Campaign Finance Reform and Revisionist History
It is very hard to solve problems without first properly diagnosing the problem and fully understanding how the problem developed. So finding real solutions for problems can sometimes be made very difficult for progressives by liberal writers that occasionally take part revisionist history to make the Democrats appear blameless.
A classic example of this comes from Steve Denen historically inaccurate defense of the Democratic Super PAC, Priorities USA, from criticism by former Sen. Russ Feingold.
Priorities USA will include two arms, one will disclose its donors, the other won’t. If the model sounds familiar, there’s a good reason for that — it’s basically the same setup Karl Rove helped put together with Crossroads GPS. Just as with Rove’s operation, Priorities USA will benefit from unlimited, secret donations, including funds from lobbyists and political action committees whose checks President Obama won’t accept.
The problem, though, has to do with changes Democrats didn’t want, but are nevertheless stuck with. We’re talking about Democrats and their allies simply playing by the rules — rules they don’t like, rules they wish were different, rules they’d gladly change, but the rules nevertheless. (emphasis added)
This statement I highlighted is simple wrong.
The Citizens United ruling was released in January of 2010. At that time Democrats had a filibuster proof 60 votes in the Senate, a large majority in the House, and controlled the Presidency. Democrats were more than capable of “gladly change” the rules.
If Democrats really wished the rules were different they had all the power they needed to change them. It is true that sections of the Democratic party did make some efforts to change the rules with the DISCLOSE Act and the Fair Elections Now act, but the party did not make a priority nor did the leadership force through a reform package.
Democrats aren’t just playing by new big donor friendly rules that have been totally forced on them. They are playing by new rules they actively let happen despite publicly denouncing. Remembering the actual history is critical to fully understanding Feingold’s criticism of the new Democratic Super PACs.