The Instigator
Csavage472
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
Jones1
Pro (for)
Losing
13 Points

Does the McCain-Feingold "Campaign Finance Reform Act" violate Americans' "Freedom of Speech"???

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Con Tied Pro
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/15/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,728 times Debate No: 497
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (9)

 

Csavage472

Con

To CLARIFY, I take the unequivocal position "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" that the "Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002" co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) & Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) as well as signed into law by Republican President, George W. Bush, is NOT a violation of Americans' "Freedom of Speech" EXCLUDING, of course, the provision in the law that allows the Federal Government to regulate and/or restrict "issue ad(s)."

In other words, my position is more accurate of that which was taken by the U.S. Supreme Court in that overturned the provision in the law that restricted and/or regulated the use of "issue ad(s)" 60 days before a General Election [& 30 days before a primary] in DIRECT violation of a citizen's Freedom of Speech guranteed by the 1st Amendment and 14th Amendment (when applied to the individual State governments).

cf. http://en.wikipedia.org....

Nevertheless, I AGREE with the wisdom of the U.S. Supreme Court that ruled in in a 5-to-4 decision on December 10th, 2003 that the "Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002" was generally CONSTITUTIONAL on the common-sense rationale that "Money is PROPERTY; not speech!!!"

cf. http://en.wikipedia.org...

Thank you very much and I look forward to conversing with you.
Jones1

Pro

Hi, Christian; nice profile pic! I should change mine to Jefferson! ha!

First I will agree that money is property, for obvious reasons.

However, the use of money, as with the use of say, a megaphone (which is also property) in such a manner as to represent of amplify (figuratively or otherwise) one's speech should be protected as speech. I believe our argument is over the current interpretation of the first amendment.

As a strict constructionist, I would have to agree with you that the law does not in fact hamper anyone's "speech." I will momentarily play devil's advocate, though.

As Justice Scalia said in a dissenting opinion to your citation, McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, "This conclusion is antithetical to everything for which the First Amendment stands."

Scalia is talking about one's right to criticize government. It should be unhampered completely (barring the exception of violence, etc. of course) and this legislation does just that.

Geez, I sound like I'm in the ACLU.

To clarify, you're argument (whittled down) is that the law (or the portions you agree with) restricts the use of money, which is property and not speech. I would have to say that the use of property is considered speech. Especially if I own the American flag that some irate hippie wishes to burn :P
Debate Round No. 1
Csavage472

Con

Thanks, Kyle, for your rebuttal. I appreciate it greatly.

(1) "you're argument (whittled down) is that the law (or the portions you agree with) restricts the use of money, which is property and not speech. I would have to say that the use of property is considered speech."--KJ

(a) If the USE of property--[the "Federal Reserve Note" with George Washington's pretty little face on it in my wallet (haha)]--is "speech" as you so emphatically claim in this debate, then that would mean that George Washington's "pretty little face" on it can (literally) TALK or the 5-acres of "Joe Farmer's" Corn field can (literally) TELL him whether to convert corn into ethanol or food?! Of course not!!!

(b) Property--EXCEPT in "Aesop's Fables"--can NEVER be personified and therefore cannot invoke "Freedom of Speech." Only a PERSON can do that.

(c) The law as it currently stands after "Judicial Review," is inherently NECESSARY b/c it prevents the CORRUPTION of our elected Representatives in the Congress--[i.e. "Mr. Yes" in contrast to "Dr. No"(hahaha)]--from hostile special interests that warrant against the PUBLIC interest.

(2) Nevertheless, the repeal of the current law is UNNECESSARY because since the Supreme Court, rightly so in my opinion, struck the infamous "issue ad" provision as UNCONSTITUTIONAL, an American citizen can just simply use their property (money) to efficiently and effectively speak to the PEOPLE, directly, as opposed of writing a check to a bureaucrat in Washington D.C. who will only give (literally) token "lip service" in order to get elected [i.e. "Read my LIPS: No NEW Taxes!!!"(haha)].

(3) Moreover, I believe the current law should be STRENGTHENED by applying the current "False Advertisement" laws that protect consumers against falsified information by corporations and businesses to Campaign ad(s) that FALSIFY information in "Negative Ad(s)" against other candidates. In other words, to clarify, I mean if Guilani airs a campaign ad attacking Romney in which the information and/or content is SLANDEROUS, then there should be either a civil and criminal penalty against him.

It would be UNFAIR for the Federal Government to prosecute Wal-Mart for airing FALSE advertisement on its products, but turn a "blind eye" to its own politicians.

Thanks again.
Jones1

Pro

>>> If the USE of property [...] is "speech" as you so emphatically claim in this debate, then that would mean that George Washington's "pretty little face" on it can (literally) TALK or the 5-acres of "Joe Farmer's" Corn field can (literally) TELL him whether to convert corn into ethanol or food?! Of course not!!! -CS

That is a misrepresentation of what I claimed; The use of property or items in the form of speech is protected as "Expression."

See: Stromberg v. California (display of a red flag as speech) and Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (wearing of a black armband as speech) and [my above argument] Texas v. Johnson which found that:

"Under the circumstances, Johnson's burning of the flag constituted expressive conduct, permitting him to invoke the First Amendment... Occurring as it did at the end of a demonstration coinciding with the Republican National Convention, the expressive, overtly political nature of the conduct was both intentional and overwhelmingly apparent."

-http://en.wikipedia.org...

Johnson was acting using what amounts to property. The use of property, logically, must be considered an act of expression, as protected by the First Amendment.

>>> The law as it currently stands after "Judicial Review," is inherently NECESSARY b/c it prevents the CORRUPTION of our elected Representatives in the Congress--[i.e. "Mr. Yes" in contrast to "Dr. No"(hahaha)]--from hostile special interests that warrant against the PUBLIC interest. -CS

Well, in my opinion, educated free voters prevent corruption, and this is simply a restriction on freedom so that the populace can "not worry" about monetary corruption in their "dear leaders."

>>> an American citizen can just simply use their property (money) to efficiently and effectively speak to the PEOPLE, directly, as opposed of writing a check to a bureaucrat in Washington D.C. who will only give (literally) token "lip service" in order to get elected. -CS

This is an excellent point. However, bureaucrats are not elected and wouldn't bother with lip service. This legislation is aimed at elected officials, not bureaucrats.

>>> In other words, to clarify, I mean if Guilani airs a campaign ad attacking Romney in which the information and/or content is SLANDEROUS, then there should be either a civil and criminal penalty against him. -CS

I agree, I was under the impression that slander charges could be brought forth in such a situation now.

>>> It would be UNFAIR for the Federal Government to prosecute Wal-Mart for airing FALSE advertisement on its products, but turn a "blind eye" to its own politicians. -CS

I'm gonna be the "nuts" libertarian and say that the public (acting individually) should punish businesses that mislead them, not the government. Especially the Federal government. Aside from that, if a politician lies (in a sladerous way) about another politician using, say a commercial ad, the same slander laws should apply for non-politicians.

I hope I understood your last argument, this is a good debate, in my opinion.
Debate Round No. 2
Csavage472

Con

Csavage472 forfeited this round.
Jones1

Pro

I will speed up the rounds by posting this, just as a clarification:

Our argument is not necessarily the "freedom of speech" but rather "protected speech" as it pertains to the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court interpretation.

Along the lines of other rulings, verbal speech is not the only form of protected speech. Protected speech is any reasonable (non-violent, etc.)form of expression, by which a protest can by made.

I will again write what Scalia said about a previous decision along this lines (for which he wrote the minority opinion): "This ruling goes against everything the First Amendment stands for, the ability to criticize government. This is a sad day for the freedom of speech, [the law] prohibits the criticism of Members of Congress by those entities most capable of giving such criticism loud voice," in particular, "national political parties and corporations, both of the commercial and the not-for-profit sort."
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Csavage472 9 years ago
Csavage472
[CONT....]

[3 (a)]....But, overall, you're right that bureaucrats are "technically" administrative workers in the government, but you have to admit that the politicians act MORE like the REAL bureaucrats than elected officials (haha)!!!

(4) "I'm gonna be the 'nuts' libertarian and say that the public (acting individually) should punish businesses that mislead them, not the government."---KJ

(a) This is why it is so HARD arguing with a diehard Libertarian (haha)!!! The only thing that I would say is that how can an INDIVIDUAL consumer citizen in the market represented (literally) as a PENNY punish a Multi-National corporation that is represented (literally) as a crisp, clean "$5 Dollar Bill"???

(b) In other words, it would be irrational (in my judgment) to suggest that a miniscule PENNY has the resources and strength to punish a "$5 Dollar" that is worth ~500x more. Therefore, the end result would be that our sacred represenative-democracy that Thomas Jefferson fought for will devolve into (literally) a PLUTOCRACY ("rule by the rich"). Therefore, it is the PEROGATIVE of the Government to act as a PUBLIC TRUST of the "People" collectively as an INDEPENDENT "$5 Dollar Bill" to counter the power of the Multi-national corporation that engages in deceptive advertising. If that is not what the "power of the promotion of the GENERAL WELFARE is," it boggles my mind of what that clause means?!

Thanks again, Kyle, for this constructive dialogue and Merry Christmas.
Posted by sethgecko13 9 years ago
sethgecko13
"It is only irrelevant because of the "rational ignorance" of so many Americans who simply don't vote or vote based on one media outlet, or one point of view."

Americans don't vote in large part because they know their vote is irrelevant. The actual power they exert at the ballots once every few years is undermined by the influence of money on the political process which is a 365-day-a-year proposition.

"We shouldn't act like donations are private and secretive to campaigns."

But they are. Transparency is very limited. No matter what the disclosure laws are, politicians find ways to get around them. Shadowy interests fund issue attack ads, corporations reserve board positions for politicians as a quid pro quo after they leave office, or the wealthy elites set up slush funds to pay their candidates with in a fashion outside of the campaign process (like with Mike Huckabee; a fund was established in Texas that paid him for speaking engagements as a quiet way of funneling money to him so that certain interests would be represented).

"My point is, candidates can get all the money in the world, but they need votes to win."

Wrong. First, the fact that so much money is required to even campaign for national office automatically limits the pool of candidates to a slim few who are hand-picked and groomed by the wealthy to take office. Unless someone is independently wealthy - they will never be able to raise enough money to run for office unless they sell out to wealthy interests.

Second, even if you assume our process of selecting viable candidates for national office is fair (which it isn't), candidates don't need nearly as many votes to win when negative campaigning (designed to turn off people from voting by discouraging them with candidates they might otherwise support) is such a dominant factor in all of our elections.
Posted by Csavage472 9 years ago
Csavage472
[CONT...)

(d)...The judges, in this case, would argue that we are not being criminalized b/c the property doesn't belong to us, but that it is a crime to MIS-use justly-acquired property via ARSON for ulterior motives. In the same way, banning unlimited campaign donations to political parties is criminalizing the MIS-use of justly acquired property since the widespread distribution of "Soft Money" can borderline on "bribery" and undermine the tenets of our representative-democracy. And that is precisely why the Court ruled that McCain Feingold was CONSTITUTIONAL while at the same time outlawing the ignominious restrictions on issue ads.

(e) In fact, just to note, did you know that while Lenin & Stalin confiscated all PRIVATE property like farm land, industries, etc., that "worthless" items were still left in the possession of the people as--if you will--PRIVATE property?

(2) "Well, in my opinion, educated free voters prevent corruption, and this is simply a restriction on freedom so that the populace can "not worry" about monetary corruption in their 'dear leaders'." --KJ

(a) Actually, I agree. However, how do educated free voters PREVENT corruption? Well, wouldn't the obvious "first step" be to elect representatives to the Congress to ban UNLIMITED amounts of campaign contributions that (literally) corrupt the process??? Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin:

"I give you a REPUBLIC [NOT "democracy"]....if you can keep it!!!" (haha)

(3) "This is an excellent point. However, bureaucrats are not elected and wouldn't bother with lip service. This legislation is aimed at elected officials, not bureaucrats."--KJ

(a) HAHA!!! Actually, I was "playing with words" there b/c that is how then-Gov. George W. Bush referred to the politicians (elected officials) in Washington: "BUREAUCRATS."

[CONT...]
Posted by Csavage472 9 years ago
Csavage472
Thanks, Kyle, for the rebuttal, and sorry for the long delay. I guess I really too ADVANTAGE of that "72-hour window"(haha)!!!

(1) "The use of property or items in the form of speech is protected as "Expression"....Johnson was acting using what amounts to property. The use of property, logically, must be considered an act of expression, as protected by the First Amendment."---KJ

(a) To be honest, I think you are confusing the issues of objects used to convey SYMBOLIC SPEECH (the flag, black arm bands, etc.) with property of MONETARY value.

(b) When the Supreme Court ruled that Flag burning was constitutional--[of which I AGREE with 100%]--the "use of the flag" as PROPERTY was neither a question or issue. The Issue was the EXPRESSION of symbolic speech that the citizen demonstrated in burning a piece of cloth that (literally) has no MONETARY value but had deep EMOTIONAL value [the Flag]. In fact, one can even argue that the "Federal Reserve Notes" that Americans take for granted as "money" is NOT "money" or "property" in the traditional sense of the word for the simple fact that it is only worth .04 cents (the cost that it takes to manufacture each Dollar bill).

(c) Moreover, when I reviewed the cases that you cited, the Court does NOT even reference the burning of the flag as a "property issue" which would be under the domain of the 5th Amendment [NOT the 1st]. In other words, stated more simply, the burning of the flag does NOT constitute as the "use of property" in an ECONOMIC sense b/c the flag (literally) has no real monetary value.

(d) Case in point: While the Court ruled the way they did, I am more than willing to BET that if the issue was that you or I burned our OWN PRIVATE HOUSE [Real Estate Property], those judges would most definitely rule AGAINST us. Why??? If either you or I paid in full for our own private house (property), we don't have a "right" to burn it at our pleasure since it is "technically" ours.

(Cont....)
Posted by Jones1 9 years ago
Jones1
It is only irrelevant because of the "rational ignorance" of so many Americans who simply don't vote or vote based on one media outlet, or one point of view.

We shouldn't act like donations are private and secretive to campaigns. As long as the transparency is there, then the people can make up their own minds about the candidate they wish to support, and donate as much money to them as they wish.

My point is, candidates can get all the money in the world, but they need votes to win. Attempting to "level the playing field" by restricting the freedom (of property, speech, etc.) of others will not make people get up off their asses and get involved and educated. They must do that for themselves. Laws don't change the heart.
Posted by sethgecko13 9 years ago
sethgecko13
Money does not equal free speech, and to argue that one's voice in government should be contingent on how much money they can spend is not only antidemocratic, it's asinine.

Campaign finance has turned our elections into nothing more than an auction where the will and interests of the public are completely irrelevant.
Posted by Jones1 9 years ago
Jones1
To be honest, I doubt Jefferson would take my side here. lol!
Posted by Csavage472 9 years ago
Csavage472
Hamilton's face is RIGHT and Jefferson's is LEFT b/c Hammie was a REAL CONSERVATIVE (haha)!!!

Nevertheless, I'll give you the "benefit of the doubt" and ADMIT the unfortunate truth that while Hamilton would, irrefutably, AGREE with my position, he would also disagree with the "exception" to issue ad(s). [:(]
Posted by Jones1 9 years ago
Jones1
Notice Hamilton faces his right, Jefferson his left. Always oppossed!
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Csavage472Jones1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Vote Placed by txgopkid 9 years ago
txgopkid
Csavage472Jones1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Csavage472 9 years ago
Csavage472
Csavage472Jones1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by adamh 9 years ago
adamh
Csavage472Jones1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by james94 9 years ago
james94
Csavage472Jones1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by sethgecko13 9 years ago
sethgecko13
Csavage472Jones1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by kalim787 9 years ago
kalim787
Csavage472Jones1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by RepublicanView333 9 years ago
RepublicanView333
Csavage472Jones1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Jones1 9 years ago
Jones1
Csavage472Jones1Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03