JAILBIRD ROCK? ...

JAILBIRD ROCK? Newt Gingrich (who I still believe will be the Republican nominee in 2008, so get used to him) got some attention in New Hampshire this week for giving a speech at "First Amendment" dinner and declaring that the War on Terror called for "a totally different set of rules" on speech.

But what he would take away with one hand, he gives back with another. In the interest of, he said, "expanding First Amendment rights," he called for the elimination of all limits on campaign contributions, in exchange for candidates' and parties' reporting all contributions on the Internet.

This proposal is not new: Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21 informs me that when it was introduced in Congress a few years ago, it was known as "DeLay-Doolittle-Ney." Now that the first of those is under indictment, the third has copped a plea, and the middle one is under serious investigation, one has to wonder: What should you call a piece of legislation when all of its cosponsors are in jail?

(By the way, the article linked above makes a terrible and all-too-common error: It says that Gingrich called for repeal of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, passed in 2002. In fact, he called for repeal of the underlying law on campaign contributions, which goes back to 1974.)

--Mark Schmitt

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