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(Slate)   Apparently, it's good for democracy that billionaires can buy the president with a few million dollar super PAC contributions   (slate.com) divider line 57
    More: Ironic, democracy, donations  
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2277 clicks; posted to Politics » on 14 Feb 2012 at 10:22 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-02-14 10:24:05 AM  
"I'm going to open my article with an anecdote about how somebody didn't know how to pronounce my name. Can you imagine! Me! David Weigel! A person who does not in any way vastly exaggerate his own importance!"
 
2012-02-14 10:24:07 AM  
Wat?
 
2012-02-14 10:25:24 AM  
His thesis is that super PACs even the playing field between candidates, so long as those candidates publicly support policies or rhetoric that are pleasing to the ears of extremely wealthy individuals and multinational corporations.

Right.
 
2012-02-14 10:26:22 AM  
Sounds legit.
 
2012-02-14 10:27:23 AM  
Why yes, it does make the playing field fair for billionaires. Besides, the poor and middle class don't count as "citizens" anyways. More like . . . peons.
 
2012-02-14 10:27:55 AM  
In this first presidential election since the dawn of the supers, they have actually-and probably by accident!-given us a more competitive, transparent Republican primary. They are, in a sense, a good thing for our democracy.

If democracy is only for the handful of billionaires influencing the election process then yeah sure, but to me it sounds like you gotta a pretty low bar, douche.
 
2012-02-14 10:29:56 AM  
no
 
2012-02-14 10:33:22 AM  
There is good and bad about everything.

But do we really want to go about chasing down everyone who potentially has a conflict of interest?

Do the right thing,
remove the unaccountable money from politics
remove the conflict of interest...where one person or entity or minor group has so much impact over many.
 
2012-02-14 10:33:42 AM  
This still doesn't answer the question why should the election simply be a playing field between billionaires and not a representation of the people's will.
 
2012-02-14 10:33:48 AM  
You see when regular people donate $10, $20, $100, $1000 to a campaign they don't expect to have the Presidents ear, they just hope he does what he promised to do during the campaign. However, when a person donates a million, they do expect to have the Presidents ear and they want to ensure the President does something not in the campaign promises and often something exactly the opposite.
 
2012-02-14 10:34:14 AM  
Well hoo-farking-ray. Hell, why don't we just get rid of elections all together, and just auction off the Presidency every 4 years to the highest bidder? All proceeds go to paying down the national debt.

We should be working towards less money in election races, not more.
 
2012-02-14 10:36:08 AM  
The billionaire donors to Santorum and Gingrich do stand behind their candidates when they give speeches. It would be a little TOO obvious if they shoved their hands up their candidates asses while he talked..
 
2012-02-14 10:36:44 AM  
His entire theory seems based on the eventual (but not required) divulgence of the name of a billionaire supporting a Super PAC.
 
2012-02-14 10:44:30 AM  
Citizen's United created a new playing field. The rich and super-rich dominate. Eventually, the messages of the mega-rich and mega-corps will be all that matters to the media.
 
2012-02-14 10:44:34 AM  

Lsherm: His entire theory seems based on the eventual (but not required) divulgence of the name of a billionaire supporting a Super PAC.


I think it was more "SuperPACs ain't perfect, but at least we're shining sunlight on an area that previously was darker than Dick Cheney's desires." And he's right - SuperPAC disclosures are more informative than bundlers'.

Of course, that's like saying that unlubed balls-deep anal is much better when he takes your pants off first - don't sprain an ankle doing me any favors, pal.
 
2012-02-14 10:47:47 AM  
Seems like he is just pointing out another flaw in elections besides Super PACs: the need to have public financing so that not just the uber-wealthy can run for office.
 
2012-02-14 10:53:32 AM  

LockeOak: His thesis is that super PACs even the playing field between candidates, so long as those candidates publicly support policies or rhetoric that are pleasing to the ears of extremely wealthy individuals and multinational corporations.

Right.


I read one page of that article. He spent that page saying that super PACs are good because they're the only things keeping Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in the running to be nominated for President.

Well, thank god for that.
 
2012-02-14 10:53:42 AM  

themeaningoflifeisnot: Citizen's United created a new playing field. The rich and super-rich dominate. Eventually, the messages of the mega-rich and mega-corps will be all that matters to the media.


