The Politics Of Citizens United


Americans of both parties overwhelmingly oppose a Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations and unions to spend as much as they want on political campaigns, and most favor new limits on such spending, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Eight in 10 poll respondents say they oppose the high court's Jan. 21 decision to allow unfettered corporate political spending, with 65 percent "strongly" opposed. Nearly as many backed congressional action to curb the ruling, with 72 percent in favor of reinstating limits.

[. . .] Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and other Republican lawmakers have praised the ruling as a victory for free speech and have signaled their intent to oppose any legislation intended to blunt the impact of the court's decision.

This issue can be a political tip of the spear for Democrats if they choose to feature a populist message for the 2010 elections. Financial reform, job creation and other Main Street initiatives could help Dems turn their fortunes around. This requires not listening to silly people like Evan Bayh and Mark Halperin though.

Speaking for me only

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    COuld it help? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 09:37:56 AM EST
    It sure could but why would Obama lead a charge to cut off his funding for 2012? I mean this has been a big MO for chicago machine politics for quite a while. I can't see it coming from the top and nobody listens to what the bottom says. The people on the bottom are only to be quashed or told they have nowhere to go.

    In the media, it seems "Centrist" (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by KeysDan on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 09:40:13 AM EST
    is played as positive.  Bayh is centrist, and, hence, it is a shame he is going, but going he is because of all that partisanship stuff.  Right and Left are negative, and equally so. Although "center-right" is still fine, "center-left" is already politically off-kilter, and such labeling is to be avoided to be a media dahling.

    The Democrats are losing (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 09:48:03 AM EST
    credibility fast and furiously on the populist front.

    Their failure to aggresively protect the American people from predatory financiers; their lack luster performance on the jobs front; their insistence on following a trickle-down bail out model that not surprisingly has NOT worked as promised; and their obvious corruption where it comes to the health insurance and pharma lobbies will make their calls for campaign finance reform sound hollow and cheap.

    Talk is cheap and that's never been more obvious than it is right now for many, many Americans.

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by cawaltz on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 09:56:40 AM EST
    The problem is talk ISN'T cheap. Evidently, the more money you have, the more time at the podium you get. Unfortunately, the average American can't compete with a multibillion dollar conglomerate so we are all basically being told to sit down and shut up.

    Yes, there is an irony there to be sure. (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 09:59:25 AM EST
    But all the pretty speeches in all the pretty venues with all the pretty columns don't cut it when people are hurting and in need of concrete action on their behalf.

    Even if you have the money you can't (none / 0) (#22)
    by esmense on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:53:12 AM EST
    compete -- because the media decides which messages it will or will not run. The Church of Christ ad touting inclusiveness vs. the recent pro-life ad that ran in the SuperBowl is a good example.

    Personally, I think it would be better to limit the money the media can charge for political speech (certainly political speech on public airways should be free) and make them proclaim in every ad choose to run that they "support this message."

    Then we could devote public funds to real grass roots events and communication.

    The way it is now, effective political speech requires that you bribe powerful media -- with no guarantee that they won't block your message even when you can come up with the bribe.


    But blog readership (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 11:02:42 AM EST
    is growing daily.  And old forms of media are having a harder time turning a buck because they don't serve the people.

    Good and bad (none / 0) (#24)
    by cawaltz on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 11:17:04 AM EST
    The new media is both good and bad. Unfortunately, disclosure seems to be largely limited to mommybloggers(and they do have requirements that if they even so much as receive a sample that they must disclose it). Meanwhile there are bloggers out there that are being compensated and influenced by outside revenue in politics that don't seem to have the same sort of requirements. It muddies the water when you find out after the fact that someone who owns or writes a blog received revenue from an industry that pertains to the subject they write ardently about.

    I realize that there are bloggers being (5.00 / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 12:21:56 PM EST
    compensated.  And when that happens, it shows up in their work.  Americans have in the recent past been very very stupid, displaying zero common sense.  The last huge financial crisis we survived cured that for awhile.  You can't just lie to the people right now and frost the crap cake.  Being able to that for anything longterm is over for everyone but a choice few who may be overlooked when the pitchforks come out.  It isn't that hard to spot who is paid off though right now.  And people are NEEDING real solutions, you can't schmooze the starving and the dying anymore.

    Blogs, etc (none / 0) (#48)
    by cal1942 on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 03:17:13 PM EST
    Only reach a tiny fraction of the population.

    Just read that Obama intends (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by hairspray on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:34:22 PM EST
    to subsidize nuclear power  plants in Georgia.  He is touting this as a Republican inspired idea and look "see how bi-partisan I am."
    The nuclear power people will swamp the alternative energy movement if this gets up and running.  But he was a nuclear guy right from the beginning.  Remember!  Ugh!

    He was Exelon's stooge (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by shoephone on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 03:08:00 PM EST
    and he's still dancing with the ones that brung him.

    Worst of all, obama is touting it as (none / 0) (#54)
    by pluege on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 06:59:08 PM EST
    "clean energy". obama is unbelievably insidious.

    Well it is clean, its just the dirty (none / 0) (#61)
    by hairspray on Thu Feb 18, 2010 at 12:51:09 AM EST
    residual that keeps getting in the way!

    Nuclear is a good option (none / 0) (#56)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 07:30:09 PM EST
    among the options we now have Nuclear is probably the best- its just a plain fact that at current levels of technology Alternative energy sources cannot replace much less meet growing demand.

    Yeah, great alternative-except for that waste.... (none / 0) (#59)
    by jawbone on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 07:56:14 PM EST
    But the problem is (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by robotalk on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:12:55 AM EST
    this is sort of a Mobius strip: if you have that message, you can't get the money to compete against entities with the opposite message.

    Citizens United seems to assure that the powerful voices shout down all others.

    There's no doubt that (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 11:42:04 AM EST
    Financial reform, job creation and other Main Street initiatives could help Dems turn their fortunes around

    But the problem is that the template for such things will follow the health care "model," which means whatever is offered will be too small and too weak to have much of a positive impact; look at what has already been proposed on the jobs front - a measly, maybe-$15 billion bill.

    Yes, they have to stop listening to the Bayhs and Halperins, but they're not going to; if anything, now that Bayh has thrown down the gauntlet on that awful partisanship in Congress, I predict that more of an effort will be made to appease, cater to and roll over for the Blue Dogs and Republicans, not less, and the result will be predictably ineffective.  But, gosh and golly, the messaging from the WH will be spectacular!

    You know what they just might be able to do?  Rip the heart out of Social Security and Medicare.

    I can hardly wait.

    Yes, Social Security, Medicare and even (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by KeysDan on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 12:24:47 PM EST
    Medicaid are on the chopping block---the signs are everywhere.  Indeed, these entitlements (undeserved, implied) are purported to be the major problem facing our economic future. Of course, the social security surpluses (owing to that bipartisan committee chaired by Alan Greenspan in 1980's) that have been used for wars and tax cuts is never mentioned.  Apparently, good social safety nets are not a good thing because they cost money. Moreover, our ability to finance wars with undefined or unsubstantiated purposes are never considered.

    I'm really afraid (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Zorba on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:47:39 PM EST
    that this is going to happen, KeysDan.  Just as they used to say "Only Nixon could go to China," they may well wind up saying "Only a Democrat could gut Social Security, Medicare, etc."  They could try, first, to raise taxes on the wealthy and take the cap off Social Security withholding, but they won't.

    It was completely predictable. (5.00 / 0) (#40)
    by observed on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:51:39 PM EST
    IN fact, I predicted it, over and over.
    I'm beginning to think that Obama can be understood best as a guided missile, programmed and delivered by the Chicago School, directed at the Democratic party, intended to completely destroy any vestiges of leftism remaining in American politics.

    Stealth candidate, only not running for a school (5.00 / 0) (#60)
    by jawbone on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 07:59:29 PM EST
    board seat.

    But the princple is the same: Just say a few of the right words, with enough hints of the real program to avoid being called an outright liar, and, bingo!, Change You Can Believe In.

    Just not the change that was voted for....


    Yes, but not just a Democrat, but (5.00 / 0) (#52)
    by KeysDan on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 03:53:40 PM EST
    a Democratic president.  

    Well it took (none / 0) (#57)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 07:30:53 PM EST
     a dem to gut Welfare so you may have a point.

    Ahem, that wasn't Clinton's (none / 0) (#58)
    by observed on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 07:42:48 PM EST
    initiative--it was the Republicans.
    Obama is the one who is volunteering to take the knife to SS and Medicare.

    "This issue can be... (5.00 / 5) (#32)
    by desertswine on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:19:09 PM EST
    "This issue can be a political tip of the spear for Democrats..."

    if they knew which end was the pointy one.

