Slouching Toward Plutocracy…

Via the NYT, breaking news:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a major campaign finance decision, striking down limits on federal campaign contributions for the first time. The ruling, issued near the start of a campaign season, will change and most likely increase the role money plays in American politics.

Aaaand wait for it:

The decision, by a 5-to-4 vote along ideological lines…

The ways of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are mysterious, but if He could see fit to, as a BJ commenter once suggested, smite a certain corpulent jurist via Fettuccine Alfredo within the next year or so, it would be an exquisitely well-timed deus ex pastana.

177 replies
  1. 1
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    Shorter Supreme Court Majority: Everyone has an equal voice, just those with money are more equal.

  2. 2
    Faction says:

    Hey, some people just have more speech than others.

  3. 3
    NCSteve says:

    I would once again like to offer my deep appreciation and thanks to Ralph Nader, and to every single person who worked for him in his 2000 campaign, for their critical role in making this great victory for democracy and equality possible. Your unswerving dedication to the principle that there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between George W. Bush and Al Gore has proven itself out again and again. I can only imaging how warm the glow of sweet, sweet vindication must be for each and every one of you.

    And I would like to give a special shout-out to all the Democrats and left-of-center independents who will be too busy to vote this November because it’s not really worth their time to bother with it. Let this victory remind you that through your non-efforts, great things can be achieved by our betters.

  4. 4
    askew says:

    With the way Patrick Leahy is mishandling the Judiciary committee, I’d expect him to honor a Republican’s blue slip on any SC judicial nomination until a Republican is president. He’s basically letting the Republicans run the nominations process already so why not.

  5. 5
    SatanicPanic says:

    This sucks but I’m wondering if these people haven’t already reached a point of diminishing returns with their advertising. At some point doesn’t it all just become background noise?

  6. 6
    Betty Cracker says:

    @askew: That’s true, and there’s every reason to suspect that even if Obama gets another shot at naming a SCJ, the Republicans would attempt to stall until after the 2016 election. But could they really get away with that?

    I realize, of course, that they’ve gotten away with a great deal, including lying us into a pointless and ruinous war, abetting the financial collapse and rewarding the perpetrators, etc., but hear me out: People tend to pay attention to reality show narratives, and I think bald-faced obstruction of a SCJ nomination might qualify. A slender reed to hang my hopes on, I know….

  7. 7
    Roger Moore says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    This sucks but I’m wondering if these people haven’t already reached a point of diminishing returns with their advertising.

    But this doesn’t just cover advertising. They could already spend all they wanted on ads via Citizens United. This now allows them to donate unlimited amounts directly, where it can go to otherwise hard to fund stuff like party infrastructure and GOTV.

  8. 8
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    @NCSteve: I’m all for branding this on the forehead of any Nader voter I can find.

  9. 9
    Egypt Steve says:

    Look, this is fine. Let John Roberts perform his historically-appointed role of heightening the contradictions between a country that claims to be a democratic republic but that festishizes and fellates capital; this is dialectically necessary to bring about the revolution.

  10. 10
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Thankfully, unions are still subject to the limits.

    Oh, this long game the Supremes are playing is becoming painfully obvious. At least I hope so. Everyone get the big picture yet?

  11. 11
    EconWatcher says:

    The U.S. has been slipping in global ratings of corruption largely because of the unregulated flow of campaign money, which international authorities like Transparency International rightly perceive as a form of graft. So now we can slip even more. USA! USA!

    As to SatanicPanic’s point on diminishing returns–my fear is that we are in the very early stages of this new world of unlimited donations, and so far the plutocrats have not been able to deploy it very effectively. But they will get better at it. A whole new industry of consultants will develop to help them. It could get very scary.

  12. 12
    askew says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    With Leahy as head of Judiciary, they absolutely could get away with it. He’s been giving them cover for years on holding up Obama’s nominations. Reid needs to step in and do something. It’s absurd.

  13. 13
    Belafon says:

    As sucky as this is, I don’t think it’s going to help as much as everyone thinks. For one thing, the Democrats have been doing pretty good at matching Republican fundraising, and the average contribution to Democrats has been $20 (this was a stat from when I gave the other day). According to a report I saw, the Koch’s spent money on three local races, and their choice lost in all three.

  14. 14
    cmorenc says:

    @NCSteve:

    I would once again like to offer my deep appreciation and thanks to Ralph Nader, and to every single person who worked for him in his 2000 campaign, for their critical role in making this great victory for democracy and equality possible.

    I completely agree – but all the remaining ones who have not by now recognized and sincerely regretted their huge tactical mistake, have erected an impenetrable armor of self-justifying rationalization that’s far stronger and thicker than even that possessed by your right-wing ranting uncle who gets all his information from Fox and Rush. The undeniable fact that inarguably, some of the Gore campaign’s own tactical mistakes played a role in Gore’s narrow loss makes it that much easier for these self-righteous blunderheads to rationalize: “see, it wasn’t my fault Gore lost”.

  15. 15
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    The Roberts-Alito axis is all about empowering the already-powerful, whether it’s the power of sheer wealth, the power of institutional violence, or the power of corporate heft. They’ve never seen someone or something already with power that doesn’t deserve to be given more.

    They are Justice Kiss-Up and Justice Kick-Down.

  16. 16
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @SatanicPanic: They can’t necessarily buy election wins, but they can sure buy influence.

  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The decision, by a 5-to-4 vote along ideological lines…

    I’m shocked, shocked.

  18. 18
    Ken Adler says:

    @cmorenc: no actually this happened because in 1991 Clarence Thomas replaced Thurgood Marshall. That the GOP won a third term in the WH was an anomaly,but just changed things for the worse, which is why, a Dem must win in 2016.

  19. 19
    Culture of Truth says:

    @SatanicPanic: It’s not just advertising, it’s staff, office space, and other expenses. And it’s not just the big campaigns, President, Governor, Senate; it’s smaller races where there may not be glut of advertising or much at all.

  20. 20
    NCSteve says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Except those who have repented of their sins, like Betty, of course.

    I really don’t blame people raised in the age of tobacco advertising for getting hooked on cigarettes. I blame the tobacco companies and their ad agencies. The only smokers I blame are the ones who insist that the idea that cigarettes are harmful is just liberal propaganda. (Those people are, of course, mostly dead now.) Ditto Nader voters–they fall into two categories: those who realize they made a terrible mistake, like Betty and Michael Moore, and those who still accept no portion of the blame for themselves or Nader.

    For the latter, its still all Gore’s fault for not being a better candidate, or the Supreme Court’s for executing a coup d’etat, or that poor, county clerk in Palm Beach county who underestimated the ability of old people to cope with things that were different. The idea of joint and several liability seems to extend to everyone but themselves because their motives were pure. If we’re breaking out the El Marko permanents, they’re the foreheads in need of a message.

  21. 21
    Hagiographer says:

    OK, I’m not a lawyer/constitutional scholar, so help me out with crafting an elegantly-worded constitutional amendment that could fix some of the Supreme Court’s more regrettable recent decisions.

