The last thing Republicans want is to let the public know where campaign contributions spent supporting them are coming from. Voting on a party line vote, US Senate Republicans voted to oppose disclosing corporate contributions and expenditures being spent to try to put them back in power. The measure known as the Disclose Act also included disclosure by unions but corporate contributions through PAC’s and outside interest groups are likely to vastly exceed that of unions.
The New York Times in its print edition misleadingly writes a headline entitled “Senate Democrats Fail to Advance a Campaign Finance Bill, an Obama Priority.” It should have instead been entitled something like “Senate Republicans Stop Passage of Bill to Require Disclosure of Corporate Contributions”. The vote was 59 for and 39 against on a procedural vote to cut off debate. No Republicans voted to end debate and all the Democrats did in an effort to bring the actual bill up for a vote.
The online edition headline says “Small-Business Bill Advances; Campaign Finance Bill Stalls” which is more accurate in terms of what is in the article but the lead sentence repeats the statement that “Senate Democrats failed Thursday to advance campaign finance legislation that would force businesses, unions and others to disclose how they were spending money in political campaigns and where they were getting it.” The NY Times does a disservice to the public and its readers by failing to upfront attribute the failure to move the bill to the Republicans and their use of Senate rules to block a vote that clearly has a majority of Senators in support. Clearly the Democrats are behind disclosure.
Republicans continue to block passage of almost all legislation in the Senate in an attempt to brand the Democrats as unable to get things done. Yet it is the Republicans who are cynically stopping action on bills, even on things they previously supported. It remains bizarre that there are Americans who somehow think returning Republicans to power is going to make things work better. Ever since Obama got elected the Republican strategy was to oppose anything the Democrats proposed. They were not concerned about putting Americans back to work, they were only motivated by putting themselves back in power.
Republicans have no new answers, they knee jerk oppose taxes of all kind – witness their support of retaining the Bush tax cuts for millionaires despite the fact that this would increase the deficit because money would have to be borrowed at taxpayer expense to cover these tax breaks.Witness their continued opposition to financial reform despite the fact that financial deregulation and lack of oversight and accountability contributed heavily to our current recession. Witness their opposition to health care reform despite the fact that the system was broken and private insurance companies were raising premiums much faster than inflation to add to their profits.
Democrats have accomplished a lot despite Republican opposition to most of what they’ve done. If Republicans controlled the White House or the US Senate, imagine who might have nominated for the US Supreme Court. As Robert Creamer wrote on the Huffington Post in August, Democrats have been fighting for the average American and winning the battle against corporate special interests.
Democrats won the battle with Wall Street and the Republicans to rein in the power of the big Wall Street banks. We won the battle to begin holding insurance companies accountable and prevent them from discriminating against people with “pre-existing conditions.” We won the battle to rescue the economy from the death spiral created by Bush administration policies and the recklessness of the big Wall Street banks.
Democrats and Independents who want to keep our country moving forward to solve our pressing problems need to turn out and vote and support the Democratic ticket. There is no such thing as not taking a position in an election. If you don’t vote, you are letting others make a decision for you. In this election Republicans have said they are more inclined to vote than Democrats by a wide margin. Not voting and opposing this Republican enthusiasm is the same thing as voting for the Republicans. Every voter has a vote. Use it. Democrats can win if those who want to keep moving America forward just get out and vote. Here in Washington State for most voters it is just filling out and mailing your ballot. Not a lot to ask considering the possible consequences of not voting.
See also NPI Advocate post for more information on the Disclose Act.