A schism among the left has been revealed, buried in the controversy over how so-called "reform" organizations should handle the appearance of campaign finance malfeasance by Senator John McCain.
At the heart of the split is the embrace of money and speech in politics by the new left to remove the "improper influence of money from politics" by "empower[ing] the public with open systems and tools for making changes at the ballot box."
Meanwhile, the old guard remains hopelessly lost by insisting on ever tightening regulation, which really serves as a "vaunted electoral protection program" that "rejects politics."
Writing at openleft.com, Matt Stoller declares that the basic theory used by proponents of campaign finance regulation "has been explicitly proved wrong at every turn." While Stoller singles out Common Cause, his critique can be spread fairly across the entire speech regulation community.
As proof of the failure of regulation, Stoller highlights that, "They [Common Cause]believe that placing restrictions on the flow of money into politics is a strategy to end corruption, and yet since their foundation in the early 1970s, the number of lobbyists has radically increased and the influence of money has grown by leaps and bounds regardless and sometimes because of the restrictions the group put in place."
Instead of muzzling speech, Stoller embraces speech by writing, "It’s other groups, like Public Knowledge, Actblue, Color of Change, Moveon, and Free Press, who have taken up the mantle of Common Cause and embarked on a different route to removing the improper influence of money from politics. And that is to empower the public with open systems and tools for making changes at the ballot box. As long as the public tolerates corruption, it will continue… We can win that fight by persuading people to vote for their values and by organizing."
The new left has embraced the notion that the best way to combat speech is with more speech.
Out with the old and in with the new.