SUPER BOWL SCANDALBy J. Bradley JansenFree Congress CommentaryFebruary 6, 2002Last Sunday, we were treated to an upset Super Bowl game that came down to thewire for a win (by the aptly-named for the times) New England Patriots footballteam. In addition to a great game, we were treated to the best advertisements inthe industry. However, sandwiched between these treats, a scandal ensued.Television ads with unidentified men and women claiming that they helped “kill ajudge,” “blow up buildings,” “murder families in Colombia,” “kidnap people’sdads,” “kill policemen” and helped “the bomber get a fake passport” wereinterspersed as well.The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) reportedly spent$3.4 million to air two 30-second commercials during the Super Bowl to make it themost expensive single government ad purchase in history. Wasting millions oftaxpayer dollars is something the Republicans claimed they were trying to stop.They got elected on that promise. At a time when we are returning to deficitspending and still trying to reduce the tax burden and protect the Social Securityso-called surplus and other sacred budgetary cows, this TV expenditure isoutrageous.When Republicans were acting like Republicans, they passed a budget in 1996 thatcut spending 60% for the Drug-Free Schools and Communities programs. ThenPresident Clinton vetoed that more fiscally-responsible approach.Commenting on the issue, John Walters, then former, now current, “Drug Czar”explained, "Teaching children that drug use is wrong and harmful is primarily theresponsibility of parents and local communities, youth organizations, religiousinstitutions, schools and police. Federal funding is neither necessary norsufficient for conveying this lesson by word and deed ... Parents, teachers, andcommunities should not leave to the federal government a responsibility thatreally belongs to them ("Big Government Junkies," Policy Review, March-April1996)."Such public education campaigns not only waste public funds that could be betterspent (or best, returned to the taxpayer) but they are a “lazy person's way oftrying to appear they're doing something" as Mr. Walters used to explain (DallasMorning News, June 26, 1997). One would hope that a man of his credentials couldtake over the ONDCP bureaucracy and establish conservative principles ofgovernment.One of the principles of good government that all ideologies should share is toend policies and programs that do not have the desired effect. As the 2001National Money Laundering Strategy points out, we need established goals withquantifiable ways of measuring the success toward reaching those goals. Spendingon programs that fail should be terminated.As Mr. Walters explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 23, 1997, "Theobvious question is, what's not working, in terms of spending? We know what's notworking in terms of leadership. The response is, from the administration, 'we'dlike $175 million or so to do public service ads.' Well, why is that $100 milliongoing to make a difference? It's hard to argue it's going to hurt in thisenvironment, so that makes it difficult to be against this course. But thequestion is why is a glitzy public service campaign the best way to put additionalincremental resources?"