Free Markets, Free People
You remember the “Citizen’s United” case I’m sure. And you probably remember the cries from the left when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the 1st Amendment saying that amendment prohibited the government from restricting political expenditures by corporations and unions.
Bad decision according to them, remember? What was it Barack Obama said? That the decision "gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington — while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates."
He even lectured the Supreme Court justices at that year’s State of the Union Address saying, "last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities."
Yes, those evil corporations were sure to be bankrolling American elections to the detriment of the “little people”.
But unions? Meh. Not a word from Obama about unions.
Unions are getting ready to pour money into the 2012 elections. The AP’s Sam Hananel reports that AFSCME is planning to spend at least $100 million, the SEIU will spend $85 million or more, and total union efforts will reach at least $400 million. While many of its affiliate unions, such as AFSCME, will spend heavily on advertising and candidates, the AFL-CIO will continue to focus on developing the infrastructure for year-round, grassroots mobilization.
And not a word since. When I hear Barack Obama rail against union spending and call for it to end, then I’ll believe he’s against unlimited spending for principled reasons (not that I’d agree, but I’d given him that benefit of the doubt) and not political ones. Until then he’s just another in a long line of political hacks trying to limit the funds of those who would spend their money in opposition to him.
Remember all the hand wringing by Democrats about the overturning of campaign finance reform by the Supreme Court in the Citizen’s United case? Remember the rebuke President Obama delivered during his State of the Union address which was met by a standing ovation from Congressional Democrats and a wince by Supreme Court justice Sam Alito?
Remember the harsh words thrown around like "fascism" and the attack on corporations which claimed they’d buy elections in the wake of that decision. And, to complete our trip down memory lane, remember the DISCLOSE act Democrats came up with which they claimed would ensure corporations acted in a way Democrats approved and weren’t able to pump unlimited anonymous money into campaigns?
Well forget all that – Democrats didn’t really mean it and besides, they now have … Majority PAC. POLITICO reports:
Top Democratic operatives are quietly building an aggressive campaign machine to battle huge Republican third-party spending and sway critical Senate races in 2012.
The strategists, including pros like longtime advisers to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, are putting the finishing touches on a group called the Majority PAC, a “super PAC” that can raise unlimited money to attack or support candidates. It is modeled on the third-party operation, Patriot Majority PAC, which ran bruising TV ads against tea party candidates like Reid’s opponent, Sharron Angle, last year and mocked one of his prospective challengers, Sue Lowden, for suggesting she would be open to bartering chickens for health care.
The Majority PAC’s emergence comes at a pivotal time for Senate Democrats. Not only do they need to defend 23 seats to Republicans’ 10 this cycle, they also must woo Democratic donors alongside President Barack Obama, who is preparing for his own reelection bid in 2012.
The all-star team, already mapping out prospective targets, could emerge as the key attacker of Republicans in Democrats’ battle to hang onto the Senate in 2012.
While the Majority PAC will be required to disclose its donors, it will be affiliated with an organization that isn’t. So at least some of the money could hail from anonymous donors, a tactic Democrats bitterly decried last year.
Principles are lovely things except when they get in the way of politics. Corporations are evil things, unless you want their money to win in politics. And anonymous donors and unlimited money – well let’s just say that maybe opposition to Citizen’s United was a little over wrought - now that Dems have had time to rethink this.
Hypocrisy? Perish the thought, and revisit the point about principles.