Monday, April 05, 2010

Unsurprising News

It's 2010, the November elections are just about seven months away with campaigns in full swing, and the editorial board of the NY Times has discovered that our democracy is fueled by money and run by those who have it.

Political money’s power to upstage the boilerplate bromides fed daily to constituents is currently bedeviling the Republican National Committee and its chairman, Michael Steele. The ultimate threat from the notorious “Voyeur” incident (in which an R.N.C. staff member shepherded Young Eagle donors to a California bondage nightclub) is not so much to the party’s family-values agenda as its financial goals.

Republican fund-raisers are worried that the money pipeline will suffer. The Family Research Council, a political beacon for social conservatives, urged members to stop giving money to the R.N.C. And Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential candidate and celebrity fund-raiser, is emphasizing that she will not be present at a New Orleans money rally in which the R.N.C. had touted her presence.

It's a little late to be recognizing the obvious. Even if the NYT had only gone back 12 months, there was ample evidence of the role of money in politics. The US Supreme Court has ruled that there can be no cap on money donated by corporations to campaigns on "free speech" grounds. The health care "reform" bill was dictated by insurance companies and PHARMA, notoriously large campaign donors, right from the start. These days, the financial community is blocking any meaningful reform on how its members do business and how they enrich their CEOs.

Meanwhile, here in California Meg Whitman is buying the governor's office with her own personal fortune (which is sizable), dramatically outpacing her Republican opponent and now even leading the presumed Democrat in the race, former Governor Jerry Brown.

Is it any wonder that such organizations as the Tea Party suddenly emerged to compete with the two parties for attention? "Regular" people have been cut out of the process, and most don't like it one bit. While the Tea Partiers may embrace a lot of odious ideas such as racism and the dismantling of the federal government, they also recognize that most of the politicians aren't looking out for the people of the country, only for the corporations. Ironically, Sarah Palin, "celebrity fund-raiser," has become the darling of the Tea Party. Her refusal to speak at one fund raising event (but not all of them -- that's where a huge chunk of her income lies) increases her visibility and her standing.

It's going to an interesting seven months for both parties.

Painful, but interesting.

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