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Where's Frodo when we really need him?
While you were innocently downing barbecued brats and craft beer this Fourth of July in celebration of our American freedoms, Harvard Law School's Lawrence Lessig was uttering The Final Incantation required to substitute his own superior judgement for the tired old democratic process you were celebrating (you misguided little hobbit, you), all in the cause of...yes, you guessed it: saving the democratic process. Oh, thank God!

As Lessig's own Mayday PAC web site commands us:

Ironic? Yes. Embrace the irony.
Most reg'lar (i.e., non-Harvard-tenured) little people might call Lessig's thesis 'ludicrous' rather than 'ironic,' but "embrace the ludicrousness" hardly has the same imperative zing to it, now does it?

A recent DK diary has briefly outlined Lessig's Mayday PAC's goal: to be the SuperPAC to (literally) end all SuperPACs, by collecting millions in crowdfunded donations, matched by yet more millions in zillionaires' unlimited contributions, and to use this cash to interfere from afar in five as-yet-unspecified congressional elections this November (plus many more senate and congressional races in 2016) to fight for campaign finance reform:

the money raised is turned over to professional campaigners, who will craft interventions in targeted districts to make fundamental reform the issue in that campaign
Never mind if you and your neighbors happen to believe that the key issue in your district this year is, say, fracking, or healthcare, or the economy, or winning control of the House, or re-stocking the Supreme Court's bench. Lord Sauron Larry Lessig has decreed otherwise, and will unleash his army of orcs on your sleepy hamlet this fall to impose his iron Will.

"Wait, what...?" I hear you say. "Isn't that the whole problem with campaign finance today...out-of-town Big Money marching in, dominating the debate, and buying the electoral result those meddling donors and their bundlers ordain in their infinite wisdom?"

Hey, just embrace the freaking irony and shut the hell up, OK? That, and click the Donate button. Larry's a Harvard Man. He knows what you need better than you do. Maybe he'll decide the best thing to do is to defund the Department of Education and redirect those tax revenues to government-funded congressional campaigns, instead.

The previous diary also outlined in some detail why you should be suspicious of Lessig's judgement. Never mind that Mayday PAC has, as yet, taken no clear position on just what kind of election finance 'reform' is needed and most appropriate. Never mind that it has not discussed how (and who) will choose precisely which campaigns to interfere in. Never mind that Lessig demonstrates a profound affinity for politically associating with the worst sort of Republican minions and plutocrats masquerading as 'centrists' or other species of unicorn, such as his fellow Mayday board members Kahlil Byrd (past president of union-busting and charter-school-promoting StudentsFirst) and Mark McKinnon (political operative to such 'centrist' luminaries as George W Bush, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Cindy McCain). Never mind that, as recently as 2012, Lessig embarrassed the living hell out of himself by willingly and publicly yoking up with a failed plutocratic astroturf movement (Americans Elect) to co-opt teh kidz vote...and has yet to apologize, or even publicly acknowledge, his profound error. This time for sure. It's morning in Lessig's America. He's tanned, rested, and ready. So click the damn Donate button!

And click it you did. Lessig's Mayday PAC promised that if it could not reach $5 million in online donations by July 4, 2014 it would "admit defeat and go back to the drawing board," but while you were watching fireworks last Friday, Lessig's Folly limped over the finish line with but hours to spare. In a breathless, gushing victory-lap post published that evening he enthused:

You did it. Amazingly, dramatically, beautifully, you did it....After we get some sleep, you’ll hear more from us. But fear not: the campaign to raise money is over for this cycle. I won’t be asking you to DONATE NOW again and again. That bit is done.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this assurance appears right beside the prominent, bright red Donate Now button on that same page, with suggested donation of $5,000 helpfully prefilled.

Will the Mount Doom SuperDooperPAC target your favorite Democratic congressional candidate for takedown this fall for declining to sign Lessig's new, improved Contract with America (perhaps for the compelling reason that allying with a SuperPAC of extremely questionable leadership in order, supposedly, to bring an end to SuperPACs is utter nonsense)? Keep your fingers crossed. I'll keep you posted.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    No person is free except in the freedom of other persons, and that man's only real freedom is to know and faithfully occupy his place -- a much humbler place than we have been taught to think -- in the order of creation. (Wendell Berry)

    by DocDawg on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 09:47:45 AM PDT

  •  Yeah I Start From Default Suspicious of 3rd Way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DocDawg, Zorge, Susan from 29

    Especially since the first things I've heard about this group have been money and not positions, and nothing about coordinating with interest groups and movements.

    It seems like a reasonable idea; I mean think how much professional campaigners have helped us over the years.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 10:16:22 AM PDT

    •  Speaking of Third Way, (0+ / 0-)

      it's interesting that Mount Doom SuperDooperPAC director Mark McKinnon was a founding leader of TW's daddy, No Labels.

