America Needs More Adelson and Less McCain
I realize that the Jurassic media would have us believe that John McCain is a bipartisan saint -- the kind of reasonable Republican we need -- and that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is just another partisan devil incarnate. Frankly, however, a case can be made that America would be a country with a smaller government and fewer restrictions on liberty and speech if we had more Sheldon Adelsons and fewer John McCains. Which is to say a better America, in fact.
And since we apparently have one of each at last count -- and since McCain wants a bit of a public feud at the moment with Adelson over speech -- it is instructive to peek at their respective contributions to political speech and freedom.
McCain is no doubt peeved that his infamous CFR -- the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act -- has in effect been neutered by the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling. Of course, the problem with the fundamentally flawed CFR is not Citizens United. It is reality, common sense, human nature, world history -- and, well, McCain himself.
Remember now, the whole goal of CFR was to get the money out of politics. So how did that work out?
Well let's see. In his first race after CFR, McCain saw his opponent Barack Obama spend more money than has ever been spent on an election in world history to crush McCain himself.
Not to be outdone, in his second race after CFR, McCain himself spent more money in a single primary than he had spent in every one of his Arizona Senate races combined -- over 20 million -- to personally trash fellow Republican J.D. Hayworth. In other words, McCain's own career demonstrates the lie that is Campaign Finance Reform.
But the lie is not just the clever financial mechanisms exercised by the likes of Soros or the sheer blatant and embarrassing hypocrisy shown by McCain himself against Hayward. The lie is that money and power have never been separated in world history. The lie is that McCain and Feingold could somehow achieve this. In fact, it is really a lie that there is too much money in politics to begin with.
Truth be told, the problem is that there is too much politics in money. Big government itself dictates that more and more money will be drawn into politics. Human nature is what it is, and there will always be a mingling of politics (power) and money. The only way to reduce this mingling is simple. Reduce the size of politics, which means reducing the size, scope, and reach of government. Get politics the hell out of money, and you will see a dramatically decreased amount of money in politics. Period.
Try anything else, and you get...well, Obama's 2008 campaign and McCain v. Hayworth 2010. In other words, like almost every liberal piece of legislation or regulation designed to run afoul of basic human nature, it accomplishes the exact opposite of what was intended.
Which brings us to Mr. Adelson specifically and Super-PACs in general. Setting aside how annoying many of their ads are, and setting aside how many typical Beltway power-brokers are running them, PACs really are the best chance for someone not involved with a campaign and not involved in the media industry to have a say in our political discussion.
Many Tea Party groups are running media campaigns, for example, and if you happen to like the message a given group is promoting, you can join in and help spread the message. You don't have to settle for Mitt's milquetoast message or the latest brain wave from Karl Rove. Before PACs, you did.
Of course, you can't spread as much of a message as Adelson can. Then again, you probably can't do as much of anything as Adelson can. For the time being, that is the way it is in a free society. And that is fine, frankly. I damned sure don't want the McCains of the world putting limits on Adelson's cars, houses, boats, businesses -- or speech. Or yours. Or mine.
You see, Adelson's ability to be part of the discussion is far more innocently achieved than McCain's ability to be part of the discussion. McCain gets access to tens of millions of dollars' worth of air time simply because he's been living off our dime for decades inside the Beltway, and during that time he has smooched the hind cheeks of everyone in the media who cannot stand what we stand for.
Adelson gets that exposure the old-fashioned way. He pays for it. Every penny Adelson has was willingly separated from the previous owner in a moment of freedom and revelry. Every penny ever earned by McCain was in a government check. Yes, I know, the first few years it was a military check -- but after 40 years, you get the idea. He's a gummint employee, period. And he acts as entitled as the most spoiled union teacher at a Madison drum circle.
In fact, so entitled is McCain that he is out on our dime again and doing his darndest to limit what Adelson can contribute to the political discussion -- not to mention burnishing his "reasonable" bona fides with MSNBC and Bill O'Reilly. In an interview with Judy Woodruff, he clearly insinuated that Adelson's contributions were tainted because one of his casinos was in Macau -- telling a breathless Woodruff that "in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign."
He also called the Citizens United ruling by the Court "the most misguided, naive, uninformed, egregious decision of the United States Supreme Court I think in the 21st century."
Meanwhile, Adelson is totally honest and forthright about where he is coming from. He wants Obama beaten, and for months, he supported Newt Gingrich as the best man to take Obama apart on the national stage. In an interview during his days of supporting Newt, Adelson said that he was going to do all of this in plain view -- as opposed to the likes of Soros and others on the left, who develop all kinds of shadow organizations to launder their support, like the Tides Foundation, and support tax-deductible "public interest" groups like Media Matters. Adelson makes no apologies for it, and we should be thankful for his boldness. At his level, he lives the rest of his days in any kind of luxury he wants, whether or not the nation goes down an Obama toilet.
We are not in that position.
For our benefit, he now supports the defeat of Obama by way of the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney. Openly. Honestly. In plain sight. Including the fact that Mitt was not his preference.
And the only misguided, naïve, uniformed player in this little contretemps Adelson is having with McCain is McCain himself. After all, Adelson is dealing in reality. McCain is the government lifer who lives the fantasy that money and power can ever be separated -- and that he is one of the smart ones who can show us how. And he'll do it with our money, to boot, and a cartoonish amount of sanctimony.