Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Good news for Senator McCain...

is bad news for everyone else. Comgressional Democrats put the Fairness Doctrine back on the agenda (hat tip: Captain's Quarters):
Why would Kucinich want to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine and kill off the AM band and talk radio? Because his allies have proven less successful than conservatives at building a market for their broadcasts. Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, and a slew of conservative thinkers carved out an industry out of the AM wilderness, and the Al Frankens and Wendy Wildes can't keep up without government intervention. Air America would lose as well in this scenario, but I'm sure Kucinich sees that as a fair trade, and for good reason.
This is good news for Senator McCain's 2008 Presidential campaign for two reasons. First of all, conservative talk radio is probably not quite the friend and supporter that Senator McCain wishes it could be. So the Fairness Doctrine can't be expected to hurt Senator McCain as much as it might hurt someone more conservative such as Governor Mitt Romney.

Second, Senator McCain's right flank is "in the air", so to speak, over First Amendment issues. Senator McCain's campaign finance reforms are so despised by conservatives that a Democratic Presidential candidate might be tempted to move to McCain's right on campaign financing. Conservatives given a choice between a First Amendment Democrat and McCain just might be tempted to vote for the Democrat in 2008. This move will also be exponentially more tempting for Senator Hillary Clinton since it is practically guaranteed that she'll be violating every campaign finance law in the books if she runs for President in 2008.

Senate passage of the Fairness Doctrine will partially pin a Democratic Presidential nominee to McCain's left in the general election, thus reducing the temptation of conservatives to defect over McCain's campaign finance reforms. But expect McCain to vote against the Fairness Doctrine if it ever sees the full Senate; voting for the Fairness Doctrine would just compound McCain's problems.

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