    PROPOSED AMENDMENT XXVIII
    I. The expenditure of money or other assets shall not be construed as an act of speech.
    II. Congress is authorized to regulate the expenditure of money or other assets in federal elections.

    Does this work?

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cmorenc:

    I admit, I did stupidly vote for Gore (in California) in 2000. I realized my mistake right around 5:00 pm Pacific time that day when the polls closed in Florida and the state was called for Bush.

  23. 23
    EconWatcher says:

    @cmorenc:

    This is no excuse for unrepentant Naderites. But I think if Gore had won, it’s unlikely he would have prevented 9-11, and the Republicans and the media would have destroyed the Democratic Party for generations with it.

    Bush received virtually no blame for 9-11, even with the “determined to strike” memo. But if a Dem had been in the White House, it would have been treated as irrefutable proof of their unfitness to provide national security.

    All speculation, of course. And we know for a fact that W caused almost unbelievable damage to this country in almost all spheres during his tenure. But I do think there’s a case that things could have gone even worse if the Dems had won in 2000.

  24. 24
    rikyrah says:

    NOT a shock in the least. at all.

  25. 25
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Egypt Steve:

    this is dialectically necessary to bring about the revolution.

    Rodger that.

  26. 26
    mai naem says:

    I think at some point soon somebody’s going to be able to write a best selling populist kind of fictional work that will become a blockbuster movie, which will have a realistic radical group knocking off a bunch of powerful people like USSC justices and megabank CEOs.

  27. 27
    NCSteve says:

    @Hagiographer: 34 states to ratify. I count, at most, 26 states that would do so.

  28. 28
    David in NY says:

    A sickening passage from Roberts’ opinion:

    In a series of cases over the past 40 years, we have spelled out how to draw the constitutional line between the permissible goal of avoiding corruption in the political process and the impermissible desire simply to limit political speech. We have said that government regulation may not target the general gratitude a candidate may feel toward those who support him or his allies, or the political access such support may afford. “Ingratiation and access . . . are not corruption.” Citizens United

    Which apparently permits voting in a certain way out of “gratitude” to one’s financial supporters? How is this different from a “quid pro quo” arrangement, which Roberts claims is still forbidden?

    ETA — even assuming that gifts of money are “speech” which seems tenuous at best

  29. 29
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    In other words, to use a war analogy, it’s one side being funded enough to afford aircraft carriers, the latest jets, guns, ammo, and body armor, and one side forced to use MIGs, Ak-47s, and whatever else they can find. Sure, they’re still funded by donors, and sure, money can be wasted if used wrong. But it sure stacks the deck hard.

    And sure, Dems aren’t exactly your underfunded rag-tag guerrilla unit themselves, but it’s clear the business types are going to go all in on funding the GOP party apparatuses directly now that they can, and all the gilded megaphones and cudgels they can afford. And that amount of cash, while hardly an inevitable killer, is’going to make things exponentially harder, especially as shittily as the national Dems tend to do in working all the way down the ballot.

  30. 30
    raven says:

    Friend —

    Contribute They’re here.

    We knew it was just a matter of time before the national GOP Super PACs came to Georgia and brought their attack ads with them.

    And this week a Super PAC named Ending Spending — a front group headed by Joe Ricketts, a billionaire with a long history of spending against Democratic candidates — is inundating Georgia airwaves with false attack ads about Michelle.

    There’s only one reason a Super PAC would come to Georgia to attack Michelle: They know she can win.

    I hate to ask for your help so soon after the end of quarter — believe me, we went back and forth about it — but the truth is we need your help to make sure that politics as usual does not drown out the fresh voice and positive vision that Michelle has for Georgia.
    Please contribute $10 or more right now to our Response Fund — so we can help Michelle overcome these disingenuous and cynical negative ads.

  31. 31
    piratedan says:

    those fuckers…. thanks for protecting the “rest of us” you mealymouthed “principled” judicial advocates. Am sure that they’ll sleep soundly in their gated communities knowing that they got theirs.

  32. 32
    scav says:

    Maaay not be such a good idea for the pluty 0.perccentocrats to get their heads that far over the parapet, let alone start tearing that parapet down themselves. High Grass gets mowed. Mr Fussy’s “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” class had a certain hard-won bedrock survival element to it, whatever Mr. Fussy’s exact take on them was. And they also need to be really careful about not getting the incorrect take on which Out of Mind they embody.

  33. 33
    C.V. Danes says:

    Boy, the Bush dividend just keeps on paying, and paying, and paying…

    Is there any legitimacy left in the Supreme Court, or any of our institutions, for that matter?

  34. 34
    askew says:

    @EconWatcher:

    I think Gore could have prevented 9/11. People knew what OBL was trying to do ahead of time and the Bush admin ignored the warning signs. I don’t think Gore would have been that lassiez-faire about the threat.

  35. 35
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Matt McIrvin: If they can’t buy elections how do they buy influence? Put up candidates in nice hotels, I guess? I don’t know, maybe I’m just cynical and I figure it’s already as bad as it can logically get

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Personally, I think a marinaraboarding might be the way to go, as opposed to a smiting with Fettuccine Alfredo.

  37. 37
    John S. says:

    @EconWatcher:

    My time machine tells a slightly different tale. I agree that had 9/11 happened under Al Gore’s watch, the Republicans would have destroyed him and the Democratic party as you suggest.

    However, given that warnings about Bin Laden were being heralded by the outgoing Clinton administration (which fell upon deaf ears in the Bush admin), I think that a Gore administration would have taken them MUCH more seriously.

    There are so many possibilities of what might have been, not including all those butterflies beating their wings…

    ETA: askew beat me to it.

  38. 38
    StringOnAStick says:

    If you weren’t planning on volunteering this election cycle, this should damn well change your mind. Get out there and fight!

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @askew: The deserting coward and the Dark Lord ignored the threat because that fuckin’ hillbilly’s minions told them about it. They were jonesing for a new Cold War with the ChiComs.

  40. 40
    EconWatcher says:

    @askew:

    There’s no doubt Gore would have done more. The Bushies were actually reining in antiterrorism efforts in their short time in office before 9-11.

    But whether Gore could have prevented it seems pretty doubtful to me. The intelligence and law-enforcement agencies just weren’t sharing info and putting pieces together very well, before or after the 2000 election.

  41. 41
    NCSteve says:

    @EconWatcher: One might just as well speculate that 9/11 happened because Bush and Cheney sneered at the Clinton administration’s borderline obsession with Bin Laden and terrorism, which would have continued under Gore. And if it had happened anyway, Gore wouldn’t have left Afghanistan to fester until it was too late to stroke the neocon hardon for Iraq.

  42. 42
    Hagiographer says:

    @NCSteve: Indeed, any constitutional amendment is a long shot for ratification. I’m more curious whether my wording accidentally throws the free speech baby out with the bath water.

  43. 43
    JPL says:

    Is today the DC ct decides that federal exchanges aren’t entitled to subsidies too…..

    well just f..k….

  44. 44
    NotMax says:

    @askew

    This.

