The essential freedom of our First Amendment is that of citizens to think, act and speak on their individual behalf without imposition of government to constrain their political voice. No, it isn't about which god you choose or which newspaper you read or how much porn you can access or who you can chill with at the corner. It's about expressing your wishes to the representative republic which will govern on our behalf.
Read that again carefully. I didn't say "govern us," I said govern on our behalf.
The bleating of the masses for things like "campaign reform" and "term limitation" have always chilled my soul because they are requests to have choice and voice taken from us. The propagandizing that somehow distinguishes my vote and my labor on behalf of a candidate as being worthy while the contribution of my hard-earned wealth to support a cause or individual as being corrupting is wrong.
Having been a candidate, I know how hard it is to get the necessary minimum in funds to mount a campaign. It takes supporters who believe in your message and are confident that you would serve them well. To suggest that when they offer their aid to the effort that they are buying your vote is always a consideration, but to assume without evidence it is the case is prejudicial. To attempt to set a limit on how successful a candidate can be in campaign fund-raising might seem noble but it denies the essence of the First Amendment.
Do I present myself as a blank sheet of paper so that you can purchase me through your contributions and then write your message on my performance? Or do you meet me, listen to me, evaluate me and measure me for the job then throw your money in the fund because I have earned your confidence? It is inevitably and obviously the latter.
That's why McCain-Feingold was such an affront to political freedom of speech. It looked well intentioned, but can you really stop people from speaking, advertising, expressing themselves on candidates and issues before elections? Is it preferable for already ignorant voters to remain totally benighted rather than hear a message?
The Supreme Court has moved in the right direction today:
Slap-Down to Campaign Finance Crippling
Your first reaction might be that I'm wrong on this but if you consider it for a while you will realize that the only way a representative government can function is if the people have the freedom to support the candidates and issues of their choosing.