Mon Nov 12, 2012, 12:08 PM
jsmirman (4,188 posts)
It would be an ENORMOUS MISTAKE to back off on CITIZENS UNITED
I'm going to keep this simple, because this is a post where I hold these truths to be self-evident and so on.
Citizens United remains one of the most (if not the most) disastrous Supreme Court opinions of the last 100 years.
Do not be fooled by our ability to, at and near the top level, beat back the onrushing sludge of dark, dirty, nearly-endless pools of Citizens United-related money.
Without, at minimum, a DISCLOSE Act so that corporations can face the pain of their political decisions at both the checkout counter and in pushback from their investors, we are in deep trouble over the long-term.
Even better would be a Constitutional amendment that overturns the whole thing.
But some simple things anyone thinking that the Citizens United storm has passed need to get right with:
1) As Chris Hayes pointed out, the farther down ballot you get, the more effective Citizens United money was.
2) We benefited from some epically bad candidates on the Republican side, from the top spot down. Romney was a gift that kept on giving - from his perfectly fitting cowardice and excessive desperation for victory that caused him to unnecessarily careen so far to the right during the primaries, to his 47% video, to his toxic past as a job-killer, to his idiotic gaffes, to his poorly run campaign, and to his, again, excessive and desperate avoidance of putting forth any tangible plans and his similarly desperate reliance on ill-conceived campaign gambits like his China-Jeep advert. Heck, this guy even clashed with Fox News reporters who couldn't pin the tail on the slimy salesman.
2b) We benefited from once in a generation buffoons like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Roscoe Bartlett, and the list of approximately nine buffoons who, amazingly, don't understand how rape works.
3) Not all campaigns will be as well run structurally as the Obama campaign. I didn't always agree with every decision they made (whoever told the President to play cautious or slipped him an Ambien in Denver - not good), but structurally, from their insistence on committing maximum resources to reshaping the electorate through voter registration that began in their first primaries, to their excellent and well-organized targeting strategy of voters in the months leading up to Election Day and on Election Day - you cannot count on a Democratic campaign being run this well. And they also had a guy in the top spot with the discipline to always stay on message.
4) Just as we caught up over these last election cycles, the Republicans will run better campaigns. This is inevitable. We've laid out pretty clear blueprints, and enough people know the blueprint that the Republicans have the playbook needed to catch up. Don't get overconfident and miss this one.
5) They will figure out how to spend their money better. That one's in bold, because it's so important to the whole picture. This was the first time they had this much money, and it takes time to allocate that many resources effectively, when you're swimming in what seems like infinite resources. It wasn't easy for Brewster to figure out how to spend his Millions.
These people are misguided, but they aren't stupid. They are going to figure out a way to turn money into maximum advantage. That's what they do in the real world, and they will figure it out in terms of reaching, persuading, and bullying the electorate.
6) Small time donors stepped up, but the strain on us was enormous. I remain incensed at the Supreme Court for putting me through that. Why should I, and other people like me, have to face a David and Goliath situation daily, armed with a peashooter against overwhelming force? I plan on being in a better financial position by 2014, but in starting a business, I may even be more strapped by that election. And if I'm in the same position, I simply cannot contribute more than $5,000 each election cycle. I can't do it.
And thanks to the Supreme Court, this money is going to fund the mansions of ad execs and campaign consultants. And is gone from my pockets. I resent that this money had to go to political campaigns, when, as I pointed out earlier in the cycle, things like food banks and animal shelters could use every single dollar. And that is, by far, where I would prefer to put the moveable financial resources I can bring to bear.
Donor fatigue. Don't you think for a second it isn't coming for our side. We were asked to fight and we did fight an oncoming wall of cash. We're elated, but we're very tired, and we're weakened significantly.
7) States and voters shouldn't be subjected to the barrage of ridiculous advertisements and other nefarious communications Citizens United unleashes on swing state populations. Those populations are tired, too. One way for Citizens United money to win is to just make people tired of politics. It's a way to win by sheer weight. I don't know that the swing state voters can come through another election and not have many of them just decide that they are done with the whole darn thing. I caught only a residual effect, being close enough to Virginia to see what they were getting hit with, but television became almost literally stomach turning thanks to the meanness filled ad blocks that ran at every commercial break.
Citizens United is just bad for the country.
We got LUCKY to survive Citizens United for one election cycle. Do not mistake luck and a confluence of rare and most fortunate factors as any sort of prediction that Citizens United money won't be devastatingly effective in future elections.
That money is a blight on American life and on our politics. The state of campaign finance is a disaster, assisted greatly by a Congress that will not step up to pass campaign finance reform and a Supreme Court that remains in a bizarre state of anti-reality.
Actual citizens must push back against Citizens United. This is no time to stop. Just as with election reform, and making the long lines of Florida 2012 something that can never happen again, now is the time to step up our efforts and demands.
Citizens United is the same dangerous abomination it was before November 6th. It must be turned back if we are to save our democracy.
8 replies, 826 views
It would be an ENORMOUS MISTAKE to back off on CITIZENS UNITED (Original post)
Response to jsmirman (Original post)
Mon Nov 12, 2012, 02:57 PM
boingboinh (290 posts)
3. Sadly DEMOCRATS will NOT Repeal This...
Because lets face it, both parties are corrupt and want a piece of that cash. As long as Citizen United exists the flow of money will be in both directions (but in one direction more than another, depending on the election).
Because money rules democrats will continue to shift right to get more of this cash but play lip service (as a progressive) to win votes.
Should it be repealed? Yes, of course. But like Campaign Finance Reform both sides have a lot to gain from Citizen United.
Obama is a center-right president and i can assure you he will not even bring up the idea of Citzen United being removed in 2013. The man is in his final term and its all about building personal contacts and growing his personal riches, as Bill Clinton did in his 2nd term. Republicans are jealous.
Response to boingboinh (Reply #3)
Mon Nov 12, 2012, 03:30 PM
jsmirman (4,188 posts)
6. That's very cynical, but I wouldn't tell you that you are crazy or anything
I hope you're wrong, but I understand where you are coming from.
Definitely something worth agitating over.
Response to doccraig67 (Reply #7)
Tue Nov 13, 2012, 04:26 AM
jsmirman (4,188 posts)
8. Was there something I said that suggested otherwise?
I don't think I indicated anything different, but perhaps I have something in my post I'm not recognizing?