Sunday, October 21, 2007

Money, Politics, Voters

I've said this stuff before, the courts and voters keep agreeing with me, as much as I don't like it, so I'll say it once again - emphatically. "Money as free speech" is not going to go away, the courts aren't going to rule against it, the voters have shown little enthusiasm for it, and it really isn't all that bad an idea. The part that stinks is who seems to own the playing field - Big Money, usually corporations.

It has always cost money to campaign, no there was no television in 1790, but there also was a completely primitive transportation system and widely spread population. They reached their audience through surrogates, just like today, and it cost significant amounts of money. The politicians made do, they collected money and spent it. And yes, big money existed at the time and it was in play. Money is the currency of availability to the voter. You fly in the face of that at the risk of making very poor decisions and forcing more end-runs by office seekers.

Money is not a polluter of the system, the pollution comes from the one-sidedness of sourcing. Large corporations have an incentive to cough up some money to help assure a larger return, and they would be crazy not to. But there is no reason that the tilt has to be so strongly in their favor, they have to answer to shareholders for their expenses and returns, the shareholders in the election process need to step up and invest in their own futures. Those people would be us, you know us, U.S., the voters that get ignored. The second you stop to think about the sheer numbers of voters and then multiply that number by $25 you have some actual cash. There is one problem.

Voters are disillusioned, it is tough enough just to get them to turn out to vote (my vote doesn't count, anyhow) much less get them to cough up some cash (the big boys just buy them). The very biggest problem in this scenario is the opponents of Big Money trying to pass laws, the route to passing those laws is to tell people that they cannot compete. Listen to the contradiction in that argument, you sell the idea of failure on the basis of that failure and pretend that you are educating the voters when what you actually are doing is propagandizing them into the belief that there is no point in doing what you bemoan. I don't doubt the good intentions of most proponents, but having the government finance elections strikes me as a recipe for a whole lot of BushCo behavior. Do you really want the minions of George II making financing decisions about campaigns?

No, I surely do not and I also do not see it as a solution to sell the voter on the idea that he is helpless and needs saving. The voter can afford to spend the price of a 12 pack on a campaign. The voter is not helpless in the face of corporate largess, all the voter has to do is make it prohibitively expensive for them to buy elections. Sure, you read this blog and feel pretty politically active, and you are at the very least more interested than the average citizen, then contribute to your favorite. Write letters, write blogs, spend a couple nickles, and talk to your disinterested friends. You actually have a good argument for that mindset of failure, and it can be meaningful, it can make a difference. It's time to stop whining and take it back, just that, TAKE it back, don't ask, don't whine, just goddam do it.

There are some contribution links on the side bar, every campaign has them on their site, do something.


KISS said...

John Edwards said there are corporate republicans and corporate democrats.
Sorry to disagree but I do not subscribe to Money equals free speech, that is pure brain wash. That sounds like the beginning of believing a 2 class system is best.
But I do think you are right that the tainted courts will keep this hoax in place...until there is a revolt by the people.

KISS said...

To comment again This is from David Sirota, my hero, from his creator column:
"In response to the push for the new NAFTAs, at least a few principled business leaders are saying enough is enough. Private equity executive Leo Hindery, a longtime Democratic fundraiser, told me in a recent interview, "The wealthy are now a political constituency unto themselves that is decidedly nonpartisan.

"Those who have personal skin in the trade policies game can't really be trusted to present things objectively or unselfishly," he said. "These folks are only interested in keeping the current system going and even expanding it, as grossly unfair to workers as it has become."
He is speacking of the 43 that were Clinton advisors and clan of that yellow dog William Jefferson Clinton..will Hillary be better...DUH NO!
So Chuck that big money influence is so dis-patrioctic and obtuse and really undermines the foundation of a democracy any way you choose to slice it. Big money in campigning or lobbying is the evil of today's politics.

Chuck Butcher said...

Big money is going to be there, whatever our opinion of it. I thought I made it clear I think it stinks, that counts as whining. Contribute, buy it back. What point is there in telling me that the elite class is buying influence, I thought that was the whole point in this post.

Every time laws get passed about contributions either a route around them is found or the courts toss them. You want to do something about it? Or keep messing about doing nothing and then whining?

Zak J. said...

We are many; they are few.

Everyone in Oregon can give $50 to their favorite political causes and get in back as a tax write off. Media costs money; campaigns cost money. If you don't fund the people you believe in, they will be outspent and drowned out.

Chuck Butcher said...

it is considerably more than a tax write-off, it is a straight deduction from your total tax, you give $50 to politics, you keep $50 of your tax bill. That is seriously cool, should be $100 but take what you got.