June 21, 2012 11:44AM

Campaign Finance Freedom Checks Presidential Pandering

Today POLITICO Arena asks:

Given that May reports show that Romney raised more money than Obama, does the president still have a shot at victory even though he’ll likely be outspent, and is there no chance that his record could speak louder than cash?

My response:

Given Obama’s power to pander to special interests, it’s a good thing that Romney’s raising more money than Obama. Yet if zealots for campaign finance “reform” had had their way — and the Supreme Court hadn’t stood up for the First Amendment — both candidates might well today be receiving equal “public” funding for their campaigns. All of which illustrates, once again, that “reform” is not about preventing corruption but about incumbency protection.
Student loans, gay marriage, the DREAM Act, countless middle‐​class “entitlements” — how’s a challenger going to be able to compete against an incumbent who can dole out such favors right up to the election unless he’s able to raise more money than the incumbent and get his message out, including criticisms about such rank, election‐​year pandering? The implication that Romney’s cash may speak louder than Obama’s record and “buy” the election for him thus misses the point. What more cash buys is more speech, which challengers need if they’re going to be able to compete against the inherent, and often abused, power of incumbents.