Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Is This Seriously the Optimal Scenario?

From the Corner's David Freddoso:

We used to have an unorthodox campaign-finance regime in this country called "the First Amendment." It would not be so bad to go back. It would, paradoxically, deprive Washington's lobbyist-gatekeeper class of all its power. After all, who besides a powerful lobbyist can come up with 100 people ready to max out with $2,300 for your Senate campaign, and then deliver them at a fundraiser? Is that cleaner than having an eccentric, wealthy donor give you $230,000, as some states currently allow? At least in the latter system, there is absolutely no question about others' free speech rights.

Nor is there any question to whom the elected official owes his or her power.

I don't know very many people who give money to political campaigns that I would call "eccentric," especially the kinds of dudes that would be willing to drop roughly a quarter of a million dollars on one Senator. In fact, the phrase that immediately springs to mind is "calculating." And why wouldn't these guys be looking out for a return on their investment if they're going to be forking over that kind of cash in non-tax-deductible funds?

Oddly enough, and I have only anecdotal experience to back this up, but I have spoken to a number of people who have confided in me that they feel more inclined to donate to a political campaign because of spending limits because, by their own rationale, they feel their money becomes just as important (if not more so) as anyone else's. That might not get a given candidate the money he or she might like to run with, but it may get more people invested in a campaign in ways they would otherwise would not.

Again, I can't link to any data, study, or article that would back me up on this, but I think it would be fascinating to see the results of a study that looked into the psychology of why people give and what they feel when they are giving under different campaign finance circumstances.

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