Focus Point - Money and PoliticsCommentary by Pete du Pont
July 27, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Taking the politics out of government, an ex-Clintonista recently said, is like taking the math out of physics. I agree with the spirit, if not with the context of the quotation, which bashed George W. But I note it to add that taking money out of politics is equally pointless.
Hence my delight that congress seems to be accepting the fact that campaign spending limits are pure and simple a direct violation of the first amendment. If either of the two major campaign spending bills limited the cost and content of newspaper editorials or broadcasts regarding candidates and issues, you'd call it outrageous and you'd be right. But limiting any group or individual's ability to communicate is equally appalling -- and unconstitutional.
Senator McCain says his limitations would expand participation in the political process. In fact, they'd expand the re-elective power of incumbents, and the clout of celebrity candidates - constitutional questions aside. In the unlikely event his legislation doesn't die, President Bush should compassionately dispatch it.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know that ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.