Here in the DC area, where Senator Thompson and I live, it’s a fairly common mistake to think that anyone who supports a certain idea supports your bill or your precise formulation. You can see that in a recent campaign missive accusing Governor Romney of joining Senator Thompson in supporting McCain-Feingold:
1994: Romney Wanted To Abolish Political Action Committees (PACs) And Implement Campaign Spending Limits. “Romney also said he advocates spending limits on congressional elections, even suggesting that the current race against Sen. Edward M. Kennedy should have a $ 6 million spending cap…As for campaign finance reform, Romney called for abolishing political action committees and tightening regulations of the process by which limits on campaign contributions to individuals can be legally bypassed.” (Frank Phillips, “Romney, Vowing To Live It, Touts Congress Reform Plan,” Boston Globe, 7/7/94)
2002: Romney Proposed Taxing Political Contributions To Finance Public Campaigns. “…he suggested an alternative funding method. Instead of providing campaign funds from state coffers, his plan would tap 10 percent of the fundraising of candidates who choose to raise money privately.” (Richard Nangle, “Clean Election advocates keep pushing; Common Cause to ask Romney’s assistance,” Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts), 11/14/02)
Here’s the logic problem, though: Those quotes say nothing about McCain-Feingold, or the restrictions on free speech for which it has earned the righteous denunciation of Governor Romney and practically every other conservative. They simply say he supported some type of campaign-finance reform. Folks here in Washington can forget this, but there are a variety of ways to do most things, and not all include supporting your boss’s bill.