Rich, you’re quite right, of course. Here’s a tremendous editorial from today’s Wall Street Journal explaining just how the President got himself in this mess:
“President Bush didn’t tell the full story on Monday when he denounced TV ads by such “527s” as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. But not because he didn’t agree to the Kerry campaign’s demand that he repudiate the specific Swift Boat ads. Our gripe is that Mr. Bush assailed the very campaign-finance system that he helped create.”I don’t think we ought to have 527s,” Mr. Bush said, referring to the independent political fund-raising groups that have become such an important part of this election season. “And I hope my opponent joins me in saying, condemning those activities of the 527s. It’s the — I think they’re bad for the system.” Not so fast, Mr. President. One reason 527s are so prominent now is because Mr. Bush made the mistake of signing the McCain-Feingold campaign finance “reform” that barred big donations to political parties. So 527s have become the new alternative vehicle that Americans passionate about politics are using to exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech. The difference is that now the campaigns can’t control how that money is spent.If Mr. Bush wanted the two major parties to better control their campaign messages, he could have vetoed McCain-Feingold. Some of us urged him to do so, but his political advisers whispered not to worry, the Supreme Court will take care of it. Well, Sandra Day O’Connor failed too, but in any event since when are Presidents supposed to pass the buck to judges?In our view, this was among the worst moments of Mr. Bush’s term. Having helped to midwife the current campaign-finance system, it ill behooves him to blame others for the way this world works.”
Indeed it does.