I just received an email that reminded me of something…
This past weekend, there were not one, but two opinion pieces in The Wall Street Journal written by folks affiliated with the S.C. Policy Council.
The first wasn’t at all surprising, as it was written by Communications Director Barton Swaim, who is a regular contributor to the Journal, as well as to the Weekly Standard and other such publications. Barton is an erudite young man and a fine writer. His piece over the weekend put forth a modest proposal for a partial acceptance of the excessive use of the random “like” in common speech. All who love the language should read it, assuming they can get past the pay wall: “Managing the Decline of, Like, a Great Language.”
The second piece was by Policy Council President Ashley Landess, and it had this attention-grabbing headline: “The South Carolina Way of Incumbency Protection.”
You’d pretty much have to think exactly like Ashley to figure out what the piece was about based on that hed. For most people, that would be a leap. Basically, she argued against legislation making its way through our Legislature that would require groups that spend money to affect elections to disclose their donors, claiming ominously that this was some sort of plot by incumbents to silence political criticism.
Which, as I say, is something of a stretch. But a stretch you are motivated to attempt if you are the head of the Policy Council. And a message that would appeal to the editors of the Journal.
Anyway, I was reminded of both these pieces by an email from Barton this morning saying:
Did you happen to see Ashley’s op-ed in the WSJ on Saturday? If not, here it is: http://on.wsj.com/1DDDHDS
I’m hoping you vehemently disagree with it, because we’re holding a public debate on the topic of whether 501c3 groups like ours should have to disclose their donors and I’m looking for something to take the YES ABSOLUTELY position. You’re the first person I’ve asked, because you take contrary positions on just about everything!
It’s moderated by Charles Bierbauer, and it’s happening on Tuesday, May 19, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Think about it?
- Thanks for tweeting my eccentric little op-ed. I appreciated you calling me “our own.”
So I had to stop and actually read Ashley’s piece, and decide what I think of it…
Well, “vehemently” is a bit strong. But no, I don’t agree with her.
First, campaign finance has never been a thing I’m that passionate about (it’s about, shudder, money, which bores me, which is probably why I don’t have any). But when forced to think about it, I have tended to say “no” to spending limits, “yes” to disclosure.
The Constitution protects our right to stand up and speak out, not our right to secretly pay other people to speak for us. And a group that pushes transparency as the Policy Council does sets a bad example by wanting to be secretive. Ashley’s piece sort of rings hollow as I read it.
I’m slightly ambivalent about this. For instance, up to a point, I allow people to comment anonymously on my blog. But I restrict what they say more than I do people who are open about their identities. I don’t let them, for instance, criticize others anonymously.
So, given all that, I suppose I could be on a panel. But I’m not nearly as passionate or committed on this as Ashley.
I’ve asked for a few more details…