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View Full Version : Elections Let's revisit this topic again: public financing of campaigns.


Direckshun
02-23-2011, 10:59 PM
The subject has come up in a few threads as a tangeant.

Let's address it straightforwardly as its own subject, because I think it's a fascinating conversation.

I think one of the telling things about our electoral process is that during a public employee strike in Wisconsin, governor Scott Walker took 20 minutes to field a call from an imposter pretending to be a really rich guy who pours money into Tea Party politics.

Now... whatever. I don't care about the imposter thing. For the most part Walker was still consistent with his public statements, except he was far more frank about the deviousness of his political strategy. Like I said, big whoop, whatever.

But the guy making the call was clearly acting like a bit of a loon. And Walker grins and bears it, chuckling hesitantly and trying to be somewhat supportive. This guy on the phone was a lunatic, but he has a ton of cash, so he gets a huge amount of attention from public servants like Walker for almost entirely that reason alone.

Obama himself, in Audacity of Hope, wrote that you cannot really get a political career off the ground without "asking rich people for money."

For a serious shot at the Presidency, for instance, you need to campaign for a year and a half AT LEAST, which demands that you must suck up over a hundred million dollars in donations for at least 18 months' time. This means that people who are either (a.) rich, or (b.) sympathetic to the rich, or (c.) both, are the only ones who have a shot at this stage. And it doesn't get much better for either chamber of Congress.

I'm not attempting to make a comprehensive argument. I'm just trying to get the ball rolling. So let's roll.

What are your thoughts on public financing of campaigns?

dirk digler
02-23-2011, 11:07 PM
I am for it. I think public officials are to beholden to who writes their checks to get them elected or re-elected.

Also I heard today Obama is going to try to get $1 billion dollars in donations to get elected.

I think that is just crazy

healthpellets
02-23-2011, 11:21 PM
over the last couple of weeks, i've decided that i'm all for public financing of campaigns.

we aren't gonna solve a g*ddamn thing in this country pandering to unions and big oil. nothing.

until we fill the halls of Congress with real f*cking people that have real ideas and are beholden to no one besides the true will of the people, we might as well just throw up our hands declare a draw because nothing substantial will ever get done.

i've never felt that money = speech. i can see the argument that it does. and it's fine if you hold that opinion. but it's not. just because you have more money doesn't mean your voice should be louder than mine. and that goes for individuals and corporations.

no PACs, no corporate donations, no individual donations. if you want to get out volunteer your labor for a candidate, that's awesome. and you should be commended. but writing a check...sorry.

there are so many people in this country that have great ideas. and some that have really crappy ideas. but none of those good or crappy ideas to fix this country will ever see the light of day because those folks have no shot, zero shot, of ever holding office.

while we're at it...term limits. two consecutive terms for the HoR, and one term for the Senate. If you wish to serve again, you wait two cycles for the HoR, and one cycle for the Senate.

new people, new ideas.

seriously, imagine the good we could do without every single f*cking office holder looking over their shoulder and making sure their major campaign contributors approve to the vote that s/he is about to cast.

the whole process is disgusting. a typical freshman HoR member spends his/her entire first term raising money for their second term election. how sick is that?

oh crap, and just imagine how quickly 3d parties would become viable if everyone played on the same field. holy shit.

imagine the confidence you could have in your CongressCritter knowing that he was actually voting his/her conscience and not voting to support the agenda of his biggest campaign contributor.

/rant

eta: yes, this means that you will "be forced" to financially "support" a candidate that you don't support. so be it. i don't believe in the MIC, yet i'm forced to support it. I don't believe that the Dept. of ED. is constitutional. yet, my tax dollars support it. so this one thing that could actually change the world...we should "be forced" to support it.

dirk digler
02-23-2011, 11:26 PM
I totally agree with everything you said healthpellets.

