The Mitch McConnell campaign—which refers to itself by the parody-proof name “Team Mitch”—posted this video on YouTube last week. As you may have noticed, it contains no diegetic sound. There’s a weirdly contemporary electropop soundtrack, but at no point to do events in the video sync up with a particular element of the soundtrack or even narrative. It’s just footage of McConnell signing papers, turning alarmingly to the camera, shaking hands with a man in a tam and goatee whose vote cancels out yours, et cetera. You can dub whatever sound you want over this video, which, as The Daily Show has pointed out, makes it hilarious. It also makes it a free source of McConnell footage for whatever 501(c)4 organizations might want to produce ads to support him—but not coordinate with his campaign, since that is forbidden by law.
The last time we checked in with American Tradition Partnership, its attorneys were simulatenously disclaiming and demanding return of a box of documents found in a Colorado meth house that tracked the 501(c)4 organization’s coordination with Republican campaigns. Before that, they were publishing fake newspapers linking then-gubernatorial candidate Steve Bullock to sex offenders, and before that they convinced the Supreme Court to overturn Montana’s campaign finance laws per Citizens United. Last week, a district judge in Montana fined ATP over a quarter million dollars, saying it had shown “complete disregard” for those laws in 2008. But an attorney for ATP says the group is operatively defunct and “suggested it could be hard to collect any potential penalties.” The 2008 election was like five years ago anyway.
Human gestures developed thousands of years before still photography.
The recall votes are in, and Scott Walker has easily remained governor of Wisconsin. Walker won by seven points over Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, who is the same person he defeated in the election of 2010. Let it never be said that the Democratic Party is a political slug who believes its moral superiority entitles it to win elections simply by not being the other guy. Wait, I did that wrong—let it always be said that thing about the slug. There is a silver lining in the Wisconsin Democrats’ plan to do the same thing and get different results, though. Two elections between the same two guys two years apart give us a rare opportunity to isolate variables, and there happen to be two things different about Walker vs. Barrett 2010 and Walker vs. Barrett 2012: The Rewalkering. One, the Supreme Court declared limits on corporate political spending unconstitutional in Citizens United v. FEC. Two, the first Walker/Barrett tilt cost $18.9 million, whereas yesterday’s recall cost $63.5 million.
Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana, wearing the legally mandated bolo tie
Say what you will about Montana—where, for example, the most liberal city in the state does not provide garbage pickup—we do preserve a certain political culture. The same Montana that devotes very little money to public services and has a legislature that meets for 90 days every other year was also one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana. When I first came to grad school here, it was legal to drink whiskey straight out of the bottle while driving on the interstate. Like the great libertarian states, Montana is suspicious of pretty much all laws; yet, like the great liberal states, it is also suspicious of corporate influence. Montanans are just suspicious generally. That’s why we have some of the tightest campaign finance restrictions in the country, and why Governor Brian Schweitzer took the New York Times yesterday to defend them.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the word "diligence."
The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, so it’s time for another edition of Kombat! Kourt for Kids. In today’s meeting of the KK—dammit! Okay, Kombat! Kourt for Kids is now called Kombat? Judiciary for Kids, and today’s meeting of K?JK is about Antonin Scalia. He is still waiting for someone to bring him Solo and the Wookie. He also did not realize that being a Supreme Court justice would require so much reading. In an exchange with Deputy Solicitor Edwin Kneedler last week, Scalia expressed his incredulity that people might expect him to read the entire Affordable Care Act before ruling on it. “Is this not totally unrealistic?” Scalia said. “That we’re going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?”