Campaign finance reform is a hot topic. Senator John McCain of Arizona has made it the number one issue in his presidential campaign.
When politicians talk about changing a system that so greatly benefits them, well, like most Americans, I’m pretty skeptical. McCain has talked a lot about the corruption of our representatives and the appearance of corruption that turns off voters.
We’re all sick and tired of politicians trading political favors for campaign cash. But now several stories suggest McCain too has gone to bat for big campaign contributors trying to alter federal government policy to their advantage. Has McCain sold out to big money or has he been snared by his own tangled net? One Arizona woman said, “John McCain is an honest citizen; nobody’s going to buy him with contributions.”
What is forgotten in all the talk of campaign finance is that our system depends on having honest men and women holding public offices. That’s why an office is called a public trust. No laundry list of rules and regulations can stop a corrupt politician from taking home a briefcase full of cash everyday from a special interest. We can’t stop dishonest people from being dishonest. So what we must do is make sure the men and women we elect are honest to begin with and will stay that way.
A congressman who makes a commitment to term limits has a strong defense against such corrupting influences. An honest man in Washington for a limited stay is likely to stay an honest man.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.