My most recent article for the Minuteman is here. Don't bother clicking on it, just read it here:
In an interview with the Minuteman last Wednesday, Republican Congressman Christopher Shays defended presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, and spoke in detail about their mutually sponsored Campaign Finance Law, a law for which John McCain is taking heat from hardcore conservatives.
Shays, often tagged as a maverick along with McCain for his willingness to go against the conservative grain, sponsored the Campaign Finance Law in the House, and has fervently defended it since.
Shays also explained McCain's undeniable passion and willingness to fight for what he believes in, regardless of the opposition. "The man was a prisoner of war, tortured for six years," Shays explained, "So when a conservative senator confronts him on his supposedly liberal record, he isn't scared." Shays also vocalized his support of McCain, mentioning, "He will make a strong candidate, and hopefully a strong president."
The Campaign Finance Law, passed in 2002, had two major impacts. It limited the amount of money an individual can give to a political organization for use in an election campaign, and it limited time before an election in which advertisements may be placed in print or on television in support of a particular candidate. A segment of the latter was ruled unconstitutional in the 2007 Supreme Court ruling, Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc.
Ironically, just one day after last Wednesday's interview, The New York Times published a controversial article that has hurt McCain in more ways than one. The article, alleging that John McCain had an "inappropriate relationship with a female lobbyist" eight years ago, has done almost as much damage to his campaign as many of the conservatives taking aim at his moderate views. The Times front page article had a huge impact on McCain's integral reputation, and possibly the outcome of the election. According to McCain's own law, however, he would be incapable of publishing an advertisement defending himself any less than thirty days before an upcoming primary in that very same paper.
With this as an example, McCain has been attacked by many conservatives for limiting free speech.
"What the far right of my party is trying to do," Shays explained, "Is make you believe that [the law] is a violation of free speech. It's not." He went on to explain that by putting a limit on campaign funding and advertising, the law restores power to the individual, no matter their financial situation. If one person can donate more money and have a greater influence in an election than another simply because they are wealthy, essentially what that is, is support of an elitist government," he said. He also made evident the concept that the law limits the influence of money in politics. "To many [campaigning] politicians, dirty money is better than no money," he said, adding that a victorious politician won't forget where campaign money came from.
Shays certainly has earned the right to talk about dirty campaigning. In his successful bid for reelection in 2006, Shays won by just 3 percent. In an election that came down to the bitter end, Shays absolutely refused to use negative advertising and mudslinging despite strong urging from his advisers to do so.
When talk came up of simply exposing where campaign monies come from, Shays quickly pointed out that this would not suffice, saying, "Repaying a donation can be as simple as keeping legislation off the floor [of Congress]. That type of thing will never make it outside our walls. Those underground things never get discovered by anyone in the main stream media."
McCain's legislation is being harshly criticized by conservatives and enjoyed with a smirk by liberals.
Did I have to quote myself? I mean, I put it in italics, but I don't think I needed to. Oh well.