Contributing money to a political candidate is a form of free speech (see: Citizens United ruling).
But I am loving watching the media scramble to portray the president, one of the most successful fundraisers in history and a critic of Citizens United, as being dragged kicking and screaming into allowing his rich supporters to give to a pro-Obama super PAC. Poor man.
After all, it was the prez who called such super PACs “a threat to democracy.” But that's when they give to Republicans, see?
Turning in an amusingly sycophantic performance, the Washington Post reports that “fearing a tide of spending by outside conservative groups,” the reluctant president will now bless the fundraising of the Priorities USA Action PAC. C’mon, the posturing is almost more unattractive than the tin cup. Make that a gold cup, since this money will come from millionaires and billionaires.
The Post story can’t be beat for self-serving quotes from reluctant debutantes in the Obama administration who are forced—forced!—to take oodles of money:
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a message to supporters that “our campaign has to face the reality of the law as it stands,” which he said gives a large financial advantage to Republicans and their allied groups. Messina said Obama will throw his support to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC founded by two former White House aides that until now has been unable to match its conservative competitors in fundraising.
“We can’t allow for two sets of rules in this election whereby the Republican nominee is the beneficiary of unlimited spending and Democrats unilaterally disarm,” Messina wrote.
You gotta love that “two sets of rules” bit from the pro-campaign finance reform candidate who in 2008 announced that he wouldn’t participate in the matching funds system: he knew he could raise more money the old-fashioned way.
The Post goes on:
The move [to “bless” the PAC] marks a clear political risk for Obama, who has staked much of his political career on opposition to the outsized role of “secret billionaires” and other monied interests while also attempting to win reelection in a struggling economy.
Not really. The media is in Obama’s pocket and can be counted upon to feel the pain of a man forced to rely on unwanted millions to defeat the powers of darkness. (The New York Times was similarly sympathetic to a poor president forced to take money against his will.)
Speaking for myself, I don’t have a problem with people making big donations to political campaigns, even big ones. Sanctimony, on the other hand, I find unappealing. Also, I only wish we’d had a lot less campaign finance “reform” because then it would be easier to know who gave what. But it’s their right to give.
But the posturing is fun to watch, no? That goes double for people who want to raise the taxes on others but are less than keen on paying their own. Holden Caulfield had a word for people like this: phony.