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Jewish World Review March 14, 2001 / 19 Adar, 5761

David Limbaugh

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Consumer Reports


Campaign cold feet and
Democratic hypocrisy


http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- PLEASE forgive me for my amusement at the Democrats' recent predicament over campaign finance reform. It is a delectable development. Let me explain:

It has come to light that a significant number of Democratic senators are beginning to have misgivings about the McCain-Feingold bill -- legislation that would ban soft money (unlimited, unregulated contributions to political parties as opposed to particular candidates) and impose other fund-raising controls. Until the last presidential election there was unanimous Democratic support for this First Amendment-challenged scheme.

That was before the 2000 election cycle, when campaign fund-raising dynamics changed.

Prior to the last election Republicans consistently raised more soft money than Democrats, but in 2000 they were almost dead even. Democrats are still lagging behind Republicans in the hard money category, however, which makes them nervous about the proposed soft money restrictions. So, what is a pragmatic party to do?

The major media, which stand to gain the most from restricting campaign advertising -- because it would give them a virtual monopoly on political speech -- are experiencing no such reservations based on last year's fundraising results. They remain in lockstep in clamoring for "reform."

As such, they are getting more than a little nervous at the Democrats' newfound cold feet on the issue. The major media's fearless leader, the New York Times, nervously admonished its favorite party (and renegade Republicans supporting the bill) "not to waver or push for amendments that would imperil the best chance in a generation to clean up American politics." Such self-serving sanctimony is a bit hard to stomach, but I digress.

I don't really believe that Democrats will torpedo the bill, but the very possibility that some are rethinking their position on the measure is illustrative of the party's well-established hypocrisy. This is the party that:

  • divides the races in the name of racial harmony;
  • opposes school choice (favored by the majority of blacks) in the name of improving education for all;
  • thwarts Social Security and Medicare reform in the name of protecting senior citizens;
  • would impede incentives for medical research in the name of advancing the cause of health care;
  • refuses to restrict its appetite for government spending while masquerading as a deficit hawk.

But this should not surprise us. Democrats hold themselves out as champions of free speech, yet have steadfastly refused even to acknowledge that there is a constitutional issue with campaign finance reform legislation. They conveniently argue that campaign spending is not speech. Yet they are the first to tell us that flag burning and pornographic "art" are not just conduct, but constitutionally protected speech. If that conduct is speech, how much more so are campaign fund-raising and spending?

Aren't campaign fund-raising and spending the essence of political speech? And isn't political speech the essence of the First Amendment's free speech guaranty? But I digress again.

The point is Democratic hypocrisy. Once again, their high-minded advocacy will turn on a political calculation: How much will passage of the campaign finance bill threaten their empowerment, rather than their professed lofty principles of reducing corruption in our political system?

Of course, we've known for some time that Democrats are not truly exercised about the political corruption associated with campaign fundraising, especially if it redounds to the benefit of their party. If they were, they would have joined Republicans in demanding that Janet Reno recommend the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate Bill Clinton and Al Gore's unconscionable acquisition of millions of dollars in illegal foreign campaign contributions.

During the upcoming debates on the McCain-Feingold bill it would be most gratifying if some Republicans would challenge Democratic Congressmen on the campaign finance scandal. Of all the Clinton scandals this was probably the worst and may have caused the most damage to our nation. If foreign influence in our elective process isn't enough to shock the collective Democratic conscience, surely the wholesale compromise of our national security in exchange for foreign contributions should be.

When this bill is being debated, Republicans ought to demand answers from the moralistic Democrats who will be pontificating along with crusader John McCain about the evils of campaign funding. We have a right to know why, if they are so interested in eliminating corruption, they raised nary a finger of protest when General Reno ignored the advice of Charles La Bella, Louis Freeh and a number of other professionals to call for an independent counsel in this matter. It's time the pious party quit asking so many questions and began answering a few.



