Another fine poetic offering from the most talented FOTS we are honored to know:
(with apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
In Washington did Kubla McKhain
A stately campaign-finance law decree:
Where Potomac, the sacred river, ran
Through Capitol buildings measureless to man
Down to a sunless Chesapeake.
So twice five miles of bureaucratic ground
With lawyers and civil servants were girdled round:
And there were offices bright with those who lobby,
Where blossomed ideas that caused fierce fights
And here were protections that shouldn’t be wobbly,
Enfolded in amendments in the Bill of Rights.
But oh! Those deep rights to speak and petition did cost soft money
And Kubla McKhain in his incumbency did disdain the right
That created a wild marketplace! Of ideas and criticisms funny
As e’er beneath a national media market that shined too bright
A light on his and others’ doings in the Halls of Congress!
Electioneering communications caused turmoil seething
And the mention of his name led to rage and heavy breathing,
A mighty fountain of these Communications must be damned
And comments on congressional doings must be condemned,
Sharp fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
In chatty ads beneath the attacker’s flail:
So mute these communications at once and ever
Stop those nonprofits quartered on the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through Unions and Corporations the sacred river ran,
Then reached the Trade Associations measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And ‘mid this tumult Kubla McKhain heard from far
The Reformers’ voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the campaign reforms
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the critics’ storms
From Wertheimer in his raves.
It was a new Sedition Act to stem the tide,
A dark campaign-reform we were forced to abide!
A lawyer with a brief
At the Supreme Court I sought:
He was Bopp from Indiana,
And for WRTL he fought,
Arguing for the First Amendment.
Could he revive within our system
The symphony resplendent,
Of political speech, chaotic as it may be?
Would be a deep delight ‘twould win me,
That with Justices holding so loud and long,
We could rebuild our ancient rights, bar the FEC,
That great Constitution! The First Amendment!
And all who speak should know they are there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
That McCain-Feingold law, those holier-than-thou Reformers!
Weave a brief round them thrice,
Bind them tight with Justice Robert’s thread,
For they on Pew-money hath been fed,
And drunk the fantasy of Election-Paradise.