Slogans, Mantras, And Drivel – Modern Political Discourse

Christopher Hitchens has a marvelous essay over at Slate on how cliché-ridden and devoid of substance political campaigns are today. A sampler of his best lines in the piece:

…It is cliché, not plagiarism, that is the problem with our stilted, room-temperature political discourse. It used to be that thinking people would say, with at least a shred of pride, that their own convictions would not shrink to fit on a label or on a bumper sticker. But now it seems that the more vapid and vacuous the logo, the more charm (or should that be "charisma"?) it exerts. Take "Yes We Can," for example. It’s the sort of thing parents might chant encouragingly to a child slow on the potty-training uptake…

Pretty soon, we should be able to get electoral politics down to a basic newspeak that contains perhaps 10 keywords: Dream, Fear, Hope, New, People, We, Change, America, Future, Together…

And it’s not as if anybody is looking for coded language in which to say: "Health care-who needs it?" or "Special interests and lobbyists-give them a break," let alone "Dr. King’s dream-what a snooze." It’s more that the prevailing drivel assumes that every adult in the country is a completely illiterate jerk who would rather feel than think…

Hitchens does an admirable job of diagnosing much of what afflicts modern political debate, but he overlooks what might be considered the flip side of his argument. For while it is true that too many politicians lapse into empty sloganeering and vapid statements to describe their own agenda, they also have a tendency to resort to equally mindless drivel when attacking their opponents, drivel that has been successfully pushed by campaign finance "reformers" of all stripes for decades.

More after the jump…

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog

Pernicious Political Committee Processes: A Reply to the Comments of Bob Bauer

Mr. Bauer has responded to my critique of the FEC’s political-committee enforcement processes.  He sees the post as an attack on his consistency.  It is not.  The matters at stake are not that simple.

More after the jump.

Filed Under: Blog

Cato Institute Policy Forum on Freeing SpeechNow

EVENT: Cato Institute Policy Forum on Freeing SpeechNow: Free Speech and Association vs. Campaign Finance Regulation

Details after the jump. 

 

Filed Under: Blog

Responding to Bauer

In response to this post on the deadlock on FEC appointments, Bob Bauer has written this post at his web site.  Mr. Bauer’s points are always worthy of attention, and this one is no exception.  I want to make two quick point in response, or perhaps better said, two clarifications.  Click the headline for more.

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Of What Use is “Major Purpose” Absent Corruption? — Part Two

Of What Use is "Major Purpose" Absent Corruption?: The Pernicious Nature of the "Political Committee" Process–and What the Courts Can Do About It.

Read Part two of two, after the jump. 

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog

Of What Use is “Major Purpose” Absent Corruption?

Of What Use is "Major Purpose" Absent Corruption?: The Perniciousness Nature of the "Political Committee" Process–and What the Courts Can Do About It.

Part one of two, after the jump. 

Filed Under: Blog

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.