"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wFriday, March 29, 2002

BUSH LEAGUE SQUARED: Quite a few people had to cast their ballots for Bush last time with clothespin firmly attached. I was one such voter (hey, it beat the hell out of moving to Canada) but our prez's recent actions have roused that ancient cynic battle cry, "Why bother?"

First, it was the absurd protections on foreign steel and then on foreign timber to combat those wily Canadians - inviting the rejoinder "free trade through protectionism is like virginity through... oh you figure it out." Then he started saying very stupid things about the situation in Israel. Now Bush has signed a self-admittedly "far from perfect" campaign finance reform bill into law.

How "far from perfect" was it? I'll leave the minute dissection to policy wonks (unless somebody out there wants to employ my scalpel) and rely on Bush's speechwriter's words, with accompanying highlights of things that should stand out. "Certain provisions," he wrote

"present serious constitutional concerns. In particular, H.R. 2356 goes farther than I originally proposed by preventing all individuals, not just unions and corporations, from making donations to political parties in connection with federal elections. I believe individual freedom to participate in elections should be expanded, not diminished; and when individual freedoms are restricted, questions arise under the First Amendment.

"I also have reservations about the constitutionality of the broad ban on issue advertising, which restrains the speech of a wide variety of groups on issues of public import in the months closest to an election. I expect that the courts will resolve these legitimate legal questions as appropriate under the law."

I suppose it's understandable that Bush trusts the supremes to do the right thing on campaign finance. After all, they put him in office by stopping the rigged vote count, so how bad could they bungle it? Oh, plenty bad, believe you me.

The thing that is so sickening about this whole thing is that Bush didn't have to sign the bill. McCain admitted that he didn't have the votes to override the president's "no." One of the best things that Bush 1 did was veto boatloads of bad bills. That was a mark of valor, not one of those "mistakes" that Dubya was supposed to learn from. The day of the signing, Drudge headlined the story "Bush signs campaign finance, NRA sues." Substitute "Gore" for "Bush" and then ask yourself, if the courts had swung the other way, how would that headline have been any different?

posted by Jeremy at 12:59 PM