The first shots have already been fired, but the 2012 super PAC war between Mitt Romney-supportive super PACs and President Obama is only getting started. Politico reports today on how President Obama plans to fight back against the expected huge spending by Republican super PACs, by outing those big money special interests and billionaires who are behind the negative ad's.
From the Politico story: "The goal, Democratic operatives say, is to drill into voters the idea that they simply can’t trust what they see on television about the president — and make Republicans pay a price in the process."
One ad exchange that has already taken place is captured in the story:
"An early cross fire last week between the Obama campaign and the American Energy Alliance is a case study in how Democrats hope to counter unlimited outside spending. The AEA — a group linked to the much-derided Koch brothers — dropped $3.1 million into seven swing states to blast the White House’s energy policies...The president’s ads aimed their fire in two directions: at the “Big Oil” companies funding the anti-Obama ads, and at Romney for having 'stood with Big Oil, for their tax breaks.' When you see this ad, remember who paid for it and what they want,” the Obama commercial said, flashing images of the AEA spot and of Romney."
This super PAC war may be bloodless, but there will be casualties. The voices of ordinary voters specifically, and our democracy in general. With so little oversite for the super PACs, and despite the Obama campaigns' effort to "out" those funding the ad's, far too many Americans will have no idea who is saturating their airwaves with negative, often misleading, attack ad's. After Citizens United, we knew 2012 would see unprecedented outside spending. The President's strategy of exposing who's behind the negative advertising may help a little, but the overwhelming force of millions (possibly billions) of dollars spent to influence the election could prove too much to overcome. Time will tell.