Monday, January 19, 2004

Students, Retirees, and Unions

David Schaefer highlihgts the winners of hypocritical campaign finance "reform" -- students, retirees, and unions. Quoting Federalist 10, Schaefer asks us to consider whether the law encourages the selection of the most able and "fit characters."

In related news, I briefly heard George McGovern on T.V. remarking on the Iowa caucuses. The reporter asked him whether it was fair for Iowa to select the candidates for the rest of the country. His predictable reply was that it's more democratic than having party bosses do the selecting.

Hardly anyone seems to ask anymore which system produced better candidates and which system supported popular government. We don't consider that the more purely democratic system may actually harm democracy by promoting demagoguery (democracy's great defect). The incessant campaign or the "rhetorical presidency" is the result of sentiments like McGovern's.

No two books are more appropriate reading during this season of "campaigning" -- or is it demagoguery? -- than Presidential Selection by James Ceaser and The Rhetorical Presidency by Jeffrey Tullis. Let's throw in The President and the Parties by Sidney Milkis for good measure which shows how the party bosses made FDR take Truman as a running mate among other things.

Sure, the "horse-race" aspects of this system can be fun, but is this any way to select presidential candidates?


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