Having cut his first campaign ads, disheveled California Senate candidate Mickey Kaus wonders,
How annoying is it that in a 30 second spot, 5 seconds are words dictated by the government: "Paid for by Kaus for Senate" and "I'm Mickey Kaus, candidate for U.S. Senate, and I approved this ad." It's not as if voters might otherwise assume that my campaign a) hadn't paid for the ad and b) didn't approve it. ... Maybe if someone else's campaign had produced the ad they should have to disclose that, to avoid deception. Or if the ad was an attack ad that never mentions the candidate who funded it. But this was an ad in which I appear and identify myself. I don't quite see the compelling public interest in forcing candidates to tell voters that, yes, what they naturally assume is the case is, in fact, the case. It seems more like the government just forcing them to jump through verbal hoops because it can.
Actually, Mickey, you can thank Maverick McCain for that one. McCain insisted on that language being inserted in McCain-Feingold (aka BCRA) because of his visceral dislike for "negative ads," apparently figuring candidates would be less likely to air attack ads if they had to verbally take credit for them.
You can ask McCain yourself how well that worked out...
Full disclosure (again): I donated $20 to Mickey's campaign.