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The VICE Guide to the 2016 Election

Super PACs Aren't Bad, They're Just Embarrassing

Super PACs may be a terrifying harbinger of the death of democracy, but at least they're good for a dick joke.

by Kevin Lincoln
Feb 19 2015, 7:56pm

Image via Right to Rise PAC

In January, soon after Jeb Bush began "actively exploring" a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in 2016, he and his buddies launched his Super PAC, "Right to Rise." Super PACs, in case you aren't an expert in recondite campaign finance laws, are committees were made legal by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in 2010, and are allowed to spend an unlimited amount of money on elections, independently of official campaigns. If you want to be president in 2016, you need at least one Super PAC behind you, and that Super PAC needs to raise and spend an obscene amount of money to attack your opponents and prop up your campaign.

It's a scary prospect, clearly signaling the country's slow descent into oligarchy. But the name of Bush's Super PAC made an impression: It hits all the right campaign-speak notes, but there's something else there, too. Something... sensual. Because the name of Jeb Bush's Super PAC is clearly a double entendre about dicks.

Good for Jeb, of course. Maybe he has more personality than he's given credit for. (Or maybe he wouldn't get the joke even if you explained it to him, which seems more likely.) But Right to Rise was a revelation: Super PACs may be a terrifying harbinger of the death of democracy, but they're also a joke—just another embarrassing quirk of the American electoral circus. Thus inspired, I've gone ahead and ranked the other 2016 Super PACs in order of quality, quality obviously being measured by how many jokes I can make about them.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Stand for Principle
If this Super PAC were called "I Am Ted Cruz And I Would Really Like To Be President," it would tell you less about the candidate than this name does. If you understand "Stand for Principle" by its accepted definition—that is, upholding a certain system of morals—the name says nothing. Everyone has different principles, and Cruz, as he contorts himself into something resembling an acceptable presidential candidate, tends to slide all over the map, principle-wise. If, however, you were to read it as "Stand for Principle," like literally standing up whenever someone, somewhere mentions a principle, then the name really does get to the essence of what Cruz is about.

Humans for Rand Paul. Image via Human Action

Human Action
The name of this Super PAC, created by libertarian fans of Senator Rand Paul, is inspiringly bland and, as befits anything created by Paul World, also kind of weird. It's like opening a restaurant and naming it "Food." It doesn't help that the name references an obscure free-market treatise by the early 20 th-century Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, because every American voter who gets the reference is already working for Rand Paul's campaign.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Chris Christie Super PAC, name TBD
Christie's Super PAC hasn't been named or formally announced yet, but I have a few ideas. Bridge to the White House. Keep America Moving. The One Lane Forward. Should I keep going? I could keep going.

A Santorum Super PAC ad. Image via Red White and Blue Fund

Red, White, and Blue Fund
Conveniently doubles as the name for the slush fund you collected to buy Budweisers on the Fourth of July. Also funny because it suggests Santorum wrapping himself in a large American flag, and even funnier because Santorum will never, ever be president.

Jim Webb for Jim Webb. Image via Born Fighting PAC

Born Fighting PAC
This is actually a leadership PAC, not a Super PAC, but it doesn't really matter, because it belongs to Jim Webb, a one-time senator from Virginia trying to run against Hillary Clinton. The name pretty much sums up the whole mythos of Webb: He's a soldier, and under no circumstances will he let you, the American voter, forget that, even if it means he has to mail one of his titillating war novels to your doorstep and then, when you forget to bring it inside, come to your house and read it to you while you sleep.

National Draft Ben Carson For President Campaign Committee
I love a Super PAC that doesn't mess around. Not only does the name of this group, which was founded by the grandson of John Philip Sousa, say which candidate it supports, it also says 1) what it's trying to do with that candidate, i.e. draft him to run for president, 2) what it wants that candidate to do, i.e. run for president, 3) that it wants him to be president of a whole country, and 4) that it's a committee. While this might not be a dick joke in and of itself, you could approach someone and say, "Hey girl, what's your name? I need to know what to call my Super PAC, which is raising money to buy you a drink. And it's a committee of one." Please do this.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Photo by Gage Skidmore

Believe Again
With this Super PAC, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is giving you permission to believe again in America, albeit the America that exists only in reality shows about backwoods pageant queens and storage unit auctioneers. But, like most things Jindal does, the name does not mean what he thinks it means: Instead, it reads like he's begging you to believe in him again. And the funniest part about that is how it implies someone, somewhere once believed in Bobby Jindal.

Martin O'Malley, just a cool dad running for president. Image via YouTube

O' Say Can You See PAC
I actually didn't make this up. Martin O'Malley's leadership PAC is really called "O' Say Can You See"—a flawless combination of the national anthem and the former Maryland governor's last name. It's like a dad joke running for president. It's so perfect that it seems impossible O'Malley isn't president already. And unless Clinton has the name of her Super PAC changed to "From Sea to Shining Hillary," I think we have a new Democratic frontrunner.

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