An old Washington legislative trick is the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing gig. Take a partisan interest, wrap it in virtue and push it forward, blasting opponents along the way for being against mom and apple pie.
That was part of the strategy with Democrats' legislative response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in January, freeing corporations and unions from federal restrictions on independent campaign expenditures — which President Obama criticized in his State of the Union speech a few days later.
In the name of transparency, Democrats argued the "Disclose Act" would merely require corporate political advertisers to reveal their funding sources. "Nobody's saying you can't run the ads," Obama said recently. "Just make sure that people know who in fact is behind financing these ads."
But Republicans said the legislation placed more restrictions on corporate activities than those of unions, amounting to an effort to help Democratic candidates in this fall's elections. Using a Senate filibuster, opponents blocked the bill's progress, at least for now.