Sunday, September 20, 2009

Goose and Gander

It isn't hard to tell what Washington Post scribes Dan Eggen and Del Quentin Wilber think of the latest court ruling against campaign finance restrictions. They disapprove, obviously. These were "hard-fought" "reforms," in their eyes, not unconstitutional erosions of the First Amendment. They describe court challenges to such laws as "assaults," which if successful will open the floodgates to conservative attacks on Barack Obama. Such rulings give Republicans an edge in their quest to retake Congress, according to the story. Such rulings will inject for negativity into campaign season.

"The ruling, if it stands, could provide a boost to Republicans and their allies as they try to win back Congress in 2010 and the White House in 2012. Outside conservative groups could become particularly important in countering the fundraising juggernaut of President Obama, who shattered past records by raising more than $750 million during his 2008 campaign.

Experts suggested that the court's decision could provide a boon to groups tapping into the fervor of anti-Obama activity and "tea party" events. It will certainly allow groups across the political spectrum to raise and spend money without pause, potentially leading to a more acerbic campaign environment.

The groups "are now free to accept unlimited contributions, to spend unlimited funds independently supporting or opposing federal candidates," said Richard L. Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and an election law expert. "One of the things we know about outside groups, as opposed to political parties, is that they run more negative ads. . . . This could lead to a more negative campaign season."

Here's the interesting thing, though.

This lawsuit wasn't brought by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. It was brought by Emily's List, a liberal group that works to get female Democrats elected -- undermining the story's premise, which is that the court-ordered overturning of campaign finance laws (which is really a restoration of First Amendment freedoms) hands an advantage to conservatives.

Liberal groups obviously are chaffing under these restrictions as well. And as long as all parties are operating under the same rules of engagement, more or less, such rulings don't really favor one side over the other. They open up the process by throwing-off the shackles imposed by McCain-Feingold and other campaign finance laws.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right? Right.

Except if you're a pair of Posties with an agenda to push.

No comments: