Thursday, January 06, 2005

Who Wudda Thunk?...

Me and a Republican wingnut agree on some things (Link to Story). Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, who I staunchly oppose on most things, and I see eye to eye on some others. He is challenging Bush on:

Change the prescription drug benefit passed recently by Congress from a "one-size-fits-all entitlement" to a benefit for those who need federal help to buy prescription drugs.

I agree that it needs improvement. One way is a means testing measure as called for by the Congressman. The other is to take out the law that forbids Medicare from negotiating prices with the drug companies. *side note - I would just like to remind everyone it was the esteemed Congressman from Louisiana who added this provision, retired from Congress and is now being paid $2 million a year to lobby for the pharmaceutical companies.

"Reverse the expanding federal role in primary and secondary education, which conservatives believe is a state and local function."

"No Child Left Behind" bill was under funded and has been more of a burden than a benefit. I do believe that education is a local issue and should be left local... as long as they are educating... too many states don't do diddly squat to educate their kids. Only where the state or local government is failing should the federal government step in. Most other places do just a fine job.

"Begin to steer back to the goal of a balanced budget."

Amen brother

"Restore the First Amendment protection of freedom of speech by pursuing changes in new campaign finance laws."

I am not sure what he exactly means by this, but we both agree it needs reform. He would probably not like my ideas. But this is what I would like to see.

1) a cap on money you can give to 527s.
2) a cap on the amount of money you can give to a candidate during the primary system. Just because I make a lot more money than someone who works a minimum wage job should not mean I get to buy more access to my representatives. Making more money does not make me more of an American, nor should it mean I get to buy a seat next to my Senator at a fundraising dinner.
3) a total cap on the amount of money they can spend on a campaign during the general elections - no opt out rules. I don't give a hoot how much money you have. If your message is better than the other guy's, you will win. No more buying the elections.
4) NO DONATIONS BY CORPORATIONS - PERIOD. They don't get a vote and they don't get a voice. If the CEO is a Democrat, he can give his own money to the Democrats. If the CEO is a Republican he can give his own money to the Republicans. There is no reason that my sock shares should buy a corporations access. If the congressman is smart, he knows that attracting business to his district is good for the constituents. If he wants to help out a corporation, it should be because it will benefit his constituents, not his re-election war chess. This is a nation by the people and for the people. Not by the people and for the corporations.


Smoke Eater said...

OK, now I'm getting a little (uh) scared? I'm starting to agree with more and more said here, so either you're becoming more of a "republicanized democrat" or I'm more of a "democratized republican". Maybe you and I should run for the White House, but I'm not old enough yet, so maybe in 2016?

Dingo said...

Just means we are both sane... thats all.

Boomr said...

Another suggestion: Remove money from politics entirely by making all campaigns government-funded.

You can weed out the fringe candidates by requiring a certain number of names on a petition in a certain number of states. Once the candidate meets the required numbers in the required states, he's given X amount for the primary, and Y amount for the general election. Any unused money reverts to the government's general pool of funds, and may not be used by the candidate later in another election. Individuals might be able to contribute monetarily to a specific campaign, but only after the candidate has met the requirement above (of course, this does not limit the amount of time or effort a volunteer may contribute in actual work on behalf of the candidate in petition- or get-out-the-vote drives).

Corporations should be banned from political contributions of any kind during an election. They've got enough of a presence in lobbying the legislature that they don't need to become involved in the election cycle when, like Dingo said, they can't vote.

The government owns the airwaves, and only licenses them to the broadcasting companies, so part of the campaign finance laws should be that election ads are free (or are provided to the government at a substantially reduced rate, to be set by legislation). Each candidate is given the exact same number of commercials at roughly the same time of day or night. All of the issue-ads or 527s should not be allowed to mention a candidate's name, show a candidate's picture, or imply that one candidate is better than another. All such ads should be held to a strict standard of truthfulness or be subject to penalties.

Taking the money out of politics -- or out of the politicians' hands during the election cycle -- is the only way to make the campaigns start on even ground. Let the issues and the candidates themeselves decide the race, not the money each one has.