Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bad Lawbreaking Does Not Make For Good Lawmaking

Rob Schofield in his latest piece for NC Policy Watch, a liberal/progressive NC think tank, makes the argument that Mike Easley's downfall is good for the progressive movement within the state. Not only does Schofield fail to chafe at the scandal, he almost revels is it as a means to the end of enacting a liberal agenda in state government. He lists five "good things for North Carolina and the progressive cause" to come out of the scandal even evoking the memory of Jim Black for #3.

"#3 – Scandal is good for passing even tougher laws – Lest there be any doubt, it’s worth remembering that the omnibus ethics and lobbying reforms of recent years are ultimately attributable to one man: Jim Black. ...

And so, with any luck, it will be Easley’s fall that will spur the next round of housecleaning and reform. At this moment, there are efforts pending in the General Assembly that would take the next logical steps to lessen the influence of big money in state politics. Let’s hope the apparent self-destruction of Mike Easley is just what is needed to help seal their final passage."

So let me get this straight. Liberals are actually arguing that the reason we need tougher ethics and lobbying laws is because their politicians keep breaking the laws we already have in place. I have actually had more than one liberal opiner argue with me that the Easley fiasco is a reason for campaign finance reform. No, it's not. The allegations against the former governor actually provide a perfect example of how political influence and money would be peddled under proposed campaign finance reform systems currently under consideration. Big money donors would trade services and off-the-books donations for influence and cushy political appointments from the candidates that they turn into elected officials.

When politicians break the laws governing their behavior in office, it doesn't prove you need better laws. It proves you need better politicians. We cannot legislate away greed and a lust for power, but we can choose to elect honest men and women of good character who are able to resist the twin seductions of money and influence and instead serve the people. In the next election, Republicans plan to offer candidates who will do just that.