Super PACs are still a bad idea. Corporations should not be able to give unlimited sums to political campaigns. It is bad for our democracy.Bill Burton, co-founder of an Obama-supporting super PAC, Priorities USA. This is a significant question for Democrats: Should progressives who oppose the very existence of super PACs also oppose progressive super PACS? Or is the utilization of super PACS a necessary step to changing the legal framework that makes them possible? Burton seems to believes it’s the second. “Citizens United harms our country, not just the liberal cause,” he says. “I’m proud of the work we did at Priorities in this election, but this system is broken and needs reform.” source (paywall)
$125 the price President Obama’s campaign paid for a slot of ad time in Ohio
$900 the price a conservative super PAC paid for the same amount of ad time in the same state source
A rarely-discussed fact about super PACS: Under federal law, they’re charged a substantially higher rate for ad time than candidates’ campaigns. One implication of this is that candidates who are supported primarily by super PACS get a lot less bang for their buck than candidates who pay for ads with their own campaigns. This excellent chart, courtesy of Paul Blumenthal at Huffington Post, says it all:
Keep in mind that Florida is a must-win state for Mitt Romney, yet for all of his supposed financial advantages, he’s buying less ad time there than Obama (h/t Jon Chait).
I don’t think any of my colleagues on any cases vote the way they do for political reasons,” he said. “They vote the way they do because they have their own judicial philosophy.Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia • During an interview with Piers Morgan for “Piers Morgan Live” last night, refuting claims that he was feuding with Chief Justice John Roberts. The claims surfaced following the 5-4 upholding of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Scalia, who is currently touring to promote his new book, also took time to defend the court’s infamous Citizens United decision. “I think Thomas Jefferson would have said the more speech, the better,” said Scalia, adding, “That’s what the First Amendment is all about. So long as the people know where the speech is coming from.” source (via • follow)
The Super PACs have played a key role, unfortunately, in my view, because most of them are negative ads. They’ve driven up the unfavorables of all of the candidates and made it much more difficult, frankly, to win the election in November.Sen. John McCain • Speaking on the 2012 presidential election, which he called “the nastiest I have ever seen.” Remember, this is coming from the guy who once was falsely accused of birthing a black child out of wedlock. So his standards are pretty high as far as nasty races go. McCain, a longtime advocate of campaign finance reform, went further, calling the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision “the worst decision the United States Supreme Court has made in many years.”
@shortformblog colbert should argue for citizen’s united at scotus. that would be a great civics lesson.— josh sternberg (@joshsternberg) February 18, 2012
Inspired by Josh's tweet above, a question for you guys: If Stephen Colbert were to argue this case in front of the Supreme Court, what should he say to keep corporate influence in politics alive? He’s been running a comedy SuperPAC for months, so he’d be perfect for this case. What sort of line of argument would you imagine him taking?