What do you think of the role super PACs are playing in the campaign?

The primary campaign for the GOP presidential nomination is becoming a battle of super PACs. Groups with names like “Winning our future” and “Restore Our Future” are devoting millions of dollars to attack ads, free of the spending limits that would apply to them if they directly coordinated their efforts with the campaigns they support. Today’s Question: What do you think of the role super PACs are playing in the campaign?

  • Alison

    Their existence is ridiculous. It’s also sad that so many people are so easily swayed by their ads.

  • I, for one, am happy that our corporate masters have taken a firm interest in the direction of this, our poor, rudderless, country.

  • Clark

    As long as it results in election defeat of the most clueless president in the last 100 years, I support super PACs. Soon, big labor will begin their assault on the republicans so public employee unions can continue to rape and pillage the America taxpayer.

  • GregX

    I thnk they are the height of hypocrisy. The underlying reason SuperPAC’s are funded is to provide more information to the American voting public, yet they rarely provide the information on themselves, their research methodology nor a responsible individual who will directly answer for their activites. Freedom of speech has absolutely no value if there is no corresponding responsibility for its content. We hold the marketers of childrens toys to a higher threshold of accountability and ultimate responsibility.

  • Steve

    To see the top 5 donors to the presidential candidates:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/contriball.php?cycle=2012

    According to that site, Monies did not come from companies themselves, but from the companies’ PACs, employees, and/or owners.

    Obama’s top 5:

    1) Microsoft, 2) Comcast, 3) Harvard, 4) Google, 5) University of CA

    Romney’s top 5:

    1) Goldman Sachs, 2) Credit Suisse, 3) Morgan Stanley, 4) HIG Capital, 5) Barclays

    Who’s funded by Wallstreet “Fat Cats”?

  • Rich

    I just love how plain bribery can be turned into ‘the proof of successful democracy’.

  • Emery

    I don’t pretend to understand even a single aspect of the merits of the law involved, but in terms of consequences, Citizens United will go down as one of the worst decisions in SCOTUS history.

  • Comic book guy

    Worst PAC ever!

  • Bear

    I also think Citizen’s United will be viewed as the worst SCOTUS decision of all times. I think Super PAC’s have crossed the line from an individual’s right to freedom of express as guaranteed in the First Amendment to “commercial speech”, which is entitled to less protected rights. It is my opinion that political ads and communications should have to pass the FTC’s truth in advertising standards and should by no means be constructed to deceive or mislead. If this were so, we would all be better informed to make good choices.

    At least we have Factcheck.org to help sort out fact from fiction.

  • Bob Moffitt

    So far in this young election year, the only candadate hurt by the Super PACs seems to be Newt Gingrich.

  • Steve the Cynic

    I think it’s remarkable that Gingrich’s PAC is the one that’s been exposing the predatory business practices by which Romney got rich. It’s the hyena calling the vulture bloody.

  • Trailer Ron

    The primary role of super PACs is to transmit misinformation about the candidates.

    When these Super PACS spend millions, they expect to make millions in profits by getting their guy elected.

    Why else?

    If we looked at the candidates issue page on their own web site and ignored the misinformation hype, we’d see there isn’t a dimes worth of difference between these guys, except for Ron Paul’s unrealistic in this world, defense stance. I’m including Obama in the misinformation campaign.

    Woe is us.

  • PACs represent the values of the rich, the active and the organized, leaving the values of poor, inactive individuals under-represented.

  • Bea

    I’ve started thinking the Tea Party and Occupy movements should join together in opposition to Citizens United and the SuperPAC activity we now are witnessing. Whether justified or not, each side is concerned about corporate/union influence in government, and both should recognize how far we are from the way our democracy was supposed to work.

  • ChrisinStupidMaine

    Publicly funded elections/campaigns would go a long way towards mitigating the general idiocy found in the ads by these super PACS, as well as special interest influence on candidates. Still incredulous as regards Citizens United…

  • JasonB

    The role of super PACs is probably too much, as is for any money used in a campaign. People say that votes are often bought. That only applies if one believes that people are so simple-minded that they can be swayed by obviously biased ads.

    If a voter wants to get a good idea about a candidate they should research multiple sources on their own. I think it’s their responsibility to find the information rather than having someone feed it to them.

  • Larry M.

    I think it is time to amend the Constitution to overturn the awful Citizens United decision to make sure that corporations are not considered citizens and to allow for election financing reforms.

  • Regnar James

    There should be NO external money in politics. The elected post should be for the love of the country.

    Of course the post would be paid… similar to military compensation.

    No adds.

    No yard signs.

    No campaigning other that a few select debates.

    One central web site and print ads with the issues and how the candidates stand on them. (a “contract”)

    When elected, the winner will be legally bound to the “contract” they were elected by.

    If the elected official takes a bribe, kickback, or any other form of coercion they we be executed.

    Straight forward and dirt simple.

    DTOM

  • GaryF

    But Alliance for a Better Minnesota is an OK PAC, right?