David Limbaugh, a columnist and attorney apracticing in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the author of the just-released exposť about corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department, "Absolute Power." Send your comments to him by clicking here.

Up

03/12/01: Missiles, berets, morale and diplomacy
03/07/01: The GOP and race revisited
03/05/01: Dems and the ghost of 2002
02/28/01: Common threads in Clinton pardons
02/26/01: Clinton defenders should apologize
02/22/01: Clinton woos media as Bush governs
02/20/01: Liberal idealism: Where have all the flowers gone?
02/14/01: The Clintons and selective media outrage
02/12/01: Bush's tax cut challenge: A historical view
02/07/01: Democrats' Dubya dilemma
02/05/01: Dubya is confounding the media
01/29/01: The Teamsters, the DNC and the reformers
01/29/01: The Old Limey
01/25/01: Clintonís disgraceful departure
01/22/01: Ashcroft: Principle above self
01/17/01: Justice for Riady?
01/15/01: Ashcroft: A hill to die on
01/10/01: Returning to the supply side
01/08/01: Reasons for optimism
01/03/01: Bush's daunting challenges
12/28/00: Ashcroft: A triumph for the rule of law
12/26/00: A tinge of revenge?
12/20/00: GOP: Breaking the race barrier
12/18/00: Civility doesn't require surrender
12/13/00: Al Gore: Innocent victimizer
12/11/00: Judicial restraint and ordered liberty
12/06/00: The four years war
12/04/00: Debunking Gore myths
11/29/00: Defending the smaller principles
11/27/00: Albert O'Gore and the little people
11/22/00: Doing 'anything to win'
11/15/00: Enough is enough, Mr. Gore
11/13/00: Al Gore: Thy country or thyself?
11/08/00: Bill and Al: Your time is up
11/06/00:The impending Bush mandate
11/01/00: Can't stop thinkin' 'bout tomorrow
10/30/00: George: Give Gore the ball back
10/25/00: Mr. Gore: A few more questions
10/23/00: It's the big government, stupid
10/18/00: Gore's down, so will he panic?
10/16/00: We're fresh out of new Al Gores
10/11/00: Gore: Fuzzy math = dirty politics
10/10/00:Gore: Renaissance man or unbalanced?
10/04/00: Where have you been, Albert Jr.?
10/02/00: Clintonís fragmented presidency
09/27/00: Liberal media doth protest too much
09/25/00: AlGore: Turning dreams into nightmares
09/20/00: Something fishy's going on
09/18/00: It's the liberalism, stupid
09/13/00: An open letter to open-minded cynics
09/11/00: The virtues of going negative
09/06/00: On a mission for marriage
09/04/00: Al Gore's 'Trivial Pursuits'
08/30/00: Lieberman and the paradox of liberal 'tolerance'
08/28/00: A campaign divided against itself
08/23/00: Al Gore's trickle-down populism
08/21/00: Prosperity without a clue
08/16/00: AlGore can run but he can't hide
08/14/00: When hate speech is OK
08/09/00: Bush: The pundits' enigma
08/07/00: GOP convention: Live or Memorex?
08/02/00: The first attack dog
07/31/00: The Cheney taint?
07/26/00: The anti-gun bogeyman
07/24/00: The raging culture war
07/19/00: Is Hillary 'Good for the Jews'?
07/17/00: How dare you, George?
07/12/00: Jacoby's raw deal
07/10/00: The perplexities of liberalism
07/05/00: Big Al and big oil
07/03/00: Partial-birth and total death
06/28/00: Some questions for you, Mr. Gore
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06/21/00: Waco: We are the jury
06/19/00: "Outrage" just doesn't quite cut it anymore!
06/14/00: Al Gore: Government's best friend
06/12/00: Say goodbye to medical privacy
06/07/00: Elian: Whose hands were tied?
06/05/00: Who, which, what is the real Al Gore?
06/01/00: Legacy-building idea for Clinton
05/30/00: Clinton: Above the law or not?
05/24/00: Not so fast, Hillary
05/22/00: Gore's risky, fear-mongering schemes
