When there's a clear link showing that some campaign contribution led directly to the "political favor" in question.
Conservatives have been hounding the Clintons on accepting campaign money for pardons.
No, everyone has. There's almost nobody in Washington that's been willing to take Clinton's side on the pardon flap.
But what I find a lot more disturbing are policies being pushed by Dubya that will benefit large contributors to his campaign. For instance: "bankruptcy reform" that will make it harder for credit card holders to seek bankruptcy protection courtesy of MBNA, Dubya's biggest contributor,
As well as one of the biggest contributors to political campaigns period. MBNA had no qualms about spreading their money around quite freely to both sides of the aisle. And if you'll take a peek at the votes in the House and Senate on this issue, you'll see that huge numbers of Democrats voted for the "reform" bills. Extra fun fact: This bill passed just a few months ago as well, but Clinton pocket-vetoed it. Attempting to focus the blame for this squarely on Bush's 2000 campaign when the bill would have already been law if Clinton had bothered to sign it, and when it's been Congress's idea all along, is a touch disingenuous.
I don't know about the energy policy thing; I haven't paid attention to it. But being from West Virginia, I'm aware that there's much more to the coal argument than the left usually likes to bring up. It's much cleaner these days than most people think, it's an absolute necessity for our nation's current energy needs, and since hyperenvironmentalist California is in the middle of rolling blackouts as I type this, I should note that West Virginia is a net exporter of power thanks to its coal usage. (And if Gore hadn't been (properly) perceived as anti-coal by so many West Virginians, he probably would have won the state (which is heavily Democratic) and thus the White House.)
and a rollback of workplace ergonomic regulations that will benefit companies like UPS, which donated $1 million.
That ergonomic bill was one of the single most flawed pieces of legislation to come along in eons. Every Republican in DC, and many Democrats, have been wanting it dead since the moment it came into existence. As did practically every business in the United States, so you might as well just universally blame every incorporated company or corporate officer donated to anybody, not just UPS. And, by the way, those regulations were singlehandedly EOed by Clinton, without any of that messy "letting the people decide" that the left thought was so important when the Electoral College kept Gore from winning.
So why, pray tell, is Clinton in the wrong and Dubya in the right? What really is the difference between personal and corporate favors for campaign contributions?
The legality, if any damning evidence eventually comes up proving any of the pardons were bought. Accepting money to perform official government acts is expressly illegal, even when it comes to absolute presidential powers. Campaign contributions, while they may not look very nice, are almost never direct quid pro quo offers, and very hard to prove even in the rare cases that they are. And your examples would be almost impossible to prove, since they're about things that for which most elected officials had proven, on-the-record strong opinions about well before Bush took office.posted by aaron at 1:28 PM on March 19, 2001
That's the thing, though: It wouldn't. It would only allow the candidates' voices to be heard as much as the news media wanted them to be heard. Whether you believe the news media has a conservative/corporate slant or a liberal slant, almost nobody believes they're truly objective and impartial. So with all campaign spending equal, the candidates will be at the total mercy of the media, who will have absolutely no restrictions on how much coverage they give to one candidate over another, no matter how blatantly slanted.
And since nobody is calling for limits on how much the media spends on its coverage (and that is indeed what they do, spend money to cover candidates in whatever biased proportions they damn well please), how can we call for limits on everyone else?posted by aaron at 1:33 PM on March 19, 2001
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