  • d koch

    Steps to buy a politician.

    Let’s say you are an American billionaire, or even a millionaire with billionaire aspirations. If your millions or billions of dollars are not enough, and you would like to, say, not pay any taxes on any of it, you could ether hire a team of accountants to find loopholes for you to get out of your responsibility, or preferably buy a politician to make sure the tax laws are in your favor. Once you start having that sort of affect on tax law, you may want to remove any sort of regulation that might make you play fairly, or ethically, or act in the greater good of the nation. EPA and financial regulations come to mind. All these things stand in the way of the greatest profit this fiscal quarter. You NEED to own your own politician.

    All you have to do is follow a few simple steps.

    1. First nominate a total shill for your cause. This person will do and say what ever you tell them to. In the case of buying a president, once elected he will have to appoint activist judges to the Supreme Court should the opportunity arise. This part is very important.

    2. Even if you get your shill nominated, you still have to get him elected. Now the vast majority of Americans wouldn’t ever go for that if they knew your shill didn’t have their best interests in mind. What you have to do is dupe them into voting for your shill.

    Some important strategies are:

    a. It’s important to have your shill act like a religious zealot. This will get the religious crowd to vote for him. Extremist Christian sects work best.

    b. Have him promote a substantial amount of fear mongering. Say ridiculous things like the opposition will take away their guns, or allow gays to marry which will destroy their family, or let the enemy take over the country. Muslims are a good scapegoat for this last one, as their culture is not very well understood by most Americans.

    c. Yes, due to the limitation and separation of powers imposed on the president by the constitution, the president doesn’t actually have the power to affect many if any of these issues directly, but the vast majority of Americans do not know this. Those that do understand the importance of appointing activist judges.

    3. Once your shill is elected it’s time to appoint your activist judges. This is the difficult part and may take many decades since Supreme Court justices are essentially appointed for life. It’s worth the wait and trouble though, since once a majority is appointed you can start to change and remove regulations to achieve your ultimate goal.

    In the future you may want to make it easier to buy a politician. Due to Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules like campaign contribution maximums and disclosure requirements, you will probably want your activist judges to overrule these laws. This will make laundering contribution money easier. You wouldn’t want the dupes to know what you are up to, so you would prefer not to have to disclose your contributions. Also if you run a propaganda machine (i.e. think tank, public relations firm, various “committees”, etc.), and it’s strongly suggested you do, this will allow you to shield yourself from the propaganda. All this will help in keeping the dupes misinformed. We suggest giving your perversion to the constitution a catchy name, like superPAC.

  • duh

    GaryF there’s a difference between a PAC and a superPAC, stop turning everything into an anti-democratic whine-fest.

  • John P II

    I think a lot of media outlets are enjoying the increased advertising revenue. Remember this started in a dispute over a Michael Moore film (Fahrenheit 9/11) and escalated into a discussion of what constitutes political advertising. Free speech is a two-edged sword. Hopefully good journalism survives (somewhere!) and is able to analyze the messages and disclose the donors so that people can make more informed decisions.

  • GaryF
  • GaryF

    Priorities USA

    Hollywood money Super PAC, OK?

  • Garyf
  • Justice Stevens

    “At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.”

  • GaryF

    Waaaaaah waaaaah waaaah the democrats make me sad, unions hurt my feelings :’-(

  • GaryF

    Wow, looks like someone has to mock me when their argument is weak.

  • Craig

    Indirectly, their financial magnitude reveals the confidence major contributors have in the marketing industry’s ability to manipulate a large segment of the population.

  • huh

    What argument GaryF? You didn’t bother answering the question. You point is pointless. It’s just anti-democratic whining. No other post on there said democratic superPACs are good, republican ones are evil. The republican ones are in the news now since the democratic president is the incumbent and until the actual election they really aren’t doing anything right now. Stop turning everything partisan.

  • Philip

    Super PAC’s are nothing more than democratically approved bribe sources, regardless of which political party they support.

  • Molly

    You might want to ask this question by first defining the meaning of PAC. Why must everything be an acronym nowadays? Personally I have heard enough of the primaries. I think it’s getting way too much air time on MPR. Isn’t there anything else going on in the world?

  • Steve the Cynic

    Tangentially related to this topic, have you noticed how “moderate” is now being used as an accusation? In the ’70s, the conservative think tank propaganda machine started turning “liberal” into an insult word. The effort was successful enough that actual liberals have had to use synonyms, such as “progressive” to describe themselves. Then the propagandists went after those synonyms, too. And now even “moderate” is being hurled at Romney like it’s a cuss word. Do you need any more evidence that the radical right has taken the country too far? They’ve even got quite a few hot-headed dupes convinced that Obama’s pro-big-business policies amount to socialism, or even Marxism. They spin conspiracy theories about socialist plots, which distract people from noticing their own plot to make the world safe for plutocracy. When will we wake up?

  • Not a dupe

    Not until it’s too late Steve, if it’s not already….