Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court held arguments on the so-called “Millionaire’s Amendment” section of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. The provision in question limits how much a candidate can spend on their own campaign, presumably to prevent them from being corrupted by… their own money.
During oral arguments, Justice Scalia ridiculed the notion that laws can somehow “level the playing field” for campaigns. Scalia sarcastically suggested we should next require that the more eloquent candidate talk with pebbles in his mouth, in order to guarantee more egalitarian elections.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because I made a very similar point in a column early this year. To wit:
For instance, we need to eliminate Barack Obama’s good looks from the equation. From now on, Obama should be forced to wear a ridiculous, bushy fake mustache when he gives speeches. We’ll see if women voters are as enthusiastic about his message of hope when he looks like Borat. (Although, admittedly, he might earn my vote if he did so.)
Next, we need to equalize the market for celebrity endorsements. When Chuck Norris endorses Mike Huckabee, every other candidate in the field will be assigned a taxpayer-financed washed-up action star to serve as their campaign spokesman. Jean-Claude Van Damme, we need your cell phone number – looks like John Edwards is cratering!
Under my plan, candidates will be barred from playing instruments while on the campaign trail. Everyone remembers Bill Clinton’s thrust in popularity after he played the saxophone on late night television. Mike Huckabee recently showed up on Jay Leno playing the bass guitar. (Less memorable was Steve Forbes’ performance of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” on the triangle.) Whether a candidate can play a few notes on an instrument doesn’t tell me what I need to know about their position on CAFTA.
Finally, we need to get rid of all these troublesome catchwords that seem to be getting people so excited. Obama should be limited to two uses of the word “hope” per speech. Huckabee should only be allowed to refer to God as “the man who lives in the clouds,” and will be limited to using the following joke, written by my four year-old daughter:
Q: “What did the fish say to the seaweed?”
A: “Fish can’t talk!”
All of these important reforms will give real people a chance to run for office. Real ugly, dull, uninformed people.
So since I don’t expect anyone else to toot my horn, I will take this opportunity to do it myself. Or, at least before Wisconsin amends its Constitution to ban tooting your own horn.