Tuesday, October 24, 2006

No on 46 & 47

Two measures could reshape how campaigns are financed
Oregon is one of five states with no limits on campaign contributions or spending, but voter approval of two measures on the Nov. 7 ballot would give Oregon some of the strictest limits in the nation.

I'm voting NO on both of these speech limiting measures. I am a big fan of "grassroots" politics (small protests make big changes as you day laborers now know) but I also realize that at the grassroots level we can't get most politicians to even give us a sideways look.

Special interest groups, groups that are really a collective of people who agree on the same issue, have more clout because money is pooled. I can give $20 to a candidate who won't ever see my name or I can give $20, along with thousands of other Oregonians, to OFIR who will then give it to a candidate who will remember that their supporters oppose illegal immigration.

The passage of 46 and 47 could limit things like voter guides (because in the eyes of many politicians an informed voter is a scary voter) and would limit advertising. Just think of McCain/Feigngold. Did that really do anything helpful?

17 comments:

terry said...

The "informed voter" gets from voter guides only the viewpoints of those with enough money to publish in the voter guide. Those of us without money hold viewpoints which are not received by the so-called informed voter.

rickyragg said...

"Free speech", especially political speech, is protected by the US and Oregon constitutions. Except in the political arena, Oregon courts have bent themselves into freakin' pretzels to protect free speech and "expression".

The constitution(s) guarantee speech - not the socialist notion that everyone have an equally loud voice.

"terry"'s whine is the same socialist voice that demands not just equal opportunities, but equal results.

Voter, inform thyself.

...don't whimper for government to assume yet another of your personal responsibilities.

Bryan Saxton said...

I agree with Terry, but my biggest gripe comes from this:

Taking money from corperations and organizations, especially those go give considerable amounts of cash, cause those politicians to push for whatever that corperation's interests are. Because of this, we the people are much further removed from the ideals of the political candidate, especially when it comes to social justice and worker's rights (I know, everyone is going to scream "communist" just because I mentioned worker's rights). Corperate funding is one of the major sources of political corruption in today's society. I think it would be great if we could get rid of this in Oregon and make elections about legitimate ideas, not money.

rickyragg said...

Corperate funding is one of the major sources of political corruption in today's society.

and what, pray tell, are the others?

Not, I imagine, the obscene amounts of campaign cash (coerced, in many cases, from members - so much for "worker's rights") thrown around by unions.

I guess the "rightness" of goring depends on the ownership of the ox, eh?

Your simplistic generalizations I think it would be great if we could get rid of this in Oregon and make elections about legitimate ideas, not money. totally ignore 1) the first amendment aspect of corporate and union money (speech) - it represents individuals on both sides - and you don't get to choose whose rights are abridged, and 2) the notion of personal responsibility of the voter to inform himself (or herself).

...oh, and ...legitimate ideas...?

Will you also judge the legitimacy of ideas???

Now you've given us a good example of moral relativism.

Mike said...

Bryan, it's funny how you only mention corporations as a big source of political corruption, but you don't mention big labor unions (AFL-CIO, Teamsters, SEIU, etc.) as the other major source (oh wait, the unions are supposedly for "worker's rights", my bad, why would you mention them).

I will agree with you that it would be good if Oregon elections were about who has the best ideas instead of who has the most money, but in our society, money talks, so learn to deal with it.

Terry, going to your nearest public library and spending a few hours on the Internet doing research about canidate's positions on issues, voting records if they already hold government positions, etc. will only cost you the money it takes to transport yourself to the library.

Anonymous said...

Bryan -

That's corporate you twit.

Bryan Saxton said...

That's it? A spelling error and the inclusion of labor unions are your only arguments against me?

Sweet. I win.

Bryan Saxton said...

Ok, so I couldn't just leave with my last post without addressing Rickyragg's comments. Here it goes:

A) That's a pretty far strech for the first amendment. Are you sure it falls under jurisdiction?

B) (in response to 2) That's good and all, except accepting large sums of money from politicians tend to make them loyal to the corporation instead of the people, which seriously impairs the voter's ability to inform himself. I'm surprised I even need to make this argument; surely you have encountered numerous politicians (on both sides of the political spectrum) who make promises they don't wind up keeping (and I think for you guys, Saxton's half hearted willingness to take a stand on immigration is going to show through if he ever gets elected).

C) Legitimate ideas? I think you're reading too far into this, my friend. The only think I meant by this is pragmatism, not conformity to a beleif or ideal as you probibly think I was implying.

Just to make it clear- I don't support labor unions overfunding candidates any more than I do corperations.

Oh yeah, and what ever happened to the abolition of name calling on this blog?

rickyragg said...

I don't know bryan...

Is nude dancing free speech?

Is flag burning free speech?

If, as a stockholder or union member, you feel your voice is better heard when in concert with others who share your political views, how is that not political speech - the very thing the first amendment is concerned with?

