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What Campaign Finance Reform Hath Wrought

Posted on Tuesday 24 August 2004

Now that the granddaddy of all 527s, MoveOn.org, is set to debut its 12 anti-Bush ads shot/produced/written/starred in by various Hollywood glitterati, I wonder if John Kerry will denounce them specifically.

A celebrity-saturated effort to defeat the president kicks into high gear tonight in New York with a premiere featuring music by Moby, the Roots and Natalie Merchant, and appearances by actor Kevin Bacon, Boom, liberal radio hosts Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo and onetime candidate Howard Dean.

My guess: he will not. He will note that the President did not specifically denounce the Swift Boat ads and will use that as a quid pro quo for his own refusal to distance himself and his campaign from the MoveOn ads. Furthermore, Kerry will not call for a halt to all such ads by 527s, ignoring the President’s statement yesterday.

“Taking the money out of politics,” an oft-quoted mantra McCain-Feingold, is both a noble and impossible goal. Where once those who finance elections gave to specific candidates and parties they now give to groups who are one step away from the principals. There is no accountability for smear campaigns because the candidates themselves can deny any “coordination” with these groups. The baby went out with the bathwater.

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