McCain: Super-PACs will “destroy” political process, and it’s the Supreme Court’s fault

posted at 2:50 pm on January 13, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Really? John McCain vents about the rise of super-PACs in the wake of the Citizens United v FEC ruling in 2009, which barred the government from regulating when and how people could engage in political speech during an election cycle.  McCain decries the decision, which gutted his Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (known better as McCain-Feingold), and says that the Supreme Court will bear the blame for the destruction of the American political process:

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Sen. John McCain has endorsed Romney to win the primary.  He’s also the senator who championed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law that was largely gutted by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

On the campaign trail, we asked McCain about the ads from the SuperPAC that supports Romney.  He told us these SuperPACs will “destroy the political process,” and predicted “scandal” because of them.

We asked him why he or Governor Romney won’t publicly pressure these SuperPACs to take the ads down.

Here’s what he said:

McCain: Because they won’t stop. Because they won’t stop. I mean, as long as unlimited amounts of money are there, there not attributable to the candidate, it’s going to happen. I mean, it’s just, it is the way it is. We had campaign contribution limitations for a reason and the United States Supreme Court basically did away with all of that and we’re going to pay a heavy price for that and I also guarantee you that there will be scandals sooner or later.

What McCain fails to realize is that the campaign contributions themselves created the problem.  In fact, despite the Senator’s extemporaneous argument here, the Supreme Court left campaign contributions entirely intact.  The Citizens United ruling only upheld the First Amendment restriction on Congress from passing laws that restrict free speech — in this case, explicitly political speech, which was the original intention and purpose of the First Amendment.

The real problem arises from the series of complex and overlapping contribution limits placed on campaigns, along with absurd tax exemptions for political organizations.  If the federal government eliminated both the limits and the tax exemptions for all political donations and replaced them with requirements for immediate disclosure via constantly updated FEC and campaign websites (and fines for violations based on multipliers of the donations involved), the problem of unaccountable PACs and super-PACs would vanish overnight.  People would much rather donate directly to candidates or political parties, which would then be responsible for all of their own messaging and advertising.  The tax code would cease underwriting this nonsense, and we would know immediately who donates to whom and in what amount.

Instead, we have the same Senator who (apart from his other admirable qualities) wants to continue to insist that his failed approach — built on top of and because of the failed approach of those who preceded him — isn’t to blame for the current mess of outside groups and opacity.  McCain suffers from either a case of projection or the impulse to duck blame.  The actual blame for this mess goes to those who created, perpetuated, and expanded campaign finance “reform” structures that have obviously and utterly failed, not the Supreme Court that appears to have been the only people in Washington who can read the First Amendment and comprehend its meaning.


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My friends…

SlaveDog on January 13, 2012 at 2:52 PM

McCain is incontinent in the brain/pants.

Fools of AZ didn’t send him home, when he still had some decency.

That entire family s/b ‘muzzled’, just like Michelle Obama already is.

Schadenfreude on January 13, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Raise Cain about this, my friends!!!

The media are not covering this enough.

MUST be exposed. Don’t let O’Keefe go to jail and the dead vote!!!

Schadenfreude on January 13, 2012 at 2:55 PM

This from the guy who helped create this mess in the first place.

RadClown on January 13, 2012 at 2:55 PM

McCain….my friend!…YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS!
Senile ole POS!

KOOLAID2 on January 13, 2012 at 2:56 PM

John McCain, stalwart ally of free speech!

tom daschle concerned on January 13, 2012 at 2:56 PM

The Hobbit Slayer speaks….and I should care?

workingclass artist on January 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM

If the federal government eliminated both the limits and the tax exemptions for all political donations and replaced them with requirements for immediate disclosure via constantly updated FEC and campaign websites (and fines for violations based on multipliers of the donations involved), the problem of unaccountable PACs and super-PACs would vanish overnight.

Amen to that.

SlaveDog on January 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM

McCain’s wrong, but for the right reasons.

A Super PAC that goes out an attacks a candidate can do so without any responsibility placed on the PAC, nor the candidate the PAC is supporting.

Case in point, this nonsense Newt is bringing up about Mitt’s tenure at Bain Capital, and the issues the Mitt-supporting PAC raised about Newt before Iowa.

Now, I’m glad the Supreme Court ruled the way they did on the Citizens United case, but McCain, for once, actually has a point.

Mitt could just as well win in South Carolina because of stupid attacks from Newt’s PAC making Mitt look like an ultra-conservative.

Aizen on January 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Juan probably also wants to claim that nothing is seriously wrong with his airhead daughter Meghan.

