Notes from CPAC

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I couldn't worm my way inside, but the assembled Romney supporters, I am told, gasped, booed, yelped and wept when he "suspended" his campaign today. It is odd, though, that none of them immediately understood where Mitt was going with his reference to Ronald Reagan's quixotic 1976 presidential campaign. Said the morose Mormon: "You are with me all the way to the convention. Fight on, just like Ronald Reagan did in 1976." The fight continues! Wait did he say 1976? In other words, I'll see you guys in 2012, though such historical nuance was apparently lost on the room full of seals, conditioned to clap maniacally at any invocation of Reagan. (Credit where credit is due: The very perceptive Byron York predicted that Romney would quit a few hours before he dropped out, noting a precipitous drop in the number of campaign spam emails in the previous day.)

Out in the hotel lobby, it's clear that the news of Mitt's abdication is the source of some distress, especially amongst his young supporters and the party's nativist faction. (As one bemused journalist pointed out to me, the McCain-is-a-Quisling crowd, holding hastily constructed "No Amnesty" signs, were almost completely ignored by conference attendees—with the exception of the assembled television crews who immediately swarmed). One college-age Romnyite, who travelled from Colorado to offer moral support, told me that she found a quiet corner after the speech and wept. Another, barely holding back tears, swallowed hard and told me: "I feel like I was just hit by a bus. This is the worst day of my life." How on earth Romney can inspire this level of devotion, and induce such feelings of betrayal, remains a mystery. But others quickly swapped out their Romney regalia for McCain gear, slipping back into the packed hall to await instructions from their new leader.

Before McCain went on, an anxious crowd of doughy men and overly made-up women fidgeted through a rousing speech by Dick Armey, though the many oblique invocations of Friedman—"we must be free to choose"—were completely lost on the crowd, which responded with lukewarm, slightly impatient applause. After introductions from two rock-ribbed righties, Senator Tom Coburn and former Senator George Allen, the crowd gave McCain a decent reception, though this was likely helped by his legion of supporters, who stacked the deck in his favor by staking out seats in advance. Fair enough, I suppose.

Surprisingly, most of the professional conservatives in my section applauded the speech graciously (and sometimes lustily), including the pint-sized social conservative Gary Bauer. Most would later argue that McCain hit a number of right notes in his speech; a hat tip to social conservatives (just a week after telling the Washington Post that "It's not social issues I care about") and a reference to FISA, bellowing that the "shameful and dangerous" Senate Democrats "are blocking an extension of surveillance powers that enable our intelligence and law enforcement to defend our country against radical Islamic extremists." A huge applause line. But immigration is soon broached…and he is met with hearty boos.

In my line of sight, the two righties who were clearly displeased by the day's events were talk radio host Laura Ingraham and former House Majority Leader Tom Delay. Both stood to the side of the stage throughout McCain's speech scowling, never clapping. Delay managed a brief round of applause when McCain muttered something about his love of fetuses but even that seemed grudging. But McCain's best/most awkward moment was when he congratulated Romney, a man he deeply dislikes, on running an "energetic and dedicated campaign"—a compliment on par with Spinal Tap being celebrated as "Britain's loudest band."

NEXT: Is Anyone Shocked?

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  1. In other words, Roboconservative needs to charge and re-align the reaganometer before venturing out again in 2012.

    DESTROY ALL HU-MANS.

  2. I heard some dude named Ron Paul made a speech there saying some things about McCain and some weird stuff about how Republicans used to be for small government.

    What’s that all about?

    Ever heard of this guy? I don’t see anything about him. Some kids tried to tell me he was running for Prez, but the news just told me its only Huck and Mccain left.

  3. Perhaps Senator McCain can shore up his conservative bona fides by naming a right wing hero as his running mate: Clarence Uncle Thomas.

  4. “I feel like I was just hit by a bus. This is the worst day of my life.”

    I’m astounded that anyone can get so attached to an empty-suit clown like Romney. He’s the shallowest candidate since Sonny Bono, for crying out loud.

    -jcr

  5. I’m astounded that anyone can get so attached to an empty-suit clown like Romney.

    It’s easy for people to get attached to empty suits: They can fill’em with whatever they want. See Obama, Barack.

  6. I see. Reason is part of the Ron Paul blackout, too.

  7. I don’t think it’s really fair to call Obama an empty suit. Sure, he’s been more about charisma and inspiration than concrete policy wonkage so far (though I bet a professor of constitutional law can get mega-wonky when he wants to), but there’s definitely something there.

