It appears I’m not the only one who noticed that the recent undertaking of Lawrence Lessig and Joe Trippi to offer large sums of campaign cash to politicians who pledge to support "reform" is, to borrow from Aud’s old flame, based on logic that is "insane and happenstance, like that of a troll."
…what’s truly fascinating is the means by which Lessig is attempting to convince Congress to pass his favored legislation: getting supporters to threaten to withhold political contributions to lawmakers who refuse to sign on to the bill, in what he calls a "strike for change."
…So let me get this straight: Lessig doesn’t like the influence of money on politics. So his solution is to have his followers tell legislators: "Support my cause, and I’ll give you money. Don’t, and I’ll cut you off." Um, maybe I’m missing something, but doesn’t his tactic increase the influence of money on politics? And smell an awful lot like out-and-out bribery? And what if his "strike" tactic works? Would Lessig feel comfortable with a Senator who said, "Of course I voted for Lessig’s campaign finance bill. It was either that, or my constituents would stop contributing."? Would he feel any differently if the Senator said, "Of course I voted for the MPAA’s copyright bill. It was either that, or the studio execs wouldn’t come to my LA fundraiser."?
One’s mind reels…. The world was so much simpler when campaign finance reformers wanted to ensure that lawmakers weren’t influenced by campaign contributions.
To which I’d add – what if the "strike" tactic doesn’t work? Any chance Lessig and Trippi will conclude that politicians actually do vote based on perceived constituent interests, party affiliation, and ideology, not campaign cash, which is what the research generally shows?
I won’t be holding my breath.