Saturday, January 21, 2012

Super PACman

It sounds like a Zen koan: what is yours but not yours? What can promote you as long as you don't promote it? What is completely aligned with your interests but doesn't permit you to take an interest? Thanks to the Supreme Court and Citizens United, the answer is a lot easier than the sound of one hand clapping. It's this year's 800 pound gorilla of politics, the Super PAC. And I want one.

Mind you, we're not talking your ordinary, garden variety, run-of-the-mill Political Action Committee. After all, those are a dime a dozen, each promoting policies that are favorable to their contributors. They range from corporate versions like FPL PAC, which advances the interests of Florida Power & Light, to ethnic ones such as the CHC PAC, which advocates on behalf of the Committee for Hispanic Causes. And then there's the Egg PAC. Not an acronym at all, it looks out for the members of the United Egg Producers.

They are a varied lot, to be sure. Some were established to promote social causes, like the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, or to promote specific alternative medicine approaches, such as the American Naprapathic Association PAC, or even to look out for your favorite beverage, like the National Beer Wholesalers Association PAC. And of course, almost every politician with any national profile has one as well: Majority Leader Harry Reid has the Searchlight Leadership Fund, Senator Chuck Grassley has the Hawkeye PAC and Senator John Kerry has the Campaign for Our Country PAC. In the naming department, kudos go to Majority Leader Eric Cantor and his Every Republican Is Crucial PAC (ERIC PAC), Representative Darrell Issa for his Invest in a Safe & Secure America PAC (ISSA PAC) and Representative Pete Sessions for his People for Enterprise, Trade and Economic Growth PAC (PETE PAC). I guess the "G" is silent.

No, what I want is a Super PAC, a "Mission: Impossible" like entity that is a totally separate organization designed to promote my interests while also giving me the ability to disavow all knowledge thereof. Take Mitt Romney in a recent debate. Of commercials sponsored by a Super PAC that were ravaging Newt Gingrich, he said in one breath, "With regard to their ads, I haven't seen them" while in the next breath he said, "The ads I saw say say..." Now that's having your cake and eating it too.

First, my non-associated Super PAC would need a snappy name, one that is forward thinking, patriotic, promissorial and imperative. Romney has "Restore Our Future," Perry has "Make Us Great Again," Huntsman has "Our Destiny" and Gingrich has "Winning Our Future." Stephen Colbert already registered "Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow," though since handing it over to Jon Stewart to be legally free to run in South Carolina, it's been renamed "Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC." But assuming a sympathetic unaffiliated third party can come up with something catchy, all they have to do is file the proper paperwork and they'll be ready to go. Oh yes: that and find a millionaire benefactor that's willing to promote the same agenda that I have, though not in concert. Minor point.

And it will have to operate a bit differently than most. Since my constituency is less likely to be watching TV and more likely to be standing next to me, it will have to spend its money not on advertising, but on personal advocates. Think how effective this would be. After having a run in with cop who gives me a parking ticket, I can smile and walk away. My Super PACman can stride in, and call him all the names I was thinking of, but decided not to say for fear of landing in jail. And I can honestly say I had nothing to do with it.

That's the good thing about 501(c)(4) organizations: just like Mitt says about corporations, they are people too, and can say and do what they want. And so while I can't legally ask you to do so, should you have some extra cash (mind you, there are no limits to the size of your donation) and happen to have an outlook similar to mine, you might want to consider supporting what I consider to be a fine organization. Just make your check out to what I can confirm is an independent, self-standing, non-affiliated lobbying organization: "Majority Against Ridiculous Contributions," better known as MARC PAC.


Marc Wollin of Bedford wouldn't mind if you contributed to his SuperPAC but you can't tell him about it. His column appears regularly in The Record-Review, The Scarsdale Inquirer and online at

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