Sunday, November 06, 2005

Buying Seats In Congress

Today, George Will complains in his inimitable style about the apparent evils of Senate and gubernatorial candidates who fund their own campaigns. At least, if they are Democrats and if they are outspending their Republican opponent's similarly self-funded campaign.
But before he can regret purchasing the governorship, he must deal with Douglas Forrester, the Republican candidate who has come from double-digit deficits in polls two months ago to within four points in a recent poll. Forrester, too, is a rich businessman and is largely financing his own campaign -- this is the world that campaign finance reformers have made, with contribution limits that make fundraising more difficult. Since securing the Democratic nomination, Corzine has outspent Forrester by $15 million.
Ah, yes... the evil Democrat self-funds his campaign in order to "buy" seats. The poor, oppressed multi-millionaire Republican does exactly the same thing - but as a victim of campaign finance reform. {sniffle}

Yes, folks, this is the same George Will who has identified the biggest sin of the G.W. Bush as signing campaign finance reform into law:
In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech.
Because, apparently, this hampers the ability of a multi-millionaire Republican to get money from others to fund his campaigns, to combat a multi-millionaire Democrat who has the temerity to actually put his own money where his mouth is....

(I did some digging into past self-funded campaigns by Republicans, but Will seems to have been strangely silent on the issue of "buying" seats. On Michael Huffington, for example, who set records for spending in his House and Senate campaigns, Will attributed Huffington's Senate loss to his use of an illegal immigrant as a nanny, and seemed mostly concerned with scolding those who circulated rumors that Huffington was gay.)

And it is somehow emblematic of Will's sneering, elitist "conservativism" that he apparently assumes that the public will vote, like a swarm of proverbial lemmings, for the political candidate who runs the most ads.

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