    Had people and experts such as Richard Clarke not been sidelined, history may well have (and in all probability, would have) rolled on a very different path.

    Clarke wrote in Against All Enemies that in the summer of 2001, the intelligence community was convinced of an imminent attack by al Qaeda, but could not get the attention of the highest levels of the Bush administration, most famously writing that Director of the Central Intelligence Agency George Tenet was running around with his “hair on fire” Source

  45. 45
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @John S.: I suspect that 9/11 might well not have happened… but the real-estate crash and some analogue of the 2008 financial crisis probably would have happened.

    The US might well be in a much better fiscal situation to deal with it, without two wars and the Bush tax cuts already causing large deficits. But it’d be blamed on the Democrats, nevertheless, and we’d probably end up with a Republican administration and Congress, and maybe the same kind of austerity economics that caused so much trouble in Europe in the wake of the crash.

  46. 46
    Gene108 says:

    This is Obama’s fault for foregoing public finance of his Presidential runs. He is the first candidate to opt out of the public finance system, since it was put in place in the 1970’s.

    The Court is just reflecting the new reality Obama ushered in.

    Just remember where you read the above commentary first, before some opinion writer throws it up as a valid argument.

  47. 47
    Holden Pattern says:

    For those cheering the ability of Dems to fundraise from small donors, here’s a question: What’s to stop the kleptocrats from simply buying Conservadems? That’s what they do now when they can. And now it will be much easier to do that.

    The sad thing? Not only will this absolutely and completely screw everyone who isn’t ultrarich at an economic level (the New Gilded Age, but with diminishing resources — AWESOME), but it will make any action to prevent catastrophic climate change even more impossible. The wealthy US reactionaries have basically said not just to us, but to the world: “all your grandchildren will suffer hideously because we want power”.

  48. 48
    Ksmiami says:

    @EconWatcher: totally not true as al gore and Clinton were very on top of how serious the al queada threat had become and in fact warned the incoming bumbler that the group would be the number one issue

  49. 49
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Belafon: As long as they keep funding losing candidates I’m at least relieved: the more they pour into the races they lose, the less they have left.

    @NCSteve: It’s been abundantly clear for the last several cycles that the difference come November is between the at-least-marginally competent and the b#tsh!t-crazy. Any improvement we can make in the primaries is gravy. But since whole swaths of the Dem electorate vote as if no election matters except the pResidential one (which is how we end up with a sensible POTUS and wingnut Congresscritters in the same election cycle, and OMEFFSM-crazy volk in the off-cycle elections), and who think that since BHO hasn’t done squat about [insert pet libprog agenda item that the GOTea will obstruct any way they can here] they’re all the same, it doesn’t seem to make much difference.

  50. 50
    NCSteve says:

    @EconWatcher: When the Clinton Administration’s got wind of Millennium Bomber plot, it launched exactly the kind of inter-agency intelligence sweep and share that would have been required to connect the 9/11 dots and thwarted the plot. No one can know whether Gore would have done that when he got the “Bin Laden determined to attack US” report, but it’s likely. No one can know if such an effort would have turned up the FBI field reports on Saudis seeking flight training and skipping the landing lessons, but it seems likely.

    It also seems likely that no one would have had to write “Bin Laden determined to attack US” report in a desperate attempt to get Gore’s head focused on the real threat instead of wanking off to the PNAC rape fantasy.

  51. 51
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Sam Stein ‏@ samsteinhp 2h
    Roberts Court record (beyond ACA): expanding donor rights and allowing for limits on voter rights.

    More money, less vote! Textual Originalmalismism!

  52. 52
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @raven:

    I got exactly the same email, but where yours said:

    Please contribute $10 or more right now to our Response Fund — so we can help Michelle overcome these disingenuous and cynical negative ads.

    mine said:

    Please contribute $100, $200, or more right now to our Response Fund — so we can help Michelle overcome these disingenuous and cynical negative ads.

  53. 53
    mai naem says:

    @EconWatcher: You’re right that if 9/11 had occurred it would have been blamed solely on the Dems but that is seriously looking at the W disaster with the rosiest colored glasses evah! You have no idea if 9/11 would have been prevented under a Gore admin. I don’t think Richard Clarke would have been ignored. Gore wouldn’t have nominated an idiot like Condi Rice who didn’t know who Al Qaeda was. I don’t think the financial industry regulation would have been as lax. Katrina would not been mishandled. Alito and Roberts would not be on the USSC which would be huge just in the case with voting rights.

  54. 54
    EconWatcher says:

    @NCSteve:

    The Millenium Bomber point is interesting, and I had not heard it before.

  55. 55
    Rob in CT says:

    @Holden Pattern:

    Exactly.

    The Democrats might match GOP fundraising and thus hold their own electorally, but will the median Dem be more conservative on fiscal matters than they otherwise would be? I think so.

  56. 56
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Soon enough, money will be the ONLY way to express your freedom.

  57. 57
    EconWatcher says:

    @mai naem:

    You make some good points. But as to financial regulation, the law preventing any regulation of derivatives was signed by Clinton in his last days, the Dems and Reps on the SEC were unanimous in massively increasing permitted leverage for the i-banks, and in general the permission for i-banks to rape and pillage the country was pretty much bipartisan, at least until Dodd Frank.

  58. 58
    Gorgon Zola says:

    The Pasta Fagioli Foundation for Sensitivity to Italo-Americans has decided to call for #CancelBalloonJuice. Trend it.

  59. 59
    Roger Moore says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I suspect that 9/11 might well not have happened… but the real-estate crash and some analogue of the 2008 financial crisis probably would have happened.

    I don’t know about that one, either. One of the things that drove the real estate bubble was the Office of Comptroller of Currency interfering with state-level efforts to reign in predatory lending. Eliminate that, and the bubble and subsequent downturn wouldn’t have been as bad. Also, the deficit wouldn’t have ballooned as badly under Gore- no Bush tax cuts and no unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan- so the government would have been in much better fiscal condition to deal with a financial crisis. It’s difficult to overstate just how terrible Bush was.

  60. 60
    Chickamin Slam says:

    @askew: Patrick Leahy is basically a moderate Republican. He just puts chooses to put a “D” next his name during elections since most moderate Republicans have been drummed out of the party. And Vermont has had a tenancy for loving Republican senators. JIm Jeffords had a seat that, according the wikipedia, had been held by Republicans nonstop since 1857.

  61. 61
    BGinCHI says:

    Silver lining:

    GOP continues to be controlled by crazy rich fucks and their base (idiots/bigots)

    while

    Dems listen to the people and move toward a Warren, Elizabeth-style populism.

    It’s all about the voting.

  62. 62
    different-church-lady says:

    The decision, by a 5-to-4 vote along ideological lines…

    But, y’know, no difference between the two parties!

  63. 63
    NotMax says:

    OT:

    If any of you young’uns have never seen it, The Ladykillers is on TCM at 8 p.m. (Eastern) today.

    Top-notch performances all ’round, but Katie Johnson steals the show as the dotty yet determined old, old, old lady.

