The Weekly Sedition

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Public Campaign Financing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — weeklysedition @ 10:22 PM

At the Weekly Alibi’s story Best and Worst of 2007, I posted the following comment, as the Alibi is a staunch supporter of taxpayer-pays campaign financing

Maybe Re-Think the “Best” and “Worst” ?  (GunsSaveLives) [ Sun Jan 6 2008 4:04 PM ]

[SNIP]

7. Supporters of public campaign financing need to be aware that they’re establishing a potential for black and hispanic voters to be taxed to support the Ku Klux Kandidate. Maybe other Alibi readers are OK with that, but there’s no way in Hell that I’ll sign off on that.

Am I the only one who remembers the 1992 gubernatorial election in Louisiana?

The Democrat was a guy by the Edwin Edwards, and was generally thought of as a crook.

There were two Republicans in the race, the incumbent (Buddy Roemer) and David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Roemer came in third, so Edwards and Duke went to a run-off election, where Duke was soundly defeated.

Remember that the population of Louisiana has a significant black (or “African-American,” if you prefer) component.

If Louisiana had been running a public-campaign financing scheme at the time, money would have been taxed away from those black voters and been given by the State of Louisiana to the Duke for Governor campaign coffers.

Back in September 1997, I was one of the co-hosts on Roundtable, a Crossfire-style round-robin show on Channel 27. Roundtable was produced by Richard Haley, who has since moved to California. I was one of the Libertarians who was featured, Milt Herman was representing the U.S. Taxpayers Party (now the Constitution Party), and Richard Damerow was there for the Reform Party.

John McCall was representing the Green Party at the time, and started the night’s show with a pitch for public campaign financing. I cut in and asked McCall, “Do you consider it morally acceptable for black and hispanic voters to be taxed to support the Aryan Nations or Ku Klux Klan candidate?”

His response? Not “let me think about it,” not “let me get back to you,” not “I hadn’t thought about that.”

His response was “Yeah — we need more voices in the debate.”

I was floored — how do you respond to that?

A few years later (December 2006), I was in the middle of a Central Committee meeting for the Libertarian Party of New Mexico [1](as of now, I’ve been the Secretary since June 2005), and Joe Knight proposed a resolution opposing Wild Bill Richardson’s ethics proposals, when one of the committee members spoke up in support of limiting campaign contributions and public campaign financing, as it “could be good to get corporations out of the picture.”

Again, I asked if we should consider it acceptable to tax black and hispanic voters to provide funds for candidates fielded by the Aryan Nations or the Ku Klux Klan – again, the answer was in the affirmative — we “don’t want special interests (corporations) to take over the government.”

All of this assumes, of course, that once candidate qualify for the public cash, they’re going to get it, regardless of other considerations, such as their partisan affiliation, where they or their party stands on certain issues, how well they’re connected to election officials, that sort of thing. And we know (of course) that election officials would never display any kind of bias on these sort of issues, right?

Actually, the exact opposite is true — just in the last 200 years of American history, there have been plenty of cases where candidates were kept off the ballot on the basis of their partisan affiliation (both Democrat and Republican, not to mention Libertarians, Greens, Constitutionalists, etc.), their race, gender, religion, nationality, etc. And that’s just the informal ballot-line exclusions I’m talking about here — some of the more inclined towards politically-correctness might end up on the board or commission that determines who gets the public cash, and use their powers of office to rule against those they don’t like.

In short, taxpayer-pays campaign financing is a boondoggle at best, an atrocity at worst, as it forces people to support via taxation candidates that they wouldn’t ordinarily touch with a ten-foot pole.

[1] At present (6 January 2006) the domain name for the LPNM [www.lpnm.org] has expired due to issues over who has control of the domain account, so I linked above to the Myspace group.

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