BREAKING: SCOTUS Overturns Restrictions On Corporate Campaign Spending (UPDATED)

Some ominous news from Washington this morning:

The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on their participation in federal campaigns.

The court on Thursday overturned a 20-year-old ruling that said corporations can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to pay for campaign ads. The decision almost certainly will also allow labor unions to participate more freely in campaigns and threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.

The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns.

That’s funny–I seem to remember the preamble of the Constitution beginning with “We the People of the United States,” not “We the Corporations of the United States”

I don’t understand the concept of corporate personhood–why should corporations allowed to advertise on behalf of candidates? For that matter, why are they allowed to set up PACs? They’re not allowed to vote, so why should they be able to spend tens of millions of dollars (often on misinformation) to tell the rest of us how to vote?

If the people who work for a corporation feel strongly enough about an issue or candidate, they can certainly spend their own money and campaign on their own time.  But money is a massively corrupting influence in politics; letting corporations dump huge amounts of money into our political system is only going to make things worse.

This is why we need publicly funded elections–to prevent “We the People” from becoming “We the Corporations and Special Interests”

(And I like how they throw labor unions in there, as if labor unions will ever come close to being able to rival the profits of all of corporate America).

UPDATE: I had an idea of how to turn this ruling into a win-win situation:

Whenever a corporation spends money on the behalf of a politician, that politician should have to sew a patch bearing that corporation’s logo onto all of their suits, NASCAR-style.

On the one hand, that would provide corporate donors with free advertising–since their logo appears wherever a candidate goes–ensuring that those donors get their money’s worth.

And it also provides voters with insight into which corporations have bought which politicians–this way, we’ll know why the Governor with the ConAgra patch loves ethanol, why the Congressman with the ExxonMobil patch wants to ‘drill baby drill’ and why the Senator with the Blackwater/Xe patch doesn’t think we should leave Iraq anytime soon.

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Blue Dog$

There is a lack of honesty in the health care debate. In particular, with the coverage of the Blue Dogs and other conservative Democrats who are trying to stymie health care reform.

Most Blue Dogs/conservative Democrats come from competitive districts, meaning that every two years they need enough money to mount strong campaigns.

That’s where the insurance industry and the rest of the health industrial complex step in–they’re more than happy to provide those members with the funds they need.  Of course, such funds have strings attached–explicit or implicit–that cause those members to do such things as block health care reform.

More below…

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Check The Polls (UPDATED)

After I declared Obama the winner of Friday’s debate, one commenter told me to check the polls come Monday.

Well, happy Monday!

Diageo/Hotline:

Obama-Biden: 47%

McCain-Palin: 42%

Undecided: 8%

McCain now has a net unfavorable rating among Inds. Just 43% have a favorable impression of the GOP nominee, while 46% have an unfavorable impression. One week ago — in the survey completed 9/20 — his fav/unfav among Inds was 51%/36%.

And the AZ Sen.’s trouble with Inds extends to the WH matchup. Obama leads the group, which makes up 19% of today’s Diageo/Hotline sample, by a commanding 52-29% margin. One week ago, McCain held a 40-39% advantage

[Emphasis added]

Research 2000:

Obama-Biden: 51%

McCain-Palin: 42%

Gallup:

Obama-Biden: 50%

McCain-Palin: 42%

Rasmussen:

Obama-Biden: 50%

McCain-Palin: 45%

FiveThirtyEight:

Obama-Biden: 325.5 EV

McCain-Palin: 212.5 EV

There is a 64.35% chance Obama will win all the Kerry states.

There is a 65.88% chance Obama will win VA but lose OH

There is a 71.68% chance Obama will win CO but lose OH

There is a 54.48% chance Obama will lose OH but still win the election

There is a 25.54% chance of an Obama landslide (375+ EV)

Electoral-Vote.com:

Obama-Biden: 286 EV

McCain-Palin: 252

Obama wins all the Kerry states plus CO, IA, NM and VA.

Pollster:

Obama-Biden: 229 EV

McCain-Palin: 174 EV

Toss Up: 135 EV

Of the toss up states, Obama is currently winning PA, MN & CO; NH is tied. If you add up the states Obama is currently winning, he has 269 electoral votes.

UPDATE: Let’s not forget LA Times/Bloomberg:

The Illinois senator extended his advantage to 49% to 44%, compared with last week, when the same respondents gave him a 48% to 45% edge.

[…]

Obama was seen as more “presidential” by 46% of debate-watchers, compared with 33% for the Arizona senator.

The difference is even more pronounced among debate-watchers who were not firmly committed to a candidate: 44% said they believed Obama looked more presidential, whereas 16% gave McCain the advantage.

The Republican candidate also has lost ground on several measures of voter confidence, including trust.

[Emphasis added]

Stunt!

Knievel Fail Motorcycle Jump

A brief history of the McCain campaign

Looks like Senator Stuntman is out in the garage, strapping rockets to his motorcycle and preparing for his next PR epic fail:

In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.

Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”

[Emphasis mine]

Yes, because it’s a great idea to wrestle the media away from covering the economy–the most important issue of this election–and force them to give wall-to-wall coverage to your Vice Presidential candidate’s daughter’s wedding.  Especially right after you campaign just faceplanted by interfering with–and messing up–political negotiations to help end our economc crisis.

When are you guys going to learn that the American people aren’t going to give you the benefit of the doubt anymore? You’ve staged so many stunts and tried to pull off so much nonsense in this campaign that nobody’s going to even pretend that Bristol Palin’s (conveniently) pre-election wedding is anything but a desperate ploy for positive media coverage.

You just don’t get it–there are major issues out there; the American people are waiting for you to start showing some leadership. This isn’t 2000, or even 2004–trying to derail the Presidential campaign with trivial garbage isn’t going to cut it anymore.  In fact, it’s just going to make people angry that you’re wasting their time instead of dealing with the economy or fixing our foreign policy or ending our war in Iraq.

If this happens, expect a major backlash.  We just went through eight years of a stunt-driven Presidency (anyone remember ‘Mission Accomplished’?) and the last thing America needs is another impulsive President who cares more about his political image than about rising to meet our nation’s challenges.

Obama Wins (UPDATED)

Hands down, no question, Obama won the first Presidential debate.

McCain came off as combative and angry–Obama knew the issues, he was in control of the exchange and he showed the kind of calm and stability we need in a President.

McCain is going to have a hard time catching up after this…

UPDATE: And the preliminary polls are in:

40% of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. 22% thought John McCain won.

UPDATE II: Josh Marshall sleeps on it:

I think it was a much bigger win for Obama than I was ready to figure last night. And that’s for two basic reasons.

First, the pattern in the 2000 and 2004 presidential debates was essentially this: the Democrat generally won each debate on points and even in the snap polls of undecided voters. But there was usually some remark or bit of affect that — ludicrous or not — right-wing commentators and yakkers fixed in on and were able to parlay into the dominating conversation of the next few days. In this way, strong debate performances turned into weak debate performances.

I’m not seeing anything like that this time. Mainly that’s because Obama just didn’t make any mistakes. But I suspect it’s also because there’s now more meta-media parity between right and left.

Second was McCain’s attitude. Whether it was contempt or condescension or some sort of fear or inability to — in the most literal sense — face Obama, it made McCain look small and angry.

Surprise! (UPDATED)

FAIL

Senator Stuntman’s latest trick has fallen apart–CNN is reporting that John McCain will, in fact, debate Barack Obama in Oxford tonight.

Remember, McCain said he wouldn’t debate until this crisis was resolved. The House GOP killed yesterday’s agreement right after McCain showed up, and it doesn’t look like today will bring a resolution, either.

So even though the crisis isn’t resolved, John McCain will go back on his word and attend tonight’s debate. It makes me wonder, can we really trust someone so impulsive and unbalanced in the White House? I don’t think so.

Obama/Biden ’08–for the stability and leadership we need.

UPDATE: Not only is McCain attending the debate–apparently he’s already won it, according to web ads his campaign is running:

So, John McCain injects himself into the middle of sensitive Congressional negotiations (after having nothing to do with Congress since April), leaves before anything is resolved, then declares himself the winner of a debate that hasn’t even happened yet.

Irrational and presumptuous. Is that really the kind of guy we want running the show?