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View Diary: EJ Dionne Goes After The Oligarchy, Conservative And Liberal (24 comments)

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  •  A myopic column (10+ / 0-)

    Yes, Citizen's United is a disaster, but it's a disaster because it shovels more money into an already comprehensively corrupted political system.  

    The oligarchy operates precisely because politicians are up for sale, and nobody in the Beltway perceives that as wrong.  The revolving door that politicians and powerful staffers use to get their big payoffs after government "service" is an even bigger corrupting influence.  And the media treats all this as "business as usual," because the media are owned by the same oligarchic class that buys the politicians.

    Taking one small piece of this corrupt panorama out of that context is ultimately misleading.  It's like admiring one tree, while missing the forest around it.

    Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

    by Dallasdoc on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 06:17:27 AM PDT

    •  I think you underestimate the CU (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim R, SilentBrook

      It takes money to run for office, and where you raise that money makes all the difference in the world.  Overturning CU and the earlier decision that money is free speech, and the entire landscape changes.  Politicians will no longer be beholding to the Oligarchs, but rather to the contributors that more fairly represent the constituents.

      The Republicans have dug a deep hole for democracy, and it will take a lot of work to get out.

      •  CU had almost no impact whatsoever in 2012 in (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MPociask, maryabein, Nattiq

        aggregate.

        The various teabilly "CU coalition" groups combined outspent Obama by and other Democratic campaigns (including their "CU coalitions") by huge margins (huge: millions and millions of dollars huge).

        What was the result? The result was an entirely predictable one:

        1. Congressional races were decided almost uniformly by two factors: a) the shape of the districts drawn by state legislatures and b) incumbency

        2. The presidential contest, between a competent conservative with some ability to demonstrate empathy on social issues and a shiftless, flip-flopping, elitist, insincere, born-with-a-silver-spoon-up-his-ass robot, never-really-led-in-the-polls jerk was decided as such

        What EJ Dionne is supporting is entirely and transparently a means to boost Democratic candidates from within "the system". It fails to recognize the inherent contradictions of such a tactic, for starters. Almost equally relevant is that a 5:1 amplification of "small donor" donations is laughable with respect to addressing the disparities that exist in funding.

        •  Sorry, Oligarchs wouldn't contribute if it didn't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SilentBrook

          work.  There were lots of races that were decided by less than 2% in the house and state legislatures.  Those Oligarch PACS made a big difference.  Money buys messaging, and the Repugs wouldn't have a chance without the huge amount of lies that the Oligarchs paid for.

          •  Have you examined the historical data and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MPociask

            compared it to that of 2012?

            It seems to me you're drawing a conclusion without presenting evidence to support it. You're simply asserting that CU had a huge impact when the actual results were entirely predictable by ignoring finance mechanisms entirely.

            When you write "Oligarchs wouldn't contribute if it didn't work" you're leaving off a lot of context. Of course it works--for them. They aren't contributing to buy Their Guy. They're contributing to buy influence regardless of The Guy Who Wins. And it works because they have bought and paid for this system. Trying to work within the system as it is structured is simply not going to work (if one's aim is to affect change).

        •  But CU corrupted the Dem Party in 2012 (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JustinBinFL, maryabein, Dallasdoc

          Dems raised just as much money from corporate donors as the GOP. As a consequence, our own party's governing structure (DNC, DCCC, DSCC, OFA) is now owned and controlled by corporate donors.  

          For example,Rep. Jim Himes, a former Goldman Sachs employee, is the national finance chair of DCCC.  

          OFA, which now controls the DNC, DCCC and DSCC, is be 100% funded and controlled by corporate donors.  

          Corporate control of the Democratic Party is now fully integrated into the national Dem Party DNA. Those corporate donors who now control our party from within will be more than willing to leverage public funds to supplement their own money to control the Dem national public policy agenda.

          Unless we can clean the corporate muck out of our own party leadership, those public and small donor funds will just be used against us.  Unwinding this mess will require more than infusing public and small donor funds into the system, it will require a major shakeup of the entire Dem Party infrastructure at the national level.

          It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

          by Betty Pinson on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:22:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Buckley V Valeo was pushback on post (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RFK Lives, maryabein, SilentBrook

        Watergate reforms by a conservative Rehnquist court, and our democracy has been paying the price ever since.

        I would like to believe all the onerous legislation signed by Democrats in the last forty years (I'm looking at you, Bill), would have had a different outcome without that landmark ruling on behalf of the 1%.

        Welfare Reform, repeal of Glass-Stegall, "Credit Modernization", 1996 Telecommunications; the whole triangulating strategy and Obama's compromises the last four years have as much to do with assuring the flow of cash to survive will not be adversely influenced as anything else.

        Until this is resolved no issue, no matter the import, will be decided on the merits or needs of the American people if it interferes with the wants of our oligarchy that finances it all.  

        "extravagant advantage for the few, ultimately depresses the many." FDR

        by Jim R on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:19:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Much could be done to ameliorate Citizens United (6+ / 0-)

      effects.  The bill cited above is one.  A SEC Rule requiring corporate disclosure of political spending is another.  Stricter enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code prohibition against deductibility of corporate campaign expenditures is a third.

      The fact that it has been 3 years since Citizens United was issued, yet none of these steps (or any other meaningful steps) have been taken speaks volumes.  

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 06:49:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Change will have to come from outside government (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RFK Lives, maryabein, Dallasdoc

        It will be difficult and very expensive, fighting the status quo in both parties every inch of the way.

        That said, after preventing cuts to SS & Medicare, its my next big cause. The sooner we start, the better.

        It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

        by Betty Pinson on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:48:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Part of the greater reality is somewhat better... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RFK Lives, MPociask, Dallasdoc

      ...explained in this piece from roughly 3 months ago (if I say so, myself): "'Revealed: Why the Pundits Are Wrong About Big Money and the 2012 Elections,' Thomas Ferguson, et al."

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 06:53:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We need real lobbying reform as well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, SilentBrook

      coupled with a closing of the golden revolving door between Congressional staffers and lobbying/PR firms.

      More than ever, corporate controlled staffers are running the show in DC as legislators spend all their time raising money instead of governing.

      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

      by Betty Pinson on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:57:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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