As many legally aware folks know, Citizens United created a film that was completed during last year's election cycle. The film was titled Hillary The Movie, and was shockingly about Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, according to campaign finance law, the movie could not be advertised, without incurring a felony on it's corporate producer. This would be mildly interesting, except that the case hit the Supreme court, and oral argument ensued. One lawyer listening reported that it looked as if the court was getting ready to overturn the last 2 decades of campaign finance law.
Some folks like this, some folks don't. Instead of doing anything else, I think I am inclined to argue the position from 3 sides.
1. Libertarian: Hell yeah. The first amendment protects freedom of speech, and was especially intended to protect political speech. Campaign finance crap is explicitly prohibited by the first amendment to the Constitution under any which reading you choose to give it. Go away McCain-Feingold, and even Austin. Clearly this is a liberty violation. Clearly this violates the constitution. Where is the question here? Oh, and it doesn't work real well anyhow. Loopholes get around it anyhow.
2. Conservative: Yeah. The constitution says freedom of speech. It's part of the history what made America great, even the speech we disagree with. And limiting corporate money allows only groups that we disagree with to have voices. Media and wonks and professors, none of whom are prohibited from talking give an unflinchingly liberal spin on everything (90-what percent of reporters are registered Democrat?). To abolish this would at least eliminate some of the massive unfairness promoting the liberal agenda.
3. Liberal: No way. Corporations are concentrations of wealth for the already powerful. To whatever extent the corporations are allowed to participate in the political process, it will be diminishing the voice of the poor. Since the purpose of government is to protect the poor, it is a VERY bad idea to let monied interests go back to tinkering with the political process even more than they do now. We would end up with a president from JP Morgan.
Libertarian: No. Corporations spend money in elections only to pass regulations that are beneficial to the corporation at the expense of every other entity in the country...and especially, they lobby to eliminate competition. While public choice says they will massively influence the course of government now, we can at least try to limit it.
Conservative: No. Things have been working well the way they are. Despite the massively liberal trend in the media, alternative voices have come up (talk radio, blogs), which are much more effective, and much better financially than ANY of the troubled leftist media outlets. We have been prohibiting corporate finance in elections for nearly 20 years now, and we have a working, stable system. There is no reason to change that now...and between fox news, talk radio, cable TV, blogs, etc, and the failure of the traditional media, conservative voices will own the talk media (news + print) soon.
Liberal: Yes. Slippery slopes suck. At what point does it become ok to legislate for the prohibition of political speech. Should we jail Michael Moore if he airs an Anti-Bush documentary when Jeb runs for president? Or Jenna? Clearly, though we have little objection to prohibiting corporate contributions, we do have an objection to allowing the powerful in government the right to decide who may say what politically. Shrub certainly might not have been trusted to leave Kos alone if he'd had the power.
Is this fair?