Buying up all the free speech they can find
This story in Mother Jones about the small handful of gazillionares who are trying to buy the election is astonishing. I honestly don't know how anyone can call this democracy anymore.
Click over to read the story, but here are the accompanying charts.
But keep something important in mind here. Romney may very well lose and everyone will say this shows that they failed, despite all their money. But these PACs and 501cs are not just about the presidential race. They are spreading this money around from the top of the ticket all the way to local races and their themes and talking points are all coordinated. I doubt they ever really believed this election was a shoo-in (or even really wanted to rock the boat --- it's not as if they haven't been doing very, very well under Obama.) But they are setting up a system for the future:
During sessions of the “Weaver Terrace Group,” representatives of the embryonic Crossroads organization gathered with counterparts from groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for Prosperity, the funding vehicle affiliated with the billionaires David and Charles Koch. Crossroads served as referee, says CEO Law. “Conservative activists tend to act like six-year-olds on soccer teams,” he explains, “with everyone grouping around the ball and getting in each other’s way. Karl’s idea was that all of these organizations should share information, coordinate polling, reduce redundancy.”That's so true. I certainly feel a new found faith in democracy knowing that this handful of billionaires are finally allowed to have the same influence over our government that I do.
Together with a follow-on ruling by the federal appeals court in Washington, Citizens United knocked several crucial holes in McCain-Feingold. Corporate and union money, for example, could now be used without restriction for “electioneering communications,” meaning radio and TV ads that mention a candidate’s name within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.
More important than the incremental increase in campaign-law porosity, though, was the passionately phrased celebration by Justice Anthony Kennedy of political spending in its manifold forms. Kennedy’s majority opinion declared that “the appearance of influence or access … will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.” Kennedy continued: “The fact that a corporation, or any other speaker, is willing to spend money to try to persuade voters presupposes that the people have the ultimate influence over elected officials.” In Kennedy’s syllogism, democracy benefits from more speech. Political money is speech. Therefore democracy benefits from more political money.
And for all this cash they're spending, it's chump change to them. They are that rich.