One of the prominent and infinitely fucking annoying libertarded memes of the last few weeks is the idea that the elections are being hijacked by “outside groups” that are able to anonymously fund political speech because of a nefarious SCOTUS decision (Citizens United v Federal Election Commission (PDF)) which enables these groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on said speech. That the messages we see on TV and hear on the radio are dictated by a few well funded conservative corporations who are essentially buying policy by advocating for conservative candidates. Entrenched democrats and their media lackeys want us to forget that the economy is still reeling with a worse than 9% unemployment rate, and that Democrats have enacted unpopular laws along strict ideological lines. And they hope with all their might that we don’t notice that the Democrats are actually spending more. And what’s worse is the hypocrisy that accompanies it.
The Citizens United decision as told in the fairy tales of liberals enables just corporations to give this money for political speech. Even the dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens chastises the decision because it allows corporations free reign:
In a democratic society, the longstanding consensus on the need to limit corporate campaign spending should outweigh the wooden application of judge-made rules. The majority’s rejection of this principle “elevate[s] corpora tions to a level of deference which has not been seen at least since the days when substantive due process was regularly used to invalidate regulatory legislation thought to unfairly impinge upon established economic interests.” Bellotti, 435 U. S., at 817, n. 13 (White, J., dissenting). At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the com mon sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.
But what these critics do not disclose is that the decision also allows unions the same freedoms to exercise their first amendment rights. And what these critics hope we lowly folk don’t notice is that not only are unions taking advantage of this ruling and spending money on political speech which benefits democratic candidates, but that public sector unions are actually spending more than these phantom bogeyman “outside groups” run by the conservative elite. The Wall Street Journal explains:
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is now the biggest outside spender of the 2010 elections, thanks to an 11th-hour effort to boost Democrats that has vaulted the public-sector union ahead of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and a flock of new Republican groups in campaign spending.
The 1.6 million-member AFSCME is spending a total of $87.5 million on the elections after tapping into a $16 million emergency account to help fortify the Democrats’ hold on Congress. Last week, AFSCME dug deeper, taking out a $2 million loan to fund its push. The group is spending money on television advertisements, phone calls, campaign mailings and other political efforts, helped by a Supreme Court decision that loosened restrictions on campaign spending.
What we don’t hear from politicians and the main stream media are accusations that government employees, those whose mode of life depends on layer after layer of government bureaucracy and tome after tome of government regulations (which are all supported by ever-increasing taxes), somehow “threaten the foundation of our democracy” with all of this unlimited cash injected in to the political speech marketplace by their union bosses.
But to take it a step further, not only are democrat supporting unions outspending their conservative “outside group” counterparts, they’re outspending them by “more than 30%.” Yet somehow, according to the apparent state sponsored New York Times, despite being outspent by more than 30%, it is these corporations that pose the imminent threat to democracy allowed because of Citizens United:
Even with a recent surge in fund-raising for Republican candidates, Democratic candidates have outraised their opponents over all by more than 30 percent in the 109 House races The New York Times has identified as in play. And Democratic candidates have significantly outspent their Republican counterparts over the last few months in those contests, $119 million to $79 million.
Republican-leaning third-party groups, however, many of them financed by large, unrestricted donations that are not publicly disclosed, have swarmed into the breach, pouring more than $60 million into competitive races since July, about 80 percent more than the Democratic-leaning groups have reported spending.
As a result, the battle for control of the House has been increasingly shaping up as a test of whether a Democratic fund-raising edge, powered by the advantages of incumbency but accumulated in the smaller increments allowed by campaign finance law, can withstand the continuing deluge of spending by groups able to operate outside those limits, according to an analysis of political spending by The Times.
What the democratic machine is trying to sell to the “uneducated masses” is that this anonymous money from “outside groups” is just fine; so long as it is spent by The Right People™ and that it benefits The Right Candidate™. What they have a problem with is those with whom they disagree being able to spend money, not “outside groups” spending money on political speech. They’re happy to benefit from Citizens United in private, yet publicly castigate conservatives for openly exercising their first amendment rights because it is corporations, institutions made up of individuals who have pooled their money together in exercising their right to free association, which typically spend on Republican candidates as to opposed to unions, institutions made up of individuals who have pooled their money together in exercising their right to free association, spending it on liberal political speech. And on top of it democrats have the gall to bitch about the transparency of it all (as if they were somehow above benefiting from the court’s decision).
What the terminally libertarded don’t disclose in their zeal to strike out against Citizens United as a route to the subversion of our form of democracy is that it does away with political speech restrictions which have been imposed by congress which are inherently protectionist schemes designed to limit the speech against incumbents. According to The Stanford Review,
In fact, Whalen [of Stanford’s Hoover Institute] concludes that the ruling’s most significant effect is to do away with campaign reforms that essentially empowered incumbents. Although some first-time candidates can support themselves with personal fortunes (such as Meg Whitman), others were previously disadvantaged by the inability to attract outside contributions to be used for increasing a candidate’s name recognition among voters.
As Whalen argued, “Citizens United protected the right to keep the playing field level.”
So seemingly the objections from the left are all designed to cover up their fear of what Citizens United enables in the immediate election cycle, unlimited anonymous contributions from very upset conservative groups who were by law barred from speaking collectively as a free association under the campaign finance laws struck down by the ruling; not contributions from “outside groups”, the likes of which they are receiving untold millions of dollars from. They’re upset at the court not because of the ruling, but because the ruling doesn’t coincide with immediate political expediency of shutting up discontent conservatives. Shortly after the ruling, The American Thinker wrote:
Campaign finance laws were written to protect incumbents by silencing their critics, and every amendment to those laws came with further burdens or even censorship of grassroots criticism of incumbents. They were always crafted under the ruse of tackling “corruption,” but in fact, they only made corruption easier.
Large for-profit organizations could always establish political action committees (PACs) to raise money for incumbents from their officers and shareholders. Many unions have large memberships, so corporate and union PACs could expressly advocate to millions of voters.
Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in Citizens United addresses the fact that the burdens of establishing PACs, including the potential criminal penalties for noncompliance, have worked against small businesses and voluntary associations of citizens.
Citizens United will undoubtedly benefit unions. The impact for large corporations, which remain accountable to customers and shareholders, is overstated by many. Nevertheless, unions and corporations will now also be competing against thousands of smaller, independent associations amplifying the voices of millions of $100, $25, and $5 contributors, and even non-contributors who express adherence to these causes through signing petitions and completing surveys.
Citizens who do not have vested interests in those large corporations and unions, which are often in bed with Washington, will hear from many more sources without the restraints in place before Citizens United was decided. These citizens may choose to join with other like-minded citizens, and their voices will be amplified in ways not attainable when individuals act alone.
What liberals fear at this juncture is not an infusion of corporate cash in the political marketplace, but cash pooled together in grassroots organizations of like-minded (conservative) individuals in order to engage in political speech in ways that the us proles have never been able until the chains of censorship was lifted by the court.
2010-10-27 » madlibertarianguy