Patterico's Pontifications

2/7/2012

Barack Obama, Super-hypocrite on SuperPACs

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 7:16 am

[Posted by Karl]

Calling SuperPACs a “threat to democracy” is sooo two days ago:

On a conference call with members of President Obama’s 2012 reelection committee Monday evening, campaign manager Jim Messina announced that donors should start funding Priorities USA, the Democratic super PAC run by two former White House staffers, Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney.

The move was a remarkable shift in approach toward the independent political expenditure groups, whose role in the political process Obama has criticized and from which his campaign had sought to keep distance.

***

Just seven months earlier, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt assured, “Neither the President nor his campaign staff or aides will fundraise for super PACs,” according to the LA Times.

BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski collects video of Obama’s attacks on the Citizens United ruling that made this spending possible, while Ben Smith recalls Obama’s earlier campaign financing hypocrisy in rejecting public funding:

That 2008 decision wasn’t made entirely out of some reformist purity. Obama would go back on a pledge to take public financing, accepting the hit on his reform credentials (which was enacted solely on the Times editorial page) in exchange for a serious financial advantage over John McCain. And his team decided that outside allies — whether the 527s or the more traditional DNC independent expenditure, could only muddy up the purity of his very pure message.

So what has changed? One major shift is that Obama faces an opponent whose rich friends really will pour tens of millions into outside groups, unlike the underfunded and relatively isolated John McCain.

Josh Kraushaar laid this out in detail last week.  Based on the 2011 numbers:

[T]he combined Obama and Democratic outside group totals to $98.3 million cash-on-hand, with the GOP groups tallying $94.1 million.  Take out the Democratic groups strictly devoted to congressional activities, and it’s a virtual financial tie. With labor and environmental groups poised to help Obama’s re-election, Democrats still could hold a narrow edge.  But it’s hardly the cash advantage that would allow Team Obama to run negative advertising uncontested against Romney, without an aggressive response.

It’s a far cry from the vision of a billion-dollar Obama re-election campaign bankroll that Democratic strategists are now downplaying.  And it shows that the amount of time Democrats spent complaining and attacking the liberalized campaign finance laws before the 2010 midterms would have been better spent preparing for an infrastructure utilizing super PACs to their advantage.  Priorities USA, headed by former White House spokesman Bill Burton, hasn’t yet shown it can compete with American Crossroads so far — and time is running short.

This was really a no-brainer for Obama.  In my experience — and his — there is no political price to be paid for gaming the campaign finance system.  Politico’s Jonathan Martin and others will sniff and move on, just to make sure it remains a Beltway story.  Indeed, it’s barely a “Beltway story” — it made the front page of the NYT, but not the WaPo.

–Karl

27 Comments

  1. Ding!

    Comment by Karl (8cdbad) — 2/7/2012 @ 7:16 am

  2. I guess Omoron called himself a threat to democracy.

    Comment by Dohbiden (ef98f0) — 2/7/2012 @ 7:23 am

  3. Bah. My campaign mood is in a crater fit for SMOD

    Comment by SarahW (b0e533) — 2/7/2012 @ 7:57 am

  4. This dovetails nicely with Barcky’s lies about public funding in 2008, and the subsequent MFM blackout of same.

    Comment by JD (e6fe35) — 2/7/2012 @ 8:12 am

  5. Baracky is a lying two-faced duplicitous loser.

    Comment by Dohbiden (ef98f0) — 2/7/2012 @ 8:25 am

  6. Sometimes you have to use the tools of the enemy in order to win.

    Comment by tadcf (ead2bd) — 2/7/2012 @ 8:34 am

  7. “tadcf” never fails to be a complete douchenozzle.

    Comment by JD (e6fe35) — 2/7/2012 @ 9:14 am

  8. The Bamster is a whore for political money–and not even a particularly principled whore.

    Comment by Comanche Voter (0e06a9) — 2/7/2012 @ 9:39 am

  9. In 2008, Obama said he would abide by federal campaign limits and matching funds-until he saw he could outraise McCain. At which point he abandoned campaign limits with no cosequences nor handwringing. You have to standards to be a hypocrite. This is not a remarkable shift, merely standard Obama procedure.

