LiberalViewer of YouTube attempts to set the record straight on mischaracterizations of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.”
It appears based on watching this video that the ruling is greatly misunderstood by both sides and I myself am inspired to try and read the whole 180+ page Opinion of the Court.
I am in no way advocating the chilling of free speech by value of it simply coming from a corporation or union.
It is a falsehood to state that this ruling allows for “unlimited contributions to political candidates” and also a point that is not within the primary argument against this ruling, as it did not effect those existing limitations.
I believe, personally, that the argument made that this will benefit non-profit advocacy organizations over private sector special interests has some serious flaws in it, while it is not altogether untrue.
It’s true that some of the confusing regulations surrounding political advocacy have been discarded in this recent decision, but it is the structure and measure of what they have done that is so reprehensible.
Were it to be the case that a corporation had to declare their logo and “I Support This Ad” with the CEO standing there; then this decision would be far different in implications to our political process.
This logic that major multinational corporations will for some reason “not go there” with political issues is true to a certain extent but it precludes the simple truth that when seeing itself as threatened, as the insurance companies did the early days of the Health Care Debate, they will spend whatever they can as fast as they can to flood us with … media. Media like television ads.
How quickly we forget as a nation, as a people, that Sen. John Kerry was literally “slimed” out of his equal opportunity at the democratic process in a bid for president no less by what we now call “swing voting” but if you track this story out it was a bunch of frauds who demeaned their personal character in a outright smear campaign. One of them lives right here in Santa Cruz, California and just like the Bush administration itself they are taking no responsibility for this in public.
How easy it will be now for a nameless silent corporate partner to just bankroll a bunch of TV ads either pro or con for a candidate that had policies that just might ask them to give a little back after they take so much from the environment, for instance. If understand that McDonald’s is Pro-McCain, just as a random example, then many of my concerns go away. But as it stands the Sierra Club, the NRA and the example of the video clip Microsoft could all wildly flood a campaign with media while grassroots money and dedicated social advocates of any position would be overshadowed.
Also this argument that money doesn’t win elections is also partly false. Money is not enough, as the examples of Ross Perot and Mitt Romney illustrate, but the 2008 Campaign for the White House was in part decided on the dollars and cents. Of course you need the solid candidate, as the Democrats held with Obama, to seal the deal but my studies in Political Science completely disagree with the scoffing of this notion of looking at the financial impact and earnings to get the best picture.
As I stated before, I believe I may have to read this entire decision before I am totally satisfied I understand it fully.
For now, I am strongly standing with the words of President Obama in his State of the Union address calling this decision a means by which we will “open the floodgates” to foreign special interests and corporate lobbyist influence over the actual results of our elections themselves.
I feel both the SCOTUS and perhaps LiberalViewer as well have concerned themselves too much with entities that deserve very little concern or express protections of the court while neglecting to see the ramifications of said decision on the people that truly represent democracy at it’s core.
To put it plainly: this appears a “open door” policy in terms of slash-and-burn negative political ads at the end of a campaign cycle to force a candidate to lose based on hyperbole, as we have seen before in politics. Slime works, and I as I understand it the SCOTUS just ruled in favor of slime in our elections.
Russ Feingold at CounterPunch.org explains what Sam Donaldson was speaking about that I referred to as “inaccurate” in the above piece.
I was under the impression that he was saying that Soft Money limits are now gone under this ruling but in fact it he was speaking to the issue of spending directly out of the treasury without limit.
***Thanks to Paul J. Rourke for bringing this to my attention and providing the link.