  64. 64
    scav says:

    mmmm, twill be interesting to watch this play out in the populist Tea v. fatcat establishment wing of Repuke factionalism. One problem with the preventing 9-11 scenario is that would have been seen as business as usual pretty much, of course terrorism didn’t happen here in America, that was just for those other foreigners. Competence isn’t always rewarded.

  65. 65
    feebog says:

    I think the Nunn approach is exactly what will be needed. Expose every one of these fat cat millionaires who think they can buy a politician. Don’t be afraid to ask the question, why is this Plutocrat giving a million dollars to this Republican candidate? What does he want? What kind of business is he in? What kind of legislation will he be seeking? Put their names out there and make them squirm.

  66. 66
    Gene108 says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    This times a thousand thousand trillion.

    Look up operation red state wrt to the 2010 elections. Republicans used the CU decision to flood down ballot races with ads that helped flip control to Republicans.

    The latest decision will just make it that much harder to retake state legislatures, as they now can get more money.

    And in most states the legislatures draw up Congressional districts, so retaking the House after the 2020 census becomes that much harder.

  67. 67
    catclub says:

    @askew: “and the Bush admin ignored the warning signs.”

    They fired or shut out any holdovers who were making those warnings.

  68. 68
    Tone In DC says:

    @EconWatcher:

    This is no excuse for unrepentant Naderites. But I think if Gore had won, it’s unlikely he would have prevented 9-11, and the Republicans and the media would have destroyed the Democratic Party for generations with it.

    Bush received virtually no blame for 9-11, even with the “determined to strike” memo. But if a Dem had been in the White House, it would have been treated as irrefutable proof of their unfitness to provide national security.

    All speculation, of course. And we know for a fact that W caused almost unbelievable damage to this country in almost all spheres during his tenure. But I do think there’s a case that things could have gone even worse if the Dems had won in 2000.

    No.

    Not just no, but HELL NO.

    I’ll agree that Gore isn’t charismatic, and he does not come across well on television. His policies would have been little different from any other DLC southern democrat in 2000.

    That aside, his administration would not have been as utterly incompetent, venal and lawless as Dumbya’s. There is a reason Jr. left the White House in 2009 with a lower approval rating than Nixon’s in the summer of 1974. There’s a reason that only James Buchanan was a worse president, EVER.

    Compared to that kakistocracy that was appointed by fiat in December of 2000, Gore would have been Harry fucking Truman.

  69. 69
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Gene108:

    In other words, the potential for the GOP to functionally own the entire fucking country top to bottom just skyrocketed exponentially.

    And we may be too fucked to do anything about it.

  70. 70
    Chickamin Slam says:

    @Tone In DC: Did Al Gore campaign in West Virginia? I don’t recall he did. And if Gore loses Florida but wins West Virgina? Thats 5 electoral votes, he wins and we don’t have this conversation.

    Al Gore wrote off West Virginia since they had gone for Clinton previously. “I don’t need to campaign there. I’m Al Gore!”

  71. 71
    Xantar says:

    @EconWatcher:

    Whether 9/11 would have happened on Gore’s watch or not, I think it’s fairly safe to say he wouldn’t have invaded Iraq over it.

  72. 72
    gvg says:

    I’m not sure it will save our rights forever but it seems to me that this kind of decision has caused the rich to misunderstand how voting works. They indulge themselves by funding their most ideal candidate instead of the closest to ideal that could actually win. They don’t seem to realize that they still have only one vote each and there are a lot more non rich people out there. Granted they do try to restrict the vote, but when you start counting numbers, they really can’t disenfranchise enough people very often.
    I do wish some more Dems would just say often that limiting voter hours and polling places does nothing for preventing any concievable fraud and is just stealing votes.
    At any rate at this time it seems unlimited money rules seem to be making fools of rich men. I doubt this will help them much-it will just result in larger salaries for the consultants and ad execs-the top ones, not the possibly only theoritical ground troops.

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gene108: Well, we will find out who the plagiarists are then. Probably Friedman, Krauthammer, Cohen, Will…well, I could go on for hours…

  74. 74
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Tone In DC:

    In other words, Gore would’ve actually governed. But Bush was better at posturing, and it’s better to LOOK good than to act good. Plus, you know, right for the wrong reasons, for us or against us, rabble rabble etc. etc.

  75. 75
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @gvg: Some people in the .01% have actually studied history and understand that if everyone else thinks that things can’t possibly get worse no matter what course of action they pursue, then you have things like knitting parties at the Place de la Concorde.

  76. 76
    Cassidy says:

    Well, hopefully I can get that place in the country before the revolution starts. I might end up liking my neighbors in the subdivision I’m moving too and that could get awkward.

  77. 77
    cmorenc says:

    @EconWatcher:

    This is no excuse for unrepentant Naderites. But I think if Gore had won, it’s unlikely he would have prevented 9-11, and the Republicans and the media would have destroyed the Democratic Party for generations with it.

    The crucial “perverse win” election for the Democrats that actually happened was Jimmy Carter’s extremely narrow win over Gerald Ford in 1976. Carter inherited an economic situation with deeply embedded structural flaws that had been progressively building for a decade, particularly during the governance of his GOP predecessors Nixon and Ford, which blossomed into the stubbornly intractable “stagflation” of the late 1970s. The Iranian hostage situation would also just as likely have happened under a Ford administration as under Carter’s. Although Ford was conservative, recall that his one SCOTUS nomination was a Stevens and not a Scalia-clone, and although it turned out that Carter didn’t get to make any SCOTUS nominations, had Ford had another nomination it would at worst have likely been a very moderate, pragmatic conservative rather than a hard ideological one.

    MOST IMPORTANTLY, the dynamics of the 1980 election would have been stood on their head, and it’s likely the “change” agent a clear majority of the public would have been ready for would have been Ted Kennedy as the democratic nominee rather than Reagan as the GOP. What an enormous difference in the nature and quality of American political society eight years of Kennedy rather than Reagan would have made.

    Carter is a very decent, thoughtful man – but his moment in history was unfortunately not well-timed for a man of his nature. Had Ford won in 1976, his image as somewhat of a bumbler would have played into democratic hands, instead of Carter acquiring a similar image.

  78. 78
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    “And he looked MAHVELOUS!”

    /Villager

  79. 79
    wenchacha says:

    @John S.: Also, too, even if 9/11 still happened with POTUS Gore, I do not believe we would have waged the War of Convenience to Promote US Business.

  80. 80
    p.a. says:

    If Repubs haven’t put up a statue of Lewis Fucking Powell yet, today they should start. Or can CU and this stand as ‘honor’ enough.

  81. 81
    Tone In DC says:

    @Chickamin Slam:

    Between the “hanging chads”, Katherine Harris and the halt of the recount due to the equal protection clause, I say that Gore didn’t need West Virginia. I say he would have won Florida.

    I don’t expect everyone to research the incredible bullshit that went down 14 years ago. If that recount had actually been allowed to finish, Gore wins and the Dark Lord, Jr. and Condi take their marbles (all five of ’em, but maybe fewer) and go home.

