Monday, August 23, 2004
More speech, not less: The charges flying back and forth for the past few days in this year's presidential campaign is the calls by Sen. John Kerry, and now Sen. John Edwards, that President Bush order the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's advertisements off the air.
Kerry and his surrogates have claimed, without any real evidence, that Bush is behind the ads and controls the group. Needless to say, if Bush ordered the ads of the air (and the Swift Boat Vets complied -- something John O'Neill has said they would not do) that would be prima facie evidence that those scurrilous charges are true.
Bush has called for all 527 groups to stop running political advertisements, a position Kerry has been unwilling to match -- after all, the Democrats hold a much stronger fund-raising advantage vis a vis the 527s.
I've written before that the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act was an unconstitutional travesty (though the "conservative" Supreme Court disagrees) because of the limits that it placed on Americans banding together to participate in the political process.
Bush's "solution" to stop the 527s is the wrong thing to do. We should be encouraging more and more of them -- they lead to a more informed electorate.
Is there any doubt that without the Swift Boat Vets for Truth that John Kerry would still be peddling the Christmas in Cambodia story? The mainstream media certainly wasn't going to dig it up; they're too interested in the latest polls and who's ahead in which state.
The media isn't proactive; it is reactive. If a 527 runs an advertisement, whether it is true or false, the media (The New York Times excepted) will respond to help determine where the truth is.
More speech = more freedom.