I’ve worked with people in the Reform Party, good people who want to bring about much needed reform of our political system. That’s why it’s sad to watch the Party split in two, with shouting and shoving matches. I suspect that one catalyst of the crack-up has been the free money that the federal government will bestow on the party’s presidential candidate.
Honey attracts bees and money attracts quite a few different species. The Federal Election Commission will now decide which one of the two sides of the Reform Party gets $12.6 million of our tax dollars as part of the federal matching funds program. But to me that raises the question: is the Reform Party choosing its presidential nominee or is the Federal Election Commission?
Whichever side is “chosen” by the FEC gets all the dough more money than will be raised by Ralph Nader, the Libertarian Party and all other third parties combined. Of course, the Republicans and Democrats get five times as much tax money, which is somehow “fair.” (By the way, hats off to both the Libertarian and Taxpayers Parties for refusing government funding.)
And here’s a perverse twist: The same FEC that allows Republicans and Democrats to break the debate rules and shut out the Reform candidate and other third party nominees, will now decide exactly who is the Reform Party candidate. Let’s even the playing field, but giving away free money isn’t the way. Some cures are worse than the disease.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.