...accepting large sums of money from politicians tend to make them loyal to the corporation instead of the people, which seriously impairs the voter's ability to inform himself.

How's that, again? Accepting large sums... can make politicians more loyal to corporations instead of to the people, but it doesn't affect the voter's ability to inform himself - there's no logical connection there.

Just to make it clear- I don't support labor unions overfunding candidates any more than I do corperations.

OK, so some speech in the form of union "funding" is OK but not TOO much? Again, who draws the line? How much speech is too much?

Bryan Saxton said...

Rickyragg-

Does the overfunding by any entity (from corperation to labor union to individual donor and everything else in between) constitue free speech or is it corperate sponsorship? Does the will of Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Teamsters, or Paul Allen (I'm making general examples and not specifically pointing fingers) accurately reflect the will of the people?

Also, I would like to re-word one of my assertions: Overfunding does cause politicians to bend to the will of those they accept money from (political scientist around the country accept this as a given). Yes, it does impare the voter's ability to inform him/herself because politicians will not advertize the agendas corperations want them to push. How is a voter going to know that Ron Saxton is going to fight for Wal-Mart's ability to impliment unfair business practices (I'm not saying Saxton endorses Wal-Mart, it's just an example) or whatever they want him to push aside from knowing that Wal-Mart executives attended a fundraiser by Saxton?

You seem to equate spending massive amounts of money to free speech. It's not free speech; it's an excercize in power which attacks the basic ideals of democracy (voters having equal voices). Yeah, I know you (incorrectly) demonize vocal equality as some sort of socialism, but that assertion is actually an attack on democracy.

As far as "how much free speech[sic] is too much," I say set a reasonable monetary standard both candidates can adhear to.

Daniel said...

Bryan, I think that special interest group are the thing that levels the playing field between the "haves" and "have nots." I can't make the same doantion to a candidate as Homer Williams. Fifty people I know who agree with me can't do that. But if we all give to an interest group, whatever it may be, then our voice is heard in a clear way that matches the big guy.

Daniel said...

And setting a "reasonable" limit on something is slippery slope stuff. Who decides what "reasonable" is?

And do we really want to be the state where live sex acts are protected free speech but political contributions are outlawed? (then only the outlaws will make political contributions?!?! Sorry, couldn't help myself)

rickyragg said...

bryan,

Speech is speech. Government can regulate the time, place and manner - but not the content. You seem to equate dollars with content. The validity of one's speech is somehow to be judged by their pocketbook.

No government is competent or trustworthy enough to be that arbiter. The minute those distinctions become OK, then you're next. Limits on speech based on some measure of which you approve could be turned against you with that same precedent.

In this day and (internet) age, voter self-education is easier and more accurate than ever. What are you really afraid of - that voters might actually hear a message sponsored by a large organization with which they might AGREE? You place too little faith in the ability of individuals to discern the truth - and too much in the wisdom of government.

After all, government is the biggest "business" there is.

...and yes, the notion of differing values of speech based on income or wealth is inherently socialist - you would punish the successful for their success by limiting their rights.

P.S. When you manage to misspell as many words as you do in your comments (a new record, in my experience), please don't (sic) your grammar on me.

Bryan Saxton said...

There's so much I want to say, and I would love to continue this argument...

However, a huge research paper is calling my name, and we're at a point where all we're going to do is disagree with each other (mainly on the "socialist" notion that every one should have an equal voice). Also, you fail to address some of my key points, but that is ok for now.

Anyway, I don't think Daniel is wrong for voting on 46 and 47 the way he does; I just disagree with him.

Bobkatt said...

I rarely agree with Bryan about anything but I appreciate his general concept here. If money equals free speech then why can't I just give ten dollar bills out on the street and ask you to vote for me? You don't have to, you're not obligated. I'll stamp my picture on it and watch it circulate throughout the community. That would be a trip.
Money may not buy votes but it sure buys access. The reason we get the same group of clowns to vote for is because we don't really change the rules. The people in power like the system the way it is. About 90 percent of the incumbents get reelected. About none of the third party candidates get elected. While I agree that not all candidates deserve to be elected, they often would bring fresh ideas and make the more viable candidates answer questions that they will not bring up on their own.
I see the pitiful corrupt state of governance we have now and say this has to change.
I think the power of the internet is a great example of how we can be very informed without a lot of money. Take this blog for example, without it I wouldn't have been able to communicate with all you great Americans.
I'll vote for just about anything that shakes up the status quo-term limits, anti-lobby efforts, expense limits, no paid trips to Hawaii, etc.

Kristopher said...

The proper cure for overspending on elections by special interests is to decrease the power of government to the point where it no longer attracts big spending.

If the State was limited to providing justice, defense, maintaining roads, and providing 911 services, we would not be having this debate.

rickyragg said...

kristopher,

bingo!