningless.

  45. I am doing a poor job of expressing my point. I will try a different direction.

    Opposition to spending limits on 1st amendment grounds is misguided.

    Opposition should to these limits should directly challenge the idea that the government as any right to “level the playing field” or to “prevent corruption”.

  46. “$$$$.
    $$$$$$.”

    Can you read that? I can’t.

    “Alex, I think I’d like to buy a senator vowel.”

  47. Why, Carrick? Who’s going to laugh at the free-speech argument and buy that?

  48. And that’s a very serious question. Outside of libertarians, the only opposition you see is among civil libertarians who would like to see government “level the playing field” and “prevent corruption”, but think the free speech cost is too high.

  49. Because my vote is secret, I can contact my “representative” and he or she has no idea whether or not I supported him/her. So maybe he/she has to at least listen because my vote and my family’s is up for grabs and she doesn’t want to alienate us. Why not make contribution’s secret too from the candidate’s purview? How? Pick one of the Big Four accounting firms to take in the money anonymously and deposit it to the candidate’s campaign. Leak the names and watch your CPA firm go under. I’ll bet that, if given anonymously, these candidates couldn’t raise a third as much money as they currently do.

  50. Timothy,

    What I gotcha on was the false dichotomy you drew between bribery and campaign donations.

    Like the difference between legal and illegal immigrants, the distinctions appears to be entirely in the legal status assigned to them by the government.

  51. OK, Creech, that’s a very interesting idea.

  52. RC Dean,

    When the government starts forbidding the purchase of typewriter ribbons, airtime, and paper by camapaigns or citizens, you will have a point.

    On the other hand, paying off a Congressman does nothing to advance you ability to speak freely.

    And yes, I am aware of the ad ban before elections. I’m agin’ it. Your point is about handing checks to candidates, and so is mine.

  53. Why, Carrick? Who’s going to laugh at the free-speech argument and buy that?

    I think carrick’s proposed solution is the perfect one. I like both his First Amendment analysis and his pragmatic attack on the practical problem.

    poor carrick. only the “crazy person” agrees with him here.

  54. When the government starts forbidding the purchase of typewriter ribbons, airtime, and paper by camapaigns or citizens, you will have a point.

    Then I think I have a point, joe, because our friend McCain-Feingold, and indeed any restriction on campaign financing, does exactly that.

    You can’t purchase any of those things unless you can spend money on them. And campaign finance laws limit the amount of money you can spend on them.

    Unless, of course, you are extremely wealthy and self-financing your campaign.

  55. poor carrick. only the “crazy person” agrees with him here.

    I noticed

  56. Meanwhile, of course, Teams Red and Blue get assloads of money from the government, and incumbents get everything from franking privileges to radio and TV studios.

    But that money from private hands, it’s dangerous.

  57. Well, carrick, if you want people to agree with you, you might have to throw out some arguments or responses to questions, not “you’re going about this all wrong, man.”

  58. Want to see how your neighbors contributed in 2004?

    http://www.fundrace.org/neighbors.php?search=1&type=name&lname=

  59. “And campaign finance laws limit the amount of money you can spend on them.”

    You could have fooled me. The Bush and Kerry campaigns spent about $1 billion. The 2006 elections were the most expensive midterm elections in history. And it showed – as usual, the airwaves were flooded with ads.

    Not being as rich you might possibly be does not restrict you from exercising your free speech.

  60. As a matter of fact, campaign finance laws are explicity forbidden by the Supereme Court from limiting the amount of money a candidate can spend in a race.

  61. Well, carrick, if you want people to agree with you, you might have to throw out some arguments . . .

    My solution would be to kill McCain/Feingold; lift all limits on contributions; require all contributions to be published and accessible on the Internet; then let a million bloggers sift through contributions and voting records to show any “purchase” of outcomes.

    Well Eric, you didn’t respond to my very clear statement of what I think the answer is. Did you just miss it?

    To summarize, candidates should be able to raise as much money as they can; from anyone that wants to give it without limitation; and spend any way they want to so long as the process is transparent to the voter.

