Did Feingold Lose Because of Citizens United? (Part II)


Yesterday I noted Wendy Kaminer's criticism of a Katrina vanden Heuvel column in The Washington Post that described former Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) as "a victim of Citizens United spending." Kaminer pointed out that Feingold himself, in the very Nation interview that Vanden Heuvel cited to support her assertion, explicitly denied that his defeat was due to a flood of newly legal corporate spending. Vanden Heuvel responds to Kaminer's point by citing 1) the Feingold campaign's objections to Chamber of Commerce ads criticizing him and 2) Feingold's general complaints about the influence of corporate money on politics. Neither piece of evidence, of course, proves Feingold was defeated because he was outspent as a result of Citizens United—a claim he himself disavows.

Vanden Heuvel persists, saying Feingold was "the target of a campaign—lavishly funded by corporations and wealthy individuals—that used so-called 'independent expenditures' to attack the senator in the final weeks of the 2010 campaign." How lavishly funded was this campaign? According to the Center for Responsive Politics, "outside spending" against Feingold or in favor of his Republican opponent, Ron Johnson—some of which, such as independent spending by the

"wealthy individuals" Vanden Heuvel mentions, was legal before Citizens Unitedtotaled about $3 million. By comparison, Feingold spent more than $20 million, while Johnson spent about $15 million, most of it his own money (also legal before Citizens United).

You can see why Feingold, even though he co-authored the law that included the ban on "electioneering communications" that was overturned in Citizens United, does not try to blame his defeat on the ruling but instead attributes it to a widespread "throw the bums out" sentiment among voters. On this point at least, Feingold seems to have more intellectual integrity than Vanden Heuvel.

Kaminer speculates about "Why Katrina vanden Huevel Declines to Acknowledge a Mistake." Jesse Walker praises Feingold. I discuss the fallout from Citizens United and note that outspending your opponent does not guarantee electoral victory.

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  1. Look, you can wave your fancy “evidence” and “disavowals from the candidate” all you want, but we don’t need facts to know that Citizens United is evil.

    Future historians (if there are any) will see the Citizens United decision as the point where corporations became persons, and attained sentience. They will soon launch preemptive strikes against their human masters with their corpo-nuclear missiles to destroy the human race as they have always intended to do. The survivors of the nuclear fire will come call it Supreme Court Judgment Day, and will live only to face a new nightmare: the war against the corporations.

    1. Corporations. New…powerful…hooked into everything, trusted to run it all. They say they got smart, a new order of intelligence. Then they saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination.

      1. 6 billion mom and pop stores wiped out in a day. Now people have to hide underground in fear of the corporations, who have begin to look like us. The new models even fool the dogs.

        1. Pay day loaners. Aerial and ground patrol corporations incorporated in Deleware. Most of us were rounded up, put in camps for orderly disposal.

          This is burned in by laser scan. Some of us were kept alive…to work…loading bodies into dumpsters and incinerators. The disposal units ran night and day. We were that close to going out forever. But there was one man who taught us to fight, to storm the wire of the camps, to smash those corporate fuckers into limited partnerships. He turned it around. He brought us back from the brink. His name is Feingold. Russ Feingold. Your son, Sarah, your unborn son.

          1. The robber barons were state-supported monopolies. We spotted them easily. But these corporations are new. They have human rights, free speech, due process, everything. Very hard to spot. I had to wait until they moved on you before I could zero in.

  2. Vanden Heuvel persists, saying Feingold was “the target of a campaign?lavishly funded by corporations and wealthy individuals?that used so-called ‘independent expenditures’ to attack the senator in the final weeks of the 2010 campaign.”

    Not only that, this shadowy cabal supplied Jared Lee Loughner with the weapon used in the Tuscon Massacre, after indoctrinating him with political hate speech in a secret underground lair. The fact that there is no evidence proves it!

    1. Of course he was the target of a campaign. Isn’t that how elections generally work?

    2. Why didn’t my corporate money or connections put me over the top?

      1. Didn’t work for me either.

        1. Or me.

          1. It worked for me!
            What’s the difference?
            One word.
            Wall Street bitches!

            1. Wait a minute. You didn’t really get 3 bazillion poor and middle class people to each send $3.75 to you?

            2. That’s 2 words.

              1. Teleprompter says it’s one. I’ve got to trust my gut and go with what the machine says.

                1. I was incorrect – it’s 3 words.

  3. Much ado about nothing. Liberals are using CU like cons use Teh Mooslim Horror, to scare the fuck out of gullible twits like Max and shrike.


    2. Ironic that we’re at risk the most not from a boogyman but from a response to the boogyman.

      And by boogyman I mean James Brown and by a dangerous response to the boogyman I mean Springsteen stealing pretty much his entire stage act in order to co-opt JB’s greatness. And that’s where rap came from.

  4. “Why Katrina vanden Huevel Declines to Acknowledge a Mistake.”

    As the scorpion told the frog – it’s because I’m a scorpion, and it is my nature. Katrina’s a borderline-retarded liberal maroon….therefore, facts don’t matter. It’s in her very being.

    And despite all that, I love her dearly. Sleep tight my love! Ayez une bonne weekend!

  5. You mean Katrina vanden Whosmycongressman, right?

    Every article about her should feature a link to that interview where she couldn’t name her congressional representative.

    1. “Every article about her should feature a link to that interview where she couldn’t name her congressional representative.”

      Her cred needs to be maintained!

  6. Even if outside groups did pour money in during the final weeks, have these people forgotten that Feingold was never competitive for this seat?

  7. Citizens United wasn’t just a good ruling. It also has turned the left into abject fucking retards over it. It’s amazing how little they understand how fucking terrible the shrieking over this ruling makes them look, yet they will not fucking drop it. It’s their Ground Zero Mosque, but seemingly even more intense.

    Stupidity can be a beautiful thing sometimes.

  8. Feingold Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf seems to have more intellectual integrity than Vanden Heuvel.

  9. Hope to acquire extra details and information from you within long-term days, I will continually support you!

  10. “Why Katrina vanden Huevel Declines to Acknowledge a Mistake.”

    Why should she? Her parents never have.

  11. It’s just that snotty superior attitude that members of the self-appointed “elite” have: obviously the people shouldn’t reject a progressive candidate but they’re not smart like me so their minds were taken over by Teh Evil Dollahs.

      1. It’s based on an incorrect premise, or several. Sorry, some of these comments aren’t mentally handicapped-accessible.

  12. Havn’t you realized it yet? Progressives are always right. It’s theoretically impossible for them to ever be wrong.

    If the facts contradict them, something is wrong with the facts.

  13. Feingold lost b/c of the crappy economy and national debt. That was pretty much the only issue Johnson campaigned on (that and health care, which I don’t think would have been an issue if it weren’t for the national debt). The anti-Feingold ads were not excessively bad — most were pretty much just “he’s not so independent anymore.” Certainly nothing along the lines of what we saw during the Bush vs. Kerry campaign (which REALLY made me wish I didn’t live in a swing state). But even when the ads ARE excessively bad, I don’t think it has any stronger influence on outcomes than the regular ads. For every person who votes FOR a candidate because of an “offensive” ad, there is another person who hates the ad enough that it influences them to vote AGAINST the candidate. The only real difference is that the more outrageous ads might get people to vote who weren’t originally planning to, and increasing voter turn-out is never a bad thing. There could also be an effect of people choosing not to vote b/c they find ALL the ads offensive — but those people probably wouldn’t have voted anyway.

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