Jeb Bush

Another Reason Not to Vote Jeb Bush—He Wants to Overturn Citizens United

Candidate who burned through $100 million would torch the First Amendment next


The enthusiasm is infectious. ||| Boston Globe
Boston Globe

Jeb Bush, the GOP presidential candidate who last polled north of double digits nationwide four months ago, who finished a distant sixth in the Iowa caucus behind a man who promptly dropped out of the race, and who has burned through more than $100 million in a vain attempt to convince voters that the third time will be the charm for Bush conservatism, is spending what one hopes are the waning hours of his spectacularly awful campaign arguing serially that political documentaries should be censored.

No, that's not how the former Florida governor phrases it (fans of restricting campaign finance almost never come to grips with the inevitable results of their prohibitionism), but it's the real-world application of reversing the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which Bush has advocated at least twice in recent days.

God help us. ||| Reason

"If I could do it all again I'd eliminate the Supreme Court ruling," Bush told CNN's Dana Bash today. (Uh, if you could do what again, exactly?) "This is a ridiculous system we have now where you have campaigns that struggle to raise money directly and they can't be held accountable for the spending of the super PAC that's their affiliate."

This was no momentary slip; Bush reiterated the idea on the hustings today, according to CNN: "The ideal situation would be to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that allows for…unregulated money for the independent and regulated for the campaign….I would turn that on its head if I could."

The case Bush would like to see overturned made legal an anti-Hillary Clinton documentary that under previous law could have—if it hadn't been successfully censored first—landed its producers a maximum of five years in prison under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which prohibited such "electioneering communication" to be aired too close to an election. Not even Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who famously co-authored that law, dared to actually campaign on it during his presidential run, such was its deep unpopularity with conservative activists and intellectuals alike (including George Will, who was essentially libertarianized as a result).

Bush thus joins Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in wanting to see this important free-speech precedent overturned—Bernie because he loathes corporations and fantasizes that only campaign finance stands between us and progressive policy utopia; Hillary because she has a quarter-century track record of being objectively pro-censorship. Jeb? It's hard to avoid the conclusion that he's heavy into the market for excuses. Either that, or he's trying to secretly outdo his brother Neil in sullyling the family name.

Some related Reason reading: "Our Presidential Cycle Shows Why Citizens United Was Decided Rightly," and "You Are Now Free to Speak About Politics."

NEXT: The Coldplay/Beyonce Super Bowl Halftime Show Was Surprisingly Political

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  1. NR beat you to it.

    1. True, but my post had so very many more hyperlinks!

      1. NR doesn’t know what those are.

        1. There are two sites that routinely crash my browsers. NR and H&R.


          NR has some godawful ads.

    2. We wouldn’t have Obama fucking up the country as bad as he is if it weren’t for Bush fucking up the country as bad as he did.

      So hell yes, let’s vote for another Bush.

      How fucking stupid are we?

      1. Nobody answer that!

  2. Remember, this is the guy the Republican establishment would have happily shoved down the country’s throat if only the GOP voters would have allowed them.

    There really is a bi-partisan Washington fusion party. These people are scum.

    1. There really is a bi-partisan Washington fusion party.

      Anecdote that illustrates this: a friend of mine worked for a well-known Democrat Senator (she’s moved on to work for a Senate committee now), and she was all offended that I was so gleeful about Eric Cantor’s primary loss.

      1. They all know each other and are friends. I think it was LBJ who said that if you want a friend in Washington you should buy a dog. That may have been true back in the good old days but it is not true now. They are all friends in Washington now. And all have an common enemy in the voting public.

        1. And all have an common enemy in the voting public.

          Sooooo true. My Senate friend was all patronizing about the Cantor thing. Like “you just don’t understand how things are run on The Hill, you poor, ignorant voter, you.”

          1. I deal with Hill staffers all of the time. They are collectively the dumbest and most incompetent group of people I have ever met. I am not talking about politics here. They are just stupid, all of them.

