Saturday, September 10, 2005

Daniel Lowenstein of the election law list points to this article about public financing - here, state-mandated free TV for political parties - being used for subversive purposes. The german anarchist pogo party ran a commercial of drunken debauchery instead of some lecture on economics or a pretty guy walking through the city carrying his coat over his shoulder or meeting old ladies.
On the one hand, it's great TV - they would have my vote, and it probably gives them the most bang for the buck. On the other hand, it mocks a process which needs mocking.
I once spent some time researching the dirty "clean elections" regimes of maine and new mexico and new jersey and the FEC, with an idea of seeking these funds in large numbers to show the moral bankruptcy of the programs. Never quite got around to it yet - I accomplish less than 10% of my grand schemes, and still get more done than most people.
Indiana recently repealed its public financing of major parties - a form of institutionalized graft laundered through the motor vehicle department. That means my party can now compete on a more even footing.
In 2000, there was a contested election between Bush and Gore. We've seen the evils of Bush - a secret plan to start a war, among other things. We never got to see what evil Gore had planned, but one thing he's admitted to is wanting full public financing for congress. Public financing tend to go hand in hand with bans on private financing, that then get extending to bans on private speech, which results in the destructuion of the integrity of the election process. Certainly the liberals have a valid concern that elections are prone to being bought by the rich or the corrupt - Joe Kennedy and LBJ and Nixon are a few examples I know better than others. And I don't have a solution to that problem, other than an informed and involved electorate. But public financing and other such "reform" plans almost invariably make things worse instead of better, whether due to ignorance or cunning I don't know.
So Vote Pogo! Mock the Vote.

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