WhatNot on January 13, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Huh. I guess its just a coincidence that he didn’t hate super pacs until now.
Did he complain about liberal/progressive super pacs..Obamas billion dollar war chest?
If not, I wonder why?? Oh well…it doesn’t matter. He sees something he likes in Rahmney..maybe its because Rahmney, like himself, is a true and trustworthy conservative?

Mimzey on January 13, 2012 at 2:59 PM

I care more about the O’Keefe story (link posted above) than I do this. Go away, McCain.

Philly on January 13, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Super-PACs will “destroy” political process, and it’s the Supreme Court’s fault

No, Juan, its dumbass politicians like you who are destroying the political process.

McCain….a leader of the group that enjoys 12% approval across the US.

BobMbx on January 13, 2012 at 3:00 PM

McCain suffers from either a case of projection or the impulse to duck blame.

His legacy.

a capella on January 13, 2012 at 3:01 PM

If the federal government eliminated both the limits and the tax exemptions for all political donations and replaced them with requirements for immediate disclosure via constantly updated FEC and campaign websites (and fines for violations based on multipliers of the donations involved), the problem of unaccountable PACs and super-PACs would vanish overnight.

Agreed, and this was the point I was making about the PACs supporting Mitt and Newt.

Of course, it this were the case, Huntsman would probably have a billion dollars in his campaign coffers.

Which isn’t such a bad thing, to be honest.

Aizen on January 13, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Should have kept his nose out of it in the first place…

right2bright on January 13, 2012 at 3:02 PM

…and I also guarantee you that there will be scandals sooner or later.

In politics? Shocker.

SlaveDog on January 13, 2012 at 3:02 PM

McCain created this mess with his failed attempt to gut the First Amendment by limiting direct campaign contributions.

cool breeze on January 13, 2012 at 3:02 PM

You know, I agree with Romney on this particular issue. We should just let candidates themselves raise unlimited campaign money so there isn’t a need for SuperPACs. That way at least, candidates will actually be RESPONSIBLE for the messages being put out. I mean right now, they either legitimately aren’t responsible, or can hide behind the law prohibiting them from collaborating with their PACs.

WolvenOne on January 13, 2012 at 3:02 PM

He held himself down with his stupid law and embraced public financing while Obama followed McCain’s stupid law but walloped his hapless opponent with megatons of cash by forgoing public funds. He shoots us and himself just as much as he shoots at them(rhetorically of course)…just retire already.

thebrokenrattle on January 13, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Did I miss the Press Release on Recovery Winter ?

So who other than the 1% will be visiting:
http://store.barackobama.com/runway-to-win.html

It’s not just a political campaign, it’s a fashion statement.

J_Crater on January 13, 2012 at 3:03 PM

If the federal government eliminated both the limits and the tax exemptions for all political donations and replaced them with requirements for immediate disclosure via constantly updated FEC and campaign websites (and fines for violations based on multipliers of the donations involved), the problem of unaccountable PACs and super-PACs would vanish overnight.

The major problem with campaign contributions is not that PAC’s aren’t accountable. In fact, I bet most people consider a PAC to basically be an extension of the candidate.

I read a suggestion somewhere that all campaign contributions be anonymous. That way, no one could call for political favors based on contributions, because the politicians would have no way to verify that the person actually made a contribution.

red_herring on January 13, 2012 at 3:04 PM

It’s almost as if he has no clue regarding the impact of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.

Self-edited for brevity.

ElectricPhase on January 13, 2012 at 3:05 PM

we have the same Senator who (apart from his other admirable qualities)

Like what.

BacaDog on January 13, 2012 at 3:06 PM

He’s just upset because one major part of his legacy has been erased. Oh well, he should have picked something on more stable constitutional ground than CFR to be remembered by.

McDuck on January 13, 2012 at 3:06 PM

May he be a constant companion to Romney. Maybe he’ll rub off on him.

Schadenfreude on January 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

While I don’t agree with Super PACs, *that* is a lefty talking point- a BIG one.

sandollar_sa on January 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

McCain may or may not be correct about super PACs having an undue influence on the election. But he misses the whole point. Super PACs are a symptom of a larger problem: too much power in government.

See, if the federal government only had a few very limited powers, as the founders intended, there would be little benefit in lobbying congresscritters, or in paying huge sums of money to get candidate X or Y elected in the first place. Take away the power, and this argument becomes moot.

Unfortunately, I don’t see a way that could conceivably happen in our lifetimes–there are too many people dependent on their handouts.

Mohonri on January 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

I read a suggestion somewhere that all campaign contributions be anonymous. That way, no one could call for political favors based on contributions, because the politicians would have no way to verify that the person actually made a contribution.

red_herring on January 13, 2012 at 3:04 PM

That would probably work as well as the change to anonymous judging has in figure skating. IOW, not at all. The corruption still exists, but now the public has a harder time uncovering it.

