Today's Supreme Court ruling removing restrictions on corporate advertising in political campaigns has sent a shockwave through Washington. What the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill and other laws did to remove outside influence in campaigns has been undone in today's ruling.
At a time when candidates around the country have been campaigning for primary elections and preparing for the November mid-term elections, this ruling has the potential to drastically change how campaigns are run and how candidates communicate with voters.
In the end, it's a big win for corporations and a loss for candidates and political parties. It also was dropped squarely in the middle of a political push by Democrats, with the White House at the forefront, for populism. Namely, putting the interests of the common man over those of the entrenched special interest.
The president's response to the ruling is Populism 101:
"With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington--while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates."
Showing how populism is the going to be the 2010 Democrat line, Congressman Alan Grayson from Florida added to the chorus: "The Supreme Court has decided to protect the rights of GE, Volkswagen, Lukoil and Aramco, at the expense of our right to good government." Grayson called it "the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case."
"Today's Supreme Court decision effectively rolls back decades of progress we have made towards ensuring the fairness of our elections," added Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "Giving corporate interests an outsized role in our process will only mean citizens get heard less. We must look at legislative ways to make sure the ledger is not tipped so far for corporate interests that citizens voices are drowned out."
Republicans, meanwhile, welcomed the ruling.
House GOP leader John Boehner called it "a big win for the First Amendment, and a step in the right direction."
"When you look at our campaign finance system and what happened under McCain-Feingold, we pushed hundreds of millions of dollars out of the light and into the dark," he said. "That money was still being spent. It's just that nobody could see where it was coming from."
In his statment, the president went on to say he is going to push for a "bipartisan" effort in congress to "develop a forceful response" to the decision. "The public interest requires nothing less," he wrote.
Robert Hendin is a CBS News White House producer. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.