Speaking of secret donors, the biggest of all time, George Soros is in the White House today by his own proxy. The SEIU, AFSCME, and Teachers Unions have funneled $171 million this year.
- 10/28, "The rage against Citizens United," Wall St. Journal, Daniel Henninger
- Presidencies and parties decline for lots of reasons, but looking back, one of the pivotal events in writing the history of the first Obama term is likely to be
the tongue-lashing he gave several Supreme Court justices seated before him at his 2010 State of the Union message.
- The reason for this unprecedented public criticism of the Court by a president was its 5-4 decision the previous week in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which permitted unlimited campaign contributions by corporations and unions.
Presidential reputation matters, and this attack will be seen as a mistake. It was an unsettling departure from the widely admired persona Mr. Obama built across the 2008 campaign and a
- lowering of the bar for normal political discourse.
No surprise that a Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate felt free this week to tell the president publicly to "shove" his endorsement.
That said, Citizens United has become the Democratic left's Roe v. Wade, the case that drove them screaming into the streets. After the decision, the air filled with wails about selling out "our democracy" to a corporate America that would lock up elections unto eternity for the Republican party.
- Only this week some laughed when Nancy Pelosi said, "Everything was going great and all of a sudden secret money from God knows where . . . is pouring in." Again with the Citizens United obsession.
Insofar as we now see in the current election that the biggest spenders roaring through the Citizens United floodgates are the public unions, the Obama-Pelosi tantrums seem overwrought, even phony.
- Freed to spend their own funds, AFSCME, the SEIU, and the National Education Association have spent $171.5 million, compared to political outlays of $140 million by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Crossroads and Crossroads GOP.
It also turns out that "our democracy" wasn't seized by the Fortune 500 but instead by the Everyman 50,000. As one small-business contributor told The Wall Street Journal: "If the Democrats are going to put me out of business, I'm going to put them out of business first." In about 20 words, that's your election.
- Still, the Democrats' rage over Citizens United has its own inner logic. It's all about one big dog that isn't barking in this election. That's "card check."
Remember card check? Before ObamaCare sucked all the oxygen out of American politics, the Employee Free Choice Act, or card check, was Barack Obama's other big campaign promise to his base. It died in 2009, after Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Arlen Specter turned against the idea of eliminating secret ballots for union organizing campaigns. The White House told its supporters in organized labor that it was moving on to health care.
In retrospect, it is hard to overstate what a loss this was both for big labor and for the congressional Democrats who on Tuesday will ride Mr. Obama's magnificent health-care Titanic over the falls.
The purpose of card check was to expand union membership in the U.S. The SEIU's then-president, Andy Stern, saw it adding 1.5 million new union members annually. In turn, that would have added hundreds of millions of dollars to the unions' political campaign war chests, creating a powerful political jackhammer to elect legislators, governors and judges. It didn't happen. But Citizens United did happen. If you were a Democratic fund-raiser, you'd be raging too.
- If the Court had ruled against Citizens United, there'd have been no new groups like American Crossroads pumping money on its current scale into GOP campaigns. Yes, that would have applied to labor as well, but if card check had passed and started printing political money for them the next 10 years, they wouldn't have needed Citizens United.
Even if the weak economy had slowed organizing before November 2010, card check was a bet on long-term financing for the political activity of the unions, which give more than 95% of their money to Democrats.
- The Obama White House still may try to back-door card-check by using executive and administrative orders, but the GOP's political leverage come January will be formidable.
Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi got a health-care law, but it split labor;
- many unions absolutely did not need it.
What they and their party of pols needed was card check and its political money, the "mother's milk of politics." Instead, they got Citizens United, which leveled the playing field.
- Who in politics wants a level playing field?
Little wonder that the president gave the back of his hand to the justices sitting in front of him.
This Tuesday the electorate answers in kind."
via Free Republic