Campaign Finance Reform: The Verdict

The current Presidential election is the first one in which two non-incumbents face each other under the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform law, technically known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.

How well it is working is largely summed up in the International Herald Tribune .

Barack Obama is days away from breaking the $188 million advertising spending record set by President George W. Bush in his re-election campaign in 2004, having unleashed an advertising campaign of a scale and complexity unrivaled in the television era.

Obama, the Democratic candidate, is now running at least four times as much advertising nationwide as his Republican rival, John McCain.

The huge gap has been made possible by Obama's decision to opt out of the federal campaign finance system... McCain is participating in the system.

Obama, who at one point promised to participate in it before changing his mind, is expected to announce in the next few days that he raised more than $100 million in September alone, a figure that would shatter previous monthly fund-raising records.

"This is uncharted territory," said Kenneth Goldstein, director of the Advertising Project at the University of Wisconsin. "We've certainly seen heavy advertising battles before. But we've never seen in a presidential race once side having such a lopsided advantage."

According to OpenSecrets.org
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/index.php,

For the first time ever in U.S. history, the candidates for president have raised more than $1 billion.

After becoming the nominee, [Obama] opted out of the public financing system, making him the first major-party candidate since the system was created to decline taxpayers' money for the general election.

Here are the top ten industries giving to Barack Obama:

1

Lawyers/Law Firms

$27,689,330

2

Retired

$27,220,507

3

Education

$12,222,365

4

Securities & Investment

$10,847,652

5

Business Services

$7,451,886

6

Misc Business

$7,412,509

7

Real Estate

$7,046,021

8

Health Professionals

$6,616,264

9

TV/Movies/Music

$5,724,815

10

Computers/Internet

$4,970,535


In 2001 John McCain stated the purpose of his CFR legislation on the floor of the Senate .

Madam President, the many sponsors of this legislation have but one purpose: to enact fair, bipartisan campaign finance reform that seeks no special advantage for one party or another, but that helps change the public's widespread belief that politicians have no greater purpose than their own reelection and to that end we will respond disproportionately to the needs of those interests that can best finance our ambition, even if those interests conflict with the public interest and with the governing philosophy we once sought office to advance.

Do you think the public still has a widespread belief that "politicians have no greater purpose than their own reelection" and that they respond to "those interests that can best finance [their] ambition"?

I don't know about you, but I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that Campaign Finance Reform is a failure.  What's more, it could have the ironic effect of ruining John McCain's chances for the Presidency.  But like all failed government policies, it will not be repealed.  They will try to "mend it, not end it."  Remember how the Three Stooges did plumbing?  Each leak gets fixed with another pipe, until you are trapped in a cage of your own pipes.  Sound familiar?
The current Presidential election is the first one in which two non-incumbents face each other under the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform law, technically known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.

How well it is working is largely summed up in the International Herald Tribune .

Barack Obama is days away from breaking the $188 million advertising spending record set by President George W. Bush in his re-election campaign in 2004, having unleashed an advertising campaign of a scale and complexity unrivaled in the television era.

Obama, the Democratic candidate, is now running at least four times as much advertising nationwide as his Republican rival, John McCain.

The huge gap has been made possible by Obama's decision to opt out of the federal campaign finance system... McCain is participating in the system.

Obama, who at one point promised to participate in it before changing his mind, is expected to announce in the next few days that he raised more than $100 million in September alone, a figure that would shatter previous monthly fund-raising records.

"This is uncharted territory," said Kenneth Goldstein, director of the Advertising Project at the University of Wisconsin. "We've certainly seen heavy advertising battles before. But we've never seen in a presidential race once side having such a lopsided advantage."

According to OpenSecrets.org
http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/index.php,

For the first time ever in U.S. history, the candidates for president have raised more than $1 billion.

After becoming the nominee, [Obama] opted out of the public financing system, making him the first major-party candidate since the system was created to decline taxpayers' money for the general election.

Here are the top ten industries giving to Barack Obama:

1

Lawyers/Law Firms

$27,689,330

2

Retired

$27,220,507

3

Education

$12,222,365

4

Securities & Investment

$10,847,652

5

Business Services

$7,451,886

6

Misc Business

$7,412,509

7

Real Estate

$7,046,021

8

Health Professionals

$6,616,264

9

TV/Movies/Music

$5,724,815

10

Computers/Internet

$4,970,535


In 2001 John McCain stated the purpose of his CFR legislation on the floor of the Senate .

Madam President, the many sponsors of this legislation have but one purpose: to enact fair, bipartisan campaign finance reform that seeks no special advantage for one party or another, but that helps change the public's widespread belief that politicians have no greater purpose than their own reelection and to that end we will respond disproportionately to the needs of those interests that can best finance our ambition, even if those interests conflict with the public interest and with the governing philosophy we once sought office to advance.

Do you think the public still has a widespread belief that "politicians have no greater purpose than their own reelection" and that they respond to "those interests that can best finance [their] ambition"?

I don't know about you, but I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that Campaign Finance Reform is a failure.  What's more, it could have the ironic effect of ruining John McCain's chances for the Presidency.  But like all failed government policies, it will not be repealed.  They will try to "mend it, not end it."  Remember how the Three Stooges did plumbing?  Each leak gets fixed with another pipe, until you are trapped in a cage of your own pipes.  Sound familiar?