The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform did much more than it was supposed to. The idea was to remove money from politics. The result was that the money in politics moved from the control of the candidate to the control of groups that were—by law—forced from working with the candidate.
And it created plausible deniability for the candidate.
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
Under provision 527, groups are allowed to spend money on campaign commercials, etc. as long as they aren’t aligned with a campaign. The first instance of this was in 2004 when Sen. John Kerry1 (D-MA) ran against President George W. Bush and this group of Vets decided to take out ads against Kerry.
At the same time, President Bush was “powerless” to do anything about it2. This allowed Bush, and now Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain to say that they don’t have anything to do with the more pointed attacks, while blaming the other guy for launching the same kind of attacks.
Gov. Palin and the Muslim Faith
So we have this weird case where Sen. Obama’s making a charge that Sen. McCain is telling people that he is a Muslim3, although it’s really not Sen. McCain, but people that want to get him elected. At the same time, he claims that he told people to leave Gov. Palin’s daughter alone, while people that want to get Sen. Obama elected are attacking Gov. Palin’s daughter.
Do you see what’s happened? Less accountability. Less of a single message. Little control. And yet the messages and the slime that was supposed to be taken out of politics is still in it.
An Interesting Tactic
McCain would gain a lot of votes if he’d say that he was wrong about CFR and offered to help overturn the parts that we’ve struggled with in the past two elections. He’d get points from the libertarians, and help to add more accountability in running for office.
- Who also served in Vietnam.
- I say “powerless” because, had he wanted to, he could have started attacking these people or done some other thing to try to get them quiet, but they were providing an attack that Bush could claim he had nothing to do with.
- He claims the Christian faith.