Public Financed Campaigns + Term Limits = win

Buehler445
02-23-2011, 11:30 PM
while we're at it...term limits. two consecutive terms for the HoR, and one term for the Senate. If you wish to serve again, you wait two cycles for the HoR, and one cycle for the Senate.

new people, new ideas.

seriously, imagine the good we could do without every single f*cking office holder looking over their shoulder and making sure their major campaign contributors approve to the vote that s/he is about to cast.

the whole process is disgusting. a typical freshman HoR member spends his/her entire first term raising money for their second term election. how sick is that?

oh crap, and just imagine how quickly 3d parties would become viable if everyone played on the same field. holy shit.

imagine the confidence you could have in your CongressCritter knowing that he was actually voting his/her conscience and not voting to support the agenda of his biggest campaign contributor.

/rant

This part I agree with. The problem is that it won't change. Nothing will change unless you do something drastic like not allow campaigning at all.

I'd be in favor of no campaigns at all. It'd be better to make a website that each candidate can contribute documents on subjects at hand and have debates. Remove all the bullshit and stick to facts and ideas.

But that will never happen. The system is completely assfucked until major change happens.

HerculesRockefell
02-24-2011, 12:08 AM
No. It's a terrible idea.

It would only further promote the influence of the 2 major parties, they would decide the funding structure and you can be damn sure 3rd parties aren't going to get an equal slice of the pie (nor should they with such tiny registration numbers). Bob Barr (L) pulled .4% in 2008, and Cynthia McKinney (G) pulled .12%. No f-ing way should either of those two parties be entitled to the same amount of funding as the Rs and Ds. Anyone who actually thinks this will increase the influense of 3rd parties is fooling themselves.

Also, who makes the decisions on who is a viable candidate that is entitled to funding, when in the process (primary or general), who decides the funding breakdown, etc.?

You're basically asking for whole new government agencies on both the federal and state levels that are in essence going to decide who our candidates will be. Whoever decides where the funding goes within the parties, controls who our candidates from each party will be.

Direckshun
02-24-2011, 12:56 AM
No. It's a terrible idea.

It would only further promote the influence of the 2 major parties, they would decide the funding structure and you can be damn sure 3rd parties aren't going to get an equal slice of the pie (nor should they with such tiny registration numbers). Bob Barr (L) pulled .4% in 2008, and Cynthia McKinney (G) pulled .12%. No f-ing way should either of those two parties be entitled to the same amount of funding as the Rs and Ds. Anyone who actually thinks this will increase the influense of 3rd parties is fooling themselves.

America, for the vast majority of its history, has had a two party system.

That's not necessarily because the two parties hold all the power, although they do. It's because of the winner-take-all political system we have rather than a proportional representation that other countries have. Third parties simply cannot survive in a winner-take-all system.

If you're worried about third party influence, you're misfiring here. You should direct your aim at installing a proportional representation system. Other countries have that system (as WELL as public financing!) and have multiple parties that thrive.

Taco John
02-24-2011, 02:08 AM
America, for the vast majority of its history, has had a two party system.

That's not necessarily because the two parties hold all the power, although they do. It's because of the winner-take-all political system we have rather than a proportional representation that other countries have. Third parties simply cannot survive in a winner-take-all system.

If you're worried about third party influence, you're misfiring here. You should direct your aim at installing a proportional representation system. Other countries have that system (as WELL as public financing!) and have multiple parties that thrive.


You didn't really say anything to counter his point. You just kind of talked around it.

Direckshun
02-24-2011, 03:27 AM
You didn't really say anything to counter his point. You just kind of talked around it.

Shrug.

The entire argument that third parties stand no chance in a public financing system is assinine at best. How, exactly, are they doing now?

Public financing can conceivably be tweeked so that more parties can participate. Conceivably. There's at least a glimmer of hope there. There's none in our system today. Unless, of COURSE, you're a billionaire.

The point is completely moot anyway. There's more than institutional barriers preventing third parties from getting in on the action. There's constitutional barriers: so long as we are a winner-take-all election system, the vast majority of right-to-the-centers will vote for the designated "conservative" party, the vast majority of left-to-the-centers will vote for the designated "liberal" party -- few will splinter off, for fear of "the other side."