  82. 82
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chickamin Slam: Ah, Monday late afternoon quarterbacking at it’s finest!

  83. 83
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Any chance you can hook me up with the proper Latin for ‘The Supreme Court Must Be Destroyed’? That’s about where my sentiment is crossing these days.

  84. 84
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Tone In DC:

    Plus the way the NRA fed the rube panic of ‘GUN GRABERRRRRSSSSS!!’, I don’t know if Gore campaigning in the state would’ve helped at all.

  85. 85
    gian says:

    In between preventing people from voting and skewing elections for the super wealthy, I wonder and worry about the old political science bit about “bullets or ballots”
    Add to that the no jail for the affluenza kid. And no jail for baby raper Dupont. … something about sowing the wind by the rich.

  86. 86
    BGinCHI says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: Antonius Giganticus Delenda Est….

  87. 87
    Chickamin Slam says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Indeed only now it’s Wednesday and your team has been bounced from the NCAA tournament. Sucks to be you. Say hi to Elisabeth Hasselback. Maybe she can give you an autographed picture of Matt.

  88. 88
    cokane says:

    only thing i’d add is that at least this kind of money is easier to trace, maybe already said

  89. 89
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: Well, there are only five members who need to take a long walk off a short pier. The other four are conspicuously sane.

  90. 90
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @BGinCHI:

    If only Big Tony was the only problem.

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Perhaps. But it feels like the institution itself has been so corrupted at this point the slate needs to be wiped clean. And ‘Five-Ninths of the Supreme Court Must Be Destroyed’ is a bitch to use as a username in any language.

  91. 91
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chickamin Slam: My team was bounced by the Badgers last weekend, that is, TEN days ago. You’re late. Again.

  92. 92
    BGinCHI says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: I’ll take my progress one funeral at a time on the court.

  93. 93
    raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: You must have already given.

  94. 94
    Cassidy says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Big improvement, though.

  95. 95
    Roger Moore says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I’ll take my progress one funeral at a time on the court.

    Unfortunately, trying to speed up the process would probably be counterproductive.

  96. 96
    japa21 says:

    If giving money to a candidate is an expression of free speech, isn’t voting for a candidate the same thing? Does this mean I can cast as many votes as I want?

  97. 97
    Cacti says:

    John Roberts himself wrote that the spending limits “intrude without justification on a citizen’s ability to exercise the most fundamental First Amendment Activities.”

    And there you have the Roberts view of the constitution in a nutshell. The ability of the rich to shovel cash into the political process is the “most fundamental” exercise of the First Amendment.

  98. 98
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @japa21: Only if you’re casting them for the RIGHT candidates. If you have any idea at all of voting your own economic self interest, well, obviously you’re about to cast a fraudulent ballot and we can’t have that.

  99. 99
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cassidy: I’m glad I didn’t have a mouth full of coffee when I read that. As it is, the cat has been startled.

  100. 100
    scav says:

    @BGinCHI: “one funeral at a time” might work rather well in Latin. Stumps google translate though. Neither qui funeris horam or qui ex alio funeris got me any closer to anything sounding correct. We could devote entire threads trying to get the order of events optimized though . . . . organize pools . . .

  101. 101
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I think Atrios makes a good point here.

    My solution is to raise marginal rates enough to make the .01% scream in pain.

    OK, given that an increase in the marginal rates of .00001% will reach that threshold right off the bat, perhaps we need to go beyond “scream in pain” levels to make an impact.

  102. 102
    Anton Sirius says:

    @Belafon:

    According to a report I saw, the Koch’s spent money on three local races, and their choice lost in all three.

    Their batting average might get a little better once they expand that spending to 300 races.

  103. 103
  104. 104
    shortstop says:

    smite a certain corpulent jurist via Fettuccine Alfredo

    He’s likely to go without assistance from a supernatural being. Rageaholic.

    It’s Roberts who worries me. Dude’s a plutocrat through and through, and much younger and healthier than Nino.

  105. 105
    MomSense says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    knitting parties at the Place de la Concorde.

    Sounds perfect. Where do I sign up?

  106. 106
    Anoniminous says:

    In 2000 there was a 55% voter turn-out, the lowest post-WW2 participation rate. Blaming that on Nader is an over-reach. I don’t have figures for Democratic voter turn-out. Anecdotally it was a son-of-a-bitch getting loosely attached Dems to the polls in 2000 and our final totals dropped from 1996. People can claim it shouldn’t matter Gore was a fer shit candidate but it does matter. It matters a lot. IMO, the Nader votes became the margin of victory/loss because Gore was a fer shit candidate as evidence by the fact the jerk didn’t carry his own state. If he had he would have won.

  107. 107
    Gene108 says:

    @Chickamin Slam:

    A lot of Gore’s (and Kerry’s) decisions versus Bush, Jr were based on not having as much money as Bush,Jr.

    One aspect of Obama’s success that gets overlooked is his record shattering fundraising.

    One thing all Presudential winners have in common is the winner raised the most money.

  108. 108
    🍀 Martin says:

    @Cacti:

    John Roberts himself wrote that the spending limits “intrude without justification on a citizen’s ability to exercise the most fundamental First Amendment Activities.”

    Well, it seems that they are favoring the right of the individual to spend as much as they want, but upholding the right of Congress to limit how much a candidate can receive.

    I don’t see this as a particular problem, other than the fact that Congress is shit and won’t do what USSC is telling them they should instead be doing.

  109. 109
    Bob In Portland says:

    Without a paddle.

  110. 110
    JGabriel says:

    @Belafon:

    As sucky as this is, I don’t think it’s going to help as much as everyone thinks. For one thing, the Democrats have been doing pretty good at matching Republican fundraising, and the average contribution to Democrats has been $20 …

    I’m thinking roughly along the same lines. There’s no two ways about it, this decision blows Bunyan-sized balls. But with demographics trending the way they are, any corporate, or individual, moneybags who want to maintain federal influence will eventually have to give money to Democrats – probably sooner rather than later. In the short term, it helps the GOP, but in the medium term I suspect it will help Dems more, at which point maybe we can reverse some of this bullshit.

    Of course, short, medium, and long term, this is pretty much going to hurt all of us in the bottom 99% until something is done to fix or reverse it.

  111. 111
    Anton Sirius says:

    @Tone In DC:

    Between the “hanging chads”, Katherine Harris and the halt of the recount due to the equal protection clause, I say that Gore didn’t need West Virginia. I say he would have won Florida.

    I don’t expect everyone to research the incredible bullshit that went down 14 years ago. If that recount had actually been allowed to finish, Gore wins and the Dark Lord, Jr. and Condi take their marbles (all five of ‘em, but maybe fewer) and go home.

    Everyone forgets that because of the way the investigation results were reported.

    The ledes were: if the recount had been completed under the rules Bush wanted, Bush wins. If the recount had been completed under the rules Gore wanted, Bush wins. Therefore Bush won fair and square, everybody shut up already.

    Buried way down in paragraph 17 was a little sentence that read: if every vote had been counted, Gore wins.

