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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/30/10

Beware Rich Political Saviors

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Message Joel Hirschhorn
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Consumer confidence is terrible; citizen confidence is worse: Only 11 percent of Americans have confidence in Congress. No surprise there is record-setting anti-incumbency anger rampant among Americans. But the sad truth is damned if you do and damned if you don't vote for incumbents.

The problem is that the reformers, populist outsiders, tea party candidates, surprise primary winners and others expecting to oust incumbents in the coming mid-term elections for members of Congress and state governors and other officials mostly suck. Why? They are nutty, ignorant, dishonest or racist.

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Pathetic US Senate candidates like Alvin Greene on the left in South Carolina and Sharron Angle on the right in Nevada, for example, are intellectual nits and an insult to a once envied political system. And in Memphis, Tennessee Willie Herenton, who is African-American, sells black racism to oust two-term incumbent Congressman Steve Cohen in a primary, telling blacks to not vote for his white opponent.

Many ambitious candidates drained the economy to become super-rich. Is this any time to trust people who have taken advantage of our corrupt corporate system to run the government and serve those they have previously taken advantage of for personal gain? Will anger about the corrupt, dysfunctional government system be sufficient for voters to turn the government over to people who have nothing in common with most Americans?

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Consider California. Meg Whitman, a Republican candidate for governor wants to beat the familiar, incumbent-like Democrat Jerry Brown, now attorney general, and was previously the chief executive of eBay. She has outspent all other self-financed candidates across the country by using $91 million of her own money to knock out Steve Poizner, who spent $24 million of his own money, in the Republican primary. California is big, but $91 million and likely even more!! She will greatly outspend Brown. And Carly Fiorina, a Republican who is challenging Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer in California, has the audacity to claim on her website that she will "fight for every job" if elected even though, as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard in 2003 she cut about 18,000 jobs and did little good for the company. She has already spent $5 million. Are these people worthy of public support?

Consider Florida. Republican Rick Scott, the former head of Columbia/HCA Healthcare -- an awful large hospital chain that paid $1.7 billion in fines for fraudulently billing government programs like Medicare -- has become the front-runner for Florida governor. He supposedly is worth about $200 million. He was ousted by his own board of directors in 1997 amid the nation's biggest health care fraud scandal. He loaned his campaign $22.9 million during the period from April 9 through July 16 and spent $22.65 million of it. In contrast, he received only $415,126 in contributions. Bill McCollum, his Republican opponent, raised a little over $1 million during the reporting period and spent about $1.7 million. He has raised $5.7 million since he announced his campaign last year. He has less than $500,000 left. Democrat candidate Alex Sink, with no primary opponent, raised $1.1 million for the reporting period and has raised $7.3 million so far. Is Scott better qualified because of his wealth and ability to advertise more?

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Joel S. Hirschhorn is the author of Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government and several other books, as well as hundreds of articles. His current political writings have been greatly influenced by working (more...)
 

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