    So Eric, do you agree, disagree, anything? Or are you just pissed because I don’t like to deal with slogans like “cash = speech”?

  62. If the government only allows me to say “I think the President is a big…,” they have restricted my speech. The message I wanted to convey could not be conveyed.

    But if they allow me to write a $900 check to a campaign instead of a $1200 check? I think that money “says” exactly the same thing.

  63. My solution would be to kill McCain/Feingold; lift all limits on contributions; require all contributions to be published and accessible on the Internet; then let a million bloggers sift through contributions and voting records to show any “purchase” of outcomes.

    Wouldn’t be a problem to show who the real party in interest making the contributions is. I mean, if Exxon wanted to make a gigantic contribution to each major party candidate, then I imagine that they would funnel it thru numerous corporate entities and/or individuals.

    Wouldn’t this effectively prevent the voters from doing the kind of research you are positing, carrick?

  64. . . . are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . .

    It is most unfortunate that those words do not reside in the consitution.

    It should be intuitively obvious that the state should not interfere in private behavior amoungst consenting adults. But it’s not to social conservatives. So we somehow have to state that full-nude dancing is a form of “expression” protected by the 1st.

    It should be intuitively obvious that limitations on the contributions of a private individual to a political cause is an egregious infringement on political liberty. But it’s not to many hand-wringing busybodies. So we somehow have to equate cash with speech so that it is protected by the 1st.

    In the long run, I think this is the wrong direction leaving us with weak protections against government intrusions into private decisions.

  65. Wouldn’t this effectively prevent the voters from doing the kind of research you are positing, carrick?

    People eventually discovered who funded the bridge to no where.

  66. Well Eric, you didn’t respond to my very clear statement of what I think the answer is. Did you just miss it?

    Yes, because I was boggling over your claim that we should drop the non-starter “free speech” argument that actually gets some attention outside libertarians circles and go for the “but it’s not government’s job to do the things that the vast majority of people want government to do” angle that doesn’t. Which you haven’t, you know, given any argument about.

    Incidentally, how does “then let a million bloggers sift through contributions and voting records to show any “purchase” of outcomes” work on any level beyond innuendo and smear?

  67. Ah, there’s some argument.

    It should be intuitively obvious that the state should not interfere in private behavior amoungst consenting adults. But it’s not to social conservatives. So we somehow have to state that full-nude dancing is a form of “expression” protected by the 1st.

    Well, the alternative is not stopping the state from restricting such things on a basis you’d be happier with – it’s simply not stopping the state.

  68. Incidentally, how does “then let a million bloggers sift through contributions and voting records to show any “purchase” of outcomes” work on any level beyond innuendo and smear?

    How does any law that requires “sunshine” work?

    If voters don’t like the connections between people donating money and the candidates that accept the money, then the voters can vote against the candidate.

    Attempting to thwart the “sunshine” laws would be crimes with appropriate punishments.

  69. Typewriter ribbons? Wait, what about telegrams, mimeograph stencils and cassette tapes?

  70. People eventually discovered who funded the bridge to no where.

    Was there some kind of conscious effort to hide the source of the lobbying that lead to that?

    Even if there was, that seems like a particularly difficult case for the real parties in interest to hide because of the “to nowhere” part.

  71. Well, the alternative is not stopping the state from restricting such things on a basis you’d be happier with – it’s simply not stopping the state.

    Decisions that come to the answer you want but for the wrong reasons have a tendency to bite you in the ass at some point.

    I didn’t say I would accept the wrong answer. I said you should fight for the right answer for the right reason.

  72. Was there some kind of conscious effort to hide the source of the lobbying that lead to that?

    Do you read the newspaper 😉

    The earmarking thing was really big there for a while before the last election.

  73. require all contributions to be published and accessible on the Internet

    I don’t like this idea at all, which is why I’m intrigued by Creech’s. The winner of an election has a nice, handy list of who supported his/her opponent – as does everyone else.

    Maybe some guy wants to give money to a Blue candidate his Red boss rants about at the drop of a hat. Maybe someone or some group wants to give money to a candidate without worrying that his opponent will find some petty (or not so petty) little way to get back at them.