    Comment by Bugg (34ad0e) — 2/7/2012 @ 9:44 am

  10. _________________________________________________

    Sometimes you have to use the tools of the enemy in order to win.

    Is that another approach to rationalizing away the qualities of “limousine liberalism?” Incidentally, one does not have to be wealthy to be guilty of that form of two-faced leftism.

    Comment by Mark (411533) — 2/7/2012 @ 10:03 am

  11. Someone needs to interview Samuel Alito. Stat!

    Comment by SaveFarris (1d955a) — 2/7/2012 @ 10:10 am

  12. You call this hypocrisy on the opart of Barack Obama?

    What about what he did in the Election of 2008?

    There he broke a campaign promise.

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/06/20/in_a_shift_obama_rejects_public_funding/?page=full

    Both John McCain and Barack Obama had said in 2007 that if they were the nominees they would accept federal campaign and its limitations and not raise money for teh general election.
    Mccain kept his pledge.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb) — 2/7/2012 @ 10:38 am

  13. Isn’t it illegal for a campaign to “coordinate” with a super PAC? Hasn’t the Obama campaign violated the law? But laws, as we know, are for “little people”.

    Comment by RAZ (3a0a1d) — 2/7/2012 @ 11:18 am

  14. What a shock the Kenyan dimwit is a liar!?!?!?

    Goooooonion money isn’t special interest. RIGHT MSM???

    Comment by GYM HOFT (36e9a7) — 2/7/2012 @ 11:19 am

  15. What’s happening here isn’t illegal, RAZ; merely the height of hypocrisy from the guy that publicly dissed the SCOTUS for the Citizen’s United decision.

    Comment by Icy (83a940) — 2/7/2012 @ 1:07 pm

  16. 6.Sometimes you have to use the tools of the enemy in order to win.
    Comment by tadcf — 2/7/2012 @ 8:34 am

    – Speaking of “tools” that are being used . . .

    Comment by Icy (83a940) — 2/7/2012 @ 1:08 pm

  17. http://biggovernment.com/jschoffstall/2012/02/07/occupy-dc-plans-chaos-at-cpac/

    Comment by narciso (87e966) — 2/7/2012 @ 1:08 pm

  18. This is a good thing to change his mind on. No reason to disarm oneself against the coming onslaught. Might as well have everyone play by the same rules.

    Comment by snaps (805ade) — 2/7/2012 @ 2:07 pm

  19. The NYT informs me that Obama Yields in Marshaling of ‘Super PAC’…apparently no hypocrisy involved.

    Comment by Dana (4eca6e) — 2/7/2012 @ 5:15 pm

  20. “snaps” is as dum as tadcf

    Comment by JD (c32343) — 2/7/2012 @ 5:36 pm

  21. he’s a regular bag of timmahs, and that can’t be good.

    Comment by narciso (87e966) — 2/7/2012 @ 5:48 pm

  22. – Speaking of “tools” that are being used . . .

    Comment by Icy

    and certainly not the sharpest tool in the shed…

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (a3006f) — 2/7/2012 @ 5:49 pm

  23. This was really a no-brainer for Obama

    And yet, strangely enough, his lack of a brain made it less effective….

    :-D

    Comment by Smock Puppet, 10 Dan Snark Master (8e2a3d) — 2/8/2012 @ 12:08 am

  24. BTW, after President Downgrade loses, count very much on blame being shifted to SuperPACs and the CU decision, rather than incompetence in the campaign management.

    Comment by Smock Puppet, 10 Dan Snark Master (8e2a3d) — 2/8/2012 @ 12:09 am

  25. Extending that thought, Smock Puppet, what President Give-Me-A-Mulligan is really saying is that juducial activism on the part of the SCOTUS acted as an individual mandate, leaving him with no other option than to embrace the very thing he hates . . .

    Just desserts is served!

    Comment by Icy (83a940) — 2/8/2012 @ 12:19 am

  26. Obama must fight fire with fire.

    Comment by tadcf (ead2bd) — 2/8/2012 @ 8:51 am

  27. So he was posturing. As normal.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 2/8/2012 @ 9:03 am

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