Phil: Is it really “pretty silly to rule out [McCain] entirely on the basis of campaign finance reform”? It was a defining issue for him, bringing out a side that has sent people up the wall ever since. Unlike Fred Thompson, who’s happy to address McCain-Feingold’s unacceptable consequences, McCain so far as I can tell refuses to. Indeed, he tolerates no opposition to his handiwork and indeed has taken steps to extend its prohibitions. Here’s where we get to the gravamen and why McCain-Feingold remains a disqualifying issue: Via McCain-Feingold, McCain has imposed an incumbent-protection regime and he would happily gut the First Amendment to keep it in power. The sheer gall it requires to adopt and maintain this position guarantees McCain will continue to lose friends, no matter his steadfastness on Iraq.
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