McDuck on January 13, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Newt and McCain should compete for the “Pompous Jackass That Nobody Cares About” crown.

whatcat on January 13, 2012 at 3:10 PM

McCain will get Obama reelected and it’s all his fault

Kini on January 13, 2012 at 3:10 PM

JOHN!
HEY JOHN!
SYADASTFU !

Then, John…take a copy of your reform act…crumble it up shove it in your daughter’s mouth, and tell her to SDASTFU!
Thank you Johnnie!

KOOLAID2 on January 13, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Did I miss the Press Release on Recovery Winter ?

So who other than the 1% will be visiting:
http://store.barackobama.com/runway-to-win.html

It’s not just a political campaign, it’s a fashion statement.

J_Crater on January 13, 2012 at 3:03 PM

$75 for a denim back sporting this winning slogan: “Be the Change You Want to See – Obama 2012″. Heh.

Not exactly accessories for the masses. And a really lame slogan. It that they got?

SlaveDog on January 13, 2012 at 3:11 PM

I read a suggestion somewhere that all campaign contributions be anonymous. That way, no one could call for political favors based on contributions, because the politicians would have no way to verify that the person actually made a contribution.
red_herring on January 13, 2012 at 3:04 PM

That would probably work as well as the change to anonymous judging has in figure skating. IOW, not at all. The corruption still exists, but now the public has a harder time uncovering it.
McDuck on January 13, 2012 at 3:08 PM

What if it were pooled together in one lump sum?

whatcat on January 13, 2012 at 3:11 PM

My friends…

SlaveDog on January 13, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Uuuuggggghhhh. That was the only reason that I was glad that McDisaster lost to Obama. If I had heard him say “My friends” one more time, I would have slit my wrists.

Resist We Much on January 13, 2012 at 3:12 PM

The USSC acted stupidly. So says McCain and Obama. Wow and this guy was our nominee///?

lakeman on January 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Newt vs. Mitt provides an interesting debate:

Newt gets obliterated by PACs supporting Mitt and Ron Paul, respectively, yet a PAC supporting Newt which went after Mitt only served to backfire on Newt in the long run.

Basically, PACs are risky business, and they spread lots of rumor and false information. Even though that’s still free-speech, at least have a candidate take responsibility for it, by removing the limits on campaign donations.

Aizen on January 13, 2012 at 3:16 PM

What if it were pooled together in one lump sum?

whatcat on January 13, 2012 at 3:11 PM

All ways error on the side of more transparency.

Furthermore, this is just a symptom. Like Mohonri said earlier:

…Super PACs are a symptom of a larger problem: too much power in government.

See, if the federal government only had a few very limited powers, as the founders intended, there would be little benefit in lobbying congresscritters, or in paying huge sums of money to get candidate X or Y elected in the first place. Take away the power, and this argument becomes moot.

Mohonri on January 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Too much money in Washington is the root problem.

WisRich on January 13, 2012 at 3:16 PM

I begin to see where Meghan got her brains.

Seriously, does he NOT know that he and his cronies meddling in the financing of campaigns directly resulted in this situation?

Really?

Lily on January 13, 2012 at 3:17 PM

McCain is just not a very bright guy.

therightwinger on January 13, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Uuuuggggghhhh. That was the only reason that I was glad that McDisaster lost to Obama. If I had heard him say “My friends” one more time, I would have slit my wrists.

Resist We Much on January 13, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Get your wrists ready….my friend!
The media, after pumping McCain up the whole time…until he became the nominee in ’08 election…then started pumping him, in the nevermind…will be using him this election cycle again…”as the voice of reason!” BASTIDS!

KOOLAID2 on January 13, 2012 at 3:19 PM

McCain may or may not be correct about super PACs having an undue influence on the election. But he misses the whole point. Super PACs are a symptom of a larger problem: too much power in government.

See, if the federal government only had a few very limited powers, as the founders intended, there would be little benefit in lobbying congresscritters, or in paying huge sums of money to get candidate X or Y elected in the first place. Take away the power, and this argument becomes moot.

Unfortunately, I don’t see a way that could conceivably happen in our lifetimes–there are too many people dependent on their handouts.

Mohonri on January 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Well said.

RJL on January 13, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Excellent analysis Ed. The problem with campaign finance the way it is today is the direct outgrowth of meddlers like McCain. Those who claim “the moral high ground” who in reality are interested only in incumbent protection than they are our 1st Amendment rights.

MJBrutus on January 13, 2012 at 3:21 PM

It is the same position Romney had, until it was helpful to him this year.

