The focus of today’s George Will column is Sen. Feingold’s proposal to amend the 17th Amendment. But Will can’t avoid recalling the constitutional issues arising from Sen. Feingold’s foray into campaign finance law.
By restricting the financing of political advocacy, the McCain-Feingold speech-rationing law empowers the government to regulate the quantity, timing and content of political speech. Thanks to Feingold, McCain and others, the First Amendment now, in effect, reads: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech unless it really, really wants to in order to guarantee that there will be only as much speech about the government as the government considers appropriate, and at times the government approves.”
Now Feingold proposes to traduce federalism and nudge the Senate still further away from the nature and function the Framers favored. He is, as the saying goes, an unapologetic progressive, but one with more and more for which to apologize.