Campaign Finance

Obama Fights 'Corporate Takeover of Our Elections'

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In his radio address on Saturday, President Obama continued to wax apocalyptic about the impact of lifting restrictions on the political speech of Americans organized as corporations. "What we are facing is no less than a potential corporate takeover of our elections," he warned. "What is at stake is no less than the integrity of our democracy."

Yet the restrictions overturned by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC—the ban on corporate spending "in connection with" an election and the ban on "electioneering communications"—date from 1974 and 2002, respectively. Did corporations control our elections, thereby destroying the integrity of our democracy, prior to either of those dates? The latter ban, which covered "issue ads" as well as "express advocacy," was supposedly necessary because the Supreme Court's 1976 interpretation of the earlier ban rendered it ineffective. So according to Obama, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, a.k.a. McCain-Feingold, gave us less than a decade of pure politics, and we are now returning to the unmitigated corporate corruption that characterized the rest of our history.

Or maybe not. Obama suggests that even during the good-government era ushered in by McCain-Feingold, special interests were known to have an impact on public policy:

Every time a major issue arises, we've come to expect that an army of lobbyists will descend on Capitol Hill in the hopes of tilting the laws in their favor. That's one of the reasons I ran for President: because I believe so strongly that the voices of ordinary Americans were being drowned out by the clamor of a privileged few in Washington.

In other words, the ban on electioneering communications that was absolutely essential to preventing corporate domination of politics failed to prevent corporate domination of politics. And now that the Supreme Court has overturned the ban—a decision Obama described as "more devastating to the public interest" than anything else he could think of because it "strikes at our democracy itself"—he says the real issue is transparency:

Of course every organization has every right in this country to make their voices heard. But the American people also have the right to know when some group like "Citizens for a Better Future" is actually funded entirely by "Corporations for Weaker Oversight."

If "every organization has every right in this country to make their voices heard," why does Obama insist the Supreme Court was wrong to recognize that right? And if disclosure can accomplish the same result as censorship, why didn't he support that approach to begin with?

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  1. So, um, this means that the Civil Rights Act was passed by corporate interests? Ditto “Great Society?” Corporations fought the fascist hordes and got us on the Moon? And so on? Guess they founded this nation, too.

    I’m getting sick of Obama and his constant demonization of his opposition. That’s not leadership.

    1. It’s the only thing he can really do. He can’t lead because he’s simply not a leader.

      Just like his speeches and promises, the man seems to be almost completely hollow.

      1. Amazing, utterly amazing, that people ever thought and especially continue to think that this windbag should be in the White House.

        Of course, part of what makes him so bad is the Congress, which may be the worst in nearly a century.

        1. You must be immune to his Bliss.

          1. Sounds like a – whaddya call – scam to him.

    2. Mau-mauing the tax payer, kinda?

    3. “I’m getting sick of Obama and his constant demonization of his opposition. That’s not leadership.”

      It’s all we know.

    4. That kind of blather is Obama standard operation procedure.

      He specialized in presenting false choices, erects armies of strawmen to knock over and demonizes any and all disagreement as being ginned up by “special interests”.

      If the mainstream media would actually do their job and ask him the hard questions and push for subtantive answers when they do, Obama would be toast.

      1. Does anyone else remember this hypocritical parody of the Declaration of Independence that could be found on Obama’s campaign website for a few weeks in 2008? Several times in a web video he implored his contributors to “declare independence” from a “broken system” “fueled” by “special interests” who are “masters at gaming” said system. I guess he figured that if he was going to spend political capital in a brazen act of selfish promise-breaking, he would do it big time.

        Now he gets to do it on the daily.

    5. Obama is a complete, total, and utter miserable failure.

  2. Yeah, I’d imagine he just hates the evil and unjustified influence that teacher’s groups and the autoworkers possess.

    1. And don’t forget illegal foreign donations. I did well with those last time.

  3. “That’s one of the reasons I ran for President: because I believe so strongly that the voices of ordinary Americans were being drowned out by the clamor of a privileged few in Washington.”

    How can he say that with a straight face?

    1. Botox?

      1. Knowtox?

        1. Maotox?

  4. And let’s not forget that Obama is quick to denounce “big corporations” from having influence over our elections, but if it’s “big Unions” well, that’s just fine.

    From todays WSJ

    Free Speech for Some
    Unions get a pass from new campaign finance disclosure rules.

    Democrats in Congress last week introduced White House-backed legislation that would indirectly reinstate free-speech restrictions that the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in January. Backers say the measure will force disclosure of corporate money in politics, but the real goal is to muzzle criticism?at least from some people.

    The legislation, sponsored by Democrats Charles Schumer in the Senate and Chris Van Hollen in the House, would prevent government contractors and corporate beneficiaries of the Troubled Asset Relief Program from spending money on U.S. elections. It would also ban U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies from making political contributions if a foreign national owns 20% or more of the voting shares in the company, or if foreign nationals comprise a majority of the board of directors.

    The provisions are designed to undermine this year’s landmark Supreme Court Citizens United decision, which held that limits on independent campaign expenditures by corporations or unions violate First Amendment free speech guarantees. But, under the bill, unions with government contracts would not be subject to the same restrictions as corporations.

