I hate to be the bearer of even more bad news, but when we are talking about conservatives, it's about all that I can bring to you these days...
I wrote about the need to work towards overturning Citizens United awhile back, and how the Supreme Court, with their current overstacking of right-wing sympathetic judges made this supremely (forgive me) terrible decision to allow corporations to give as much money to political candidates as their evil little dictators (CEOs) deemed necessary to elect the Republican of their choice. But Big Corporate America has decided that just is not enough, not when Americans still have one vote per citizen. They need to be able to be SURE they buy the candidates of their choice, and that's where their lobbyists come in.
For anyone who does not understand the job of a lobbyist, let's be clear. I am going to use the definition provided by WiseGeek.com:
A lobbyist is an activist usually paid by an interest group to promote their positions to legislatures. A lobbyist can also work to change public opinion through advertising campaigns or by influencing 'opinion leaders' or pundits, thereby creating a climate for the change his or her employer desires. The word lobbyist comes from the chambers in which the act of lobbying usually takes place, an anteroom near legislative bodies, for instance, or even the lobby of hotels where important people are staying. In American politics, most lobbyist organizations are headquartered on or near K Street in Washington DC, so "K Street" has become somewhat synonymous for lobbying.
It is very easy for a lobbyist to stray into bribery -- the most direct way to influence legislation, obviously, is to bribe enough law makers to ensure that the bill you support passes. Therefore, lobbying is heavily regulated. Of course, a lobbyist rarely makes the news unless he or she has transgressed the regulations, and as a result, 'lobbyist' has rather negative connotations these days. Measures to control the influence of lobbyists include campaign finance reforms, often promised but rarely passed.
And campaign finance reform is just one of the areas that our God-fearing, Bible thumping, we-know-just-what-the-Founding-Fathers-meant-in-the-Constitution Repuglican friends are out to make sure NEVER occurs. Well, that, and:
- Disclosure Requirements: You know when you apply for a housing loan, and the lender has that big poster up that says they do not discriminate based on race, religion, number of children...basically the things that have to do with your personal life. Yeah, well, the Republicans definitely want to be able to discriminate against you again. And this is one pesky law that keeps getting in the way of them doing that! Especially against....(gentle reader, I hope this won't offend your sensitive eyes to read this, but here we go..) GAY PEOPLE!
- Bans on Foreign and Corporate Contributions: Well, really why SHOULD we ban foreign corporations? We aren't really, now that we have Citizens United, so let's go ahead and make it official!
- Party Spending Limits: LIMITS are soooo last century! How can an election be won if you aren't allowed to spend all you want on buying the vote of everyone you need to? And when you are the Republican Party and you have the money of every major corporation, both domestic and foreign, to spend on getting all those votes--the last thing you want standing in your way is spending limits! Geez, guys! And, finally...
- Public Financing of Campaigns: This is the way all campaigns SHOULD be financed, by us, the taxpayers. With no outside influences, at all. Wouldn't that be nice? Everyone, whether they are a wealthy candidate, or a poor one, gets the same amount of money to use in their campaign, so each candidate approaches the public from a level playing field....but there I go, dreaming of a Fair America again. ::sigh:: But back to what the REPUBLICANS WANT, which is what really matters, doesn't it? And they DO NOT WANT PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCING. They do not want any candidate with less money to have a tinker's fart in a windstorm's chance of beating them in an election.
Let me tell you about the case that the Supreme Court is going to hear that may have a VERY chilling effect on Public Campaign Financing. First, let me respond to those who claim that candidates who use public funds tend to waste those funds on expenses that are not campaign related; I've read these tales of candidates buying video cameras and lavish dinners and just have to say--really? You're going to try to say that no candidate who raises funds the old fashioned way never wastes any money on non-campaign items? Don't even get started in the "comments" field if that's all you've got. Secondly, those who want to see public campaign financing go claim that the those who go this route and get elected arrive at their jobs "literally...knowing nobody," according to Janice Goldstein, a lobbyist. I guess this implies that the advantage of begging for campaign funds is all the people you meet and owe favors to!
Leading many of these lawsuits is a Republican lawyer by the name of James Bopp. Now, Jimmy is a man we should all know more about, because while he is not a politician himself, he has the ear of many of the top Repugs. Here are some vital stats on Jimmy:
- He worked on Mitt Romney's Presidential Campaign
- Lawyer for the Right to Life since 1978
- "Special" counsel for Focus on the Family
- He defended Michael Gableman, the WI Supreme Court judge that defeated a sitting judge by showing TV ads that claimed that his opponent, Louis Butler, (who just happened to be our state's first African American justice) had used a loophole to free a fellow African American man he was defending on a rape charge. Never mind that the ad was a LIE. Bopp does not mind defending liars...in fact,
- Bopp worked as the legal adviser for Citizens United (see I do get back to my points, eventually).
The most sickening part of all this, for me, is that I WAS a conservative--for almost exactly 20 years. A full fledged, knocking on doors, pro-life, Bible reading, Republican Party friend-of-the-conservatives. So I know how their minds work. And I am ready to talk about it.