What is more destructive to our nation. Gingrich arguing against a person who performs certain business practices, or politicians who argue that people do not have the right to freedom of political speech?

astonerii on January 13, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Conservatives 1: Darn that Obama, I *hate* his crony capitalism. Have you *seen* the way he’s rewarded wealthy donors, wall street banks and unions who contributed to his campaign. It is unconscionable, picking winners and losers like that based on cronyism.

Conservative 2: I know! But get this, that John McCain character and that American leftwing movement keeps attacking the role of huge corporate cash in campaigns. They argue that this harmless “political speech” ends up leading to corruption and influence in government. Can you believe those fascists?!?

Conservative 1: I can’t, wait, huh? But, hmmm I’m confused. *mind explodes*

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM

McCain may or may not be correct about super PACs having an undue influence on the election. But he misses the whole point. Super PACs are a symptom of a larger problem: too much power in government.

See, if the federal government only had a few very limited powers, as the founders intended, there would be little benefit in lobbying congresscritters, or in paying huge sums of money to get candidate X or Y elected in the first place. Take away the power, and this argument becomes moot.

Unfortunately, I don’t see a way that could conceivably happen in our lifetimes–there are too many people dependent on their handouts.

Mohonri on January 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM
Well said.

RJL on January 13, 2012 at 3:20 PM

I second that. Brilliant take on it. In essence – it’s an arms race. But don’t tell Juan McCain that – he’ll just tell you “there’s nothing to be afraid of”.

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM

The best evidence that the current system has failed is that McCain is still in the Senate.

RBMN on January 13, 2012 at 3:25 PM

…apart from his other admirable qualities…

anybody remember any of his admirable qualities? His recent actions may have clouded my memory.

DanMan on January 13, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Conservatives 1: Darn that Obama, I *hate* his crony capitalism. Have you *seen* the way he’s rewarded wealthy donors, wall street banks and unions who contributed to his campaign. It is unconscionable, picking winners and losers like that based on cronyism.

Conservative 2: I know! But get this, that John McCain character and that American leftwing movement keeps attacking the role of huge corporate cash in campaigns. They argue that this harmless “political speech” ends up leading to corruption and influence in government. Can you believe those fascists?!?

Conservative 1: I can’t, wait, huh? But, hmmm I’m confused. *mind explodes*

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Your inability to see the larger picture and your desire to justify any means with the desired end shows the lack of depth of your character.

You don’t get to quash free speech because you are afraid of the outcome. They’re called principles…you should look into getting some.

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Ps. Teh Kochtapus!1!

/lib4life

Kataklysmic on January 13, 2012 at 3:29 PM


“My friends…”

(in a McCain thread, this can’t be said enough)

/

Seven Percent Solution on January 13, 2012 at 3:29 PM

It’s pretty fun to read John McCain’s quotes using Rush’s mocking voice in your head.

Youngs98 on January 13, 2012 at 3:31 PM

This issue is one reason I supported Mitt in 2008 and not the Mav.

Buy Danish on January 13, 2012 at 3:33 PM

McCain/Feingold did more to screw up American Politics than anything. I’m one of those people who believe there should be unlimited funds in campaigns, however with one caveat, everything has to be in the open. If I win the Lotto, and want to donate $1 million to Newt, I should be able to do it, under my name, not under the name of some fake committee. If you want to form a committee, once again, everything should be up front as to where the money is coming from and who’s in it.

What McCain did was put everything under the table. The Democrats figured out really fast how to circumvent the law so, with their union money and 501c3 groups putting out ads all over the place and corporations being limited and conservative groups being shut off, they had a definite advantage. Someone should ask McCain why George Soros should have more input, into the political system, than the Koch Brothers.

bflat879 on January 13, 2012 at 3:33 PM

(in a McCain thread, this can’t be said enough)

/

Seven Percent Solution on January 13, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Yes, it can! Uuuuugggggggggggghhhhhhhhh! :-)

Resist We Much on January 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Shaddup McVain!!! You are fracking stupid and have been for over a decade, war hero notwithstanding. Please. Go. Away!!!

AH_C on January 13, 2012 at 3:38 PM

So now it is Super PACs and the Supreme Court who is at fault. The politicians themselves are the ones who are fault.

SC.Charlie on January 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Conservatives 1: Darn that Obama, I *hate* his crony capitalism. Have you *seen* the way he’s rewarded wealthy donors, wall street banks and unions who contributed to his campaign. It is unconscionable, picking winners and losers like that based on cronyism.

Conservative 2: I know! But get this, that John McCain character and that American leftwing movement keeps attacking the role of huge corporate cash in campaigns. They argue that this harmless “political speech” ends up leading to corruption and influence in government. Can you believe those fascists?!?

Conservative 1: I can’t, wait, huh? But, hmmm I’m confused. *mind explodes*

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Swap corporations and unions in that, and it still works. Actually, back up a bit. With Republicans, you could probably make a decent argument proving crony capitalism. With Democrats, it’s that plus unions and looters.