It doesn;t now?
 
2012-02-14 10:55:12 AM  

Dr Dreidel: Lsherm: His entire theory seems based on the eventual (but not required) divulgence of the name of a billionaire supporting a Super PAC.

I think it was more "SuperPACs ain't perfect, but at least we're shining sunlight on an area that previously was darker than Dick Cheney's desires." And he's right - SuperPAC disclosures are more informative than bundlers'.

Of course, that's like saying that unlubed balls-deep anal is much better when he takes your pants off first - don't sprain an ankle doing me any favors, pal.


THIS
 
2012-02-14 10:58:20 AM  
Oh look, subby's butthurt again about the Democrats being in office.

Must be Tuesday.
 
2012-02-14 10:58:29 AM  

liam76: themeaningoflifeisnot: Citizen's United created a new playing field. The rich and super-rich dominate. Eventually, the messages of the mega-rich and mega-corps will be all that matters to the media.

It doesn;t now?


Not as much as in coming years as the media market becomes owned by these super-PACs. This election is just the beginning. While all of the major candidates are already owned by the corporations and super-wealthy, the final nail in the coffin will be complete ownership of the message marketplace by the super-PACs. And it won't be long before that's accomplished.

The Supreme Court, the GOP, the DNC--they've all sold out Americans for the sake of the river of green running from the corporations.
 
2012-02-14 11:03:42 AM  
fark you cock monger.

I am mitEj and I support this message.


\message was not coordinated in any way with mitEj and the Shut the fark up you cock bag super pac.
 
2012-02-14 11:04:38 AM  

themeaningoflifeisnot: liam76: themeaningoflifeisnot: Citizen's United created a new playing field. The rich and super-rich dominate. Eventually, the messages of the mega-rich and mega-corps will be all that matters to the media.

It doesn;t now?

Not as much as in coming years as the media market becomes owned by these super-PACs. This election is just the beginning. While all of the major candidates are already owned by the corporations and super-wealthy, the final nail in the coffin will be complete ownership of the message marketplace by the super-PACs. And it won't be long before that's accomplished.

The Supreme Court, the GOP, the DNC--they've all sold out Americans for the sake of the river of green running from the corporations.


The Supreme Court didn't sell out. They said that Citizens United was the only decision they could make under the current law, and that they expected congress to pass a new law to cover the loopholes and fix the problems that would result from their ruling. So not corrupt, just monumentally stupid.
 
2012-02-14 11:06:57 AM  
Well, when you donate $600, you can just disappear. When you donate 600 million, the president will find you, unless they think you're already dead.
 
2012-02-14 11:07:43 AM  

whidbey: Oh look, subby's butthurt again about the Democrats being in office.

Must be Tuesday.


I never knew I was such a hardcore Tea Partier. You think I should buy myself a tricorn hat and write a sign asking government to get out of my Medicare?

/subby
 
2012-02-14 11:13:50 AM  

LockeOak: His thesis is that super PACs even the playing field between candidates, so long as those candidates publicly support policies or rhetoric that are pleasing to the ears of extremely wealthy individuals and multinational corporations.

Right.


No wait, it is ALSO that this is a good thing because it allows other candidates to get closer to (but not on a level with) that one super-duper rich candidate who will apparently always be allowed to outspend the other candidates.
 
2012-02-14 11:14:55 AM  
Seems to me that this GOP primary not being a landslide for Romney is less proof that super pacs are working but more of Romney having all the charisma of a intestinal parasite.

Besides, we're still incredibly early in the primary, that Romney doesn't do well in small state caucuses where Paulites dominate the floor is no surprise, if anything it tells me Romney is smart enough not to waste his massive bankroll on egotistically chasing worthless states. He is still going to outspend the other three candidates in the big, large-market states and still going to win the nomination.
 
2012-02-14 11:15:11 AM  

TheLopper: Well, when you donate $600, you can just disappear. When you donate 600 million, the president will find you, unless they think you're already dead.


And even if you are dead, there's still your kocksucking brother that'll be around for a sequel.
 
2012-02-14 11:15:25 AM  

Serious Black: whidbey: Oh look, subby's butthurt again about the Democrats being in office.

Must be Tuesday.

I never knew I was such a hardcore Tea Partier. You think I should buy myself a tricorn hat and write a sign asking government to get out of my Medicare?