    Now, Romney on the other hand… count me with those who are baffled by how people can get so worked up over a candidate who has the legend ‘Product of US Robots and Mechanical Men’ etched into the stainless steel of his chest-plate. (Fred may have been the zombie candidate, but at least a zombie was a real live human at some point. Even if that point was several decades in the past.)

  8. Romney seems human to me. And articulate and intelligent. So he’s a little stiff and too good-looking. I suppose there’s a lot of envy and resentment in the vitriol he draws from reasonites.

  9. So he’s a little stiff and too good-looking.

    My objection to him has more to do with his depraved indifference to the suffering of patients who need medical marijuana to survive.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=NY6UTnS6Z-A

    Before I saw that, I didn’t think about him much at all. Now I consider him somewhere below Richard Nixon on the human decency scale.

    -jcr

  10. Oh, please – leave the amateur psychology at home. Libertarian distaste for Romney is a product of his current appalling policy positions (subject to change without notice, void where prohibited.) Romney the governor might have been halfway palatable; Romney the focus-grouped establishment candidate is most definitely not. That he has all the charisma and warmth of a lump of granite is merely a delightful bonus.

  11. OK, so Romney regroups and comes back in 2012 after 4 years of a Democrat. It does sound familiar, and maybe he thinks it’s best now to backout before being actually defeated than to suffer a defeat and hope no one remembers. Or maybe he was just tired of spending all of his own money.

    I, too, don’t understand how anyone can say it is the worst day of their life. I am an ardent Paul supporter, and kinda bummed because he isn’t winning, but it’s not like my life is over. It just makes me think less of my fellow Americans, that’s all. (Not you guys, the ones that suck.)

  12. But McCain’s best/most awkward moment was when he congratulated Romney, a man he deeply dislikes, on running an “energetic and dedicated campaign”-a compliment on par with Spinal Tap being celebrated as “Britain’s loudest band.”

    I love these kind of compliments. Like when a movie ad runs quotes calling the film “…highly stylized…” and “…explosive…”

    Neither of those words is a actually a compliment, but they sound like it.

  13. how people can get so worked up over a candidate who has the legend ‘Product of US Robots and Mechanical Men’ etched into the stainless steel of his chest-plate

    Whew, I thought it said “Cyberdine Systems”. This is a relief; I can tell John Connor to relax a little now. However, it is disturbing that in essence he said “I’ll be back”.

    “Nice night for walk. Nothing clean, right.”

  14. an anxious crowd of doughy men

    Another H&R reference to the tubbiness of Romney’s supporters. What’s this all about? Did they scarf up the pastries before you guys arrived?

  15. joe,

    synonyms for what the reviewers actually said

    “highly stylized” = “cinematographer was on an acid trip”

    “explosive” = “this movie is sure to bomb at the box office”

  16. Out in the hotel lobby, it’s clear that the news of Mitt’s abdication is the source of some distress, especially amongst his young supporters and the party’s nativist faction.

    Maybe if youngsters were more interested in national defense and trimming the fat of our bloated self-destructive government, while less interested in some crazy values crusade, we wouldn’t be seeing such overt douchiness. Thanks for the heads up!

  17. I love these kind of compliments. Like when a movie ad runs quotes calling the film “…highly stylized…” and “…explosive…”

    Ha ha. When the only quotes the publicist can find come from the ABC radio reviewer, you know you’ve got a suck movie on your hands.

  18. I think I finally get why a lot of conservatives hate McCain; he doesn’t validate their minority opinions. Seems like most conservatives are in a big circle jerk about issues that most American’s thing they are dead wrong on. The environment, Campaign Finance, tax cuts. So McCain is more center than they are on those issues, and it makes the conservatives feel like assholes. Its one thing when a democrat says they are wrong, because they are suppose to disagree with them. But when a Republican disagrees, they don’t know how to handle it because they can’t immediately dismiss the issue. Or they do and just label the messenger a RINO or “more liberal then Hillary Clinton.” Its pretty immature actually — the inability to logically reason with someone you disagree with on an issue, rather than just having a visceral reaction to hate the person.

    Even on immigration, where their opinion is in the majority, I think deep down most of them know that their position is wrong and that they are acting like intolerant assholes. McCain calls them out on it and they hate him for it.

  19. I think I finally get why a lot of conservatives hate McCain; he doesn’t validate their minority opinions.

    Since I live with one, I can answer this a little better than you. Conservatives hate McCain because he wraps himself in the mantle while pissing all over them. He uses his “conservative” credentials in the media, but when push comes to shove, he votes like Hillary. Gang of 14 ring any bells?

