Come see me make a fool of myself tonight

Repeating what I said in a comment a few days ago:

By the way, y’all…

Next week at Capstone, we’ll have a debate on issues related to my Brookings piece, sponsored by the Policy Council. I’m on the panel along with our own Lynn Teague, Rick Quinn and Ashley Landess. Charles Bierbauer will moderate.

I was invited to this by Barton Swaim, thusly:

Did you happen to see Ashley’s op-ed in the WSJ on Saturday? If not, here it is:

I’m hoping you vehemently disagree with it, because we’re holding a public debate on the topic of whether 501c3 groups like ours should have to disclose their donors and I’m looking for something to take the YES ABSOLUTELY position. You’re the first person I’ve asked, because you take contrary positions on just about everything!

It’s moderated by Charles Bierbauer, and it’s happening on Tuesday, May 19, from 6 to 8 p.m.

I hope some of y’all can come…

Here’s the Eventbrite info on it.

Actually, it turns out that Charles Bierbauer will not be moderating. Bill Rogers of the SC Press Association will take his place.

I agreed to do this even though I don’t have strong opinions on campaign finance law in general. But I do not believe, as the Policy Council appears to do, that spending equals speech. I do not believe that, as Ashley Landess says, it is “burdensome” for an advocacy group to have to disclose where its money comes from if it hopes to affect elections or policy.

And with me, that’s about as far as it goes. I’ve devoted basically no time to studying individual bills addressing the subject, or court cases on related issues. Because, you know, it’s all about money, and you know how money bores me.

But fortunately, I’ll have our own Lynn Teague on my team. The other “side” will be represented by Ms. Landess and Rep. Rick Quinn.

I’m assuming that all three of them know far more about this than I do (I know Lynn does), and will do the heavy lifting when it comes to filling those two hours.

Lynn and I talked the debate over at breakfast this morning. That’s the extent of my preparation, aside from a few emails back and forth with Barton Swaim, who got me into this.

So if you’re interested, come on out, because I’m sure the other three will have interesting things to say. And if I see the opportunity to make one of my 30,000-foot-view points, I will. Of course, I’m likely to misspeak in my ignorance of the minutiae on this issue. Which you might find entertaining, but I won’t…

6 thoughts on “Come see me make a fool of myself tonight

  1. Bill

    I don’t bet unless I KNOW I can win.$500 bucks sez the only interesting thing that’ll be said,will be audible ONLY in the room,AKA,a ladyfinger.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, not on TV. That is, not in the sense of old-school broadcast TV. But there will be video on the Web, I am told:

      We are livestreaming the debate tomorrow, and the video will be embedded on the SCPC Facebook… it will also be shown on YouTube, but we won’t have that link until the IT tech comes tomorrow and codes the details on-site. We will also have it fully recorded once the event concludes, and I’ll be sure to follow up with you all in case you want a copy of the recording.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    A point I need to remember to make tonight…

    It’s not that I care all that much. I’m not burning to peruse lists of the Policy Council’s donors or anyone else’s. It’s MONEY. MEGO.

    But when someone OBJECTS to providing the information, THEN they’ve got my attention. Then I think, maybe there’s something to this disclosure requirement…

  3. Jeff Mobley

    I figured this was the more correct place to comment on this.

    I enjoyed the discussion, and I thought you brought some dimension to what was really a pretty narrow topic, especially with your comments about the erosion of the newspaper business model.

    Of course, I pretty much agreed with Ashley Landess and Rick Quinn.

    What I am really curious about now is your take on the turnover at the Charleston paper, which Rep. Quinn made mention of. That’s something I know nothing about, but it was clear there was a diversity of perspectives on that, shall we say. I don’ t know if you’d care to get into that or not.

    Anyway, l thank you for your participation. It made me think of what Chief Justice Roberts said to the Court-appointed amicus curiae guy during the oral arguments of NFIB vs. Sebelius (The Court had appointed him to argue a position that neither of the parties to the case were claiming):

    “Mr. Farr, you were invited by this Court to brief and argue in these cases in support of the decision below on severability. You have ably carried
    out that responsibility, for which we are grateful.”

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Thanks so much, Jeff.

      I don’t know enough about the Charleston situation to comment. I know that at the time, I thought I had reason to doubt the Will Folks conspiracy-theory version, which made the paper look bad and which Rick was to some extent endorsing. But I don’t remember enough of WHY I doubted it to comment now.

      Of course, conspiracy theories about why newspapers do things are usually off the mark, especially if they come from outside.

      Rick asked whether I thought Harrell had ever talked to the newspaper’s management about the stories about him. I expect he did. That would be a perfectly ordinary thing to have happen. And the way that goes is, you sit down with the guy, listen to his complaint, and say, we’re sorry you don’t like it, but we stand by our story (unless he surprises you with really good arguments as to why you got it WRONG).

      Sort of reminds me of when Carroll Campbell came to see us to complain about stories one of our reporters was working on. He was really perturbed, and I got a pretty good column out of it…


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