    Bayh's message, (none / 0) (#1)
    by JamesTX on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 07:58:09 AM EST
    though, is both deeply disturbing and, as most of us feared, largely true. The people's business is not being done, although the people won the election. I think this interval is possibly one of the strange places in American history where the people, properly informed and motivated, might could simply "clean out the barn". A stronger and more honest Democratic party could check the judicial branch, which is clearly in mode to play out their function intended by their appointees -- a radical right agenda. The wheels of justice grind slow, and we are just now getting to the part that the neoconservatives had in mind when they stacked the court. Funny that everyone thought it was over!

    His message is both true and (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by observed on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 08:03:55 AM EST
    incoherent---HT to gyrfalcon for noting that "centrists" in this country are all lunatics.
    Bayh decries the Dems excessive partisanship.
    Gag me.
    There definitely are a lot of stupid, uniformed people who think the country needs 100 Joe Liebermans and Evan Bayhs in the Senate, but that's just sad.

    Yep (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 08:47:22 AM EST
    The centrist position that it is possible to please everyone in an environment where one side has a clearly articulated strategy to not be pleased is exactly what is blocking progress.

    I totally think nr Bayh (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:02:37 AM EST
    is planning a white house run in 2012.  and since he has pi$$ed off all the democrats maybe he plans a third party run.
    I have been expecting someone to do just that.  if 2012 is not shaping up like a perfect year for an indie run I dont know what it would take.

    Post-Citizens, this would be a smart move (none / 0) (#13)
    by Dan the Man on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:22:05 AM EST
    All any 3rd party candidates needs is money from corporations because the Supreme Court has ruled corporations are awesome speakers (just like Obama is an awesome speaker) with 1st amendments.

    Who needs a political party to back you when corporations and foreign governments are backing you?


    and who was made (none / 0) (#15)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:34:03 AM EST
    for corporate america more than Eavie?

    An indie run would probably help Obama (none / 0) (#31)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 01:57:53 PM EST
    Like Perot's run in '92.

    maybe (none / 0) (#33)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:31:37 PM EST
    Hmm.. i'm thinking 11 dimensional (none / 0) (#34)
    by observed on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:33:09 PM EST
    chess by Obama here. How about you?

    Im thinkin (none / 0) (#39)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:50:20 PM EST
    Evan Bayh is no Ross Perot.

    He's not even a Joe Lieberman. (none / 0) (#41)
    by observed on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:54:12 PM EST
    chuckle (none / 0) (#42)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:54:31 PM EST
    yeah, no one is going to make up a cult-like adjective for his 'followers'.

    evanistas? (none / 0) (#43)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:55:58 PM EST
    Bayhmiacs?  Probably not

    Bayh (none / 0) (#50)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 03:25:04 PM EST

    however (none / 0) (#51)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 03:26:20 PM EST
    I actually meant that I would take a well financed independent run by Bayh in this environment very seriously.

    One way forward? email I rec'd (none / 0) (#3)
    by Molly Pitcher on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 08:22:48 AM EST
    New Amendment:

    "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."        

              Each person contact a minimum of twenty people on their email address list, in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

     In approximately three days, all people in the United States of America will have the message.  This is one proposal that really should be passed around.  

    I've been wondering (none / 0) (#6)
    by glennmcgahee on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 09:38:22 AM EST
    why the Supreme Court's decision has been met with utter silence as far as anything being proposed to fix the Corporate World's influence in our elections. Since 2010 is approaching fast, I'm sure the encumbent's need for money and lots of it is the barrier.
    We never had seen as much money spent on an election as was raised and spent by Barack Obama. This, after he originally had agreed to take Public Financing before getting the nomination. Try to convince me that all the money raised was from little folks sending in $5 and $10 as his campaign said. This election opened a Pandora's Box for Corporations to completely take over our Democracy once and for all. Where are our Representatives? Where is the outrage?

    Nobody wants to risk their (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:37:39 AM EST
    payola.  They are all on the corporate tit and can't imagine life without it, but this nation is still broke and broken and as soon as the Fed quits printing money that corporate tit is going to be a bit dry too.  

    Chris Dodd says he is going to try (none / 0) (#36)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:37:09 PM EST
    to get the Constitution amended. He talked about it on the Colbert Report last week. Have not seen anything about it since though.

