After seeing a few more articles about campaign finance reform, I've come to the conclusion that we need REAL reform. Since the CFR law signed into law shreds the constitution, why not use a cross-cut shredder and turn it into confetti? Here's my eight-point proposal.
1). Eliminate "soft money" entirely. Let the candidates raise their own money.
2). Eliminate all contributions by any organization or corporation, including "bundling" groups such as EMILY's List. Persons wishing to contribute to a candidate can send the money to the candidate directly.
3). Eliminate all out-of-state contributions to congressional and senatorial candidates. They are elected to serve their constituents, not out-of-state special interests.
4). Eliminate the franked mail (free mail) available to incumbent politicians. Any candidate that needs to blow his own horn (on the taxpayer's dime) is not serving his constituents very well.
5). Set a very low spending ceiling on campaigns-perhaps $100,000 for a congressional campaign, $250,000 for a senatorial campaign, and $3 Million for a presidential campaign. This will eliminate many of the obnoxious ads that flood the airwaves. It will reduce the number of campaign workers that are being financed by public funds (in the form of matching funds), and will also prevent deep-pocketed candidates (Jon Corzine and Steve Forbes come to mind) from inundating the airwaves with self-financed ads. The cap must be indexed to the costs of the local media markets, as it costs a lot more to advertise in New York City than it does in South Dakota.
6). Ban all political advertisements by special interest groupsthe NRA, the pharmaceutical industry, the Christian Coalition, the Sierra Club, the ACLU, People for the American Way, etc. They can mail guides to their members (only their members) advising them how to vote, but they cannot contribute to the election or a candidate, or run attack ads against a candidate they oppose.
7). Eliminate funding of the political conventions. They serve no purpose any more; it is known months in advance who the party nominees will be, and there is no reason for the American taxpayer to pick up the tab for the two parties to preen before the media talking heads.
8). Institute term limits for congressmen and senators. Does anyone disagree with the statement "Strom Thurmond has served WAY too long"? Or Jesse Helms, or Ted Kennedy, or Robert Byrd? There are plenty of qualified candidates out there; we don't need a permanent ruling class of career politicians.
The last is not exactly a finance reform, but it directly influences spending. Incumbency is an advantage in and of itself, and if we have a regular shuffling of politicians, we can eliminate some of the "fiefdom" mentality that permeates congressthe unshakeable sense of entitlement that long-serving members often develop. They are elected to serve us, not for us to serve them. Sometimes they need to be reminded.
posted on April 21, 2002 07:14 PM