  20. In his bowing-out speech, Romney finally revealed what a prick he is. It was a flash of ugly authenticity.

  21. T proves my point. visceral reaction because he knows he is taking the minority “asshole” position.

    Most people realize that the Gang of 14 was necessary to get most of the conservatives judges around the democrat’s filibuster. I am sure that now that they are in the minority, the Republicans are pretty happy that they didn’t destory that minority protection for permanent. Heven forbid the guy compromises when Republicans are dead wrong. Again, you hate that he showed you were acting like an inflexable asshat.

  22. Sam, do you have trouble with reading comprehension? T said his girlfriend/wife is a conservative, not him. It seems like your hate for the GOP is making you look like a reading-challenged asshat. Ironic, no?

  23. From T’s writing, it fairly safe to assume that he is using his living partner as a cover. Both of them may be asshats, but T is most certainly one himself. You clearly don’t read between the lines very well do you Episiarch?

  24. McCain continues to piss off alot of people. That gives me hope…

  25. Last I heard, Motorhead was Britain’s loudest band. And their accents are real.

  26. That McCain has been on the state’s payroll almost his entire life is enough to piss me off. His Tourette-like use of “my friends” is pretty annoying too.

  27. The fact that McCain pisses of people like Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and Tom Delay leads me to suspect he’s not all bad. I don’t like the incumbent protection/ election funding crap, but the apparently rational approach to immigration helps make up for it.

  28. Jon, we should try to get the taxpayer’s money back for those years he was in the Vietnamese prision. What was he doing for us then? Nothing, that’s what.

  29. a rousing speech by Dick Armey, though the many oblique invocations of Friedman-“we must be free to choose”-were completely lost on the crowd, which responded with lukewarm, slightly impatient applause.

    The retirement of Dick Armey from the House was really, really painful for anyone with libertarian inclinations– and indeed the country.

  30. I might have been truly impressed if McCain had blown off CPAC altogether, saying, “I’m not gonna waste my time sucking uo to that mob of hillbillies.”

  31. Two for two; two comments, two typos.

    Stupid keyboard.

  32. I, too, don’t understand how anyone can say it is the worst day of their life. I am an ardent Paul supporter, and kinda bummed because he isn’t winning, but it’s not like my life is over. It just makes me think less of my fellow Americans, that’s all.

    If you’re young, particularly if you’re used to the idealism of a college campus, and it’s your first campaign, it’s easy to get caught up. You get hooked on TheGreatMan, not policies. When your TheNextPresidentOfTheseUnitedStates dumps in his drawers right after you’ve put in a ninety-hour week stumping for him it’s quite a shock.

    Many of these young people will not return to active politics for a long time.

    I think I finally get why a lot of conservatives hate McCain; he doesn’t validate their minority opinions.

    I don’t like McCain because he stands tall and declares, “By God I believe in the Second Amendment,” then votes for gun control.

    So McCain is more center than they are on those issues,

    I suppose if you think conservative ideas are wrong even if supported by the majority, then from your place on the Right/Left line McCain looks like a “centrist.” Since most of us aren’t on that line (it excludes libertarians) we might have a better perspective on both ends, and where McCain sits. It ain’t in the center.

    The laws the man proposes eviscerate the Bill of Rights, and regardless of what conservatives think, libertarians disagree with that.

  33. Sam, don’t you think people invoke his time in Vietnam a little bit too readily, when others criticize McCain?

  34. I run in pretty conservative circles. Some of them will be holding their noses and voting for McCain, some of them wont.

    McCains biggest sins for me are that usless violation of the 1st Am that is ‘McCain/Feingold’
    and his opposition to tax cuts.

    Sam,
    I don’t think that it makes me look like an asshole to oppose him for those two things. I think that anybody who supports either of those two things is either ignorant or fundamentally opposed to everything that I hold to be American

  35. From T’s writing, it fairly safe to assume that he is using his living partner as a cover. Both of them may be asshats, but T is most certainly one himself. You clearly don’t read between the lines very well do you Episiarch?

    I didn’t realize that T, being someone who is anonymously posting on the intertubez, needed to use a proxy in describing his political views.

    Good thing your superior intelligence is there to read between the lines for me! Tell me about the aliens too, Sam, because I am interested in what you have to say and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  36. “Romney finally revealed what a prick he is.”

    I beg to differ. I’d say he revealed that a long time ago.

    -jcr

  37. Whoops, forgot to remove my joke handle.

  38. Also, so the conservative circles that I run in that are either holding their noses, or not voting for him.

    They dislike him for his stance on immigration, for McCain/Feingold, for his opposition to tax cuts, for his membership in the 14.

    I disagree with them only on the immigration thing. I heard him speak on Hannity’s radio show about immigration, and he sounded very reasonable on that issue.

