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Campaign Finance Reform
Cynic
Hello all. I'm curious what all of your perspectives are on the current set of campaign finance rules, what's broken about them (if you feel something is broken), and what other factors affect those aspects campaign finance laws are supposed to address and what, if anything, you think should be done about those.
 
seeker
There is so much wrong but the solution is really pretty simple.

The biggest problem is money. In our system a candidate can spend all he wants. In addition outside organizations can spend whatever they want on ads for candidates. This effectively limits the field to candidates who are wealthy or have a lot of wealthy friends, otherwise their opponent can just bury them in ads.

Large corporations are free to not only spend that money on ads but they can use that ability to influence politicians. A lot of people don't realize that politicians spend most of their time raising money for their campaigns. Big dollar contributions from corporations are what keep most politicians in office and of course those contributions always come with strings attached. Essentially the lobbying system is a form of legal bribery

There is also no check on the truthfulness of ads. Short of outright libel an ad can say just about anything. During the Obama campaign third party ads trumpeting Obama as a terrorist, Muslim, Socialist etc ran with no retractions or corrections even after they were exposed as untruthful.

The other big factor is the gross partisanship that has developed in the media when it comes to reporting on campaigns. Fox News in particular essentially kept McCain viable even during his miserable campaign by serving as an almost constant advertisement. Their treating groups like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and Focus on the Family as anything other than the nuts they are had a lot to do with getting Bush Jr into office and keeping him there.

The solution is really very simple;

1). Bring back the fairness doctrine.

Guys like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh only broke through because no one is there to call them out on their dishonesty. Not only should people hear both sides of discussions but there needs to be fact checking and commentators who regularly present misinformation should be fined and taken off the air.

2.) Only public money should be used to fund campaigns. Private spending should not be allowed, this way politicians won't just be able to flood the airwaves with negative ads. Political ads should be drastically limited and campaigns should be more reliant on debate and other fora that allow actual discussion of issues rather than the soundbites that advertising encourages.

3.) Lobbying by corporations should be required to be public with severe criminal penalties the politician and the corporation for any quid pro quo whether it is a small gift , a campaign contribution, campaign ad or any other direct or indirect form of compensation.

4.) Third party ads should be heavily fact checked. No ad should run that contains factual errors or slurs that cannot be proven.
 
derF
I wrote a letter to the editor of our local newspaper today Perhaps it will shed some light on what I think about this subject.:

By the time you read this the health care vote will be history. For the House of Representatives at least. Washington has been in an uproar for nearly a year over this issue. In reality health care has waxed and waned as the most important piece of legislation Congress would tackle since Roosevelt. Perhaps before. For all of those sixty years plus, some in our country deemed it acceptable to turn their backs on their very own countrymen who were in need. A curious state of affairs when you consider how much we spend abroad to help those in need. It makes one wonder why this is so.

But the answer is not hard to ascertain. A quick Google of ‘campaign financing’ will reveal that nearly all Republican Congress people have taken substantial donations from large health care insurers, pharmaceuticals and other companies in the industry. Sadly, many Democrats have also accepted sizable contributions from these companies.

So it isn’t a big surprise that these are the same people who are vehemently opposed to the health care bill confronting them now. They have a vested interest in seeing that the bill does not pass. What is surprising is the number of Americans who have heard their rhetoric and swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker.
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
catman
derF: I think that is rather good.

I'd rather have the gov't for a health care source than the rapacious pharmaceutical corporations and insurance companies. It could hardly be worse, and it would probably be better.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
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