  112. 112
    cckids says:

    @askew:

    I think Gore could have prevented 9/11. People knew what OBL was trying to do ahead of time and the Bush admin ignored the warning signs. I don’t think Gore would have been that lassiez-faire about the threat.

    This. We’ll never know, but the W administration was so determined that everything Clinton did was stupid & wrong, they actively did the opposite whenever possible.

    Ashcroft telling people not to mention Al Qaeda to him again, because they weren’t a threat comes to mind.

  113. 113
    JGabriel says:

    @Anton Sirius:

    The ledes were: if the recount had been completed under the rules Bush wanted, Bush wins.

    I think you mean: if the recount had been completed under the rules Bush wanted, Gore wins.

  114. 114
    Roger Moore says:

    @p.a.:

    If Repubs haven’t put up a statue of Lewis Fucking Powell yet,

    If they tried, I suspect they’d wind up with a statue of Lewis Thornton Powell rather than Lewis Franklin Powell. They just can’t resist a man in Confederate uniform.

  115. 115
    gian says:

    Can we get candidates to wear patched up suits with their sponsors on the patches … kinda like race car drivers do?

  116. 116
    Gex says:

    It has been hard, as a gay woman, watching a lot of dudes in my circles arguing there’s no difference between the two parties. Even harder watching as those same dudes complain about all these Supreme Court rulings that are almost always won by Republican appointed justices.

    Nope. No difference at all. God, I hate those kind of dudes.

  117. 117
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Anoniminous: You know, I don’t think anyone would be so interested in arguing whose fault it was that Gore lost (“lost”) if it weren’t for all the dudebro (brogressives?) that want to try the same thing again.

  118. 118
    kc says:

    Waiting for someone to argue that bribing public officials with cash is speech, protected by the 1st Amendment.

  119. 119
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @EconWatcher:

    The U.S. has been slipping in global ratings of corruption largely because of the unregulated flow of campaign money, which international authorities like Transparency International rightly perceive as a form of graft. So now we can slip even more. USA! USA!

    In a normal country this would result in capital flight but we’re different! World’s biggest reserve currency! World’s biggest domestic market! Eat our shit, world investors! USA! USA!

    The US used to have one of the most transparent markets in the world, but in the 80s and 90s we deliberately threw that away and in the 2000s we cared so little we let Ponzi schemers run rampant even. Now people know about the shit (for a while you could pretend). But what can they do? Europe fucked its own economy, China’s in a slowdown, and India’s upper class treats corruption as the national pasttime. Russia is a kleptocracy. I guess that leaves Brazil? But they have a Gini index worse than the States, so it can’t be all peaches and light.

  120. 120
    JGabriel says:

    @kc:

    Waiting for someone to argue that bribing public officials with cash is speech, protected by the 1st Amendment.

    Don’t know about that, but I’m pretty sure we can solve the nation’s poverty problems by eating the babies of the poor.

  121. 121
    raven says:

    OT, any engineer types, I was just told by the city that “The designers are doing their in-house review for the 90% plans” Anyone know what a 90% plan in in regard to a sewer replacement?

  122. 122
    🍀 Martin says:

    @kc: The court didn’t loosen that all, though:

    But that ruling did nothing to affect the other main form of campaign finance regulation: caps on direct contributions to candidates and political parties.

    So, you’re now free to dump $2600 in every campaign in the country. Okay. That’s not a particularly good outcome, but you’re still (technically) blocked from putting in enough to influence any one candidate.

    Now, the superpac, etc loophole is what allows the unlimited receipt of money to happen and why everyone is off sucking Adelsons cock right now, and that’s the one that needs to get closed. This ruling seems to have nothing at all to do with that since the superpacs aren’t campaign spending to begin with.

  123. 123
    SatanicPanic says:

    @kc: Good idea, can I borrow it? I’ll be over at Vox.

  124. 124
    catclub says:

    @raven: “Anyone know what a 90% plan is in regard to a sewer replacement? ”

    I have heard statements that 90 (99)% of everything is crap. Which seems highly relevant for a sewer operation.

    In other words, I have no idea.

  125. 125
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @David in NY: With that argument, let the meals provided to congresscritturs, not to mention Keating 5 style junkets begin!

    As Captain Picard said, “You will have my … gratitude.”

    Oh, and Big Pharma feeding doctors and office staff? Feed away! Nothing wrong with a little gratitude! Those old people you overprescribed were going to die anyway. At least they had happy pills.

  126. 126
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    If they can’t buy elections how do they buy influence? Put up candidates in nice hotels, I guess?

    Even if the ad money is actually ineffective at swinging an election, it’s nevertheless money donated on behalf of the candidates (albeit under some fig leaf, since the limit on individual candidate contributions is still in effect) that they may well think is effective. And it’s money that they didn’t have to put up out of their own personal fortunes or in some other way. The result is that when this donor says something, the politician is going to listen, at least for a little while.

  127. 127
    Roger Moore says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    If they can’t buy elections how do they buy influence?

    By sending money to candidates who were likely to win anyway, who will pay attention to people who helped fund their election campaigns.

  128. 128
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Anoniminous: No? Nader’s “they’re all the same” campaign did nothing to demotivate voters? They weren’t the same, not even close, although the extent to which Bush lied in the campaign would shock me later. Karla Faye Tucker. I didn’t like Gore or his wife but come on.

    And I knew at the time, because Nader fucking said so, that they were trying to get the GOP to win so they could improve their fundraising. Fuck them.

  129. 129
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @raven: Several times, in fact. But smallish amounts, nothing that should lead them to think I would merrily drop a couple of hundred bucks a whack.

  130. 130
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @raven: Maybe you’re better off calling your state college? I went to engineering school in a different state. We didn’t do sewers in terms of percentage but years. IOW I have no idea what you’re talking about, but somebody at the school that churns out your state DOT drones will.

  131. 131
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    You know, this whole conservative steam roll on the Court might easily be stopped if someone would just be brave enough to gas light that bastard and start putting pubic hairs on Coke cans and placing them on his desk…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Hill

  132. 132
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Matt McIrvin: The other problem is that all this money further entices Grifters to get involved, perpetuating and expanding the culture of corruption that envelops our political discourse. Sure, Kkkarl Rove takes a metric shit ton of cash from the Koch Brothers and Adelson, and doesn’t deliver results, but he’s still laughing his way to the bank even as fails to win campaigns, and the billionaires come back to him for another round.

  133. 133
    raven says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I think it’s a review of 90% of the plan, I think.

  134. 134
    mai naem says:

    Al Gore did not run the best campaign but hindsight’s 20/20. I love the way people say he should have used Clinton in the campaign. WJC wasn’t even totally rehabbed till 2010. He may not have been poison in 2000 but, let’s be honest, L’Affaire Monica was quite fresh and a lot of people didn’t want to hear any more WJC/BJ jokes.Lets not forget that the fundies still had a lot of power in the country using homophobia, Tipper Gore’s stuff, abortion etc.etc and the Monica stuff just added to all that.. Also, I think a many people thought Bush Jr. was going to be like HW Bush – a relatively benign somewhat corrupt Big Oil MilitaryIndustrialComplex GOPr but nevertheless competent. I personally don’t know one person IRL who thought Junior was going to be the utter disaster that he turned out to be. One last thing – I think Gore’s climate change ideas probably scared the bejeezus out of Big Oil and Big Auto and they probably doubled down on getting Junior elected.

