Thursday, October 21, 2010

Citizens disunited

When the Supremes ruled that the FEC could not violate the free speech rights of desperately needy and self-expressive corporations (we just gotta be it!), many of us who are actual flesh and blood citizens and not mere legal fictions written on paper were sure that the 2010 mid-term election would be flooded with a river of dirty money, almost entirely from the corporatist right. I would rather have been wrong.

Defenders of the Citizens United decision took two tacks. Many argued that of course corporations should have First Amendment rights. After all, the New York Times has First Amendment rights, and it's a corporation. (And, frankly, that's a fairly persuasive argument.)

Other defenders of Citizens claimed it wouldn't make a difference anyway. How does the crow you're eating taste?

The Court has neutered all campaign finance reform. But don't legal limits still apply to candidates and parties? They're acting like it, but no. There's no hindrance to them incorporating and claiming the protection of Citizens United v. FEC. In fact, many of them are already incorporated. Republicans are holding back because they have so many well-heeled allies. Democrats are holding back - why is that?

President Barack Obama has tried to score political points against the anonymity of corporate contributions to the Chamber of Commerce's right-wing slush fund. We know that the Chamber takes foreign contributions in other areas. How do we know that none of that finance assists or is included in its political activities?

The answer: We don't.

A better issue, though, would be that the banking sector is undoubtedly contributing. We bailed them out, allowed them to return to major profits, and they're making common cause with the very people who insanely think that nothing should have been done to allay the credit crunch. They have theirs; now they want everything in the world you could possibly imagine.

Word to Obama: Tell the country that the bankers are trying to consolidate their ownership of the government and that you'll stop it. Of course, you'd need to fire Tim Geithner to look serious about that.

No comments: