Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Are super PAC's good for democracy?

Why Super PACs Are Good for Democracy

Much has been made of the Super PAC's this campaign season, and for good reason. Since the verdict of the Citizens United case, it was clear that these committees would change the face of electoral politics as we know it. Hell, they even allowed (or provoked) Steven Colbert to run for President of the United States of America of South Carolina aided by Jon Stewart and his  "definitely not coordinating with Steven Colbert" super PAC, Making a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. Needless to say their work on this stunt exposed the farce that is the super PAC, particularly the loosely worded and enforced policies that govern them.

This writer for Slate attempts to make the case for super PAC's that their transparency has led to a decrease in corruption and an evened the playing field for all candidates who are fortunate enough to be backed by these political action committees on steroids. One of his more attention-grabbing lines is, "Corruption can't grow in the sunlight," asserting that the mega-rich and mega-famous statuses of the big donors to these organizations precludes any shady dealings and favor-exchanging. I think, though, that Mr. Weigel is simply getting wrapped up in the super PAC honeymoon period, or maybe he's just clueless. I would argue that corruption can grow in the sunlight, especially when it's legitimized in this manner, creating a situation in which every political issue is inexorably a money-related one. Before I get carried away, what do you guys think about either argument he makes in this article? (The first being that super PAC's level the playing field and are good for democracy, the second that they stem corruption.)

1 comment:

Cris said...

Weirdly enough, I was just reading an article about super PAC's on Politico: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/72816.html.

It mentions some of Obama's campaign groups discussed in this week's Stein article for class, such as Priorities USA. I personally agree with Greg: I don't believe at all that super PAC's stem corruption. In fact, this article mentions how some Republican candidates from this campaign cycle (most notably Santorum) have actually skated on thin ice with the rules determined in the Citizens United case.