Why buy legislators when you can buy legislation?
The third anniversary of the Citizens United decision has come and gone, and it has left me empty for answers. Many of the views held by pro-Citizens United groups are both valid and prudent. To strip corporations of all rights in the name of denying them person-hood would be disastrous. A corporation, just like a gun, is a tool which can be used for great good or great evil, depending on those controlling it. Or, as I like to say; “Capitalism without conscience is the greatest form of tyranny. Capitalism with conscience is the ultimate expression of humanity”.
That being said, new data now exists that begins to make the “one dollar one vote” theory somewhat suspect; namely the spending patterns of this past Presidential Election. Hundreds of millions of dollars were poured into the Romney campaign at the last second that failed to sway anyone. And while history and I contest the assertion that this was a landslide victory, the fact that every pundit on the planet seems to disagree with me makes the money-vote connection even more tenuous. Now I will readily admit that I did not study the spending habits and outcomes of individual congressional races, but these seem more and more to be about the incumbent, and whether or not he/she made any huge blunders in their latest terms. If not, they are simply “check-marked” as OK and returned to Washington. Today, congressional seat swaps seem to occur more often within each party’s primaries; but any attempt at regulating party politics is well beyond the scope of the current discussion. In the end, please understand I am not totally discounting the effect of money in politics. However, I am otherwise suggesting that elections should not necessarily be the primary point of scrutiny.
To be most effective, The People’s rallying cry should read: “The corporatization of our democracy must be stopped.” Frankly, I do not know anyone that would argue against this – at least not openly. It is only those who scheme in the smoky backrooms of Finance and Industry or the darkest recesses of the corridors of power in Washington who would seek to rig the game in favor of big business and the wealthy. To be polite, they are nothing short of scoundrels and scallywags who believe that the average American is only good for use as mortar in building the walls of corrupt intuitions that funnel money and power upwards. And who in return, provide only the bread and circus needed to control the populous. My ultimate fear is that these despots have already moved past politics; that in the three short years since the Citizen’s United debacle they have mutated like a virus and are now immune against the removal of money from elections. The primary game afoot for big money seems now to be lobbying. According to OpenSecrets.com, lobbyists spent just short of $7 Billion during the past congressional season in search of legislative favors*. That’s over three (3) times the amount of money spent on the 2012 presidential election!** Also, during that same time period we saw the rise to power of such organizations as ALEC; the pro-business lobby that literally writes legislation for legislators to rubber stamp. If you think about it, this approach is much shrewder and exponentially more effective than trying to buy favor through campaign donations. As such, I am humbly suggesting that the effort needed to win the fight against the graft and corruption that has led and continues to lead toward the corporatization of our democracy must be centered on getting money out of government altogether; not just out of politics.
Lobbying allows special interests to pinpoint their money on, well, their special interests. Does anyone really think that the NRA gives a rat’s behind about securing mineral rights at well below market value? Of course not. So why bother spending tons of cash helping someone to [perhaps] get elected, only to have to wait in line with everyone else until it’s finally your turn to have favor bestowed on you? Wouldn’t it be much more expedient to send your high-priced errand boy down to a legislator’s office with tickets for an extravagant junket and whispers of a huge donation to their war chest should they help pass the bill that oops, just fell out of my coat pocket and into your legislative assistant’s lap? And by the way, if you do our bidding, when you and your staff have finally leave office, you’ll all have nice cushy jobs waiting for you down on K- Street or in the “Independent [industry name here] Association of America”? So the remaining questions are:
- How can we allow such atrocities?
- Do either the Democrats or Republicans even have the desire to do anything about it?
- If not, what are we planning on doing about them?
At Party Recon, removing profit motive from service is our number one goal as it is the only way to rest control of government from the corporatocracy and place it back in the hands of The People — where it has always belonged.