Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Corporations are not people: Citizens United and beyond ... by gimleteye

When the Bush Supreme Court blew up the tattered US campaign finance system with its Citizen United decision, all hell broke loose far from the sight of the general, unsuspecting public. Today, corporate donors whose identity can be legally concealed by super PAC's-- and whose political messages are straight up endorsing specific candidates and issues-- are giving GOP candidates a 10-1 spending advantage over Democrats. 10-1. That is very much on the minds of the nation's top liberal donors gathering in Miami this week.

If voters stop to think -- a very big question, itself -- they will come to understand how the shitstorm that Barack Obama inherited is still working its way through the US economy and that a big piece of that shitstorm is how corporate donations are dominating elections.

"What is happening now is what I predicted," GOP Senator John McCain recently told CBS. "The United States Supreme Court -- in what I think is one of the worst decisions in history -- struck down the restrictions in the so-called McCain-Feingold Law, and a lot of people don't agree with that, but I predicted when the United States Supreme Court, with their absolute ignorance of what happens in politics, struck down that law, that there would be a flood of money into campaigns, not transparent, unaccounted for, and this is exactly what is happening."

I take a darker view of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court justices who decided the outcome of the 2000 presidential election absolutely know what happens in politics. They are the activist judges that the right wing rails against.

The defeat of longtime GOP US Senator Richard Lugar by state treasurer Richard Mourdock is an example. Lugar cultivated a career engaging with Democrats in the Senate. Mourdock has campaigned on an Attila The Hun platform that supposedly resonated with Tea Party supporters. But the Tea Party: who are they? Who are those Mourdock supporters?

The Indiana primary vote, yesterday, showed the power of super PAC's. At least $4.5 million was raised by independent expenditure groups, including the Club for Growth Action. The Koch billionaires are prominent supporters of Club for Growth, but otherwise it is impossible to know the full list of contributors who had it "in" for Richard Lugar. (Time will tell, what corporations from Florida wanted Lugar gone.)  The pro-Tea Party super PAC FreedomWorks spent about $580,000 supporting Mourdock; but who really is behind FreedomWorks? We don't know.

The good news for Democrats is that President Obama is formidable on the campaign trail. The economic headwinds are stiff. US voters may yet be persuaded that turning over our democracy to a shadowy underworld of corporations and executives who will not willingly disclose their identities is a very poor way forward.


Anonymous said...

Mitt Romney is going to win the vote of Americans with net worth over $250 million.

Anonymous said...

Since when is being rich in the US a bad thing? Nobody questioned Kennedy's fortune, nobody questioned Kerry's fortune. Why so much focus on it now with Romney?

Anonymous said...

It wasn't Kerry's fortune, it was his wife's fortune. It was ketchup.

Romney made money dismantaling companies and putting people out of work. That is an issue that puts him out of touch with the common man.

Bush was rich too. Wasn't the focus there.

Anonymous said...

Don't count on American voters being persuaded, most haven't heard of or don't understand Citizens United and the current shadowy underworld of corporate political donors. I work in federal government with educated people who have no idea what citizens united is and does, and they are going to vote republican depite republican efforts to decimate our pay and benefits. Go figure.