    By the logic of public donation records, why not publicly post who voted for which candidates? It’s transparency, after all.

  74. Decisions that come to the answer you want but for the wrong reasons have a tendency to bite you in the ass at some point.

    Probably, but a bitten ass is better than no ass, even ignoring the fact that this is your assertion about the proper reason for this concern, not, well, anyone else’s here but apparently Dave.

    I didn’t say I would accept the wrong answer. I said you should fight for the right answer for the right reason.

    You’ve yet to give an argument for your assertion that this is the wrong reason, aside from saying, “well, sure, advertising bans are a free-speech issue, just not as big a one as other restrictions would be”.

  75. The earmarking thing was really big there for a while before the last election.

    I guess my point is that Congresscritters didn’t set up shell corporations and/or hire hobos to do the earmarking. Under your* scheme that seems like a possibility, and a possibility that could defeat the whole purpose.

    FOOTNOTE

    * Actually Jello Biafra suggested something quite similar in his 1979 campaign for mayor of San Francisco. Back when he was still cool.

  76. By the logic of public donation records, why not publicly post who voted for which candidates? It’s transparency, after all.

    The issue is whether campaign donations buy influence that exceeds by many orders of magnitude the influence that comes from a vote.

    The solutions break down into two generic groups: prevent corruption by limiting donations which therefore limits influence; or make donations public so that influence can be tracked.

    I am arguing that sunshine works better in the long run to reduce corruption, because bright people will always find a way around the limits. I think it will be harder to find a way to get around the sunshine requirements.

  77. As a matter of fact, campaign finance laws are explicity forbidden by the Supereme Court from limiting the amount of money a candidate can spend in a race.

    They limit the amount of money you, as an individual, can spend via donation to your candidate or anyone who some bureaucrat thinks is “coordinating” with your candidate.

    They also, indirectly, limit the amount that the candidate can spend by limiting his campaign’s income.

    But if they allow me to write a $900 check to a campaign instead of a $1200 check? I think that money “says” exactly the same thing.

    Only if you think your right to free speech isn’t limited in any way by laws that limit how many people you can communicate with. A law that limits how much you can spend spreading your message is functionally equivalent to a law limiting how many people you can distribute your message to.

    Free speech ain’t free, folks.

  78. The issue is whether campaign donations buy influence that exceeds by many orders of magnitude the influence that comes from a vote.

    The solutions break down into two generic groups:

    That’s begging your own question.

  79. That’s begging your own question.

    Yes. For the sake of argument in an online forum I simplified the universe of possibilities into two groups based upon whether solutions focus on limiting contributions or increase transparency.

    Silly me.

  80. Going back to Creech’s idea, since it’s not the same damn thing we’ve heard a thousand times:

    Why not make contribution’s secret too from the candidate’s purview? How? Pick one of the Big Four accounting firms to take in the money anonymously and deposit it to the candidate’s campaign. Leak the names and watch your CPA firm go under. I’ll bet that, if given anonymously, these candidates couldn’t raise a third as much money as they currently do.

    While this addresses my concerns about retribution for supporting losing or unpopular candidates, I don’t know that it can get around the “Nice successful business/government contract/etc. you have there…shame if anything were to happen to it,” problem, unless you outright criminalize saying what candidate a person or group supports. On the other hand, that just might be insoluble.

  81. Yes. For the sake of argument in an online forum I simplified the universe of possibilities into two groups based upon whether solutions focus on limiting contributions or increase transparency.

    No, you said the question is whether the contributions exert more influence, then started in on solutions to that assumed influence.

    But even if you say the contributions do exert more influence, you don’t say why we should have a secret ballot instead of being transparent. Somehow, even you might admit that votes have some infuence…

  82. Maybe some guy wants to give money to a Blue candidate his Red boss rants about at the drop of a hat.

    If the boss actually took the time to look up donations may by that guy, then took retaliatory action against that guy, then that would be an actionable offense and the company would fire the boss or face a civil lawsuit from that guy (and Dave W would gladly take his case).