So we can argue hypotheticals about third parties and pretend that's the dealbreaker for public financing. But with or without it, it's moot anyway because we don't live under a proportional system that rewards third parties, we live under a winner-take-all system that renders them meaningless.

Bewbies
02-24-2011, 10:48 AM
Is public money more noble than private money or something? Did I miss something that happened and we aren't broke anymore?

Direckshun
02-24-2011, 11:18 AM
Is public money more noble than private money or something? Did I miss something that happened and we aren't broke anymore?

Public financing costs us pennies, and the return on it (i.e. politicians would be faaaar less beholden to special interests and the super rich than they are now) is worth its weight in gold.

I'm not casting moral aspersions on public or private money. But a private donation system renders the few rich among us as kingmakers. That's going to be much less the case in public financing.

Bewbies
02-24-2011, 11:31 AM
Public financing costs us pennies, and the return on it (i.e. politicians would be faaaar less beholden to special interests and the super rich than they are now) is worth its weight in gold.

I'm not casting moral aspersions on public or private money. But a private donation system renders the few rich among us as kingmakers. That's going to be much less the case in public financing.

Dream on kid.

bobbymitch
02-24-2011, 04:47 PM
I would support public financing as long as their were some time limits on campaigning. Maybe 9 months for Pres/VP, 6 months for Senate and 4 months for representatives?

As it stands now only the ubber rich or someone in someone's pockets, beit Soros or the Kochs.

Jenson71
02-24-2011, 04:49 PM
In favor.

Direckshun
02-24-2011, 11:50 PM
Dream on kid.

In what manner?

This thread isn't about what is likely/unlikely to come to pass.

It's about the superior electoral system and governance.

Make a case or put on some floaties.

Direckshun
02-24-2011, 11:50 PM
I would support public financing as long as their were some time limits on campaigning. Maybe 9 months for Pres/VP, 6 months for Senate and 4 months for representatives?

As it stands now only the ubber rich or someone in someone's pockets, beit Soros or the Kochs.

I completely agree.

Bewbies
02-24-2011, 11:53 PM
I completely agree.

You can't leave "the rich" to only individuals. What about evil orgs like the NRA, or the one's looking out for the working man, all the union $$ going to democrats?

LMAO

mnchiefsguy
02-24-2011, 11:55 PM
The unions would never agree to it, they have too many politicians in their pocket.

Direckshun
02-24-2011, 11:56 PM
You can't leave "the rich" to only individuals. What about evil orgs like the NRA, or the one's looking out for the working man, all the union $$ going to democrats?

Uhhh... yeah. That's the point I'm getting at. You're just supporting my argument.

The rich, huge interest groups, huge corporations... the uber-"have"s. Our politicians are beholden to them in our current system.

Now they will still bear a disproportionate influence in a public financing system -- which, I would argue, they should -- but only in a peripheral sense. Not in the puppetry that we experience today.

Direckshun
02-24-2011, 11:57 PM
The unions would never agree to it, they have too many politicians in their pocket.

The rich, interest groups, and corporations would never agree to it. Because the current system empowers them over everybody else to ridiculous degrees.

Does that tell you anything?

mnchiefsguy
02-25-2011, 12:00 AM
The rich, interest groups, and corporations would never agree to it. Because the current system empowers them over everybody else to ridiculous degrees.

Doe that tell you anything?

So you would include unions then? They are a "rich, interest groups"...but since you had not mention them on your exclusion list, just corporations, I was unsure of your stance on that.

Bewbies
02-25-2011, 12:43 AM
Uhhh... yeah. That's the point I'm getting at. You're just supporting my argument.

The rich, huge interest groups, huge corporations... the uber-"have"s. Our politicians are beholden to them in our current system.

Now they will still bear a disproportionate influence in a public financing system -- which, I would argue, they should -- but only in a peripheral sense. Not in the puppetry that we experience today.

I'll never understand the belief people have that "public funds" means something magical will happen. Everything the gov't touches turns to shit, why in the world do folks expect a different result?

