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#1 Posted on 7.9.06 0930.32 Reposted on: 7.9.13 0931.14
In case you weren’t aware, today marks the last day on which we can legally see, on TV, or hear, on radio, issue ads of any sort that mention a candidate. Courtesy of that abomination known as The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (law.cornell.edu) (warning: large PDF) or McCain-Feingold (en.wikipedia.org), Friday September 8 marks the beginning of the 60 day grace period in which candidates for Federal offices become essentially immune from any form of criticism by any interest group. For example, Jacob Sullum at Reason (reason.com) writes that
Originally posted by Jacob Sullum The Wisconsin Right to Life ad seeks passage of the Child Custody Protection Act, which prohibits transporting a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion without her parents' permission. Both houses of Congress have approved versions of the bill, but the votes of 60 senators are required to send it to conference committee. The ad supporting the bill cannot plausibly be viewed as an attempt to elect or defeat a candidate. Kohl voted for the bill, while Feingold, who voted against it, is not up for re-election this year. Wisconsin Right to Life has not endorsed Kohl or his Republican opponent. But because of the ad's timing, it is automatically counted as an "electioneering communication," and Wisconsin Right to Life is barred from effectively lobbying for the bill when its efforts matter most.
Something almost without precedent in America will happen Thursday. That’s the day when McCain-Feingold — aka the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 — will officially silence broadcast advertising that contains criticism of members of Congress seeking re-election in November. Before 2006, American election campaigns traditionally began in earnest after Labor Day. Unless McCain-Feingold is repealed, Labor Day will henceforth mark the point in the campaign when congressional incumbents can sit back and cruise, free of those pesky negative TV and radio spots. It is the most effective incumbent protection act possible, short of abolishing the elections themselves.
So, in honor of the President who signed it, the great men and women of the House and Senate who passed the Incumbent Protection Act, and the distinguished jurists of the Supreme Court who ruled it to be Constitutional, I offer you this toast:
Happy McCain-Feingold Day! Now sit down and shut up cause we don’t want to hear from you annoying peons about any of them pesky issue thingies.
The next time somebody suggests that John McCain or Russ Feingold would be a good Presidential candidate, please remember that they are the ones who’ve made it somewhere between exorbitantly expensive and impossible to get your organized voice heard at the times when it really matters.