Despite some appearances, most of us conservatives don’t want government favoring *any* particular entity over another in most cases. We think the government should leave the decision up to the free market.

After all, the market *will* go the way it wants to. Government can either get out of the way, or they can cause everyone greater expense and inconvenience.

Mohonri on January 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Honest to Pete, Captain Ed, you are far more generous toward Sen. McCain than I would be. He fails to understand the objections to McCain-Feingold and the problems that it caused. The solutions that you suggest would be far, far better in order to assure accountability in the funding of candidates.

Too many times, McCain rattles on about issues on which he is not too well informed, or else he has a faulty understanding of the issues. It would be better if he listened rather than spouting off with these foolish soundbites.

onlineanalyst on January 13, 2012 at 3:42 PM

You don’t get to quash free speech because you are afraid of the outcome. They’re called principles…you should look into getting some.

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Libel law, threats of harm or murder, yelling fire in a crowded theater, discussing “bombs” in an airport there are all sorts of limmits upon free speech because we, as a society, have decided that some forms of free speech are dangerous or can lead to negative situations. Indeed, the very idea of law at all is rooted in the reality that humans are not perfect and they need the threat of imprisonment and other penalties to prevent them from behaving badly in a stable society. “Pay to play” has always been a part of politics. And until the Obama Administration I genuinely believed that conservatives just didn’t care about it. But all these concerns about crony capitalism indicate that you all do. And yet you will turn around and say “but its not like there should be any limits on pay to play, i mean that would be wrong.” Its ridiculous.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Yes, Senator, we need to shut up everyone who might criticize you …..

BD57 on January 13, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Despite some appearances, most of us conservatives don’t want government favoring *any* particular entity over another in most cases. We think the government should leave the decision up to the free market.

I agree. Then why on earth do you oppose a campaign system where candidates get the same amount of air time and the same amount of campaign funds? Instead you all tend to argue that crony capitalism is some sort of protected free speech!

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Conservatives 1: Darn that Obama, I *hate* his crony capitalism. Have you *seen* the way he’s rewarded wealthy donors, wall street banks and unions who contributed to his campaign. It is unconscionable, picking winners and losers like that based on cronyism.

Conservative 2: I know! But get this, that John McCain character and that American leftwing movement keeps attacking the role of huge corporate cash in campaigns. They argue that this harmless “political speech” ends up leading to corruption and influence in government. Can you believe those fascists?!?

Conservative 1: I can’t, wait, huh? But, hmmm I’m confused. *mind explodes*

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Wow. Inability to look at underlying causes.

Crony capitalism sucks. You don’t stop crony capitalism by limiting free speech. You stop it by LIMITING THE POWER OF THE GOVERNMENT.

If there are no rewards to lobbying/campaigning businesses will not do it. If there are rewards (in fact, SIGNIFICANT rewards) but it’s “illegal”, what happens? I’ll let you ponder that one.

makattak on January 13, 2012 at 3:50 PM

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Crony union funding has had a negative impact on campaign honesty, my friend.

When Obama closed the security feature for his online contributions, the source of his funding was quite well hidden, too.

onlineanalyst on January 13, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Then why on earth do you oppose a campaign system where candidates get the same amount of air time and the same amount of campaign funds?

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Why? Rigged game.

Kataklysmic on January 13, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Just wait until Obowma unleashes $800+ Million in Super-PAC funds, the media, the unions, higher education, Hollywood, and selected foreign governments join in the frey…

THAT should be a hoot!

Seven Percent Solution on January 13, 2012 at 3:53 PM

You don’t get to quash free speech because you are afraid of the outcome. They’re called principles…you should look into getting some.

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 3:27 PM
Libel law, threats of harm or murder, yelling fire in a crowded theater, discussing “bombs” in an airport there are all sorts of limmits upon free speech because we, as a society, have decided that some forms of free speech are dangerous or can lead to negative situations. Indeed, the very idea of law at all is rooted in the reality that humans are not perfect and they need the threat of imprisonment and other penalties to prevent them from behaving badly in a stable society. “Pay to play” has always been a part of politics. And until the Obama Administration I genuinely believed that conservatives just didn’t care about it. But all these concerns about crony capitalism indicate that you all do. And yet you will turn around and say “but its not like there should be any limits on pay to play, i mean that would be wrong.” Its ridiculous.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:42 PM

That’s dime store logic. Shouting “fire” in a movie theater is not the same as limiting political speech. One keeps me from getting trampled – the other allows my government to trample me.

Next you’re going to say “they make me buy car insurance!” to justify Obamneycare. I have met third graders with deeper analytical prowess than what you’re exhibiting.