Direckshun
02-25-2011, 01:32 AM
So you would include unions then? They are a "rich, interest groups"...but since you had not mention them on your exclusion list, just corporations, I was unsure of your stance on that.

Absolutely.

Direckshun
02-25-2011, 01:33 AM
I'll never understand the belief people have that "public funds" means something magical will happen. Everything the gov't touches turns to shit, why in the world do folks expect a different result?

face meet palm

When you formulate an argument, I'll respond. This is just paranoid bullshit, stolen from Glenn Beck's radio show.

Bewbies
02-25-2011, 02:21 AM
face meet palm

When you formulate an argument, I'll respond. This is just paranoid bullshit, stolen from Glenn Beck's radio show.

Go ahead and list all the things for me that the government does so well. What is it paying for that is working?

Jenson71
02-25-2011, 05:53 AM
Go ahead and list all the things for me that the government does so well. What is it paying for that is working?

We have the greatest military and economy in world history.

Bewbies
02-25-2011, 10:16 AM
We have the greatest military and economy in world history.

1. Our economy is not paid for by the gov't.

2. When asked about things our gov't does well liberals always point to the military, and when asked what we need to cut, they always point to the military first. :LOL:

So of everything our gov't touches, the only thing you can list that it does well is the military (which is ripe with waste, and fraud). Any other examples?

patteeu
02-25-2011, 10:57 AM
I agree with HerculesRockefell and Bewbies.

BucEyedPea
02-25-2011, 11:26 AM
face meet palm

When you formulate an argument, I'll respond. This is just paranoid bullshit, stolen from Glenn Beck's radio show.

No it's not. It's the reality. Sometimes, a bad situation can lead to a solution that is worse. This is it, imo.
All you wind up doing is having govt determine who can run....that's a really bad idea. Govt cannot regulate itself.

BucEyedPea
02-25-2011, 11:27 AM
We have the greatest military and economy in world history.

Our economy is no longer Number 1. We were in 4th under Bush and have dropped to ninth place.
Hong King, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland are faring better than us.

HonestChieffan
02-25-2011, 11:29 AM
As long as government insists on inserting itsself into the nature and very heart of doing business, business has a right and an obligation to be involved in politics. And as long as individuals have the right to form interest groups or to join together to speak in a unified voice, we cannot legislate who can say what, how much or how loud, or on what topic they are allowed to express themselves.

patteeu
02-25-2011, 11:38 AM
As long as government insists on inserting itsself into the nature and very heart of doing business, business has a right and an obligation to be involved in politics. And as long as individuals have the right to form interest groups or to join together to speak in a unified voice, we cannot legislate who can say what, how much or how loud, or on what topic they are allowed to express themselves.

Excellent point. Instead of campaign finance reform, let's reform the tax system to make it more difficult for elected politicians to dole out tax breaks in return for favor-buying campaign contributions. Let's narrow the scope of the commerce clause so that Congress understands that it no longer has the authority to be as intrusive in the private economy as it has been for the past 80 years.

Jerry Brown ran for POTUS in 1992 on a flat tax idea. He didn't favor the flat tax for economic reasons or fairness reasons as much as for political reform. He wanted a tax code that was simplified and transparent to the point that special interest loopholes would stand out like sore thumbs and, maybe more importantly, where the marginal rate was low enough that it wouldn't be worth as much effort on the part of special interest to pursue tax breaks in the first place.

dirk digler
02-25-2011, 11:46 AM
As long as government insists on inserting itsself into the nature and very heart of doing business, business has a right and an obligation to be involved in politics. And as long as individuals have the right to form interest groups or to join together to speak in a unified voice, we cannot legislate who can say what, how much or how loud, or on what topic they are allowed to express themselves.

No one is saying that business can't be involved they just wouldn't be able to donate millions of dollars to own politicians.

I think it is getting out of hand when you are required to collect a billion dollars to run for POTUS.

patteeu
02-25-2011, 11:53 AM
No one is saying that business can't be involved they just wouldn't be able to donate millions of dollars to own politicians.