    (I won’t be voting for him, and I usually vote R in the presidential race. Even if Hillary is his opponent, I don’t think I could bring myself to vote for him.)

  39. kwies,

    You are actually the ignorant one when it comes to McCain-Feingold if you think it has any violation of the 1st Amendment. Allowing elected officials to directly and indirectly accept unlimited sums of money to keep themselves in power, and then pass the laws that will affect the income of the largest donors is not “American.” And you do look like an asshat.

    LarryA –
    I don’t think most of these issue come down to fundemental right or wrong for goverance. To me, on the fundemental issue, Government accountability and transparency, McCain is rock solid. It guides his decisions on earmarks, and his decision on CFR. Coming after two very secretive administrations, I appriciate it and consider that inherently correct. The rest of the stuff is something of a judgment call for the population. In that way, he is somewhere in between the far right and the left. Hence, more centrist.

  40. in another thread Nick said something about if Paul starts doing callouts that ruin McCain’s candidacy then every penny of his donations will have been worth it.

    I second that.

  41. Sam,

    A bill dubbed the “Incumbency Protection Bill” because it limits political speech in a way that hurts people challenging incumbents, but does nothing to keep money out of politics, or to limit earmarks or any of the other untoward activities that congress partakes in to pay people to vote for them with money wrested from citizens.

  42. Yeah, I don’t really think I look like an asshat for opposing that or any violation of the Bill of Rights. I think it makes me look like a patriot.

    I guess it is a manner of perspective.

    So, I guess the conservatives, like me don’t oppose McCain because they feel like he makes them look like an asshat, they oppose him because they feel the things he pushes as a legislator are un American.

  43. Serious question: does McCain have any sort of coherent or defined position on taxes in general? Like simplification/ rationalization? Does he have anybody who knows anything working with him as an economic advisor?

    I was pleasantly surprised to hear him come out against the Florida insurance subsidy scheme.

  44. Its dubbed the “Incumbency Protection Bill” by ignorant asshats that have absolutely no idea what the law actually says or does or the effect that it has on the general election and enactment of legislation. Its a code word that your circle jerk uses to make you think that you are on the side of the morally correct — when you are not — and on the side of the popular — which you are not. Maybe you hate him because you are ignorant, but does not knowing you are an asshat make you any less of one? I don’t know, but you seem like a pretty big asshat to me.

  45. BLAH BLAH asshat BLAH BLAH McCain rulez BLAH asshat I heart McCain asshat.

  46. ” Does he have anybody who knows anything working with him as an economic advisor?”

    Yes, Donald Luskin, as of yesterday.

    Although some mystery surrounds this. On January 23, Luskin signed on as an advisor to Ron Paul, on Feb 5 he was on the Neil Cavuto show saying he would write in Paul in Nov if necessary. Then yesterday he jumps ship to McCain, with no explanation.

  47. You are actually the ignorant one when it comes to McCain-Feingold if you think it has any violation of the 1st Amendment.

    Congress shall make no law … or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    If I publish 1 million flyers and hire people to distribute them, what is that but freedom of the press ans peaceably assembling? Oh, it’s a violation of the McCain/Feingold Incumbent Protection Act, if I do it X number of days prior to an election. Your reading comprehension skills apparently need some work.

    Back to middle school for you, Sam.

  48. kwais, I can give you two prime examples of how CFR is not incumbency protection: Rudy Giuliani vs. Ron Paul and Hillary vs. Barrack. Under old system, larger corporate money would have funneled to the Giuliani and Clinton campaigns b/c they were the early frontrunners and likely to win. Those looking to buy influence (what a majority of big donors are trying to do) would have gone with the safe bet and loaded up those two candidates in hard and soft money. In fact, they did. Because they were limited in how much they could give, insurgent candidates with a broader base of devoted support was able to raise equal or more money. Ultimately it led to mixed results in the election. (e.g. Paul outlasted Rudy but is unlikely to win; Obama is in the hunt and outraising Clinton). I think that one of the main reasons we are having such a good election on both sides is that CFR has prevented any frontrunning candidate from getting too far out ahead moneywise, so that all the candidates (and media and public) feel like its an open race for their guy to compete. hardly seems like incumbency or frontrunner protection to me.

  49. McCain-Feingold is a First Amendment violation because it prevents people from airing ads against a particular candidate or their issues close to an election. If we can’t do that, we are being prevented from political speech which is the purpose of our freedom of speech from whence it was written.