05/17/00: Can Bush risk pro-choice running mate?
05/15/00: Right to privacy, Clinton-style
05/10/00: Patrick Kennedy and his suit-happy fiddlers
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05/03/00: Congress caves to Clinton, again?
05/01/00: The resurrection of outrage
04/28/00: A picture of Bill Clinton's America
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04/10/00:The fraying of America
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04/03/00: Bush: On going for the gold
03/29/00: Phantasma-Gore-ia
03/27/00: Treaties, triggers, tobacco and tyrants
03/22/00: Media to Bush: Go left, young man
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03/15/00: OK Al Gore: Let's go negative
03/13/00: Deifying of the center
03/08/00: The media, the establishment and the people
03/01/00: McCain's coalition-busting daggers in GOP's heart
02/28/00: Bush's silver lining in McMichigan
02/24/00: A conservative firewall, after all
02/22/00: Bush or four more of Clinton-Gore?
02/16/00: Substance trumps process
02/14/00: The campaign finance reform mirage
02/09/00: President McCain: End of the GOP as we know it?
02/07/00: From New Hampshire to South Carolina
02/02/00: SDI must fly
01/31/00: Veep gores Bradley
01/26/00: The issues gap
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01/20/00: Nationalizing congressional elections
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12/27/99: Al Gore: Bullish on government
12/22/99: Bradley's full-court press
12/20/99: Bush: Rendering unto Caesar
12/15/99: Beltway media bias
12/13/99: White House ambulance chasing
12/08/99: Clinton's labor pains
12/06/99:The lust for power
12/01/99: In defense of liberty
11/29/99: Are Republicans obsolete?
11/24/99: Say you're sorry, Mr. President
11/22/99: Architects of victory
11/17/99: Trump's tax on freedom
11/15/99: GOP caves again
11/10/99: Triangulation and 'The Third Way'
11/08/99: Sticks and stones
11/03/99: Keyes vs. media lapdogs
11/01/99: Signs of the times
10/27/99: The false charge of isolationism
10/25/99: A matter of freedom
10/20/99: Clinton's mini-meltdown
10/18/99: Senate GOP shows statesmanship
10/13/99: Senate must reject nuclear treaty
10/11/99: Bush bites feeding hand
10/06/99: Jesse accidentally opens door for Pat
10/04/99: Clinton and his media enablers
09/29/99: Reagan: Big-tent conservatism
09/27/99: The Clinton/Gore taint?
09/22/99: Have gun (tragedy), will travel
09/20/99: Hillary's blunders and bloopers
09/15/99: GOP must remain conservative
09/13/99:Time for Bush to take charge, please
09/10/99: Bush's education plan: Dubya confounds again
09/07/99: Pat, savior or spoiler?
09/02/99: Character doesn't matter?
08/30/99: Should we judge?
08/25/99: Dubyah's drug question: Not a hill to die on
08/23/99: Should Dubyah start buying soap ... for all that mud?
08/16/99: 'W' stands for 'winner'
08/11/99: The truth about tax cuts
08/09/99: Hillary: Threading the needle
08/04/99: What would you do?
08/02/99: No appeasement for China
07/30/99: Hate Crimes Bill: Cynical Symbolism
07/26/99: Itís the 'moderates', stupid
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07/19/99: Smith, Bush and the GOP
07/14/99: GOP must be a party of ideas
07/12/99: Gore's gender gap
07/08/99: Clintonís faustian bargain: our justice
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06/30/99: Gore: a soda in every fountain
06/28/99: 'Sacred wall' or religious barrier?
06/23/99: GOP must lead in foreign policy
06/21/99: Crumbs of compassion
06/16/99: Compassionate conservatism: face-lift or body transplant?
06/10/99: Victory in Kosovo? Now What?

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