May 16, 2007 4:02PM

McCain says GOP is Corrupt

Last night in the Republican presidential debate, Sen. John McCain said, in response to Mitt Romney’s criticism of McCain‐​Feingold: “Is there anyone who believes there’s not enough money washing around money in politics, which has corrupted our own party?


His “we have enough money in politics” argument has become a standard defense of McCain‐​Feingold. The idea here is that while McCain‐​Feingold may have restricted spending on politics, there is still “enough” money in politics. But McCain characteristically misses the point. In a free society, the question is not whether citizens collectively produce “enough” spending on politics. It is rather whether they are free to spend on politics as they wish. McCain‐​Feingold abridged political liberties even if Sen. McCain believes we have “enough” political speech left over. 


McCain’s charge that the GOP is corrupt also recalls the debates surrounding McCain‐​Feingold. The Senator then charged the entire Senate with corruption, but when Sen. McConnell challenged him to name a single corrupt individual, he could not. Now McCain thinks the GOP itself was corrupted by money in politics. That seems like a strange way to appeal for the votes of active Republicans. But Sen. McCain should be required to say exactly how campaign finance corrupted the entire Republican party.