  135. 135
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Roger Moore: Weren’t they doing this already? I mean, if they want to get into an arms race on donations I don’t really see the problem. Most of these dummies already believe the looniest possible stuff for free.

  136. 136

    from here via the twitters, only 646 people hit the now eliminated aggregate cap in 2012–spending over $93M. Heckofajob supremos.

  137. 137
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Is some rich Republicans getting suckered really a problem?

  138. 138
    Tone In DC says:

    @BGinCHI:

    LULz.

    I’d substitute Gorda or Gras for Gigantic, but hey.

  139. 139
    boatboy_srq says:

    @cckids: This is what drives me crazy about the GOTea behavior viz BHO. “Democrat=evil” seems to be their default position. Democrats could come out in favor of blue skies and puppies, and the GOTea would complain that Dems hate farmers (who need rain for crops) and kittens (because dogs > cats). Part of the Twister-grade gyrations around the ACA, Cap & Trade, etc., come from POTUS’ embracing essentially GOP approaches to problems: because now a Dem agrees with them then the idea has to be bad. TABMITWH has a lot to do with it, but this black/white view of the world doesn’t help.

    (snark) But Gore is fat, and Dems blocked Bork for SCOTUS, so BSDI. (/snark)

  140. 140
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Anybody here old enough to remember the JBS “Impeach Earl Warren” movement of the late ’50s/early ’60s? Their anthem (tune of “John Brown’s Body” or “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” as you prefer) was:

    Hang Earl Warren from a sour apple tree!
    His impeachment still won’t fill the bill for folks like you and me.
    We’ll soon cast off the yoke of his judicial tyranny
    As we go charging on.

    Off we charge in all directions,
    Wiretaps and Red detections,
    Inciting Cuban insurrections,
    But first, let’s lynch our man!

    Noel Parmentel, 1963

    With just a few slight textual modifications….

  141. 141

    Projections from Demos with no aggregate limits in 2012.

  142. 142
    Roger Moore says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    nothing that should lead them to think I would merrily drop a couple of hundred bucks a whack.

    Think, perhaps not, but they’ll certainly hope it. One of the things fundraisers constantly do is to push for bigger donations. Even if you don’t give as much as they’re asking, you might wind up picking an amount somewhere between what you were originally thinking of giving and what they’re asking for.

  143. 143
    MomSense says:

    @gian:

    Yes, this is what my kids have been saying–like Captain Amazing in Mystery Men.

  144. 144
    Roger Moore says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Weren’t they doing this already?

    Sure, but now they’re allowed to do it more.

  145. 145
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @AnonPhenom:

    Judging by his furious comments on his FB page today, I think Robert Reich is working on something similar. Don’t know whether he has any connection to Wolf PAC, though. I imagine there are quite a few individuals and organizations looking at Constitutional fixes.

  146. 146
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Roger Moore: I get that, and I will admit I don’t have any hard data on this, I’m just spitballing- is there some point where more ads + more money stops being influential? And is there a point when listening to loony tunes rich people becomes a losing strategy?

    Or maybe I should ask it this way- is there a message that is so stupid that no amount of money can sell it? I suspect libertarianism is that message.

  147. 147
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @NotMax: Someone may have already mentioned this, but…

    Have people here read the “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US” memo? The FAS has it – 2 page .pdf. It was declassified in 2004.

    There really isn’t a lot of meat there.

    If Clarke’s and other’s hair was on fire, it didn’t come though in the memo – at least not in my reading of it.

    Hindsight is 20/20, and there’s no doubt that Bush was incompetent. It was a disaster that he was (s)elected (and re-elected) But the people informing their higher-ups about the danger weren’t doing a good job of emphasizing the dangers. And it’s not self-evident that Gore would have gotten a clearer warning.

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  148. 148
    catclub says:

    @mai naem: “He may not have been poison in 2000 but, let’s be honest, L’Affaire Monica was quite fresh and a lot of people didn’t want to hear any more WJC/BJ jokes.”

    I think that is all beltway baloney. Clinton was MORE popular after the GOP tried to impeach him.

  149. 149

    @EconWatcher:

    The Millenium Bomber point is interesting, and I had not heard it before.

    Too bad the same can’t be said about the 9/11 attacks…

  150. 150
    Roger Moore says:

    @SatanicPanic:
    The point I think you’re missing is that this ruling affects more than just ads. Donors are now allowed to give more money directly to candidates and parties, and that money can be spent on stuff like building party infrastructure and GOTV activities in a way Citizens United money can’t. Billionaires can now spend millions bankrolling that kind of bedrock, grassroots stuff, and it will give those billionaires a lot more say over the way the party as a whole operates.

  151. 151
    danielx says:

    Right. So when skeevy billionaire Sheldon Adelson has Republican presidential candidates lined up to fellate him and his money, he’s merely exercising his First Amendment right to express his opinions on good government and sound policy-making. Any advantageous legislation that flows from his campaign contributions, such as banning internet gambling which might hurt the bottom lines of his casinos is entirely beside the point, amirite?

    Why don’t they just go ahead and state outright that people with net worth of less than eight figures aren’t entitled to vote or to have opinions either, much less any say in how the country is run.

  152. 152
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @raven: It’s one of the plan milestones that requires a review. You’d have to get the details of what’s involved from the agency doing the plans and/or reviews, but 90% is usually a “speak now or forever hold your peace” review, last chance to make changes that don’t impact right-of-way (since that has to be finalized somewhere around 60-75% to allow for negotiating time). The 100% review will be a final check for code compliance, that the numbers all add up, that the plans are construction-ready.

  153. 153
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Roger Moore: No understand that it can be used for GOTV, I just wondering how effective that will be. I mean you can drive people to the polls all you want, but you still have to give them a reason to vote the way you want them to. I think billionaires already were controlling the party through their mouthpieces- Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, etc. How many bad ideas can money paper over? I don’t have an answer, I’m just speculating.

  154. 154
    raven says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Great, makes total sense. They have been surveying for nearly 10 months and looking at how they are going to hook each of the 4 houses involved into the new line they will put in. Bids in April and maybe start as early as July (I’m not holding me breath on that).

    thanks

  155. 155
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Roger Moore:

    This. They can, almost literally, outright buy the parties this way.

  156. 156
    Gene108 says:

    @catclub:

    VP’s have to prove they are independent from the President they served under.

    I do not recall Reagan actively stumping for Bush, Sr, in 1988. From what I read in history books, I do not believe Eisenhower (who was very popular) did much campaigning for Nixon, in 1960.

    I do not think Gore is unique, in American history, as a VP running for the Presidency not seeking/receiving help from the incumbent.