  50. J sub D,

    What you are proposing your be a violation of nothing. If you are doing it solo, no one upon no one would say that is a violation. If you are doing it as a group, the recent SEC draft opinion which a lot of pro-CFR people have disagreed with not withstanding, there would be no violation under the law if you aren’t coordinating with the campaign or aren’t taking general corporate funds. those are fairly mild restrictions and hardly a limitation on speech any more than requiring a permit for a rally at a park. Learn the law if you are going to hate on it.

  51. On January 23, Luskin signed on as an advisor to Ron Paul, on Feb 5 he was on the Neil Cavuto show saying he would write in Paul in Nov if necessary. Then yesterday he jumps ship to McCain, with no explanation.

    One explanation is that McCain needs the help; Dr. Paul not so much. Plus, the promise of a paycheck through November and possibly an administration position.

  52. Bryan, that doesn’t make any sense. Campaigns can rip on each other in their ads all the way up to election day. It is other groups of citizens that are restricted. How is that not a violation of their rights to free speech? Congress SHALL MAKE NO LAW!!!

  53. The First doesn’t have any qualifiers. Congress shall make no law
    You can’t change the definition of “no law” that no matter how hard you try.

    Ignorant asshats agree, Sam and Bryan have an amazing inability to comprehend the written word.

  54. If Luskin is a smart economist, it’s a good thing for everyone IF he can even influence McCain who has a history ocreating legislation and would likely support or veto same based entirely on emotion of what he thinks is “right” nevermind whether or not it’s smart.

  55. What you are proposing your be a violation of nothing. If you are doing it solo

    Right to peacably assemble? Goddamn, it’s only English we are discussing, not the deciphering of the Rosetta stone. You have a future in the Kwame Kirkpatrick administration here in Motown. But hurry.

  56. Congress shall make no law…………

    Unless that law is popular.

    If the law is popular and you oppose it, you are an asshat.

  57. Jon-

    thanks

  58. F’n A Nick,

    I don’t have time to take you through CFR 101. Your question alone displays the ignorance that I think a lot of people on this board have. Campaigns can do whatever they want in their ads. They are limited as to how much money they can take from any one person. If the person wants to get around the donation limits, he can do it himself solo (unregulated) or he can donate to a third part organization. If the organization is taking money from corporate donors or is coordinating with the campaign, it has to abide by the donation limits too. If it is not taking money from corporate donors or coordinating, it doesn’t and is also unregulated. Again, there is a draft FEC opinion that disputs that last sentance, but most who agree with CFR know that the opinion is bullshit and won’t stand.

    J sub D — are park permits violations of the first Amendment?

  59. Hey asshats,

    Assume Bryan is correct on the law. How does that violate first speech? Or have your talk radio gods and Weigle not told you how to analyze it that far?

  60. J sub D — I mean to say “What you are proposing would be a violation of nothing.”

  61. Sam, you only said “asshat” once in your last post. You’re slipping.

  62. Sam,

    Eat shit and chase rabbits, mmkay? My wife is the GOP precinct chair and is a conservative Republican. One might reasonably conclude by my continuing presence here that I’m not. I explained to you why conservatives don’t like him. I don’t care if you think I’m full of shit, because I sincerely doubt you’ve talked to enough conservatives to know what they think. I have. They’re freaking out right now because they have no candidate left, and McCain is as bad as Clinton or Obama on most domestic policy issues as far as they’re concerned.

    I loathe McCain because he can’t understand the document he’s spent his entire adult life under oath to defend.

    You are actually the ignorant one when it comes to McCain-Feingold if you think it has any violation of the 1st Amendment.

    Explain to me, in short simple words since I’m apparently ignorant, how a law that forbids me and my friends from running an ad that mentions a politician by name 60 days before an election does not run afoul of the part of the Constitution that reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”. It sure as hell sounds like they abridged the freedom of speech and the press, but I’m guess I’m too ignorant to figure it out.

  63. Because, Bryan, you said “if they aren’t coordinating with the campaign.” If they are coordinating with the campaign why is it a violation of CFR since campaigns are permitted to rip on each other? If they aren’t coordinating with the campaign, why are they prevented from joining together as groups and airing whatever the hell they want up to election day, including but not limited to calling McCain an asshat?

    And don’t get me started on the Ron Paul blimp. No law should prevent any group that wants to from spending any amount they want to when it comes to getting a message out, even if it is regarding someone running for president. The blimp had to circumvent the law by going as a for-profit (and they are still being questioned by the FEC) just to avoid spending and coordination limits completely separate from the campaign. Bt, no one’s political speech was being prevented or altered in any way. Yeah, OK.

  64. J sub D — are park permits violations of the first Amendment?

    Only when disapproved. Duh.

