Is Citizens United really such a big deal after all? The answer is still yes.

Everyone loves a good counter-intuitive story, but Washington loves one sort in particular: the kind that assures us all that something we’ve been led to believe was a worrisome problem is, in fact, not all that big a deal after all, thus allowing us to return to watching “Veep” or “The Newsroom.” Yesterday’s New York Times Magazine offered a classic of this form, a Matt Bai piece arguing that the Citizens Unitedruling of 2010 is not nearly as responsible for the boom in campaign spending by outside groups as those whiny goo-goo types make it out to be…

Alec MacGillis — "Citizens United? Don’t Worry Your Pretty Heads About It"

TNR looks into the lives of boutique super PACs

It’s time again to look in on the past week’s stranger super PACs—the small PACs you’ve never heard of that will affect congressional and Senate races across the country.

No new super PACs spent their first dime in the last week, but two existing PACs worth highlighting did make independent expenditures. We’ll also revisit two of last week’s PACs to unveil the identities of their mystery donors…

Molly Redden "The Week in Strange and Small Super PACs: Moms and Dads Edition"

What does the 2012 campaign’s biggest donor really want?

"The smoked-glass canyons of downtown Dallas were a heady place in the years of Simmons’s ascent, so awash in oil money following the 1973 embargo that a popular local bumper sticker of the era read, SECEDE AND JOIN OPEC. This was the Dallas of Dallas, a milieu of hand-tooled alligator boots and Blackglama furs in which old money imitated new money with abandon. “Nowhere else,” a local boutique owner told the journalist Sandy Sheehy in Texas Big Rich, her chronicle of the era“would you put on pink shorts, a lynx coat, a seventeen-carat diamond, and get into a white Rolls-Royce to go to the Safeway.””

- Charles Homans, The Operator

Photo courtesy of Forbes

How zany are the country’s zaniest Super PACs? 

"And then there are the enigmas that couldn’t be cracked, like the approximately 60 committees—which go by names like “Fannie Mae Affiliated Mortgage Lenders Super PAC,” “United States Celebrities Super PAC,” “Exxon Mobil Corporation Shareholders Super PAC,” and “United States Former Presidents Super PAC”—that are all registered to the same 30-year-old Florida native, Josue Larose. To date, Larose, a purported billionaire and perennial candidate for statewide office, hasn’t actually raised or spent any money on federal campaigns, prompting questions about whether he is engaged in the campaign finance version of cyber-squatting. In previous years, he has registered more than 340 PACs (such as “Billionaire Josue Larose’s Dating Women Committee”) and 40 political parties in Florida, inspiring a new state law prohibiting individuals from chairing more than one political party at the same time."

-Jesse Zwick, “Citizens Excited

Photo courtesy of Christian Science Monitor

The newest issue of The New Republic is out!

In our cover story, “The iGod: Steve Jobs’s Pursuit of Perfection—and the Consequences,” Evgeny Morozov imagines Steve Jobs as a CEO-philosopher. Elsewhere, Jesse Zwick takes a close look at the zaniest super-PACs and Molly Redden shows what it takes for the GOP to sell itself to Latino voters. 

Also, be sure to check out an excerpt from Noam Scheiber’s new book, The Escape Artists on how the Obama administration’s economic team fumbled the recovery, and read Charles Homans on the search for the next Macaca moment.

Don’t miss Timothy Noah’s TRB column on the best way to fix the deficit and the environment, Andrew Nathan’s commentary on a new biography of Den Xiaoping, and William Deresiewicz on Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending. For access to these pieces and Leon Wieseltier’s Washington Diarist on the importance of libraries be sure to check out

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