    I'm sorry if he is correct that an amendment is the best way to get around the ruling. That would take a looong time.


    They are all so steeped in (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:33:25 AM EST
    corruption anymore, exactly what would Democrats run on.....because this issue is election finance reform?  They don't want it anymore than anyone else does.  They love bleeding everything available to them as much as possible, they aren't going to do anything any different than the Republicans.  They won't deliver election finance reform, and if they run on it and don't deliver it that will blow the Democratic party to smithereens because the country is hurting too badly to ever forget that B.S. lie.  They could all grow a conscience but that isn't going to happen.  That's the only thing that could help anything these days.

    Yep! (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by hairspray on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:43:00 PM EST
    We tried campaign finance reform here in California and the Democratic legislatures were just as opposed as the Republicans.  They are all so addicted that they can't envision anything else.  Its their job security and love of the power that comes with it that rankles.  It could be the disgust with the infighting might just make the power thing the straw that breaks the camel's back.  Wishful thinking!

    Buy-Bayh will be an "outsider" in 2012, (none / 0) (#16)
    by observed on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:37:30 AM EST
    ready to campaign against the corrupt DC insiders who get all the corporate cash---and funded by the bankers. Hmm.. remembers me of a very recent election.

    Outsider won't work again (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 12:24:48 PM EST
    I'm not sure the country will buy another outsider or "centrist" in 2012. GWB was a DC outsider and look what we got. Obama was an unknown outsider and so far that hasn't worked either. Both campaigned on bringing civility back to Washington.

    If things aren't a lot better in 2012, people are going to be looking for a hard nosed politician that isn't afraid of banging a few heads to get the job done.

    I think the country will be looking for a realist not another glad hander.


    Yeah, but the internets (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:41:52 AM EST
    has a memory and the google caches and some jerk put a site up called the Memory Hole too.  Good luck Evan, cuz this isn't yer daddy's political reality these days.  It isn't so easy to submerge and then resurface as someone else with a new car smell.

    Jindal is outsidery. (none / 0) (#19)
    by observed on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:42:52 AM EST
    But he frightens small children (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:46:12 AM EST
    Never a good thing in politics :)

    He fecked his own party (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:44:49 AM EST
    In how he even did this, anyone going to forget that one easily? That isn't the same as voting "present".  Is Vote for Bayh, he promises he won't totally feck you over anymore going to be his slogan?

    Where does this leave Glenn Greenwald? (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 01:31:16 PM EST

    Not likely (none / 0) (#44)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:56:34 PM EST
    I'm not very confident in the Democrats ability to use anything for their advantage, They came to power because the voters were totally disgusted with the way the Republicans were running the country. In one year, they've managed to squander all of that. To think that suddenly the light will come on and they'll wake up is more than, even a dreamer like me, could hope for.

    Until Obama and his advisers realize that he was elected as a Democrat, we have no hope.

    This just in (none / 0) (#45)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 03:03:57 PM EST
    That's probably as accurate as (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by observed on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 03:08:05 PM EST
    the Onion's inaugural address from Bush.

    Did you see (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Zorba on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 03:17:20 PM EST
    the Murray Hill satirical ad from the end of January?  They beat The Onion to this by a few days.  It's hysterical.  (Murray Hill is a left-leaning PR firm).

    Doesn't matter what the American People want (none / 0) (#53)
    by pluege on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 06:56:47 PM EST
    What the SCOTUS cretin 5 did by settling the case on a Constituional rights basis is make it impossible for the will of the people to be enacted legislatively through their Congressional representatives. The ONLY thing that can let the people's will be served now is a Constitutional amendment - a long and near impossible process. (Can you imagine, the government can't even enact normal legislation - a Constitutional Amendment - right)

    This is where the SCOTUS Cretin 5 and the ruling's mis-guided supporters like the otherwise normally dead-on Glen Greenwald go so terribly wrong. Corporations have NO RIGHTS under the Constitution. The document is clear as a bell on this in its very pre-amble. But with the SCOTUS Cretin 5 legislating from the bench, they have thwarted the people, the Constitution, and commonsense and in fell swoop by affixing nonexistent Constitutional rights to corporations.

    it certainly can be. (none / 0) (#55)
    by cpinva on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 07:20:41 PM EST
    This issue can be a political tip of the spear for Democrats

    given their history, they'll manage to stab themselves with it.