    Maybe someone or some group wants to give money to a candidate without worrying that his opponent will find some petty (or not so petty) little way to get back at them.

    You mean those weasels want to avoid the consequences of their choices?

  83. No, you said the question is whether the contributions exert more influence, then started in on solutions to that assumed influence.

    That’s the whole premise. Rich people and companies have influence way beyond their “votes” because they have money to throw around.

    You mean you want me prove that?

  84. That’s the whole premise…You mean you want me prove that?

    No, carrick, I want to bob my head and go along with your solution to your claimed problem without your giving me a reason to believe your premise at all.

  85. you don’t say why we should have a secret ballot instead of being transparent.

    I’m sorry, I am not going to take the time to justify the concept of secret ballot.

    I will say that making a cash contribution to a candidate should be transparent, because of the possibility of influence buying/pedding. Buying and selling votes is already, flat-out illegal.

  86. Good-bye Eric. I have to run off and do other things now. It has been a pleasure discussing this topic.

  87. If the boss actually took the time to look up donations may by that guy, then took retaliatory action against that guy, then that would be an actionable offense and the company would fire the boss or face a civil lawsuit from that guy

    And what would be your “right reasons” for justifying that?

    Maybe someone or some group wants to give money to a candidate without worrying that his opponent will find some petty (or not so petty) little way to get back at them.

    You mean those weasels want to avoid the consequences of their choices?

    So, again, what about those “weasels” who don’t want it to be publicly known what lever they pulled in a voting booth? Why do you defend them from consequences?

  88. D.A.R.,

    I am 100% pro-mimeographs.

    Sssssnnnnniiiiifffffffffffffff.

  89. R C Dean,

    “Only if you think your right to free speech isn’t limited in any way by laws that limit how many people you can communicate with.”

    When I give a check to a campaign, it conveys the message that I support that campaign to exactly the same number of people, regardless of its size.

    What else is the act of passing a check supposed to convey, that is limited by the dollar amount?

  90. then that would be an actionable offense and the company would fire the boss or face a civil lawsuit from that guy (and Dave W would gladly take his case).

    No way. If I ever go into employment law, I will be employer side all the way. Unless you are in a union, chances are great that your employment is “at-will” and you can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all. Any exceptions to that rule would be inapplicable here.

    The real solution for politically motivated employee is to hire an undocumented worker to make the contribution on her behalf. This episode of MESI shows how this kind of undocumented worker arrangement works:
    http://www.channel101.com/shows/view.php?media_id=1360
    (Moses Llamas is the one to watch — in the episode his specialty is “sacrifice” and he fights Exploding Kevin.)

  91. “When I give a check to a campaign, it conveys the message that I support that campaign to exactly the same number of people, regardless of its size.”

    Except, ideally, the purpose of donating a check to a campaign is not to let people know that you support that candidate, it is to help that candidate get his name and political ideas before the voting public. Limiting the size of the contribution restricts that purpose and therefore compromises free speech rights.

    Your support of campaign donation limits assumes that a donation is always a bribe, that the person making the donation expects an untoward favor in return. That is presuming guilt. Many, if not the large majority of people make political donations because they believe in what the candidate, party or organization is doing and saying.

  92. I declare MJ winner of the thread.

  93. Except, ideally, the purpose of donating a check to a campaign is not to let people know that you support that candidate, it is to help that candidate get his name and political ideas before the voting public.

    Bingo.

    In 1996 Phil Graham raised gazillions of dollars and didn’t last past New Hampshire. Before that, John Connolly raised millions in 1980 and got precisely one delegate at the 1980 Republican National Convention. Money does not always traslate into votes.

    Campaign contributions are (absent fraud) used to buy advertising time to present the candidate’s position* on issues. The voters should know the candidate’s position so they can intelligently make decisions. If voters don’t like candidates’ positions, the candidates are toast.

    * Every political ad presents positions. The position may be “I’m for/against X” “My opponent is for/against X (and I’m not)” or “my opponent is a bad person so vote against him (and BTW I don’t have a position)” or variations thereof.

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