It's almost Memorial Day, and the steam heat in Florida's 2010 elections is already more than a match for the weather outside. Most of that hot air at the moment is coming from the two rich guys that are turning the races for Governor and U.S. Senator upside down in a hurry.
Rick Scott is trying to win the Republican nomination for Governor,
banking that his stacked bank account can keep his TV and radio ads
going non-stop. The goal is to get people to overlook or forget his
recent history as unethical CEO of a corrupt health insurance company
that bilked the government out of billions.
The newest kid on the block - starring in two fresh out of the oven TV ads coming to a screen near you soon - is Jeff Greene, the billionaire who got filthy rich by starting one of the most destructive trends behind the real estate crash and foreclosure crisis in recent years.
After running for Congress and losing as a Republican years back, he took time to live the rich guy lifestyle, sailing yachts, buying homes (he has 10), throwing lavish parties. He shared a house with "Hollywood Madame" Heidi Fleiss for a while. Had ex-boxer Iron Mike Tyson as Best Man at his wedding. You know, the usual stuff that people do when preparing to run for the United States Senate as "an outsider".
So just two years ago, when Greene was ready to come inside the Sunshine State and put his plan in motion to buy a Senate seat, he bought himself a condo and registered to vote as a Democrat. Now he's about to be all over TV, introducing himself to voters as an "outsider", running against two men who have devoted years of their lives to public service - Congressman Kendrick Meek and former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre.
You've got to admit that what is happening here in Florida is one hell of a good example of how things work - or don't work - here in America these days, of why people love to hate and hate to love the world of Politics.
It's kind of like Math. Don't roll your eyes - just follow me for a minute.
We as voters and taxpayers haven't yet forced our government to put strict limits on political campaign spending, so our election system is dominated and corrupted by corporate and/or personal wealth, so we end up with a government comprised primarily of rich folks or those in their debt and servitude. A plus B equals C - a pretty simple and ugly equation.
Yet the people and powers with Big Money turn that kind of simple addition into complicated calculus - spending billions on the most effective and entertaining disinformation and distraction campaigns money can buy. For now, it seems to be working. While most people agree about the destructive, anti-democratic influence of Big Money on elections, many remain unwilling to rise up and fight for campaign finance reform as a "make or break" issue. Many remain lulled by TV and Internet content produced by Big Money - all the more ready to follow their instructions, that the only "make or break" issue worth fighting for is Lowering Taxes.
And there you have Big Money's ultimate undercover calculation: If you let them rig the campaign finance and electoral systems to get them into office, they'll agree to work with you on the tax issue - to help make them richer by lowering their taxes.
How does that add up?