Why Hillary May Have Done All Of Us A Favorby Doug Mataconis
Like me, you many not like Hillary Clinton’s message very much, but her campaign may signal the end of public financing of Presidential campaigns, and that’s a very good thing:
The public financing system designed to clean up presidential campaigns in the wake of the Watergate scandal may have died on Saturday when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) announced her bid for the White House.
Little noticed amid the announcement rollout was a page on her Web site in which she asked potential contributors to give her campaign checks of up to $4,200. That figure signaled not only that she plans to forgo public funds for primary season but also that, if she becomes the nominee, she will not take public money for the general election.
By opting out of the system, Clinton will be able spend as much money as she can raise, both for the primaries and for the general election, rather that being forced to abide by strict spending limits imposed by the Federal Election Commission on candidates who accept public financing.
Others have opted out of public financing for the nomination campaigns, but Clinton is the first since the current structure was created in 1974 to declare she will forgo public financing in the general election as well.
Clinton’s decision will put pressure on other candidates in both parties to follow suit, and if they do, the 2008 campaign will complete what has been the rapid disintegration of a system designed to rein in unlimited spending in presidential campaigns.
The entire concept of taxpayer dollars being used to finance the Presidential campaigns should have been offensive to everyone from the beginning. Why should my money be used to support a candidate I completely disagree with ? Why should yours be used to support a candidate who opposes everything you believe in ? It is completely anathema to the First Amendment and completely offensive to the idea that individuals should not be forced to support political goals they disagree with.
So if the Hillary Clinton for President campaign means the death of a system that never should have existed to begin with, I say…….thank you Hillary.