When five members of the Supreme Court upended a century of campaign finance laws in Citizens United, everyone who was even half awake knew that this would lead to a river of cash that eventually would empty into a swamp of nastiness.
McCain/Feingold's "I approve this message.." did work at least in part to tone down the nastier rhetoric and the whole doom and gloom/ominous narrator/dark clouds type of ads, at least by the candidate themselves. Those got farmed out to other groups. Now, those groups have more money than they know what to do with.
Again, anyone could have seen this coming.
The fact that the first "victims" of this type of SuperPAC filth are Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney is simply a reminder that the universe loves irony. Newt pioneered the nastiness - along with Lee Atwater - that has come to typify our political discourse, especially on the Right. Mitt is the embodiment of Wall Street money and privilege.
But SuperPACs are coming to a race near you. If you live in Massachusetts, prepare to hear lies and outrages against Elizabeth Warren, as Wall Street doubles down on destroying her. Money will not be a problem for Scott Brown. Don't be surprised if all this corporate cash eventually finds its way down to your city council elections. It's simply a matter of time.
Yesterday, the Times stepped in it, when the public editor asked whether reporters should report within a story if someone lies. The example used was how Romney always says that Obama has apologized about America being America. It's a lie. It never happened. The comment section erupted. Of course reporters should call people on their lies. It's tough, because you have to actually know the facts and you could "lose access", but that's a reporter's job. At least one would think so.
With the advent of Citizens United slush finds, we're going to see more lies and more innuendo than ever before. We've already seen Mitt's campaign release an ad deliberately and obviously taking Obama's words out of context in the most shameless fashion. What will the SuperPACs do?
I suppose I could hope that America, as is her pattern, will react to the breaking of her campaigns with reform. Eventually, it takes a crisis to make anything happen. I believe it will take a constitutional amendment to deny corporations unlimited spending on campaigns, in order to overturn Citizens United.
But the GOP is already suing to overturn the law that prohibits unlimited direct contributions to candidates. They are actively working to destroy the vestiges of democracy in America.
When people like Glenn Greenwald or Ralph Nader say there is no differences between the two parties, remind them of this.