"Super PAC donors acting as kingmakers in presidential contest"
--The Washington Post
Feb. 22, 2012
WASHINGTON — When Communists and sympathizers made excuses for Stalin's terror, they said, "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs."
To which George Orwell responded, "Where's the omelet?"
The Post, dismayed about super PACs, reports "a rarefied group of millionaires and billionaires acting as kingmakers in the GOP contest, often helping to decide, with a simple transfer of money, which candidate might survive another day."
Where's the king?
If kingmaking refers to, say, Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino owner, keeping Newt Gingrich's candidacy afloat with large infusions to the super PAC supporting Gingrich, then kingmaking isn't what it used to be.
Notice that the fellow with the most muscular super PAC, Mitt Romney, has failed to vanquish a singularly weak set of rivals.
Might the power of political dollars be finite, and utility of the last dollar be less than that of the first? Who knew?
Every melodrama requires a villain, and the people currently hysterical about super PAC money in politics blame the 2010 Citizens United decision, wherein the Supreme Court held that corporations and unions can spend unlimited amounts on political advocacy as long as they do not coordinate with candidates or campaigns.
The court's unremarkable logic was that individuals do not forfeit their First Amendment speech rights when they come together in corporate entities or unions to speak collectively.
What is the constitutional basis for saying otherwise?
This decision's practical effect is primarily in empowering unions and incorporated nonprofit advocacy groups such as the Sierra Club and the National Rifle Association.
But The New York Times, which cannot have read it, says (Jan. 10) Adelson's spending "underscores" how Citizens United "has made it possible for a wealthy individual to influence an election."
Many columnists and commentators embrace this solecism.
Actually, Citizens United has nothing to do with Adelson and others who are spending their own money, not any corporation's.
People have done this throughout the nation's life, and doing so was affirmed as a constitutional right in the court's 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision.