Republicans used to oppose regulations on campaign contributions by saying all we needed was more disclosure so people would know who contributed to who, and could make their own judgements.
Now, when Democrats introduce a DISCLOSE Act to do just that, Republicans filibuster. Natch.
How to explain the latest of flip-flops? The Washington Post quotes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has given a series of speeches defending political giving as free speech, said the bill was an attempt by Democrats, who have realized they can’t “shut up their critics” to “go after the microphone instead, by trying to scare off the funders.”
“As a result of this legislation, advocacy groups ranging from the NAACP to the Sierra Club to the Chamber of Commerce — all of whom already disclose their donors to the IRS — would now be forced to subject their members to public intimidation and harassment,” he said.
In other words, if wealthy donors had to make their political support in public, the public might say mean things about them.
(And something tells me these folks are not worried about being caught giving to the NAACP and the Sierra Club.)
I didn’t realize that having one’s feelings get hurt was inappropriate in a democracy. Let’s fully solve the problem then.
Why should candidates for public office be known by name? Let’s just have “Candidate A” square off against “Candidate B.” That way no reporters can ask embarrassing questions, no bloggers can say snarky things about them, and no voters need face them in a town hall.
Sure, that might mean we all have no idea what it is we’re actually voting for. But the important thing is: our elected officials can manage our democracy without any of that awful and hurtful public feedback.