/subby


You should definitely be this guy Halloween:

img32.imageshack.us

And have a case of Prep H....on me. :)
 
2012-02-14 11:21:16 AM  
Anyone have a hard hitting piece of journalism written about public campaign financing and how candidates flip flop when someones dangling a bundle of cash in front of them?


How bout a hard hitting piece of journalism talking about a politician admonsihing a bunch of judges for their ruling on campaign financing and how he holds his hand out looking to take some of the cash the ruling allows him to take?
 
2012-02-14 11:26:36 AM  
I think he makes a fair point. I've thought about this as well- Citizen's United actually makes the dream of a third party in the US more likely, not less. When a single funder can stand up and finance not just a candidate, but reasonably the activity of a whole new party, it makes the hill to be climbed less onerous.

If someone staked out the middle, that space previously occupied by blue dog democrats and sensible Republicans, made their platform socially liberal and fiscally conservative, and shoved the democrats back left, they could attract an awful lot of votes.
 
2012-02-14 11:29:30 AM  

Giltric: Anyone have a hard hitting piece of journalism written about public campaign financing and how candidates flip flop when someones dangling a bundle of cash in front of them?


How bout a hard hitting piece of journalism talking about a politician admonsihing a bunch of judges for their ruling on campaign financing and how he holds his hand out looking to take some of the cash the ruling allows him to take?


there were greenlights about that, not every thread can be about fartbongo, champ.
 
2012-02-14 11:30:29 AM  
Everyone seems to overlook the fact that with more money available to promote a candidate, it is easier to raise the awareness of suitable candidates. After years of libs claiming that qualified people could not raise the money to promote themselves, it now only takes one contributor to do this. What exactly do libs want? Solutions? or just to whine?
 
2012-02-14 11:33:57 AM  

unyon: I think he makes a fair point. I've thought about this as well- Citizen's United actually makes the dream of a third party in the US more likely, not less. When a single funder can stand up and finance not just a candidate, but reasonably the activity of a whole new party, it makes the hill to be climbed less onerous.

If someone staked out the middle, that space previously occupied by blue dog democrats and sensible Republicans, made their platform socially liberal and fiscally conservative, and shoved the democrats back left, they could attract an awful lot of votes.


That's what Americans Elect is trying to do, and so far, all they've done is attract a bunch of RON PAUL supporters.
 
2012-02-14 11:39:30 AM  
I would much rather have a politician beholden to one or two pet interests as opposed to a hundred pet interests. If I was running for office and I thought it took $20 million to win and an individual donor was willing to put up that money as long as I supported an issue of theirs that I was previously neutral about, I would do it in a heartbeat.
 
2012-02-14 11:40:02 AM  

unyon: If someone staked out the middle, that space previously occupied by blue dog democrats and sensible Republicans, made their platform socially liberal and fiscally conservative, and shoved the democrats back left, they could attract an awful lot of votes.


So what would that look like? Socially liberal, so no laws against sex, but fiscally conservative, so all the money still goes to the wealthy anyway?
 
2012-02-14 11:49:42 AM  

Alphax: unyon: If someone staked out the middle, that space previously occupied by blue dog democrats and sensible Republicans, made their platform socially liberal and fiscally conservative, and shoved the democrats back left, they could attract an awful lot of votes.

So what would that look like? Socially liberal, so no laws against sex, but fiscally conservative, so all the money still goes to the wealthy anyway?


Well, Jon Huntsman went derpy, and Gary Johnson can't buy a delegate, so there's your answer.

The Free Marketplace of Ideas for Freedom and Markets (That are Free) has decided we want full-throated Republican derp and not-so-full-throated Republican derp. You can't explain that.
 
2012-02-14 11:56:24 AM  

RandomExcess: Everyone seems to overlook the fact that with more money available to promote a candidate, it is easier to raise the awareness of suitable candidates. After years of libs claiming that qualified people could not raise the money to promote themselves, it now only takes one contributor to do this. What exactly do libs want? Solutions? or just to whine?


I want to go into the ice cream shop and have flavors other than twenty different varieties of vanilla to choose from.
 
2012-02-14 12:18:13 PM  

RandomExcess: Everyone seems to overlook the fact that with more money available to promote a candidate, it is easier to raise the awareness of suitable candidates. After years of libs claiming that qualified people could not raise the money to promote themselves, it now only takes one contributor to do this. What exactly do libs want? Solutions? or just to whine?


