People are freaking out about the Supreme Court decision. Rightly, I think. I was trying to make the case last night during a dinner-table conversation that the decision may in some way be a positive thing, because it throws the issue in front of our faces, makes us all think hard about whether or not we have the political system we want.
Granted it's a nightmare to contemplate the real-world effect of unregulated contributions, the power it gives huge corporations over our political process, but I have to say I have some sympathy with the libertarian stance, the attitude that it's always bad to restrict political speech.
And, let's be real. The McCain-Feinhold reforms have been in place for a while now, and have they really made a dent in corporate influence over elections? In a practical sense, I don't think they amount to much more than false reassurance. Corporations will find ways around regulations, we know that.
Like most, I've been reading a lot of articles about this stuff for the last few days, and, though I've learned a lot, I have to admit I'm in over my head. But the more I read, the less convinced I am that the right way to deal with this problem is by limiting corporate contributions to campaigns. I like the idea of requiring disclosure. ("I'm so-and-so, the CEO of such-and-such, and I approve this message.") And I've always liked the idea of public financing of elections as a way to sidestep the issue and make elections more fair.
Here's one of the more interesting articles I've read in the last few days.