Your ignorance would be amusing if it weren’t so dangerous.

Swap corporations and unions in that, and it still works. Actually, back up a bit. With Republicans, you could probably make a decent argument proving crony capitalism. With Democrats, it’s that plus unions and looters.

Despite some appearances, most of us conservatives don’t want government favoring *any* particular entity over another in most cases. We think the government should leave the decision up to the free market.

After all, the market *will* go the way it wants to. Government can either get out of the way, or they can cause everyone greater expense and inconvenience.

Mohonri on January 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Precisely. It’s not about government not favoring my horse in the race – it’s keeping government away from the track altogether.

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 3:53 PM

If there are no rewards to lobbying/campaigning businesses will not do it. If there are rewards (in fact, SIGNIFICANT rewards) but it’s “illegal”, what happens? I’ll let you ponder that one.

makattak on January 13, 2012 at 3:50 PM

So the solution is to make the position of President so meaningless that no matter how many billions of dollars corporations or unions pump into a candidate they will be unable to do anything. Or in other words, the solution is to reverse the course of American political history over 150 years, if not more so. In short, dismantling the federal government as we currently know it.

Fine, how?

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Allowing government to control the money which people spend to elect people to office is akin to letting players referee themselves in a pickup basketball game. It may work well sometimes, but everyone on the court is has winning as a priority and some are unscrupulous enough to bend the rules and fake the calls in order to advance their objectives. It doesn’t work.

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 3:57 PM

This is the guy that sponsored a bill to limit the free speech of Americans. I didn’t like him prior to 2008, I voted unwillingly for him in 2008, even though I thought he was dirt, and I still don’t like him.

War hero my foot. He doesn’t understand or believe in liberty. I wonder if he ever did.

Go away, McRINO, before you embarrass yourself further — and take your fat, loudmouthed, stupid daughter with you.

hachiban on January 13, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Hey McCain – just STFU – and GTFA – Now please

jake-the-goose on January 13, 2012 at 4:00 PM

What part of CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW does McCain not understand?

In fact, that should be the Conservative mantra for the next few decades – CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAWS.

turfmann on January 13, 2012 at 4:01 PM

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Our guarantee of free speech was included in our Constitution in order for American citizens to express political positions without fear of retribution. Period.

onlineanalyst on January 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Please explain the plan for making the Presidency, the Senate and the Congress so meaningless and powerless and corporate contributions will no longer lead to crony capitalism. Also then, please explain how the U.S. functions without a national defense or federal reserve bank.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM

“My friends…”

(in a McCain thread, this can’t be said enough)

/

Seven Percent Solution on January 13, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Say what you will about Obama. He never pretended to call us friends.

Lily on January 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:55 PM

You hit the nail square on the head.
The problem is that the only candidate arguing to get rid of significant levels of government power is Ron Paul and he is a nut case. I think over time we will have one of two things happen to accomplish it though. We will run out of other people’s money and the country will either default or come very close to it, probably clawing its way out of the problem by inflation that turns to hyper inflation and a return to hard forms of money. We will run out of other people’s money and the government will be forced to make everyone, from the lowest earning person to the highest pay significantly more for the government they are getting, and when people see how expensive these things truly are, will be repulsed and demand fewer government services and demand more private services.

It would be nice if we did not have to get to crisis, but there really are almost no grown ups in this nation anymore.

astonerii on January 13, 2012 at 4:06 PM

McCain is an enemy of liberty and of this Republic.

Dante on January 13, 2012 at 4:06 PM

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 3:57 PM
Please explain the plan for making the Presidency, the Senate and the Congress so meaningless and powerless and corporate contributions will no longer lead to crony capitalism. Also then, please explain how the U.S. functions without a national defense or federal reserve bank.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM

That makes no sense. What the heck are you talking about?

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:08 PM

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Why should unions be allowed to donate, but not other groups?

BobMbx on January 13, 2012 at 4:11 PM

McCain is still PO’ed that Obama did not take public funds in the last election and McCain did.

albill on January 13, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Please explain the plan for making the Presidency, the Senate and the Congress so meaningless and powerless and corporate contributions will no longer lead to crony capitalism. Also then, please explain how the U.S. functions without a national defense or federal reserve bank.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Fortunately, I have a plan for that already written up for you:

Plan for limiting government power

makattak on January 13, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Please explain the plan for making the Presidency, the Senate and the Congress so meaningless and powerless and corporate contributions will no longer lead to crony capitalism. Also then, please explain how the U.S. functions without a national defense or federal reserve bank.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM
Fortunately, I have a plan for that already written up for you:

Plan for limiting government power

makattak on January 13, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Sure – but libfree doesn’t get that it is possible for gov’t to not have power. And if gov’t doesn’t have power – it doesn’t matter how much money you give them – they can’t do anything to favor you.

It all starts with the premise of Government as God for them. They just want to be the ones who get the preferential treatment.

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:18 PM

That makes no sense. What the heck are you talking about?

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:08 PM

*sigh* And I thought we were making progress. Let me take you through it step by step.

You: Crony capitalism is bad.

Me: I agree, lets ban all campaign contributions and award party nominees the same amount of money and airtime on public television for debates and a limited set of ads.

You: That violates free speech! Instead, we need to make it so that government is small enough that candidates will not be able to favor anyone once they get into office.

Me: How?

You:

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:18 PM

That makes no sense. What the heck are you talking about?

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:08 PM

*sigh* And I thought we were making progress. Let me take you through it step by step.

You: Crony capitalism is bad.

Me: I agree, lets ban all campaign contributions and award party nominees the same amount of money and airtime on public television for debates and a limited set of ads.

You: That violates free speech! Instead, we need to make it so that government is small enough that candidates will not be able to favor anyone once they get into office.

Me: How?

You:

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:18 PM

“*sigh*” WTF? Are you writing a stage production or discussing politics?

Limit government power. You know. Reserved powers. Fidelity to the 10th Amendment. Etc. (this probably looks like a foreign language to you, huh?)

If nobody gets to regulate the lightbulb industry – the lightbulb lobbyists have no reason to give candidates money. Make sense?

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:24 PM

makattak on January 13, 2012 at 4:15 PM

A brilliant plan for establishing a new government in the late 18th century. What is your actual, real world, 2012 blue print for limiting the influence of government to the point where outside influence is impossible.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:24 PM

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:24 PM

So this means no federal reserve right? Or just that the President doesn’t decide who sits on the federal reserve any longer? Because that decision alone will cause corporations to give billions of dollars. No more government regulation on oil leases right? So oil companies can dig right on the beach, because otherwise they will give money to influence those who make decisions about drilling territory?

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM

makattak on January 13, 2012 at 4:15 PM
A brilliant plan for establishing a new government in the late 18th century. What is your actual, real world, 2012 blue print for limiting the influence of government to the point where outside influence is impossible.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:24 PM

“THE PEOPLE WHO WROTE THIS OWNED SLAVES! YOU’RE RACIST!”

/makattak

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:27 PM

“*sigh*” WTF? Are you writing a stage production or discussing politics?

Can’t it be a bit of both?

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:27 PM

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:24 PM
So this means no federal reserve right? Or just that the President doesn’t decide who sits on the federal reserve any longer? Because that decision alone will cause corporations to give billions of dollars. No more government regulation on oil leases right? So oil companies can dig right on the beach, because otherwise they will give money to influence those who make decisions about drilling territory?

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Yes – we all endorse anarchy. I can’t believe you figured it out.

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:28 PM

Lib,

We accept that some corruption and bias will happen within the political system. YOUR solution doesn’t address that. It simply limits political speech. (Will you deny any other speech addressing the election? Yes? How exactly do you square that with the right of the people to speak and petetion the government for redress?)

Further, if you limit political speech like that, it still does not address the fact that companies will have an incentive to influence politicians. You will drive that influence underground, because the rewards FAR outweigh the risk.

I propose to cut back the areas in which the government intrudes because it will cut back the reward. It will not END the influence peddling, but it will limit it. Cut regulations and/or hand them over to the states. Cut “investment”. Cut departments. Get everything as local as possible. Local governments are easier to hold accountable. Should they become corrupt, worst case, people can leave.

(Cue the dismisal of this idea as “impossible.”)

makattak on January 13, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Can’t it be a bit of both?

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Depends. Do we get a cut if it makes it to Broadway?

McDuck on January 13, 2012 at 4:30 PM

A brilliant plan for establishing a new government in the late 18th century. What is your actual, real world, 2012 blue print for limiting the influence of government to the point where outside influence is impossible.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:24 PM

And here you are lost again in your idea of “impossible” to influence.

We will NEVER have that and even your own oppressive idea will not have that. What we do is LIMIT political influence peddling by limiting the rewards of political influence. That is done by making the government that is farthest removed from the people the smallest it can possibly be and leaving as many governmental functions in the hands of the governments closest to the people.

makattak on January 13, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Yes – we all endorse anarchy. I can’t believe you figured it out.

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:28 PM

All I did was ask questions. You refuse to answer them. You do understand the rules of logic right? If the goal is a government so small that private donations will not lead to corruption of the free market how do we get there. Well, one clear way would be that economic institutions that are run by the government need to be dismantled. This means no SEC and no Federal Reserve Bank. Right?

