House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (shown, D-Calif.) and Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) signed on to the national leftist movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to repeal the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, a move that puts national Democratic Party leadership in favor of repealing the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The two wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post:
Citizens United shook the foundation of our democracy: the principle that, in the United States of America, it is the voices of the people, not the bank accounts of the privileged few, that determine the outcome of our elections and the policies of our government. Our Founders established a government of the many, not a government of the money.
That last part of the February 4 column was a clever line but misleading in several ways. It incorrectly assumes that freedom of the press never had anything to do with having the money to buy and own a press and that it never had anything to do with the money to buy the paper and ink to print. Pelosi and Sarbanes likewise falsely assume that before Citizens United corporations didn’t have any political speech, as if media corporations never engage in political speech. (Indeed, their column was a political opinion in a corporate media organ.) The Citizens United decision actually democratized political speech by allowing more than just media corporations to engage in political speech.
Pelosi’s attack against a “government of the money” rather than a “government of the many” also assumes that money has played a dominant role in deciding elections in the wake of Citizens United. But the reality is that the very groups Pelosi and Sarbanes referred to in their op-ed — organizations such as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and other organizations that were given tens of millions by Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson — performed abysmally in 2012. Karl Rove’s American Crossroads lost every race in which the organization committed more than $500,000, with the exception of a Nebraska race, the reddest of red states where every other state-wide elected official is a Republican.
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