by Matt Stoller, Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 12:06:50 PM EDT
Despite the progressive blogosphere's best efforts, liberals still love John McCain. This is meaningful, because without relatively high approval ratings among Democrats John McCain wouldn't be considered a strong candidate in 2008 and he wouldn't have a reformer mantle. But why is it that John McCain is so beloved? Well, one reason is that he has a lot of allies on the left, allies such as Common Cause, Democracy 21, and a whole host of 'reformer' groups interested in small process issues that find him useful as bipartisan arm candy. For these groups, McCain is an easy ticket to bipartisanship, and though their sympathies lean left, their actions do not. In local papers, in the news, on the cocktail circuit, these groups promote John McCain, because promoting him means promoting their image as bipartisan reformers. This raises his numbers among liberals who tend to like good government groups.
by Matt Stoller, Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 03:50:03 AM EST
Adam Bonin has done stellar work on the FEC and campaign finance reform - now the House is considering HR 1606, the online freedom of speech act, as well as a competing bill from 'the reformers'. I have gotten behind 1606, and it's because I believe in the ideology of the netroots.
Common Cause sent an email out a few days ago asking its members to not allow a soft money loophole on the internet by supporing its own competitive legislation. It had a scaremongering subject line, as good direct mail pieces should. I respect this group for what they've done to fight corruption. I respect them for their dedication, and I like what they fight on and how they fight on it. Nevertheless, Common Cause was founded in the 1970s, and today we have a government that is more corrupt and money-dominated than it has ever been. In other words, I think new strategies other than 'restrict! restrict! restrict!' are in order.
There are two ways to deal with corruption, and one is to attempt to limit the actions of citizens and corporations. The other is to encourage participation so that citizens themselves check each other. That is my ideology. I believe in participation and organization, because it works. Freedom works. It's pragmatic. I don't want to restrict, I want more. The answer to bad speech is more speech, not less.
That's why I'm behind HR 1606.