Friday, May 13, 2005

When you're right on the substance but wrong on the politics, you're Rod Blagojevich on campaign finance reform

SBC and Harrah's Casino and People's Gas and Walgreen's should not be allowed to give corporate money to political campaigns.

No one should be allowed to give $10,000 to a political candidate.

That distorts democracy.

Governor Blagojevich's press release listed a lot of fundamental, significant reforms that would make Illinois government cleaner and better.

And reformers took the press release and (in this fantastically symbolic move by Representative John Fritchey) crumpled it up. And spit on it. And scoffed. And burned it. And slowly shook their heads in disgust at such a cynical, transparently-PR move.

Governor Blagojevich, in his press release, lists a lot of good people supporting the reforms, including Pat Quinn, Abner Mikva, Cindi Canary and Hugo Rojas. Senator Ronen and Representative Phelps have been tasked to carry the as-yes-unwritten bills.

So who is right?

Most observers think the governor's earnest call for cleaner politics is an empty ploy. It's certainly not a serious consensus-building exercise to pass far-reaching legislation, and all the earnest words in the world don't excuse the lack of any real effort to engage with legislators on implementing reforms.

But on the other hand, lots of big reforms start with something less than the best of intentions. There is real progress made in that the Governor of Illinois has called for significant campaign finance reform. That's a good thing.

And although the press release -- not the bill, because there isn't one -- deserves the scorn from legislators it received (who, after all, are looking for legislation), it's still a damn good press release.


cal skinner said...

This will give much more influence to the media.

Is that what folks really want?

FightforJustice said...

I doubt any "reform" passes this session. The source of this proposal doesn't have much credibility as a reformer at the moment.