Obama Demagogues Supreme Court, Big Business Yet Again in Weekly Radio Address
posted at 12:45 pm on August 22, 2010 by Diane Suffern
Another week, another partisan attack from the Chief Executive guised as a neo-Fireside Chat. In the crosshairs this time are “shadowy groups” with “harmless-sounding names” bankrolling campaign ads. Cue menacing music:
As the political season heats up, Americans are already being inundated with the usual phone calls, mailings, and TV ads from campaigns all across the country. But this summer, they’re also seeing a flood of attack ads run by shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names. We don’t know who’s behind these ads and we don’t know who’s paying for them. (Emphasis mine.)
For a moment, let’s savor the irony of Obama accusing the groups in question of being “shadowy” and having “harmless-sounding names” when every one of his pet projects smacks of euphemism. “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” anyone? But I digress…
Obama again uses his executive megaphone to criticize the decisions of the non-partisan branch of our government, though thankfully less punchy than his shameful State of the Union Address attack on the silent members of the court:
The reason this is happening is because of a decision by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case – a decision that now allows big corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections. They can buy millions of dollars worth of TV ads – and worst of all, they don’t even have to reveal who is actually paying for them. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation. You don’t know if it’s BP. You don’t know if it’s a big insurance company or a Wall Street Bank. A group can hide behind a phony name like “Citizens for a Better Future,” even if a more accurate name would be “Corporations for Weaker Oversight.”
How dare they interpret First Amendment rights to include businesses and demand that Congress do likewise? The gall.
Clearly still sore over Congressional failure to “rectify” the Citizens United vs. FEC decision, Obama’s lecture continues:
We tried to fix this last month. There was a proposal supported by Democrats and Republicans that would’ve required corporate political advertisers to reveal who’s funding their activities. When special interests take to the airwaves, whoever is running and funding the ad would have to appear in the advertisement and take responsibility for it – like a company’s CEO or an organization’s biggest contributor. And foreign-controlled corporations and entities would be restricted from spending money to influence American elections – just as they were in the past.
You would think that making these reforms would be a matter of common sense. You’d think that reducing corporate and even foreign influence over our elections wouldn’t be a partisan issue.
But the Republican leaders in Congress said no. In fact, they used their power to block the issue from even coming up for a vote.
This can only mean that the leaders of the other party want to keep the public in the dark. They don’t want you to know which interests are paying for the ads. The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide.
Unsurprisingly, the President is less than forthcoming about who stood to gain most from the DISCLOSE Act, and why Democrats lamented the SCOTUS decision in the first place. Under DISCLOSE, unions with clear leftist leanings would have faced little to no spending limits. In fact, under original McCain-Feingold regulation itself, Ed reported in January that Big Labor was doing precisely what Obama criticizes Big Business for: Covertly funneling money into “harmless-sounding” front groups such as Patriot Majority to target Republicans. Where is Obama on that type of “shadowy group” activity? *Crickets*
It is admirable to desire government transparency. Yet, this push, in these terms, is particularly hypocritical coming from the man who accepted millions of campaign dollars from suspicious donors, many of whom were foreign, and recently canned his own Transparency Czar. This is nothing more than pure grandstanding and continued exploitation of executive privileges to bully the opposition in an election year.
You know, for all his complaining about funding of campaign ads, is there a chance he might stop using his weekly address for his own exhaustive campaigning…on our dime?
Don’t answer that.