  65. T,

    Don’t take corporate money and don’t coordinate with the campaign and you and your friends can run whatever ads you want, whenever you want. (Again, not defending the draft FEC opinion to the contrary.)

    Those limitations are not violations of the 1st Amend. b/c:

    1) Corporations have no right to speech. They are artifical people and do not have all the same rights as real people.

    2) Your free speech is exercised by giving any amount of money to a campaign. You are saying to the public “I support this candidate.” You are not necessarily sending a message that you support them to any greater degree when you give more money. therefore, your free speech is not curtailed.

    Simple enough for you? My guess is that you will still have trouble understading.

    I loathe McCain because he can’t understand the document he’s spent his entire adult life under oath to defend.

    I don’t know why Sam would think you are a conservative. He was clearly wrong.

  66. If they aren’t coordinating with the campaign, why are they prevented from joining together as groups and airing whatever the hell they want up to election day, including but not limited to calling McCain an asshat?

    They aren’t Nick. Provided that they are not taking corporate money — see #1 in my post above.

  67. Okay, I’ll bite Sam. You wrote the following:

    Its dubbed the “Incumbency Protection Bill” by ignorant asshats that have absolutely no idea what the law actually says or does or the effect that it has on the general election and enactment of legislation. Its a code word that your circle jerk uses to make you think that you are on the side of the morally correct — when you are not — and on the side of the popular — which you are not. Maybe you hate him because you are ignorant, but does not knowing you are an asshat make you any less of one? I don’t know, but you seem like a pretty big asshat to me.

    Some fellow Ron Paul supporters in Southern Illinois tried to run a pro Ron Paul article in a local newspaper. Because Southern Illinois is impoverished, these supporters asked for donations form Chicago supporters to help them run this ad, by putting donations into a ChipIn account. Thanks to-McCain Feingold, MULTIPLE PEOPLE COULD NOT DONATE to run this ad, since it wasn’t a “political action committee”. Again, since these were very poor people trying to run the ad, they did not have the funds to start a political action committee or hire a lawyer to make sure what they were doing was legal. Only a single person would be allowed to donate, so the chip-in had to be refunded and the ad never ran due to fears of legal repercussions (which again matter more to poor people who can’t afford a lawyer to fend off lawsuits). So, in essence McCain Feingold in this situation PUNISHED poor people trying to speak out for a candidate. On the other hand, a rich punk like Romney can dole out millions of his own dollars to push himself onto the electoral stage, whereas people donating to other candidates were limited in receiving only only 2300 dollar donations. Now tell me, does campaign finance reform help the poor or the rich?

    Also, keep in mind that the FIRST FUCKING AMENDMENT OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS protects the freedom of political speech:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  68. Corporations have no right to speech. They are artifical people and do not have all the same rights as real people.

    Bryan,

    As artificial people, they have artificial speech and spend artificial money, right. Corporations are associations of, hold on to your hat, real people. So are unions, the moonies, the Ft Wayne Mad Ants, NAMBLA, AFSCME, and the PS 11 alumni association.

    The people of these organizations have the right to free speech. They have the right to pool their resources to more effectively get their message out. You don’t like that some of these groups are effective at swaying public opinion. I don’t like that some of these groups are effective at swaying public opinion.

    What I like far less is the assunption that people are too stupid to make their own decisions in the information age. Guess why modern times are referred to as the information age (a hint for publicly schooled, the bronze age was so called because of the prevalence of bronze).

    The way to allow people to make informed decisions is to provide them with information, not restrict it.

    You’re too smart to be unduly influenced by the evil corporation arguments but your fellow citizens are too easily duped and need the FECs wise and benevolent protection, right? The government will provide stewardship over communication so that it will all be “fair”, correct?. That is an elitest position, arrogant and flawed.

  69. Egosumabbas,

    I can’t speak for Sam, but I don’t approve of that interpretation McCain/Feingold. I don’t think it is what the law intended or is constitutional — provided that the Chicago donors (or Southern Ill. donors) were not corporations or coordinating with the campaign. Assuming that to be the case, its a perverse reading of the law and should be overturned.

    Unfortunately a lot of people read very benign text and misinterpret the meaning. (e.g. the Koran, Bible, etc.) It does not mean that the text, as written and intended is wrong or bad. If the draft FEC opinion gets upheld, I will come over to the I hate the CFR camp. I give that a less than 5% chance of happening though, and assuming it does not, there is nothing that is unconstitutional about the minor limitations it puts on campaign funding.

  70. J sub D,

    Now we are getting somewhere. I have to do some work and don’t have time to provide a detailed answer to your questions right now. I do have some though. Can I e-mail you later or will you be checking back. Those questions, to me, are what the debate should be about. I think you are wrong, but its a fair debate to have. Much better than just putting your (royal “you”) fingers in your ears and saying blah blah blah First Amendment.

