John McCain must be wondering where it all went wrong. Way back in 2001, the senator joined with ultra-liberal Sen. Russ Feingold, D.-Wis., in championing 'The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act,' which was supposed to get the fat cats out of the election process. President Bush signed the legislation into law, and it has become forever known as the 'McCain-Feingold Act.'
Apparently, McCain resented wealthy Americans gaining influence by giving politicians big dollars to finance their campaigns. He felt that gave unfair advantages to corporations and rich people. So the new law limited those campaign contributions, supposedly 'empowering' the regular folks.
Enter radical-left billionaire George Soros, who quickly drilled a number of loopholes into the law. Realizing organizations could pour unlimited amounts of cash into the political process if they didn't 'endorse' a certain candidate, Soros and his far-left guys set up 'MoveOn' and other so-called '527' organizations to wreak havoc during voting season.
Under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, a political organization can get tax-exempt status and spend unlimited money if it champions causes rather than specific candidates. You can't use money to promote a 'Vote for Hillary' theme; however, you can buy TV time saying Hillary is a bad woman, you can opine that McCain and the Iraq war are evil and you can put forth that Obama hangs out with a nasty preacher.
Get the ruse? The money cannot be used to tell the folks whom to vote for, but it can be spent to demonize a candidate on the 'issues.'
Now we learn that Soros and his merry band have put together a number of '527s' that will pony up an astounding $350 million for 'issue' ads in the upcoming presidential campaign. That means much of that money will be used to pound McCain into pudding.
So karma has visited Sen. McCain. His vision of the folks controlling election funding is in tatters. Now, radical guys like Soros hold a tremendous amount of power, while regular Americans are limited in what they can contribute. Back in 2001, some astute political people warned McCain that zealots would reap the rewards of his legislation, but he didn't listen.
There is no question that a war chest of $350 million can do a lot of damage to any person or cause - especially when there's no honesty involved, as these ideologues can say just about anything. The print and TV ads will be relentless. Everything McCain stands for will be hammered. After Soros gets through with him, uninformed voters will think Genghis Khan is on the Republican ticket.
In theory, McCain tried to do the right thing with campaign finance reform - he wanted to limit the corrupting electoral power of overwhelming wealth. But Soros outsmarted him.
Now, McCain's got a $350 million steamroller coming at him, reminding all of us of an old adage: Be careful what you wish for.
Veteran TV news anchor and author Bill O'Reilly is a host on Fox News. His "Radio Factor" can be heard weekdays from 1 to 3 p.m. on NewsTalk 1300 WIMO-AM.