Friday, February 15, 2002

Who Benefits?

It's always the key question. The Campaign finance "reform" legislation that passed the House early this morning appears to have three key beneficiaries. They are: (1) incumbents, (2) media and (3) Republicans.

Regarding the first, why are you not surprised? Incumbent protection is the goal of virtually every piece of legislation. This particular piece of legislation makes it even more difficult for challengers to get their message out. That's what made its passage possible in the House and what makes passage through the Senate a foregone conclusion.

Regarding the second, why are you not surprised? It is, of course, obscene for the media to be cheerleading for legislation that curtails political speech. But it's a whore business. And the media whores sincerely believe that free speech for anti-abortion groups is bad, free speech for journalists is the cornerstone of a free society.

Regarding the third, get ready for campaign finance "reform" reform, coming soon to a newspaper box near you. Republicans should be able to raise significantly higher amounts of "hard" money than Democrats. This imbalance will not be felt in this year's mid-term elections (the legislation will not take effect until November 6th, one day after Election Day). But it will work to President Bush's benefit in 2004. Once this consequence of "reform" is understood, Democrats and their media allies will start beating the drums for still more campaign finance "reform."

Buried in the coverage of campaign finance "reform" was the news that the DNC is planning to build a new headquarters in Washington. Expected cost exceeds $200 million. That's a ton of money that many Democrats may feel would be better spent in their districts and states.