George Will offers a strong defense of campaign funding and points out that spending doesn’t buy elections.
The Post, dismayed about super PACs, reports “a rarefied group of millionaires and billionaires acting as kingmakers in the GOP contest, often helping to decide, with a simple transfer of money, which candidate might survive another day.” Kingmakers? Where’s the king?
If kingmaking refers to, say, Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino owner, keeping Newt Gingrich’s candidacy afloat with large infusions to the super PAC supporting Gingrich, then kingmaking isn’t what it used to be.
He also defends the constitutionality of campaign funding.
… The court’s unremarkable logic was that individuals do not forfeit their First Amendment speech rights when they come together in corporate entities or unions to speak collectively. What is the constitutional basis for saying otherwise?
… Actually, Citizens United has nothing to do with Adelson and others who are spending their own money, not any corporation’s. People have done this throughout the nation’s life, and doing so was affirmed as a constitutional right in the court’s 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision.
And he defends the right of relative outsiders to influence the political process.
Critics of super PACs — critics who were remarkably reticent in 2004 when George Soros was lavishing his own money on liberal advocacy — often refer to them as “outside groups,” much as Southern sheriffs used to denounce civil rights workers as “outside agitators.”
Pray tell: Super PACs are outside of what? Is the political process a private club with the parties and candidates controlling membership?
It might be more wholesome for the speech-financing money that is flowing to super PACs to go instead to the parties and candidates’ campaigns. But the very liberals who are horrified by super PACs (other than Barack Obama’s) have celebrated the laws that place unreasonable restrictions on such giving.
The whole thing is worth reading and pondering.