The kind of person who can afford to singlehandedly bump a candidate into the race is typically not the kind who would promote a suitable candidate. Maybe Warren Buffet but that's about it. They would mainly be interested in promoting someone who seems interested in making sure they stay rich. None of the Republicans are what I would call "suitable", but if you're a millionaire or billionaire you probably only care about putting someone in the White House who will lower your taxes and remove some pesky regulations without any regard for whether their overall policies are realistic or if they possess the ability to lead a country(think GWB).

The real solution is public campaign financing. That way you don't have to either a) already be rich, b) be able to appeal to the ultra rich of the country, or c) be able to raise enough from common folk to offset b). Or they could just throw out the whole campaign process, keep only the debates, and announce the contenders a month before the election with a guide to what they plan to do.
 
2012-02-14 12:30:54 PM  

Serious Black: RandomExcess: Everyone seems to overlook the fact that with more money available to promote a candidate, it is easier to raise the awareness of suitable candidates. After years of libs claiming that qualified people could not raise the money to promote themselves, it now only takes one contributor to do this. What exactly do libs want? Solutions? or just to whine?

I want to go into the ice cream shop and have flavors other than twenty different varieties of vanilla to choose from.


Vote D. Vote Oreo.
 
2012-02-14 12:32:37 PM  
Who said democracy was good?

It's just a fancy word for mob rule.

Whether the mob is numerous and populist or rich and powerful makes little difference; institutionalized acceptance of one group using government force to take advantage of a politically weaker group.
 
2012-02-14 01:02:44 PM  
I still say that if I want to buy a TV ad saying "Vote for X", I should have the free speech right to do so.
 
2012-02-14 01:03:38 PM  

heinekenftw: Why yes, it does make the playing field fair for billionaires. Besides, the poor and middle class don't count as "citizens" anyways. More like . . . peons.


So unions don't participate in elections? I can show you spending numbers from past elections if you want. Pacs are just collections of citizens voicing their free speech, just like unions. Oh, you only want to silence opposition speech... Sorry about that! Please see Argentina and Venezuela for why government should not be an arbiter of who can voice a political opinion.
 
2012-02-14 01:48:46 PM  
TFA is farking idiotic. Does anyone actually buy into what this guy is saying? For fark's sake.

MyRandomName
Pacs are just collections of citizens voicing their free speech

There's always one... someone stupid enough to think that it's just fine for really rich people to buy exponentially more "free speech" than the average person.
 
2012-02-14 02:02:10 PM  
"Waaaaah! We only control most of the media and entertainment industry and the laws were set up so only the big money we liked could be spent on campaigns! WAAAH! You can't level the playing field! It was PERFECT when we had the advantage! WAAAAH!"

Yes, keep crying.
 
2012-02-14 02:08:53 PM  

Serious Black: RandomExcess: Everyone seems to overlook the fact that with more money available to promote a candidate, it is easier to raise the awareness of suitable candidates. After years of libs claiming that qualified people could not raise the money to promote themselves, it now only takes one contributor to do this. What exactly do libs want? Solutions? or just to whine?

I want to go into the ice cream shop and have flavors other than twenty different varieties of vanilla to choose from not be able to afford.

 
2012-02-14 02:25:23 PM  
2/6/2012.

The exact day Super-PACs became an integral part of free elections.
 
2012-02-14 03:33:11 PM  
Can we start scaling this trend down to the common man?

Maybe a few can pool their pennies together and buy a City Councilmen? I sure the Sanitation Commissioner can't be that expensive.
 
2012-02-14 07:12:34 PM  

themeaningoflifeisnot: Citizen's United created a new playing field. The rich and super-rich dominate. Eventually, the messages of the mega-rich and mega-corps will be all that matters to the media.


I sooo read that as mega-church.

/them too
 
2012-02-14 10:26:17 PM  

Larofeticus: Who said democracy was good?

It's just a fancy word for mob rule.

Whether the mob is numerous and populist or rich and powerful makes little difference; institutionalized acceptance of one group using government force to take advantage of a politically weaker group.


Uh, Plato put it better 2400 years ago. It's also why we were set up as a republic, not a democracy.
 
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