      No person is free except in the freedom of other persons, and that man's only real freedom is to know and faithfully occupy his place -- a much humbler place than we have been taught to think -- in the order of creation. (Wendell Berry)

      by DocDawg on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 10:24:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Public Funding of All Elections (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NancyWH, Odysseus, JayRaye, ybruti, 6ZONite

    The one way to free out law-makers from the corruption of PACs and wealthy donors is to make ALL elections funded entirely with public money (from the tax-payers).

    Simply interfering with one campaign cycle is not enough: any office holder who wants re-election has to seek funding thru PACs and wealthy donors not just once, but in multiple elections.

    Were all elections publicly funded, PACs would have no further influence over politicians.

    I look forward to the day we can free our law-makers from the need to solicit gifts of private money by making all elections funded entirely with public money.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 10:40:40 AM PDT

  •  I would settle (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye, Just Bob, 6ZONite

    for running campaigns like a job interview, rather than King and Queen of the Prom elections.

    "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

    by NancyWH on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 11:06:18 AM PDT

    •  That and contributions limited to candidates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NancyWH

      you're eligible to elect. No out of state/out of district financing.

      I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

      by Just Bob on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 03:05:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have read and listened to Lawrence Lessing (7+ / 0-)

    for some time and am impressed with his vision and passion.  I gambled 25$ on that impression.  I see it as a "all hands on deck' sort of issue.  We all use our imagination and abilities to push for a better more responsive and compassionate government.  I cast my 25$ with Lawrence and will see where it goes.  In the mean time i do my own direct action and see where it goes.  What are you folks up to?  

    •  I give to campaigns directly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29

      I'm not a single issue voter, I'm a thousand issue voter, and Republicans are wrong on every single one.  It is starkly terrifying to be in so little agreement with a major political party.

      If Lessig is serious, every single one of his 5 electoral challenges will be to Republicans.  I doubt that will turn out that way, because we must maintain the fake narrative that both sides do it.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 11:30:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Out of curiousity, I need to ask (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29

      What did you specify for "Who To Fund"?
      >Whatever Helps (the default pre-selected choice)
      >Democrats Only
      >Republicans Only

      No person is free except in the freedom of other persons, and that man's only real freedom is to know and faithfully occupy his place -- a much humbler place than we have been taught to think -- in the order of creation. (Wendell Berry)

      by DocDawg on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 11:36:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congratulations! Great Snark (5+ / 0-)

    This reads like a paid PR piece designed to mislead and misdirect on the behalf of someone (or something) who feels (mildly) threatened by Lessig.

    If you're writing a parody of that style, if this is snark in other words, congratulations.  Job well done.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 11:11:47 AM PDT

    •  Snark most certainly. Parody, not at all. (0+ / 0-)

      Can you tell me which parts you feel "mislead" (i.e., are untruthful) or "misdirect" (i.e., are intentionally irrelevant distractions)?

      No person is free except in the freedom of other persons, and that man's only real freedom is to know and faithfully occupy his place -- a much humbler place than we have been taught to think -- in the order of creation. (Wendell Berry)

      by DocDawg on Sun Jul 06, 2014 at 11:22:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lessig presses the right wing piecemeal non- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob

    solution that is sufficiently incoherent to be inoffensive to the plutocrats. Similarly the Dems with their incoherent amendment which they admit will never happen, is good political theater for fundraising. This is like watching people attempting to fly pre- Wright Bros contraptions but well after Kitty Hawk.

    Any piecemeal solution inside a corrupt system adds to the corruption. An effective cure for systemic corruption post-McCutcheon would be big bang legislation (Bo Rothstein) of the magnitude of New Deal and Civil Rights. Third Way Dems like NewDEAL are anti-FDR, and pro-Roberts, and seek to end democracy once and for all.

    A possible future is that a single issue movement will realign both parties around a bipartisan supermajority demand to get money out of politics. On this issue currently it's the two rich parties versus the suppressed electorate, by Breyer's model in McCutcheon of cut off communication.

    As a comment said yesterday, given judicial supremacy there goes the planet. One result of money in politics is protection of carbon burning. The Dems choose to let the planet burn while they fiddle. It comes down to what FDR said, they fear fear itself, by refusing to use the exceptions clause, their deepest fear is of an anti-Court Congress. With no basis in reality, they call it a slippery slope. The tacit assumption is that democracy and the Constitution (Art 3 sec. 2 Cl 2) are a slippery slope. Fairly soon such criminally negligent inaction could be rewarded by the electorate with replacement by those who will take legislative action against the Court and its anti-Constitutional rulings.

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