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:35 PM

That is done by making the government that is farthest removed from the people the smallest it can possibly be and leaving as many governmental functions in the hands of the governments closest to the people.

makattak on January 13, 2012 at 4:32 PM

I mistyped. I accept your premise of super limited government as a possible solution to crony capitalism. What I am asking for is you to do is to present a solution to the problem your premise addresses. The size and influence of government in the free market. You linked to the constitution, great But its 2012 and we have a number of political institutions that are wrapped up in the market. Is the solution to dismantle all of them?

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Depends. Do we get a cut if it makes it to Broadway?

McDuck on January 13, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Any play based upon American politics is too tragic even for Broadway. And I’ve seen The Diary of Anne Frank.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Yes – we all endorse anarchy. I can’t believe you figured it out.

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:28 PM
All I did was ask questions. You refuse to answer them. You do understand the rules of logic right? If the goal is a government so small that private donations will not lead to corruption of the free market how do we get there. Well, one clear way would be that economic institutions that are run by the government need to be dismantled. This means no SEC and no Federal Reserve Bank. Right?

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:35 PM

You’re right, of course. I didn’t answer anything. If a conservative doesn’t have a 100% foolproof way to solve a problem – then your default position is more government.

Keep this in mind for any discussion you ever have with a conservative:

Your way of doing things relies on the perfectability of man. You want to put laws in place to be perfectly executed by perfect bureaucrats to perfectly regulate those of us who are imperfect.

The conservative acknowledges that ALL men are equal – and ALL of us are imperfect. So – the more power you give to imperfect people the more you magnify the problem.

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Oh the irony.

Dems get all the in-house help they want from the unions; they get 90% of print and electronic media; they get to collect millions in contributions using bogus $199.00 one-use VISA cards, and pacs are going to destroy the system?

Tell us John. You took government money and we were banned from trying to combat the MSM NON-vetting process on the commie twerp. We can’t have political speech but the Dems can?

Your da*n bill lost you the White House and gave us a one way ticket to third world hell.

I am very angry with the good Senator.

Portia46 on January 13, 2012 at 4:43 PM

astonerii on January 13, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Interesting theory, I have a different idea of our dystopian future, excuse me while I shift from play writing to sci-fi. The federal government will be eventually dismantled and decreased and we will return to the feudal system that came before capitalism and liberal democracy. We’re already heading there now. The wealthy act as a kind of aristocracy already and their ability to fund their own security will eventually replace national defense. You think “elitism” is bad now with a marginally accountable federal government. Imagine it in a society where the rule of law is *entirely* decided by those who have spectacular wealth and means. In that society this idea that campaign cash = free speech will survive just fine.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:43 PM

You’re right, of course. I didn’t answer anything. If a conservative doesn’t have a 100% foolproof way to solve a problem – then your default position is more government.

Dude I’m asking for *ANY* solution to the problem. You have rejected my solution, an equal playing field for party nominees and claimed we need to “shrink government.” I ask, “how?” And you call me a jerk. To quote your elegant phrase “WTF!” This is why I just chuckle when I hear people making these high minded pronouncements about the need for small government conservatives in the Republican party or act as if Obama is some kind of Stalinist genocidal maniac. You don’t have any *actual* ideas about politics. I won’t speculate what actually motivates your dislike of Obama and your tireless faith int he Republican party but I have a feeling they are small minded and petty. Why not spend some time actually thinking through the logical conclusion of your ideology before spouting off.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Dude I’m asking for *ANY* solution to the problem. You have rejected my solution, an equal playing field for party nominees and claimed we need to “shrink government.” I ask, “how?” And you call me a jerk. To quote your elegant phrase “WTF!” This is why I just chuckle when I hear people making these high minded pronouncements about the need for small government conservatives in the Republican party or act as if Obama is some kind of Stalinist genocidal maniac. You don’t have any *actual* ideas about politics. I won’t speculate what actually motivates your dislike of Obama and your tireless faith int he Republican party but I have a feeling they are small minded and petty. Why not spend some time actually thinking through the logical conclusion of your ideology before spouting off.

libfreeordie on January 13, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Think of it this way. Liberalism is the Hoover Dam. Lake Mead is “liberty”. Now – you’re asking me which chunk of conrete we need to take out of the Hoover Dam to get the water flowing downstream. The whole DAM thing needs to come down. I don’t care which chunk of concrete you start with, the goal is the same. Dismantle the Dept of Ed? Sure. Get the Fed under control? Yep. The EPA? Needs to be gone. Start wherever you want…the bureaucratic behemoth needs to be torn down.

You think you’re clever to try and win a debate with semantics. You’re not the first lib to try and do that. It’d be cute if it weren’t so tired.

CycloneCDB on January 13, 2012 at 4:57 PM

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