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Super PACs, campaign slogans, and the Missouri primary

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Super PAC Backfire

Republicans who were so excited about the Citizens United decision that allowed Super PACs to take over our elections are having buyer’s remorse these days. As conservative commentator David Brooks put it in the New York Times on March 3, “The primary campaign would be over if not for the Citizens United decision. If Gingrich and Santorum didn’t have ‘Super PAC’ sugar daddies, they couldn’t afford to run campaigns. … The irony is that Barack Obama is the first beneficiary of the new campaign finance rules.”

And now that Obama has announced that he, too, will allow Super PACs to support him, he’ll likely continue to benefit from the unintended consequences of the GOP gambit. Democracy? Not so much.

What’s in a Word?

Remember 2008? Barack Obama’s entire candidacy was boiled down to one simple word: Hope. Of course that only proved to his opponents how shallow and mindless his followers were — they only needed a word to line up behind him. It was easy to lampoon, too, as all those hilarious Nope posters proved.

But when November came, Hope won Election Day. Which may explain why Mitt Romney has gone all shallow and mindless with a one-word slogan of his own. You can find Romney gear — everything from yard signs to T-shirts — emblazoned with the word: Believe. To be fair, Romney’s full slogan is “Believe in America,” but the short version is out there, too — perhaps because the long version, “Believe in America,” was John Kerry’s campaign slogan in 2004. Oops!

Linguists can save their arguments of whether Hope or Believe will captivate voters more — Obama has dropped “Hope” and has yet to replace it. Yes, the poetry’s gone — for now you’ll just find “Obama 2012” on most of his election materials.

The Missouri Two-Step

The “Show Me” state has showed America how not to nominate a presidential candidate by holding a primary on Feb. 7 that didn’t award any delegates but still cost taxpayers millions of dollars. This week, on March 17, they’re holding a caucus that will award actual delegates. The pride of Hannibal, Mo., and noted politician-hater Mark Twain would have made an entire banquet of this food for laughter.

Illinois on March 20 will be yet another “crucial test” of Mitt’s mettle. It’s got the urban areas, where Romney does well, but it has the rural parts that poke down into the Bible Belt, too. Cable news loves to name every new state as a make-or-break for Romney, and Illinois is yet another one.

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