            1. This one time at Band Camp on my ship, we had a delegation of congressional staffers doing a VIP tour. Past of the tour involved them watching flight operations from the bridge, getting in the way. The idea was that they would lean about the Navy and thus be less clueless when appropriations/military stuff was being worked on at the hill.

              And boy did they need education. They were particularly interested in reactor safety. Specifically how our core ejection system worked. Thanks Start Trek!

              1. Congress passes laws with a weird mix of excessive specificity and excessive vagueness. It’s as though they were written by people who don’t know anything about the issue being legislated, but do have beaks to wet and favors to reward.

        2. And all have an common enemy in the voting public.

          If the bureaucracy is the Opposition in Residence, what is the voting public?

          1. They bureaucracy is the friendly opposition. The public is the enemy.

          2. The items kept in the dark and fed the remains of what passes through the woodchipper of Congressional/media outrage.

    2. Any mainstream/establishment Republican would much rather have a Democrat win any given election, than a Tea Party Republican.

      They are actually quite open about it, as long as there aren’t any cameras running.

    3. I’m hoping assassinations comes back in vogue.

      1. Not that I want to promote violence, but I wonder from a hypothetical discussion stand point, when would that be justified? After all, decisions made by these people have the potential to kill thousands if not millions. Kill one to save the many?

    4. There really is a bi-partisan Washington fusion party.

      And opposed to them, the Woodchipper Party!

      Vote Woodchipper 2016!

  3. Okay, so Bill Clinton is complaining that candidates are too sexist, Hilary is complaining about the influence of Wall Street, and Jeb Bush is complaining there’s too much money in the political system.

    I think it’s about time to tune out of this campaign.

  4. I am disappointed in a purely selfish way that Jeb will not be getting the nomination. It would have been so much fun I would have felt so much joy in raging at how I would never again vote for another person named “Bush”.

    It almost would have been worth it to have an election battle of “Bush vs. Clinton”. And if in fact, it was Bush vs. Bernie, I would have been tempted to pull the lever for Bernie. And very publicly, too.

    Thank the Gods that it isn’t going to happen!

    1. The Republicans can say “At least we didn’t nominate another Bush”. The Dems won’t be able to say the same for Clinton.

      1. Don’t be too sure. Between the indictments (which have been drafted, if rumor is true) and her health, I’m not sure Hillary is going to make it to November as a viable candidate.

        1. LMAO if Bernie wins by default because Hillary has a stroke while in handcuffs.

    2. Hopefully Bush will pull an upset and surge after NH, and we’ll get to watch the many Republicans and conservatives badmouthing him turn around and implore us to vote for him in November. At least he’s not Hillary!

      1. ABC – Anyone But Clinton

  5. I decided 4 years ago who I was gonna vote for this year. And I’ll keep on voting for him, even when he dies. Because Zombie Gary Johnson – I mean, come on!

    1. GayJay is my man.

      Him and Hercule, but ever since HERC disappeared (aliens most likely) I have had to support Gary.

  6. “If I could do it all over again I’d do it all over you.”

  7. If it has not already been cemented, this most certainly cements Jeb Bush’s legacy as the worst major party Presidential Candidate in living memory. Taking your opinions of his positions out of the discussion for a second, can anyone name any candidate who is worse? Yeah, some candidates have held worse views, though none come to mind. But no one has had quite the combination of arrogance, stupidity, tone deafness and pure political incompetence that Jeb has shown while sucking up tens of millions of dollars in donations. .

    1. I think his father’s second-term campaign was pretty fucking awful. But you’re probably just referring to this year.

      1. But his father was at least a competent President. And did have the excuse of being President at the time and relying on his staff to run his campaign. His father made the mistake of hiring one of the biggest morons in American political history, Mary Matlin or whatever her name is, to run his campaign. I don’t think he was as bad of a candidate as Jeb is. I don’t think it is even close. I think his father just didn’t care and was tired of being President. Jeb in contrast really tried.

        1. Bush I lost on the fact he was president. A dead cat could have beat him. His No New Taxes and flubbing speeches were indicative of his inability to deal with an electorate. Reagan he was not. Slick Willy was, well, slick.

          1. We’re still dealing with Bush I’s ADA (aka “Lawyers’ Full Employment Act”). Not to mention Iraq. His legacy of horrible governing lives on.

        2. I disagree. His meddling in the Kuwait war has triggered literally decades of fighting at the cost of trillions of dollars.

          Arguably, he caused 9/11. So, fuck him.

          Best case, he failed to convince Saddam he was serious about defending Kuwait. Saddam later claimed that Bush had given permission for the invasion.

      2. Mcain. Hands down for me. Also, Dukakis…C’MON!

  8. If Citizens United is overturned, I hope there’s a citizen enforcement mechanism? I’d like to see every magazine that supported overturning the case challenged on campaign finance grounds.

    And I’d like to see every political Facebook post reported on the same grounds.

    1. This already happens in regards to the other areas of campaign laws. Every year at every level, local, state, national, some group is hammered with a ‘violation’ complaint. It’s just seen as part of the game of political Whack Bat.

    2. I think that some of the most beautiful poetic justice in the world would be seeing Citizens United overturned followed by the election of a Republican president who uses “campaign finance” laws to bludgeon every “progressive” media outlet. It’s the only way that the “progressives” will even come remotely close to learning a lesson. Even if not a single one of them learns a single valuable thing from that experience, it would still be funny to see them get clobbered and raped up the ass by the golem that they enthusiastically conjured up.

      1. It’s the only way that the “progressives” will even come remotely close to learning a lesson.

        I think this is a very general principle. Progressives have long been hot for “by any means necessary”. And why hot? They can afford to be, because their opponents still have some respect for the rule of law. It’s a great deal to abuse your enemies with crime and violence, and never pay a price in turn.

        The only way to turn them aside from their crime is to make them pay for their crime. A one way armistice is surrender. A one way rule of law is subjection. Fight back, tit for tat, *by any means necessary*, or learn to love your servitude to the Progressive Theocracy.

        Vote Woodchipper 2016!

        1. They can afford to be, because their opponents still have some respect for the rule of law. It’s a great deal to abuse your enemies with crime and violence, and never pay a price in turn.

          After seeing the Flint water crisis being blamed on libertarianism, I have come to the conclusion that progressives will lie, ignore evidence, and scapegoat any way they can to avoid admitting a mistake.

      2. Citizens United (the group) used the same laws to try to ban ads for Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.

  9. Of course he does. I mean, look how much money he spent and a fat lot of good it did.

    1. The Nixon-subsidized media probably held its pocket-handkerchief before its streaming eyes as it spent that bribe money. But answer came there none.

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  11. The problem is Bush has half a point here. The regulations on the campaigns do lead to a perverse system where a lot of the support for a candidate is legally out of the campaign’s control.

    Of course his solution seems to fall on the dumb side of the equation which is restrict private entities from commenting on politics which would be impossible or oppressive.

  12. I don’t think we are going to have to worry about not voting for Jeb much longer.

    1. Dunno… they say three inbred superstitious pinheads’ a charm.

  13. i guess it’s true that no amount of money can make ‘anybdy’ intelligent enough to finesse their way into the white house and then proceed unfettered as george bush jr. was able to do… takes REAL genius to consistently conform to the intellect of enough average americans to get the nomination.

  14. Was Austin Petersen invited to debate the fascisti?

  15. And they said Jeb is the “smart one”… LOL

  16. This is probably the acid test for being a member of or supporter of The Establishment.

    Do you want the government to be able to limit political speech?

    That’s seen as a good thing by people who perceive that their views have the power to be heard, and views your opposed to don’t.

    1. Dammit! Dammit!

      and views your you’re opposed to don’t.

  17. Dammit!

    and views your you’re opposed to don’t.

  18. Nice reporting of a relevant fact, Matt. Thank you.

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