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The Sooner the Better

November 13th, 2003 - 12:59 am

George Will on Howard Dean’s campaign finance:

There may be more moral vanity in Howard Dean than in any politician since Woodrow Wilson, which is why Dean is incapable of admitting that he has ever been wrong or changed his mind (about Medicare cuts, raising the retirement age, NAFTA, basing affirmative action on class rather than race, etc.). So now he says that unless he abandons public financing, his money will be gone when the primaries are over. Then Bush could spend to speak to the nation all summer, while he, Dean, would fall silent until after the Democratic convention, when he would get a fresh infusion of public money.

But notice that Dean’s argument concedes what campaign finance regulators deny — that money is tantamount to speech, and therefore limits on political money limit political speech. Note also that Dean refuses to limit the spending of his privately raised money in the primaries to the amount that his publicly financed rivals will be spending. Obviously his decision to rely on private money is motivated not just by fear of Bush after the primaries but also by his desire to outspend his rivals in primaries.

And there’s not a damn thing wrong with that. Dean should be respected for disdaining Federal matching funds, but should be disdained himself for his moral cowardice in pretending to leave the decision up to his supporters.

As George Soros proves, the Campaign Finance Reform Act is a joke. And as Will notes, it’s in violation of the First Amendment.

Kill it already.

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