I think it is getting out of hand when you are required to collect a billion dollars to run for POTUS.

So what you're saying is that it's fine for a business like Ford to be involved in politics as long as they either donate their money to the general fund from which all candidates are financed or if they limit their contributions to the same pittance that any working class schlub can afford?

I suppose you're going to want to limit Ford's ability to finance their own ad campaign to promote politicians that aren't hostile to business, right?

HonestChieffan
02-25-2011, 11:54 AM
No one is saying that business can't be involved they just wouldn't be able to donate millions of dollars to own politicians.

I think it is getting out of hand when you are required to collect a billion dollars to run for POTUS.


And politicians will write these rules....and define what is a "business"....Will they define what a "business can advertise and support? What defines an individual? Is a group dedicated to wildlife habitat improvement a business? Would they be allowed to contribute? Is a Union a business?


Tis a very slippery slope.

But I agree it has gotten out of hand. Not sure what the fix is but Im sure public financing is not the fix.

dirk digler
02-25-2011, 11:59 AM
So what you're saying is that it's fine for a business like Ford to be involved in politics as long as they donate their money to the general fund from which all candidates are financed

I suppose you're going to want to limit Ford's ability to finance their own ad campaign to promote politicians that aren't hostile to business, right?

Yes but I don't know under public financing of campaigns there would be any donating.

I don't know if that is possible but if it is then yes. I say that because running TV ads and what not is very expensive and politicians then wouldn't have to use their money to run ads which would give an unfair advantage. That would apply to any group IMO.

patteeu
02-25-2011, 12:04 PM
This is the kind of bad idea that people who came up with the bad ideas that created a problem in the first place come up with to fix that problem but only end up making it worse.

Let's go the other direction and get rid of some of the existing campaign finance laws. Get rid of limits. Get rid of PACs. Strip it down and start over. This time let's focus on transparency and information availability instead.

Jenson71
02-25-2011, 12:39 PM
1. Our economy is not paid for by the gov't.

2. When asked about things our gov't does well liberals always point to the military, and when asked what we need to cut, they always point to the military first. :LOL:

So of everything our gov't touches, the only thing you can list that it does well is the military (which is ripe with waste, and fraud). Any other examples?

I know, but a lot of our public policy does helps shape economic development. And it's been very positive.

The military is the greatest in the world. Our public research institutions are the envy of the world. Our space program is the best in the world. We also have relatively effective food and drug administrations, national weather services, and effective environmental agencies.

Not that this really addresses the point of public financed campaigns.

Jenson71
02-25-2011, 12:41 PM
Are economy is no longer Number 1. We were in 4th under Bush and have dropped to ninth place.
Hong King, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland are faring better than us.

No, we're the strongest and largest economy in the world. We're stronger and larger than those four countries put together times 100 (made up number).

Jenson71
02-25-2011, 12:42 PM
This is the kind of bad idea that people who came up with the bad ideas that created a problem in the first place come up with to fix that problem but only end up making it worse.

Let's go the other direction and get rid of some of the existing campaign finance laws. Get rid of limits. Get rid of PACs. Strip it down and start over. This time let's focus on transparency and information availability instead.

This is the kind of impractical, idealistic, vague idea that will never get a real footing in our current political state.

patteeu
02-25-2011, 12:52 PM
This is the kind of impractical, idealistic, vague idea that will never get a real footing in our current political state.

There's nothing impractical about it. And it's not really any more vague than the rest of this discussion. The only thing you're right about is that it probably won't get any real footing in our current political state.

Jenson71
02-25-2011, 12:53 PM
The only thing you're right about is that it probably won't get any real footing in our current political state.

Then why is it a practical proposal?

dirk digler
02-25-2011, 01:07 PM
And politicians will write these rules....and define what is a "business"....Will they define what a "business can advertise and support? What defines an individual? Is a group dedicated to wildlife habitat improvement a business? Would they be allowed to contribute? Is a Union a business?


Tis a very slippery slope.

But I agree it has gotten out of hand. Not sure what the fix is but Im sure public financing is not the fix.

