527 ORGANIZATIONS: UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES
OF ELECTION CAMPAIGN FINANCE "REFORM"
By Christopher G. Adamo
Yet, beyond even this, the political landscape is dramatically shifted this time around.
Campaign finance “reform” legislation, the errant progeny of Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold, was promoted as a means of cleaning up political corruption, though it was clearly never intended to do so. Specific provisions of McCain-Feingold dealt, instead, with government sanctioned censoring of political advertisements within sixty days of a general election.
Senator McCain made abundantly clear his hopes of protecting the political class by getting rid of the annoying attack ads that any true statesman should recognize as being part of the turf of those who enter the highly competitive arena of electoral politics, seeking to acquire or retain legitimate authority to govern society. Nor has McCain ever made a credible case as to how such ads were corrupting the political process, and thus how their prohibition would “clean up politics.” Yet, despite its blatantly unconstitutional character, the McCain-Feingold law stands.
But then something happened that the ruling class didn’t anticipate. Americans, being accustomed to living in a country that traditionally endorsed the principle of involvement by the masses, began to coalesce into organizations that have not yet been rendered illegal by the elected aristocracy. And these organizations, to the surprise of many, produced a fundamental alteration in the direction and format of the political debate.
Only a few months ago, most Americans had never heard of a “527” organization, so named on account of the section of the tax code that provides the loophole within which it can exist. Despite media insinuations that these organizations are the domain of Rightwing political groups, the exact opposite is true. The overwhelming majority of 527 organizations, and their funding, are the work of staunch Leftists, such as the wealthy anti-American businessman George Soros.
This reality, and the possibility of its enormous influence on the political process, caused little or no excitement in the media and among Liberal Democrats, who were quite content with the advent of a new arm to their propaganda machine. But then came the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, and everything changed.
On a shoestring budget, the Swift Vets launched a campaign to expose John Kerry’s underhanded dealings during and after his brief service in Vietnam. But, while the flagrantly fabricated propaganda of George Soros and Michael Moore never resonated, except among the Far-Left fringe, the message of the Swift Vets rang true, resulting in a major erosion of Kerry’s carefully crafted image as a “war hero.”
Within Democratic Party circles, it is slowly becoming apparent that their pretense of being political “Centrists” is being stripped away by Liberal extremists who, in their zeal to attack the President, are revealing their character in no uncertain terms. Democrats’ worst nightmares have come true in that the “light of truth,” the mortal enemy of Liberalism, is being shined upon them by their own party members.
Efforts by Republican Party insiders to soften the rhetoric, under their misbegotten notion that a “moderate” tone might be more palatable to undecided voters, are fading from the limelight, as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth increasingly define the real political debate. And, though such controversy is unnerving to the often-timid GOP insiders, among the citizenry, it clearly delineates the disparity that exists between candidates.
Contrary to the wishes of the political parties to present a sanitized (often to the point of fraudulent) picture of their respective agendas, both sides are increasingly seen for what they are. On each end of the political spectrum, the 527 groups have redirected political discussions from the standard posturing of the party apparatus to the real intentions and ideologies of the “grassroots.” And, while in some cases the results have not been pretty, the reality is nonetheless enlightening.
Campaign finance “reform” is certainly not a good thing. Nevertheless, it has managed to result in the best side of traditional America being contrasted against the worst elements of the Left. Though a heinous affront to the principle of free speech, it did not successfully stifle the “rabble” as intended, but, instead, seems to have empowered them. Somewhere, behind closed doors, John McCain is having one of his infamous tantrums. It is a good day.
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