John McCain has already conceded that his cherished campaign finance law is unconstitutional. Yesterday, he repeated his assertion that “[m]oney is not free speech. Money is property.” But today—which marks McCain-Feingold’s fifth anniversary—the senator plumbed a new level of dishonesty.
Speaking this morning on the Laura Ingraham Show, he defended his legislation (1) as benefiting the Republican Party and (2) as virtually responsible for YouTube:
[A] lot of state party chairmen . . . have much more power and authority now and . . . millions of more small donors . . . have come on board.
First, if McCain-Feingold has been good for the GOP, this is news to the GOP. As the Hotline reported in January:
Members of the Republican National Committee passed on Thursday a strongly worded resolution rebuking a signature accomplishment of their party’s frontrunner, Sen. John McCain—his Bipartisan Campaign Finance Act, known as McCain-Feingold.
Indeed, it’s Democrats who should be celebrating today, since McCain-Feingold has led to the rise of big-money independent expenditures on the left, like MoveOn.org.
Second, if McCain-Feingold has empowered the little guy, it’s been a fluke, not cause and effect. The rise of small donors coincides with the rise of what’s called Web 2.0, or user-generated content like that available at YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. As Ryan Sager of the New York Sun puts it, “[U]nless Mr. McCain invented the Internet . . . no one ought to be attributing this development to [McCain-Feingold].”
For more, see pages 11-13 of “He’s No Ronald Reagan: Why Conservatives Should Not Vote for John McCain.”