That is true and I agree it is a slippery slope. If it were up to me any 3rd party group would not be allowed to contribute or run TV, print or radio ads.

dirk digler
02-25-2011, 01:08 PM
This is the kind of bad idea that people who came up with the bad ideas that created a problem in the first place come up with to fix that problem but only end up making it worse.

Let's go the other direction and get rid of some of the existing campaign finance laws. Get rid of limits. Get rid of PACs. Strip it down and start over. This time let's focus on transparency and information availability instead.

It is almost going that way as it stands now and it is getting out of control.

patteeu
02-25-2011, 01:28 PM
Then why is it a practical proposal?

If the chances of it happening in the current political climate are the measure of practicality, then the whole idea of increased public financing of campaigns is impractical because it's not going to happen while the Republicans have the ability to block it in the House.

IMO, the measure of practicality is whether or not it could be implemented today without the type of massive disruption that would be catastrophicly prohibitive. For example, it would be impractical to end SS and Medicare cold turkey because there are so many people who depend on those programs and there wouldn't be any way for them to adapt in such a short period of time. Any attempt to end or dramatically change SS or Medicare needs to include a transition phase over a long period of time to minimize that type of disruption. There would be no such disruption if we eliminated campaign finance limits and the laws that created PACs to get around those limits, so I would call that a practical proposal.

patteeu
02-25-2011, 01:29 PM
It is almost going that way as it stands now and it is getting out of control.

What do you mean? We continue to add campaign finance laws on top of old campaign finance laws (e.g. McCain/Feingold), not the other way around.

dirk digler
02-25-2011, 01:34 PM
What do you mean? We continue to add campaign finance laws on top of old campaign finance laws (e.g. McCain/Feingold), not the other way around.

The Supreme Court neutered McCain-Feingold with the Citizens United Case

patteeu
02-25-2011, 01:44 PM
The Supreme Court neutered McCain-Feingold with the Citizens United Case

So your entire concern about going the other way rests on Citizen's United? After all the steps that have been taken in the campaign finance limits direction in the past, this one step in the other direction overshadows it all? OK.

dirk digler
02-25-2011, 02:01 PM
So your entire concern about going the other way rests on Citizen's United? After all the steps that have been taken in the campaign finance limits direction in the past, this one step in the other direction overshadows it all? OK.

I don't know that it overshadows it all but certainly doesn't help.

Corporations and unions already have tremendous power and now they have even more.

patteeu
02-25-2011, 02:24 PM
I don't know that it overshadows it all but certainly doesn't help.

Corporations and unions already have tremendous power and now they have even more.

Meanwhile, well-meaning campaign finance limits hamstring the individual. Let's even the playing field by letting individuals and groups of individuals spend their money how they see fit and concentrate our efforts on exposing all contributions to the light of day.

BucEyedPea
02-25-2011, 02:28 PM
No one is saying that business can't be involved they just wouldn't be able to donate millions of dollars to own politicians.

I think it is getting out of hand when you are required to collect a billion dollars to run for POTUS.

Instead have the elitists or the left own politicians. The politicians wind up still being owned and perhaps just as often by the same folks who owned them before.

healthpellets
02-25-2011, 04:25 PM
Instead have the elitists or the left own politicians. The politicians wind up still being owned and perhaps just as often by the same folks who owned them before.

please provide an idea for a better system then. unless you believe that the one we have now is just super dandy.

Saul Good
02-25-2011, 04:30 PM
I don't know that it overshadows it all but certainly doesn't help.

Corporations and unions already have tremendous power and now they have even more.

Who owns the news media? If you take away the voice from the corporations and unions, the media winds up as the only real voice out there. Do you think they are trustworthy enough to present accurate, even-handed messages without a counter-balance? I certainly don't.

Stewie
02-25-2011, 04:42 PM
Didn't you see the video? The big banks fund 40% of ALL National candidate's expenses, both Dem and Rep. They print the money, the politicos snort it like cocaine.

People who think this is about anything other than money are fools.