  71. Bryan, since you have refrained from insults, I’ll listen. I’m not afraid of others arguments/speech. Sometimes I change my opinion, but only after receiving more information or intelligent arguments. I don’t want to restrict that, who would?

  72. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech

    It is not really freedom of speech if it is done by a corporation.

    Besides who but complete conservative wingnut brings up the constitution anyways.

    Besides it is not a violation of the 1st Amendment, because the law only restricts freedom to speak in certain circumstances, and if you have been the by a government organization known as the FEC to say what you are going to say and you go through the loops and you are a millionaire, then NO one restricts your freedom of speech. Why even bring up the 1st Amendment?

  73. Unfortunately a lot of people read very benign text and misinterpret the meaning. (e.g. the Koran, Bible, etc.) It does not mean that the text, as written and intended is wrong or bad.

    Just like your precious CFR law, the constitution IS NOT A RELIGIOUS DOCUMENT. It is a legal document. The text is what it is, and no intellectual ju-jitsu can dance around the fact that it says that NO LAW CAN BE MADE TO PROHIBIT POLITICAL SPEECH OR FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY. I hate to write in caps, but you don’t seem to be getting this point through your head.

    Now, you can make the argument that freedom of speech should be limited during an election season, corporate personhood does not imply a right to free speech, a certain distance from a polling place, or whatever, but you can ONLY DO THAT WITH A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Period.

  74. Besides who but complete conservative wingnut brings up the constitution anyways.

    So I guess Dennis Kucinich, who keeps the constitution in his pocket, is a conservative wingnut?

  75. Bryan,

    I’m impressed. You can sound like you know what you’re talking about, yet completely miss the point. The First Amendment is amazingly specific. Congress passed a law, written by John McCain and Russ Feingold, that abridged the freedom of speech and the press. Don’t believe me? Fine. Believe the Supreme Court. Portions of that law, as recently as June, were struck down as being… wait for it…

    Unconstitutional.

    Continue coming up with convoluted rationales as to why how my friends and I decide to organize our efforts matter from a Constitutional standpoint. Continue assuming that I don’t understand how the law works. Go right ahead. It isn’t any truer than Sam’s assertions.

    Since you brought up the money issue, if, as precedent holds, money is speech, why is there a limit on how much money I can donate? Your statement:

    You are not necessarily sending a message that you support them to any greater degree when you give more money.

    is facially absurd. If I donate a dollar to John MCCain and a million to Ron Paul, I think everybody and their dog, although possibly not Sam, will get the message that I support Ron Paul to a much greater extent than I support John McCain. You, and a whole lot of other people, think that I shouldn’t get to express that message. More precisely, that that message is not necessarily being conveyed, so I shouldn’t get to try to make it. How is that not an abridgment of free speech? Your message won’t necessarily be conveyed, so you don’t even get to try? Uh, wait, what? People might misunderstand what I write so I can’t write it? That’s what you’re saying.

    While you’re at it, explain why it matters if I talk to person A before I decide to run an ad badmouthing person B. My speech is being artificially restricted in that I am no longer free to discuss the issue with some certain group of people, or if I do, I am no longer free to run the ad. How is that not an abridgment of my free speech rights?

    Finally, from the brutal perspective of effectiveness, BCRA is bad law because it didn’t fix any of the issues it was purported to address and created an entirely new set of avoidance behaviors that are currently unaddressed. That’s good policy, right there, oh yeah.

  76. That is supposed to read: “if you have been given the OK by the FEC”

    Anyways J sub D said it much better than I did.

  77. Besides it is not a violation of the 1st Amendment, because the law only restricts freedom to speak in certain circumstances, and if you have been the by a government organization known as the FEC to say what you are going to say and you go through the loops and you are a millionaire, then NO one restricts your freedom of speech. Why even bring up the 1st Amendment?

    What part of “congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble” do you not understand?

    And keep in mind that the “abridging” would be done by the GOVERNMENT not a person, meaning, the FEC has no right to keep me from expressing my political opinions, such as pooling money to run a political advertisement, or writing a blog–Lew Rockwell got in trouble for writing too much about Ron Paul on his website! Seriously!

  78. Egosumabbas | February 8, 2008, 12:11pm | #
    Besides who but complete conservative wingnut brings up the constitution anyways.

    So I guess Dennis Kucinich, who keeps the constitution in his pocket, is a conservative wingnut?

    Egos,
    That bit of sarcasm was in response to Bryan who earlier seemed to equate defense of the 1st A to conservatism.