    What a bunch of two-faced lying sack of shinola these folks are.

  5. Shut the fuck up, Barack Obama.

    1. X, on occasion, your candidness really brightens my day.

    2. What is he, a corporation? Let him talk!

  6. indirectly reinstate free-speech restrictions that the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in January.

    So I guess the Supreme Court will rule it indirectly unconstitutional.

  7. LOL, good luck with that. Todays politicas are bought and paid for. Its the American way.

    Lou
    http://www.anon-web-tools.es.tc

  8. “What we are facing is no less than a potential corporate takeover of our elections,” he warned. “What is at stake is no less than the integrity of our democracy.”

    Thanks a lot, Bill of Rights.

  9. Every time a major issue arises, we’ve come to expect that an army of lobbyists will descend on Capitol Hill in the hopes of tilting the laws in their favor. That’s one of the reasons I ran for President: because I believe so strongly that the voices of ordinary Americans were being drowned out by the clamor of a privileged few in Washington.

    “…and let me be clear, I’m not helping.”

  10. If “every organization has every right in this country to make their voices heard,” why does Obama insist the Supreme Court was wrong to recognize that right? And if disclosure can accomplish the same result as censorship, why didn’t he support that approach to begin with?

    Because he’s a disingenuous, worthless fuck?

    Oh, you meant that rhetorically. Never mind.

  11. Every time a major issue arises, we’ve come to expect that an army of lobbyists will descend on Capitol Hill in the hopes of tilting the laws in their favor. That’s one of the reasons I ran for President: because I believe so strongly that the voices of ordinary Americans were being drowned out by the clamor of a privileged few in Washington.

    Many people actually believe that the Chosen One stands above it all, that he is as pure as the driven snow.

    Me? I gagged reading that self-serving lying bullshit.

  12. Yeah, could you imagine living in a country where Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street entities could help a guy get elected? Thank goodness Obama would never let such a thing happen here.

    1. Yeah, could you imagine living in a country where Goldman Sachs the SEIU and other Wall Street entities Labor Unions could help a guy get elected? Thank goodness Obama would never let such a thing happen here.

      FIFY

      1. Dude. Come on.

      2. Yeah, could you imagine living in a country where Goldman Sachs, other Wall Street entities, the SEIU and Labor Unions could help a guy get elected? Thank goodness Obama would never let such a thing happen here.

        I just thought it needed further editing.

  13. Every time a major issue arises, we’ve come to expect that an army of lobbyists will descend on Capitol Hill in the hopes of tilting the laws in their favor.

    Of course, they do this because they know the lawmakers on Capitol Hill are for sale and neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are interested in ending their lives of prostitution.

    1. The lawmakers are pimps not prostitutes. They get the money and whore out the taxpayers who get screwed.

  14. “Every time a major issue arises, we’ve come to expect that an army of lobbyists will descend on Capitol Hill in the hopes of tilting the laws in their favor. That’s one of the reasons I ran for President: because I believe so strongly that the voices of ordinary Americans were being drowned out by the clamor of a privileged few in Washington I’m counting on that.”

  15. Every time a major issue arises, we’ve come to expect that an army of lobbyists will descend on Capitol Hill in the hopes of tilting the laws in their favor.

    It just gets me how completely dishonest, or utterly blind these people can be.

    It never occurs to them that when your government attempts to control literally every aspect of people’s lives and the entire fabric of the business landscape, that people might descend on Washington with lobbyists.

  16. I’m getting sick of Obama and his constant demonization of his opposition.

    Look on the bright side; at least we don’t have to put up with Bush, and his simpleminded Manicheanism.

  17. http://tinyurl.com/2fd5cb6

    Yeah, but don’t worry, you guys. He’s got those contributions from Wall Street and lobbyists and other influence peddlers under control.

  18. Obama’s acceptance of tens of millions of dollars in unreportable foreign donations for his campaign is far more destructive of election integrity than anything corporations have done. Heck, “keep counting until the Democrat wins” is worse too.

  19. What we are facing is no less than a potential corporate takeover of our elections,” he warned. “What is at stake is no less than the integrity of our democracy.”

    Can we chip in and get the President a nice tin foil hat for his paranoia?

  20. “What is at stake is no less than the integrity of our democracy.”

    So Obama thinks that American citizens can’t be trusted with the responsibility of voting when faced with television commercials; the government needs to control what messages the voters can hear. He’s right that there is a threat to democracy here, but the source of the threat is not what he thinks it is.

  21. That’s just hilarious. He claims to care more about “ordinary people” than corporations, even though he steals from small businessmen to give handouts to big business. And we’re really supposed to believe he cares about democracy and allowing people a voice when he passed that god-awful health care plan that most of America opposed, without a majority vote from Congress? Yeah right.

    The worst thing is that big government liberals will just hear the words “corporate takeover” and back him still, without realizing that he’s every bit as much of a corporatist as Bush, if not moreso. He’s completely full of crap. At least anti-business lunatics like Nader are consistent.

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