Straight Talk!


John McCain said he would take public election funds and abide by the FEC's spending caps, so, naturally, John McCain will not take public funds or abide by the spending caps.

With the Republican presidential nomination within reach, John McCain is reshaping his campaign to press on without public financing that could limit his spring spending, senior advisers say.

The Arizona senator's rejection of the presidential public financing program he once defended is just the latest evidence of how ineffective the post-Watergate reform has become in an era of multimillion-dollar candidacies.

Indeed, because he originally said he wouldn't take public funds, then when his campaign faltered he went back on that, but "so far he hasn't received a penny of public money, since the FEC's primary account is as broke as McCain's August war chest." Also:

Any challenge would put the issue on the table of the FEC, which isn't meeting these days because of a congressional fight over appointees.

reason has been on the broken-CFR beat for a while. McCain almost rode the issue to the GOP nomination eight years ago. Also worth reading: Liberal Mark Schmitt's argument against the current CFR regime and acknowledgement that the issue has faded.

NEXT: History Repeats in Chesapeake

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  1. McCain looked strong in 2000 too and ran out of steam. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that during this season too.

  2. Episiarch, back then the GOP had an heir apparent, establishment candidate in the form of Geroge W. Bush. They don’t have that this year, and thats why he will clinch the nomination.

  3. The Arizona senator’s rejection of the presidential public financing program he once defended is just the latest evidence of how ineffective the post-Watergate reform has become in an era of multimillion-dollar candidacies.

    See? The campaign laws aren’t strict enough! We need tougher finance laws! Close the loopholes! Free air time on the publicly owned airwaves! Give the FEC more power to interpret how the law is applied! Maybe even give them a SWAT team or two. There is no problem that can’t be fixed with more legislation and beefed up enforcement!

    We can stop the tide from coming in if we have the will!

  4. He said in 2000 he wouldn’t run in 2008. So, naturally, he’s running in 2008.

  5. That is true, Cesar, but I just have this feeling that he’s going to blow it again. It’s just a hunch and has no rational basis, so take it as that.

  6. Episiarch,

    Fitting comment, because McCain’s presidency will lack a rational basis as well.

  7. I think he will blow it too. But in the general election.

    He has an outside chance against Hillary, but against Obama he’ll seem like Bob Dole.

  8. …acknowledgement that the issue has faded.

    Well that’s the problem, isn’t it? It’s like Kelo and a hundred other atrocities. The issue has faded from our notice, but our inalienable rights remain alienated.

  9. Why is the snorg girl wearing a “I heart table lamp” t-shirt? I don’t get it.

  10. Mike,

    Reference to the movie Anchorman?

  11. McCain’s going to win.

  12. Mike:

    I heart being turned on?

  13. My take on the Snorg Girl –

    She looks sexy stupid. In a get your rocks off, one night stand sort of way.

  14. But… we got the money out of politics. We’re done.

  15. the current CFR regime

    No, the Council on Foreign Relations only wants you to believe that its regime is broken.

  16. i’d like to snorg her.

    those frequency bands are publicly owned and only leased out to the companies.. maybe there should have been a lease provision about broadcasting election info, but how to allocate?

  17. sv says, “Those frequency bands are publicly owned…”

    I think it is more correct to say the government arbitrarily asserts ownership of those frequency bands in the name of the public. I don’t think that the public has any proper power to prevent people from emitting electromagnetic radiation at any particular power level or frequency, so long as nobody is being injured or damaged by the radiation itself. The assertion of “ownership” of the “frequency bands” is akin to saying that the government has the proper power to “lease” a particular color to someone for his or her exclusive use. And the assertion of authority over broadcast program content is akin to saying that the government can legitimately specify what kinds of words the lessee can write using ink or paint of that “controlled color.” We wouldn’t put up with that kind of thing when speaking of colors. How can we then tolerate FCC control over “the airwaves?”

    The original theory that justified government control was that the spectrum was a scarce, common resource. Once government “ownership” of the electromagnetic commons was established, it was a short step to establish that government could license people to use that commons (as it enables private companies to log or mine on government land, for example), subject to various restrictions (many of which seem to violate such constitutional provisions as the First Amendment).

    The problem is that the electromagnetic spectrum is NOT a scarce commons. As our knowledge and technological sophistication have increased, we have found ways to open up vast new “frequency bands,” and to employ the previously-defined bands in more efficient and useful ways.

    If government “training wheels” ever were necessary when we first started exploring electromagnetic communication, they are no longer needed. It seems to me that any residual government interest in spectrum space would come out of the need to decide between conflicting claims, much as rights to land, water, or minerals have been adjudicated for centuries. But in no way should government be the gatekeeper that arbitrarily decides who does and who does not get to use an unclaimed area of spectrum, or how “lessees/licensees” are permitted to use that space. This aspect of the FCC should be abandoned, but it probably won’t, because as the TV-band auction demonstrates, thar’s gold in them there frequencies, and the gummint boys means ta get themselves some. Hoo hah!

  18. Where can I see the “snorg girl”?

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