Yesterday's editorial can't seem to actually mention a topic:
Waiting like a ship in the night for a quick, opportunistic vote is a Republican proposal that could devastate existing campaign controls by allowing politicians to collude with big-check donors from corporations, unions and lobbying blocs to finance unlimited amounts of campaign ads on the Internet. This would signal the return to unregulated soft-money politicking that a wiser and warier Congress outlawed three years ago.
Um--which bill are we talking about? Last I checked the introduced bills, I haven't seen one that repeals in any way, the ban on corporate or union giving? I admit, I no longer watch Congress like a hawk, but I think I would have seen this one.
If they are talking about H.R. 1606 (the Hensarling bill), perhaps they could benefit from this analysis.
The screed continues on a new topic:
As House leaders wait for some hurried moment to pounce, an even stealthier tactic is in the works. President Bush is reportedly planning to use recess appointments to restock the Federal Election Commission - the supposed regulator of politicians - with a fresh array of reliable wheel horses from both parties. This would continue the panel's notorious reputation for enabling, not controlling, campaign abuses. And it would happen beyond public notice.
First, it can't be too stealthy if everyone knows about it. Second, if you don't like the law, don't blame the FEC, get Congress to amend it, as was suggested here.
Finally, the supposed coup de grace,
The current F.E.C. had to be stopped by a court ruling from empowering soft money by exempting the Internet from all campaign controls. The waiting House bill would overrule that court's defense of the campaign law. The bill should be spiked in favor of the proposal of Representative Martin Meehan, a Massachusetts Democrat, to ban the soft-money plague from the Internet. His bill carefully protects the free-speech rights of individual bloggers, even those who choose to incorporate. They remain free to speak out - and we hope some of them use their forums to attack the power plays that Congress keeps concocting to protect itself.
OK, the FEC exempted the Internet from campaign regulation because they made an interpretation of a less that crystalline law passed by Congress. The Court said the FEC didn't adequately explain their interpretation--not that the interpretation itself was wrong. Second, the Shays Meehan bill to replace H.R. 1606, is a piece of junk that would create more complications and more uncertainly than even leaving the situation without guiding legislation.
The NY Times then contradicts themselves. Apparently it is OK for incorporated bloggers to try to influence elections, but corporations cannot. By definition, an incorporated blog IS a corporation. But then again, if the NY Times said corporations cannot spend money to influence elections, they too would be out of the electioneering business.
I have seen or heard about lots of plagues on the internet--from child porn to identity theft, from phishing to spamming, but I haven't seen a "soft-money" plague. I don't know if I am innoculated against such a thing.