The Republicans and Campaign Finance Reform


Think campaign finance reform is still a top priority with Republicans in Congress? The McCain-Feingold bill, a truly bipartisan bill which would drastically limit soft money contributions to any party from any source, the money which was at the center of the childish, costly and useless investigations into the President's and the DNC's fundraising, was scheduled for a vote in Congress. The Republican's answer to even allowing a vote to occur? Why, they used a rare parliamentary maneuver to block even a floor discussion regarding campaign reform.

Trent Lott, that champion of campaign reform rhetoric and double talk, first tried to force the Senate to outright kill the bill. When he couldn't garner enough votes for that, he exercised his ability as majority leader to "fill up the amendment tree", a move which blocks all business before Congress and ends all floor debates on any and all subjects.

Never fear, though. Even though the Senate Republicans completely refused to allow debate on campaign finance reform to occur, they now claim to have an alternative plan. Misnamed the "Paycheck Protection Bill" (it won't protect any paychecks but those of the Republicans), this absurd and senseless act would only apply to organized labor and would force unions to get their member's individual permissions before spending money on political campaigns. Now, as anyone with any sense knows, organized labor will not support the Republican's attack on the average American worker and their employment rights so this bill is designed only to limit the ability of other parties to obtain contributions.

So now we know that, while the Democrats are pretty useless in enacting campaign finance reform, the Republicans are actively engaged in destroying any possibility of repairing the very system which got them elected.

But that isn't the best of all of the asinine news concerning this problem. On Feb. 27, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, feigning puzzlement that the subject could come up again, completely killed any further action towards reform by claiming that the very gridlock that he, himself, created would not allow him to permit any further floor discussion in the Senate. He immediately opened the next item of business regarding a multibillion dollar highway spending bill (read big-time pork) and, with a smile, wondered to a reporter, "Why would I want to say anything about (campaign finance reform) today? Surface transportation is the subject of the hour."

Another surprisingly stupid remark was made by Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho who chairs the Senate GOP policy committee. He stated that the defeat of any possibility of reform was "a phenomenally significant vote for the country and for ... God-fearing, constitutional Americans." Obviously, if this ludicrous little person is to be believed, the desire to control the money which is consuming politics and buying politicians makes the actually intelligent portion of America who are demanding change into unconstitutional atheists. Even as a Republican, don't you feel the least bit insulted by his divisive comment?

Finally, consider that the loud but useless Congressional committees that pretended to investigate campaign financing irregularities subpoenaed twenty times as many Democrats as Republicans while every Republican member of the two major investigative committees were accused of breaking these same laws and you might get some vague idea of the garbage people think is truth.

For those who still want to believe that the Republican Party is in any way superior to the Democrats, this Senate action should alter that notion once and for all. You can ridicule Clinton and the Democrats for whatever reasons you and your "leaders" invent (and mostly these attacks take the place of honest and critical thinking, anyway) but the reality is that they are all in politics only for the power and money it provides. Not one of them cares one whit about you or yours unless you have the financial ability to buy one of them. They will never act to put a stop to the river of money which they so adore nor will any of them ever tell you the truth about their intentions. Voting Republican is just as absurd as voting Democratic. Find a third party candidate to vote for and send everyone in Washington a message that you are refusing to participate in their hate filled and outright evil schemes to keep themselves in power and you under their boot. Otherwise, every time you open your mouth to make fun of any of them without including the other party you are simply exposing the fact that you are this easily duped and will accept whatever you are told to believe. What a sad thing to admit.

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Copyright 3/6/98