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Midterms Lesson: Money Out of Politics

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The midterm election shellackers were from opposite poles of the political specrum but had the joint effect of delivering a historic repudiation of the corrupt corporatist party of a feckless President. First, the money driven Tea Party phenomenon enthused many who glimpsed darkly a truth that our systematically corrupted federal government cannot be trusted to give away money in such forms as bailouts, stimulus packages, and mandatory insurance schemes in an industry whose product is overpriced by half.

Policies are being manipulated by the very culprits who have been buying our elections. Their Washington lobbyists will be sure to place the necessary devils in the essential details of any reforms sold to the public as Tea Party reforms. When social security is cut to pay for more corporate bailouts and war profiteering, some of the older tea partiers might see the light. Meanwhile, their insight moved them to oppose Democrats who they correctly see as an instrument of corruption.

The second factor was the low turnout by young and progressive voters whose enthusiasm had put Obama into office. After two more years of Bush policies could they simply not stomach casting another vote for the party of a president who turned out to be a fraud, one who promised change and delivered Bush's third term with a Harvard diploma, even re-employing Bush operatives. Obama is certainly more eloquent, persuasive and clever than Bush, but the results - escalating war, attacks on civil liberties, payoffs and subservience to Wall Street and other corporate interests - are indistinguishable from his predecessor.

Neither one of these two forces determined the 2010 results. They combined to demonstrate how fast and deep change can occur when these two forces join up, even unwittingly and in only vaguely parallel directions. If these two forces could join together around a more fundamental solution than either shutting down or not voting for the federal government they could become a real force for positive change. The issue on which they could join forces to change the way business is done in Washington would be cleaning up the federal government by getting money out of politics. If these two forces could focus on accomplishing this one fundamental change they could actually turn the country around in 2012, and start achieving real solutions to the nation's manifold problems.

Liberals should be able see how a corrupt government that uses notionally progressive programs like health care to fatten corporate coffers in turn tithes those profits for recycling back to corrupt politicians. Such is a social program not worth having.

Many tea partiers should be able to agree that, although they benefitted from corporate largesse without electoral reform, the federal budget will continue to hemorrhage tax revenues and borrowed money into corporate coffers, whether under the name of health care or other bills of goods that transfer public wealth to private ends. The national debt, taxes on the middle class or both will rise.

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There is a deeper problem beneath the kinds of issues that concern progressives now so disenchanted with Obama and his party that they find voting dispriting. Tea Partiers too, want to diminish a government that wastes taxpayers money. Money in politics - the biennial purchase of the federal government by less than 1% of the population who have in turn vastly increased their share of national income and wealth since 1976, when the Supreme Court first entered the electoral arena to make democracy safe for the rich.

The country started its downhill path when some politicized judges found in their copy of the Constitution protection for the corrupt influence of money in politics, which they held in Buckley v. Valeo cannot be controlled by voters and their elected representatives without the permission of unelected judges. This is the very moment when the war against America by the rich began. In the same year, incomes and wealth began to rapidly diverge between the top 2% and everyone else. This in turn has caused a sluggish unproductive, off-shored economy dependent upon economic bubbles and consumer debt until the house of cards fell into the current Great Recession and its jobless recovery.

This can be changed if these two disparate but frustrated forces abandon the wholly corrupted spectacle of partisan politics and build a movement tightly focused on getting Money Out of Politics by forcing Congress to stand up to and reverse the Supreme Court's unconstitutional takeover of elections that started in 1976 and culminated in the perverse Citizens United decision this year.

History of the prohibition era reforms show, and the 2010 midterms suggest this can be done. It can be done by tight focus on this single fundamental issue by a minority of the population and without resorting to the proven futility of multi-issue third parties.

Even the original revolution started by the Boston Tea Party was supported by only a third of Americans against the most powerful Empire of its day.

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A creative thinker on matters of public policy and art, and a principal researcher. Current focus of work is on the strategies democracies can use to protect against overthrow by corruption, with immediate attention to the mess being made by (more...)

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(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always) Winner Take All Pol... by Larry Kachimba on Friday, Nov 5, 2010 at 8:20:02 AM