Weekly Address 09-18-10

 Posted by at 10:13  Politics
Sep 182010

“The Republican Corporate Power Grab”

From the White House weblog:

The President explains how the most dire warnings about the Citizens United case have been proven valid as Republicans in Congress have blocked legislation to fix it.

Click below to listen to the audio only:

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The transcript of the president’s weekly address, as prepared for delivery, is available after the break.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Washington, D.C.
September 18, 2010

Back in January, in my State of the Union Address, I warned of the danger posed by a Supreme Court ruling called Citizens United. This decision overturned decades of law and precedent. It gave the special interests the power to spend without limit – and without public disclosure – to run ads in order to influence elections.

Now, as an election approaches, it’s not just a theory. We can see for ourselves how destructive to our democracy this can become. We see it in the flood of deceptive attack ads sponsored by special interests using front groups with misleading names. We don’t know who’s behind these ads or who’s paying for them. Even foreign-controlled corporations seeking to influence our democracy are able to spend freely in order to swing an election toward a candidate they prefer.

We’ve tried to fix this with a new law – one that would simply require that you say who you are and who’s paying for your ad. This way, voters are able to make an informed judgment about a group’s motivations. Anyone running these ads would have to stand by their claims. And foreign-controlled corporations would be restricted from spending money to influence elections, just as they were before the Supreme Court opened up this loophole.

This is common sense. In fact, this is the kind of proposal that Democrats and Republicans have agreed on for decades. Yet, the Republican leaders in Congress have so far said “no.” They’ve blocked this bill from even coming up for a vote in the Senate. It’s politics at its worst. But it’s not hard to understand why.

Over the past two years, we have fought back against the entrenched special interests – weakening their hold on the levers of power in Washington. We have taken a stand against the worst abuses of the financial industry and health insurance companies. We’ve rolled back tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. And we’ve restored enforcement of common sense rules to protect clean air and clean water. We have refused to go along with business as usual.

Now, the special interests want to take Congress back, and return to the days when lobbyists wrote the laws. And a partisan minority in Congress is hoping their defense of these special interests and the status quo will be rewarded with a flood of negative ads against their opponents. It’s a power grab, pure and simple. They’re hoping they can ride this wave of unchecked influence all the way to victory.

What is clear is that Congress has a responsibility to act. But the truth is, any law will come too late to prevent the damage that has already been done this election season. That is why, any time you see an attack ad by one of these shadowy groups, you should ask yourself, who is paying for this ad? Is it the health insurance lobby? The oil industry? The credit card companies?

But more than that, you can make sure that the tens of millions of dollars spent on misleading ads do not drown out your voice. Because no matter how many ads they run – no matter how many elections they try to buy – the power to determine the fate of this country doesn’t lie in their hands. It lies in yours. It’s up to all of us to defend that most basic American principle of a government of, by, and for the people. What’s at stake is not just an election. It’s our democracy itself.

Thank you.


  2 Responses to “Weekly Address 09-18-10”

  1. Foreign corporations shouldn’t be allowed to influence our elections in any fashion. With this law even foreign governments could buy our elections. What a stupid law,

  2. Call me crazy, but precisely who is behind any advertisement is actually irrelevant to me – since the real key factor involved, is whether the information is completely honest, situationally relevant, and ultimately useful! Mis-information, Propaganda, and Outright Lies are really no honestly better – when they are being repeated by [supposedly objective] Third Parties to the ongoing political debate. The real important issue has always been one of honesty – in my opinion…. Am I wrong?

    If Global Warming is True and Factual, then I want to know it! Whereas, If it’s not, then I want to know that too! Whether America is going to embrace a “One World Government Order,” or not, is equally important to those of us living here…. Don’t you think? In fact, no matter the issues being discussed, I believe most Americans would honestly appreciate “The Truth” being openly and honestly presented… so that we can participate in our own ongoing political process, rather than being largely left out in the cold and disenfranchised by our [self-appointed] ruling elites!

    Why not pass a law simply requiring “Political Truth and Honesty,” rather than further stifling the ongoing American debate? Offenders could be arrested for committing political fraud, similar to our already established “Truth In Advertising Laws.” If there isn’t enough evidence to clearly convict, based upon the established facts, then a misdemeanor fine could be assigned – for making clear statements of fact – which are based upon merely subjective and speculative opinions.

    Of course, no one – in either mainstream party – would support this kind of legislation, since the are both quite guilty of lying continually! But then, If they honestly told us The Truth, who would invariably support either of them in the next political election?

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