  157. 157
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gene108: Eisenhower couldn’t be bothered to defend Nixon during the entire Checkers incident. He sort of had Nixon thrust on him and was never terribly happy with that, because I don’t think he thought much of Nixon’s behavior to get elected to office in the first place.

  158. 158
    Gene108 says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    As posted up thread $2600 for a state legislature would be big. Get a bunch of bundlers together to fund state legislature races and you have candidates, who used to have no more than yard signs, a few pieces of direct mail and maybe a couple of 30 second spots in October reminding folks they exist to being able to run attacks on opponents for months.

    In 2010, down ballot races, where messaging never went beyond direct mail to constituents had incumbents get hit with TV and radio attack ads.

    Just pointing out your opponent supported ‘x’, when he/she does not have the means to respond can be enough to influence elections.

  159. 159
    burnspbesq says:

    @Egypt Steve:

    You are so funny.

  160. 160
    Overland says:

    @raven: @raven:

    “90% plans” refers to a design that is 90% completed. Common in the biz to review at that stage in order to avoid putting time into finalizing something that turns out to be unworkable for some reason.

    With the 90% complete sometimes subject to much exaggeration…

  161. 161
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Gene108: Fair enough, I think it will be more useful downticket with “non-ideological” races.

  162. 162
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Gene108: That’s what happened in NC. The incumbents in the state lege who lost in 2012 sounded shell-shocked after, talking about the effect of the money Pope had thrown into their races.

  163. 163
    negative 1 says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: The awesome part is that the union I work for has an organizing election today, and we can’t even wear a button that says “vote yes” because it’s coercion. Nice to know that’s suspect but you can buy a Senator and it’s a fundamental f&*king right.
    We used to riot in this country. Just sayin’.

  164. 164
    catclub says:

    @Gene108: “VP’s have to prove they are independent from the President they served under.”

    That sounds like more beltway baloney. Only true when the president they served under is reviled.
    (LBJ is the only one that comes to mind. Plus, note that it almost never works to help the new candidate. Bush I is only case I know of where it might have helped, and I think that was the least obvious case of distancing from the incumbent.

  165. 165
    D58826 says:

    In all of the years that I have been voting I have NEVER seen an election where there has been a lack of political speech and advertising. To suggest that the 1% can’t get their message out (i.e. what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine) because of the spending limits is beyond stupid.

  166. 166
    Kay says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    This sucks but I’m wondering if these people haven’t already reached a point of diminishing returns with their advertising. At some point doesn’t it all just become background noise?

    It does, but then there’s also a fading line between advertising and news, facts, so that’s also worrisome.

    It might be more worrisome. I’m afraid people will give up. They’ll just be buried in bullshit. It will be a full-time job to parse what’s true and what’s not true.

    People have other things to do. Additional things to do. We’re almost at the point now where one has to go to the original source; the text of the law or the budget document or the FOIA’ed emails. I do it myself now, and I’m sure you do too. What if they throw their hands up and say “you know what? I have other things to do and I don’t trust ANY of these people to give me any accurate information at all, not the campaigns, not the various lobbying groups who are pretending they’re not campaigning but are, not media, not anyone.”

    Then we go to subjective measures, right? We go back to “do I trust them?” Because no ordinary person has time to vet all this shit. In a way it’s ANTI-information, this barrage of bullshit. We’ll HEAR a lot more but know a lot less.

  167. 167
    Kay says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    It’s already happening. We have a 70 year old magistrate here who asked me, exhausted, “tell me what’s in the health care law that relates to child support in this state”

    I’m no one’s idea of an expert on the health care law, but he’s DROWNING in bullshit. He figures if he finds someone he KNOWS he might be told something approaching the truth. This is a smart, studious, well-intentioned Republican person who generally does his own work and he trusts no source on the health care law, and he can’t spend 10 hours a week weighing what he sees as a barrage of questionable “information”. I sympathize!

    Maybe it’ll go full circle, where we’ll all just find an individual we sort of trust on any particular issue, right?

    It’ll be back to one on one exchange. We’ll write one another summaries, or something :)

  168. 168
    danielx says:

    Spending large sums of money in connection with elections, but not in connection with an effort to control the exercise of an officeholder’s official duties, does not give rise to such quid pro quo corruption,” Roberts wrote.

    Really.

    On what fucking planet would this be true, the one upon which John Roberts seems to reside?

  169. 169
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Kay: This is a good point, and maybe the ultimate goal- get everyone so tired of crap that they stop dealing with it. I know I get sick of opening my mailbox or answering the phone around election time. It’s exhausting.

  170. 170
    Kay says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I think it’s a real problem. I’m afraid we’ll see less and less political participation, because the sense is, or this is how I hear it, that everyone is bought, everyone is selling some line of bullshit.

    You know this feeling yourself, I’m sure, when you read or hear something that comes from the little corner of the universe that you actually know, and you think “well, that’s all wrong, it’s not like that at all”.

    It’s disconcerting and dispiriting, eventually.

  171. 171
    EriktheRed says:

    The ways of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are mysterious, but if He could see fit to, as a BJ commenter once suggested, smite a certain corpulent jurist via Fettuccine Alfredo within the next year or so, it would be an exquisitely well-timed deus ex pastana.

    Unless the Dems keep the Senate and do away with the filibuster on SCOTUS nominations, the “loyal opposition” will just let a vacancy remain on the court until they either get one of their guys in the WH or there’s a filibuster-proof Dem majority in the Senate again.

  172. 172
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Kay:

    everyone is selling some line of bullshit.

    I hear this from a lot of people. I like to point out that whoever you vote for is going to do something, so maybe people should give some thought to what they think that person will do regardless of how much of a liar you think they are. But yeah, lots of people just don’t vote at all.

  173. 173
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    They can, almost literally, outright buy the parties this way

    I’m betting they’ll shortly bypass the parties all-together and go straight for the individual candidates. A single person is so much easier to control than an amorphous entity, after all.

  174. 174
    rk says:

    I don’t know how much more money can be thrown at the election process. Was there shortage of money for anyone? We have already reached a stage where an ordinary person cannot even begin to think of running. That is not going to change. With all the money that the republicans have, the party is becoming more and more idiotic and deranged. The candidates are actually borderline mental cases. Now every billionaire will have his own pet candidate, who can openly thwart the party. I think in the long run it will be disastrous for the republicans. The real danger will be when the billionaires start supporting democratic party candidates.

  175. 175
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @danielx: The same planet that economists are immune to all the economic incentive systems they describe are from, I think.

  176. 176
    NotMax says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet

    Missing the point, which is positing that the memo warning would not have been necessary as a means to bring the situation to the forefront, as the focus on the threat and the inter-agency meetings and coordination which had been requested since January would have taken place.

  177. 177
    Original Lee says:

    @Tone In DC: No, seriously, not. A report by a consortium of 8 newspapers tabulated the results using several different vote-counting scenarios. Gore would have won only in one or two of them. Read the whole thing. The report that people remember is the flawed Miami Herald one, which came out first.

    I used to have a hard copy of the actual report somewhere, and have actually read it, although that was a long time ago.

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