The Supreme Court gave us the lovely Citizens United decision which all but eliminated limits on massive, anonymous wholesale purchasing of our political system. House Republicans assured anything campaign finance-related died screaming in the lower chamber, while Senate Republicans (and Russ Feingold, for that matter) blocked appointments to Executive Branch oversight positions and especially the Federal Election Commission.
And Jonathan Salant of Bloomberg would like to let you know that this is all totally, completely, entirely President Obama’s fault because he failed us.
Barack Obama pledged as a presidential candidate to strengthen the Federal Election Commission and nominate members “committed to enforcing our nation’s election laws.”
Since taking office, he hasn’t pushed for achievement of either goal.
The president has taken no action to reshape the FEC, even as five of the six commissioners are serving on expired terms. In the meantime, the FEC deadlocked along party lines on whether to consider requiring nonprofits spending millions of dollars on political ads to disclose their donors.
“President Obama should be held responsible for his failure to at the very least nominate replacement commissioners,” said Paul Ryan, a lawyer for the Campaign Legal Center, which seeks stronger oversight of political giving. “Notwithstanding his promises to the contrary on the campaign trail, cleaning up Washington has not been a high priority for President Obama.”
The president’s inaction on an issue he used to distinguish himself during his Senate career and on the presidential campaign trail is among those that may depress enthusiasm among the Democratic Party’s activists.
And what happened when he did propose replacement FEC members?
In May 2009, Obama nominated one member to the FEC, labor lawyer John Sullivan, whose name was withdrawn 15 months later with no Senate action after he was opposed by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain and then-Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, two supporters of campaign finance laws who urged the president to submit a full slate of replacements.
Blocked by McCain, who certainly didn’t have a grudge or anything, and by the most “progressive” member of the Dems in the Senate. Awesome. The Senate block continued for more than a year. But that’s allllllllllll Obama’s fault, so you Democrats should stay home and let the Republicans win in November with your depressed enthusiasm and teach Obama a lesson.
Of course when the Republicans take over, abolish the filibuster, pack the Supreme Court with more conservatives to replace Ginsburg and Kennedy, and roll back some 80 years of progress on civil rights and finish transferring all of the country’s wealth to the one percent for good, well, that will just be the price we “progressives” have to pay for our principles.
So yeah, let’s follow Salant’s advice here and just progress right into a jet engine intake. FOR PURITY.
Zandar is ABLC's Cincinnati-area correspondent, covering Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana politics and all the nearly endless unintentional comedy the Tri-State area brings. He's proprietor of Zandar vs. The Stupid, where he's been blogging since 2008, and you can also find him at Balloon Juice and The Reaction as a contributor, or you can yell at him on Twitter at @ZandarVTS.
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