The only reason we've been forced to implement campaign finance reform is, quite simply, because we can't trust politicians to keep their coffers clean. I'll buy that. But this is the wrong approach to the problem.
American politics is, has been, and will always be about the free exchange of information (dratted 1st Amendment, anyway) so that we, the people, can be informed and educated about the pressing issues of the day. I realize that it is the money, Stupid. But it is also about the rights of citizens of this country to express their views, even when others disagree with them. Or, perhaps, especially when others disagree with them.
I, for one, don't really give two hoots where the Swifties got the money to write their book and make their ads. No more do I care where the Dems got the wherewithal to snipe at Bush's there/not there tour of duty. Why? Because the bottom line is that I will believe whatever the heck I darn well please to believe, based on my own analysis of the stuff that keeps hitting the election year fans. Period. I won't buy the book because I don't need to. I already distrust Kerry for far more reasons than whether or not he's lying about Vietnam. If Kerry feels slighted, let him sue whomever he cares to sue. He has that right, I suppose.
Wanna know the truth? I'm heartily sick of hearing about the whole did-he-or-didn't-he-go-to-Cambodia-or-shoot-himself-in-some-part-of-his-body schtick. Yesterday's news, boys. Ya made yer points, now get on with it. Tell me OTHER reasons why I shouldn't vote for the turkey.
On the other hand, and more to my original point, I fully respect the rights (and even the needs) of others to follow this story line down to its inevitably murky end. And that's where I happen to disagree - loudly - with Mr. President. If you had nothing to do with it personally, say so. Then keep yer nose out of it. That kind of chilling effect on our right to speak freely (no matter who finances it) will ultimately roll downhill to the Blogosphere - mark my words. Because if, heaven forbid, the Swifties really were guilty of receiving financing from inappropriate sources, a political stretch would make us guilty by association. And, believe me, it wouldn't take much for our enemies to connect the dots and try to make that happen.
None of this, of course, will change my mind. Nothing anyone does or says should ever dampen the desire or the ability of citizens to try to educate their brethren.
Arms or no arms.
The Minneapolis effect
11 minutes ago