Faced with the prospect of getting seriously pounded in November by an electorate that has tired of being ignored and treated like nothing more than serfs whose property and product are considered the rightful possessions of a elitist ruling class, the Dems are looking for any excuse for this impending butt-whoopin’ that doesn’t actually involve anything they did. Seems like some of them are deciding to blame the exercise of 1st Amendment rights.
In his weekly radio address on Saturday, President Obama complained about “special interests using front groups with misleading names” who are saying mean things about Democrats on TV, a development he attributed to Citizens United. Yet similar complaints have been heard from both major parties in every recent election cycle.
Last week The New York Times reported that “outside groups supporting Republican candidates in House and Senate races across the country have been swamping their Democratic-leaning counterparts on television.” The paper worried that “a relatively small cadre of deep-pocketed donors, unknown to the general public, is shaping the battle for Congress in the early going.”
The Times said “Democratic officials” believed “corporate interests, newly emboldened by regulatory changes, are trying to “buy the election.” In short, the spending patterns “seem to be a fulfillment of Democrats’ worst fears after the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case.”
Except that, as the Times conceded, “it is not clear…whether it is actually an influx of new corporate money unleashed by the Citizens United decision that is driving the spending chasm.” Other factors—”notably, a political environment that favors Republicans”—might be at work. In fact, most of the spending cited in the story was by rich individuals or by groups organized under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, both of which were legal before Citizens United.
“Might” be at work? Gee, ya think? We have a Congress and a President who have gone on a spending spree racking up literally trillions in debt, jammed new programs and policies down the throats of an electorate that was brutally clear in not wanting those policies passed, and has shown a remarkable contempt for their own constituencies. Taken together, all of this “might” mean that people are motivated to express opposition to the Dems? Well, hoodathunk it?
Citizens United didn’t represent the downfall of democracy as so many on the left have decried. It represented the idea that the 1st Amendment must apply to all equally. As Justice Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion there was no way to distinguish between media corporations and other types of corporations. And, indeed, why should there be a distinction? If one corporation was allowed to express political opinions why not all? This is what Citizens did, not open the door to foreign corporations to interfere in our elections. That was a blatant falsehood spread by the Left.
The story goes further to show that the advertising spending Dems are facing is perfectly legal and was legal before Citizens as well. No, what the Dems have a problem with isn’t illegal or immoral or unethical commentary about them. They have a problem with people telling the truth about them and they relied on those elements of the BCRA that Citizens struck down to protect them from such speech. Without that protection they seek to mischaracterize the decision in Citizens and the results that came about because of it. My suggestion to them is that they worry less about who’s spending the money to broadcast the message and worry more about actually addressing the message. Assuming, of course, that they actually can.