Chutzpah is never in short supply in the Clinton household. Today in Iowa, in the course of her much-mocked bus tour–Hillary bought a burrito! Hillary had the students locked in their classrooms! Journalists outnumbered voters!–Hillary Clinton had harsh words for our “dysfunctional political system”:
Fresh off her entrance into the presidential race, Hillary Clinton on Tuesday appeared in Iowa for her first public appearance of the election, striking a populist note while railing against what she called the country’s “dysfunctional political system.”
Is there anyone in the U.S.A. who has more to do with our political system being dysfunctional than Hillary and her husband? No. The Clintons are the disease, not the cure.
“We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all,” the Democrat said during a roundtable at Kirkwood Community College. “Even if that takes a constitutional amendment.”
For Hillary to talk about money in politics is laughable. Barack Obama was the first billion dollar candidate–it will be, historically, his principal claim to fame–but Hillary promises to blow past that milestone with almost uncountable millions flowing in from Wall Street and Hollywood:
[M]any close to Clinton estimate she will raise and spend $1.5-to-$2 billion.
No Republican can come close to matching that level of fundraising. So what is Hillary’s complaint? She says she doesn’t like “unaccountable money,” which means money contributed to 501(c)(4) organizations, which do not have to disclose their donors, and by law can play only a limited role in election campaigns. Democrats have 501(c)(4)s too, of course, operating in part under the auspices of the secretive Democracy Alliance. But Democrats don’t like competition; they want all the money, not just most of it.
And what’s this about a constitutional amendment? Hillary is talking about the Udall Amendment, which we have written about many times. Democrats say that it will overturn the Citizens United case, but hardly anyone knows what that case actually held. Citizens United held that the federal government cannot make it a crime to put out a movie criticizing a candidate for public office shortly prior to an election. Don’t take my word for it, read the opinion yourself. Oh, and, by the way–who was the politician who was criticized by the movie at issue in the Citizens United case? Hillary Clinton.
The Udall Amendment would go far beyond repealing Citizens United, i.e., authorizing the federal government to fine people or send them to jail for producing movies and books that criticize politicians prior to elections. Bad as that certainly would be, the Udall Amendment goes much further. I wrote here:
Many observers have noted that if the Udall amendment became law, Congress could set ridiculously low contribution and spending levels, so as to virtually guarantee the re-election of incumbents. This is true–campaign finance “reform” has always been largely about incumbent protection. But I think the proposed amendment is even worse than that. Given its appallingly poor draftsmanship, I don’t see any reason why Congress couldn’t permit a high level of spending on behalf of incumbents (or no limit at all), while setting low limits for spending on behalf of challengers, or prohibiting such contributions altogether. The Democrats’ amendment would repeal the First Amendment with respect to its most fundamental application–supporting candidates in elections.
Or, if the Democrats want to go all the way, the Udall Amendment would allow Congress, next time the Democrats control it, to make it a crime to contribute any money to a candidate for public office who is not endorsed by the Democratic Party. The Udall Amendment would repeal the core of the First Amendment, the constitutional right to support and oppose candidates for office, and Hillary Clinton is in favor of it.
Why? She knows that Republicans believe in free speech and would never try to criminalize opposition to their policies and candidates. The Democrats, on the other hand, can’t wait to shut the rest of us up. That is why they keep talking about “money in politics.” They don’t mean their money, they mean ours.