    I might have misread him.

    Still, that Kucinich and Robert Byrd keep copies of the constitution, doesn’t necessarily mean they read it, understand it or agree with it. (Not that many conservatives do either).

    I would argue support of the income tax or the IRS as they operate today is clear evidence of not understanding or agreeing with the constitution (4th and 5th Amendments specifically)

  79. Egos, also, I was being sarcastic responding to Sam and Bryan, I should have mentioned that.

    I was hoping that it would be clear from the posts themselves and more clear from the thread as a whole. I should have learnt fromt similar mistakes others have made on this forum.

    Anyways I have to bow out of this conversation now.

    You and J Sub fight the good fight.

  80. lol, I apologize Kwais, it’s really hard to pick up sarcasm, especially when trolls make posts that are indistinguishable from sarcasm.

    Once thing you could do is use [sarcarm][/sarcasm] tags.

  81. those are fairly mild restrictions and hardly a limitation on speech any more than requiring a permit for a rally at a park.

    The two cases are not comparable. Saying I need permission to go on property jointly owned by others (namely the publicly owned park) isn’t an abridgment of free speech, it’s asserting a property right. Telling me and my friends we can’t print and distribute campaign materials under certain circumstances, using our private resources, is an abridgment of free speech.

  82. I too am confused by the lack of any mention on Ron Paul. Did Weigel make his post in response to Moynihan’s lapse? Or did Moynihan not cover Ron Paul because he knew Weigel would? Either way, it’s odd that a summary on the CPAC speeches wouldn’t bother to mention Ron Paul.

  83. Hey…

    Where is Dondero to tell us that McCain is the most libertarian Republican left?

  84. Laura Ingraham…stood to the side of the stage throughout McCain’s speech scowling, never clapping.

    Ingraham, in addition to being an unlistenable talk host, is obviously someone who believes her own bullshit…

  85. J Sub,

    I have a little more time now, but this is still going to have to be quick. Your point about corporate speech rights is correct debate to be having, but I disagree with your conclusion.
    1) You are absolutely right that organizations, corporations, union, etc. are made up of real people.
    2) Those people still have right to donate unregulated sums of money to an organization that is going to run ads.

    The limitation is that an organization that is collecting money for a general purpose (a teacher’s union), can’t take money out of its general treasury give to another organization to run certain ads. If it does, the other organization has to abide by the regulations. All its members have to do though, is start their own organization to run those ads and not take corporate money. Since, as you say, the union is made up of individuals anyway, it should be no problem for them to create a second unique off-shot for the purpose of running the ads.

    To the extent that you think that would be difficult though, its most likely becuase you recognize that a lot of time groups/unions/corporations speak with their own agenda, and not necessarily with a message that every member would independantly approve or want to fund. In that way, the artificial person (the organization) is having a larger influence in the poltical debate than accurately reflects its membership. It is able to hold more influence and sway and spread its message wider, by purporting to speak for people that would not choose to individually fund that message if given an opportunity. I find nothing troubling about limiting that influence, since its really the organization acting as its own person, rather than on behalf of its members.

    For-profit corporations are, to me, even more problematic because their sole goal is to make money. Now I agree with everyone that making money is a pretty nobel goal in the marketplace, but when the goal is making money and you are trying to influence the policy arena, it results in corporate welfare and government sponsored monopolies. Corporations aren’t interested in what is best for the country — nor should they be — they are interested in their own bottomline for their shareholders. While the corporation should certainly have the right to petition congress and lobby and such, I don’t think their is a problem to recognize how much influence it has the potential to weild b/c of the size of its budget (and the stakes to the company). I don’t have a problem limiting its role in public debate either.

    Sorry I had to write this so quick. Back to work for me. Maybe more later.

  86. Egosumabbas,

    Maybe the Supreme Court should have written in all caps when they held that limitations on money given to a campaign is not a limitation on speech for the exact reason that I listed above. (See 11:31am, Point #2)

    T, you may think the argument is facially absurd, but it is what the Supreme Court has held. But I guess you already knew that since I should not assume you don’t “know the law.”
    1) You giving more may not mean you have more support. It may just mean that you have more to give.
    2) Your donation doesn’t support your message, it supports the candidate’s. You message was made when you donated. The message being “I support candidate A.”
    3) You can coordinate with whoever you want accept the campaign. You can’t coordinate with the campaign because that is just a way to skirt around the rules. We don’t want people skirting the rules because the candidate is going to control where all of our tax dollars go and we don’t want him especially beholden to certain individuals or corporations that pay a lot of money directly or indirectly to make sure he gets elected.

  87. “except the campaign”

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