Never Bring a Knife to a Gunfight
by Mark Riley
posted Feb 8 2012 12:40PM
I have to confess; when I started to think about what to write for today's posting, my first thought was to lay into the puckish reaction to the Chrysler "Halftime in America" spot that ran during the Super Bowl. But that's been vetted and written about so much over the past few days, I think it's time to move on.
President Obama has taken lots of heat the past couple of days over his decision to reverse course and support a super PAC run by a former aide. After some pretty harsh criticism both on the campaign trail and since taking office about the corrosive influence of money on elections, some see the president's change of heart as a betrayal of his ideals. Problem is, this is politics, and his opponent(s) have no such scruples. They're talking about raising a half billion dollars to bring Barack Obama down. The question then becomes this. Can this president raise that kind of money on his own, without the help of the super PAC tsunami created by the Citizen's United decision?
The short answer is simple. He can't. The second simple fact is this. Without the ability to match the Republican candidate (whoever that turns out to be), President Obama could lose an election he should win. One person who has criticized his decision ought to know. Former Wisconsin Senator Ruyss Feingold got hammered by corporate money in his last bid for re-election. He calls the president's reversal "a dumb approach". Maybe, but do you bring a knife to a gunfight on principle?
WWRL listeners were correct to point out that the only real hope of ever reversing the Citizen's United decision lies with having a president prepared to name progressive justices to the Supreme Court. While many may have misgivings about Barack Obama's reversal on super PACS, it's time to take a page from Russ Feingold's book.
Despite his criticism of this president on this, Russ Feingold says he still supports Barack Obama in this election year. In other words, this isn't a dealbreaker, even for someone who vehemently disagrees with his position.
And really, you should never bring a knife to a gunfight.