First things first: Unlike 24 other states across America that limit “independent” organizational advertising and media spending in support of, or in opposition to political candidates’ and issues advocacy campaigns at the state level - note that Florida has no limits on such spending.
So the Supreme Court ruling handed down in a contentious 5-4 vote (Thank Bush for the conservative majority), an ideologically extremist vote overturning long-standing limits on special interest campaign spending on U.S. congressional and presidential campaigns, will not have any additional impact on Florida’s 2010 state-level campaigns, already under the sway of more than enough dirty money doing dirty deeds.
That’s the “good” news.
The bad news is, the bottomless pit of special interest money that has been used so many times in Florida to defeat local candidates and state initiatives that dare tamper with freewheeling corporate profits and business practices at the local and state levels (see Florida’s insurance, real estate development, and financial industries, for starters) has now been unleashed for use on federal campaigns as well.
Great, maybe now we can bring to all of America what the corporations and their Republican servants and protectors have brought to the people of Florida - unemployment approaching 12-percent, over 20-percent with no health insurance, an intractable budget deficit, rampant political corruption, foreclosures beyond belief, and half-built, emptying and empty residential & commercial developments everywhere you look.
How exactly this new ruling will shake out and impact Florida’s 2010 U.S. congressional races - especially The Big Battle between virtually irrelevant Governor Charlie Crist and Tea Party-pandering extremist Marco Rubio for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination - remains to be seen.
Rubio expressed such immediate excitement at the ruling and has generated so much reactionary fervor, one would think that deep-pocketed ultra-conservative groups in love with him, like the Club For Growth, will have a field day going after Crist with these new no-holds-barred campaign spending rules. But the governor is a legendary fund-raising animal himself, so Rubio will take his share of hits as well.
The far more serious issue here is the frightening prospect of an unbridled torrent of conservative and corporate money that can now be poured into general election media on behalf of whoever survives this Republican intramural grudge match between the “moderate” conservative and ultra-conservative wings of the party.
Look out, Kendrick Meek.
And one can only imagine how Florida’s corrupt and corrosive legion of special interests are licking their chops, lining up attack ads for endless airing in an effort to unseat progressive Democratic incumbents like Alan Grayson and Ron Klein in November.
By the way - just in case anyone is buying into the ridiculous media coverage of the Supreme Court ruling as a big boon for both corporations and labor unions, please note: It’s one thing to report that unions will have the same spending restrictions lifted, but who could really argue that they have anywhere nearly the same financial resources as private corporations?
However, just in case anyone thinks that they do, here’s a juicy, up to the minute fact that helps clarify things, as reported by The Miami Herald:
So far in 2010, business political action committees have spent a total of $115.9 million, while Labor PACs have spent $23.9 million.
To underline the point, the Service Employees International Union - one of the largest and most politically active unions in the country and one of the few that’s growing - immediately came out against the Supreme Court ruling. Didn’t see any major national corporations come out swinging against the decision, did you? While unions will of course do what they can to take advantage of the new rules and balance the scales a bit, the sad truth is that they always have been and always will be massively outspent by big business.
And that’s where we all come in. The People. The Voters. The Victims.
It’s not enough anymore for us to be sick and tired of Washington, of Congress, of government gridlock, of politicians. When faced with this kind of a stab at the heart of whatever is left of participatory democracy, We The People must finally rise up and fight back against this radical new judicial empowerment and expansion of the already out of control corporate gaming and control of our political system.
No matter how busy or tired or fed up or apathetic we may be, we simply have to find a few minutes to send angry emails and make angry phone calls to Congress, insisting that they legislate us out of the Supreme mess that the highest court in the land - the court that appointed George W. Bush President in 2000 - has gotten us into.
In the meantime, try to find a few dollars here or there, hard as that is for most of us these days, spare change, something, and send it to the campaigns of Meek, Grayson, Klein and other progressive Democrats who, come the Summer and Autumn of this political season, will very likely be fighting against greater, more heavily rigged odds than ever before.