Friday, August 13, 2004

Do-Gooders Do Bad

Call me perverse, but I love it when morally indignant reformers have their noses rubbed in the bad effects of their "reforms." I suspect that taking pleasure in this sort of thing, as much as anything else, predisposes someone to being a conservative.

Anyway, this is precisely what Charles Krauthammer has done in laying the latest "Swift Boat" ads at the doorstep of the McCain-Feingold "reforms." By taking money out of the hands of the parties, McCain-Feingold forces independent organizations and wealthy individuals to create ads on their own. The result is the new Swift Boat controversy, calling into question John Kerry's heroism but also focusing attention on that part of his life that he would like the electorate to consider most. McCain-Feingold prevents Bush or the GOP from doing anything about the ads, so that they have to work extra-hard to re-focus attention on the thirty years after John Kerry left Vietnam and established his weak record on foreign policy and national security.

As Krauthammer puts it:

"You wanted campaign finance reform. You got campaign finance reform. McCain-Feingold promised to take the money out of politics. If you believed that, you deserve what you got."


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