creators.com opinion web
Conservative Opinion General Opinion
Robert Scheer
Robert Scheer
17 Dec 2014
Are Charter Schools Segregating America's Education System?

According to the complaint, "High-performing charter schools are almost entirely racially identifiable as white"… Read More.

22 Oct 2014
Fred Branfman Risked His Life for Ordinary People

Fred was one of the bravest and most decent journalists I ever encountered. He exposed the terrorism of the U.S.… Read More.

2 Oct 2014
Open Letter on Censorship

The following letter is written by Zuade Kaufman. George Orwell was right: "Who controls the past controls … Read More.

Elections Are for Suckers

Comment

Elections are for suckers. Let's just dip our fingers in purple ink and pose for photos now that voting has the same significance for us as it had for those Iraqis who got conned into thinking they were participating in some grand democratic experiment.

Our own elections — the ones our government has modeled for the world — are a hoax. What other word should we use to describe this year's presidential election, whose outcome will turn on which party's super PACs get the most generous bribes from billionaires?

The Republicans, enabled by decisions of a Supreme Court they still control, were the first out of the gate and are far more culpable in destroying our system of popular governance. But the Democrats, no less committed to winning at any cost than to political principle, have now jumped in.

The generally reserved New York Times editorial page responded to the Obama campaign's decision to seek super PAC funding with a scathing editorial headlined "Another Campaign for Sale." The Times reminded that Barack Obama, in his State of the Union speech two years ago, called out the Supreme Court justices sitting before him over their decision to free special interests from campaign spending limits.

"I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests," Obama said then. "They should be decided by the American people." But sadly, as the Times editorial noted this week, "On Monday, the President abandoned that fundamental principle and gave in to the culture of the Citizens United decision that he once denounced as a 'threat to our democracy.'"

Monday was the day the Obama campaign sent out an email announcing that members of the president's administration would solicit funds for Priorities USA Action, one of the super PACs that can now, thanks to the Supreme Court decisions that Obama had castigated, raise unlimited funds in an effort to sway the election.

Just as the super political action committee supporting Republican primary contender Newt Gingrich had raised $10 million from Nevada gambling kingpin Sheldon Adelson and his wife, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama campaign set its sights on media mogul Haim Saban.

A backer of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries in 2008, Saban had not subsequently supported Obama because of criticisms over the president's actions toward Israel.

Perhaps because the president has done nothing to effectively pressure the Israeli government to make any concessions toward Palestinian self-determination, Saban recently made his first contribution to Obama and in a written statement Tuesday said, "We are looking at all the Super PACs at the moment, will surely participate, but haven't decided on the details."

Saban may be one of the more idealistic mega-donors the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action PAC is now courting. Less savory, if one cares about the hold that Wall Street has exerted over this administration, are some of the top donors Obama aides met with Tuesday to urge that they contribute to the PAC. The list included Hamilton E. James, the president of the huge private equity firm Blackstone, and Robert Wolf, the chairman of UBS Group Americas.

Not that the Republicans should worry, since their list of super PAC supporters is far more powerful. To date, the pro-Democrat PACs have collected a paltry $19 million as compared with the $91 million raised last year by committees controlled by Karl Rove and the allies of the Republican presidential candidates. This disparity is the president's justification for abandoning his principled opposition to such groups.

"We're not going to fight this fight with one hand tied behind our back," said Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager. "With so much at stake, we can't allow for two sets of rules. Democrats can't be unilaterally disarmed."

That argument would be more compelling if not for the fact that it was the Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, who "disarmed" by accepting public funding in the last election. Obama subverted what remained of political campaign finance reform by turning instead to private contributions, with the result that major Wall Street interests greatly financed his victory.

It is not entirely true that shunning the PACs would have left the president at a disadvantage, since he commands predominant media space by virtue of his office. He could have exploited the fat-cat contributions to Republicans as confirmation that they are servants of the 1 percent that has caused the rest of us so much misery. Once again, he has failed to take that case for economic justice to the American people and instead validated the Republican assault on what remains of our democracy.

Robert Scheer is editor of TruthDig.com, where this column originally appeared. Email him at rscheer@truthdig.com. To find out more about Robert Scheer and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM



Comments

1 Comments | Post Comment
There is littlle democracy left, but that is the long time work of the democratic party. so Scheer is correct:
Elections are for suckers. Just look at the 9th circuit courts' recent ruling. Voters were essentially denied their rights in order to extend a new right to a favored class. Did I say essentially? Make that resoundingly. We're not doing so good flailing around with temporal gimmicks, maybe we should go back to the constitution before it is too late. Dems have been purchasing votes for years, they call it "welfare", and Obama expands that tactic by promising new non-existent rights (health care) to purchase even more votes. The problem with rights granted by government largesse instead of constitutionally guaranteed rights is the quid pro quo factor - we give you a "right" to healthcare, but Catholics in the health services will not be allowed the right to honor their faith. Expect such a trade with every new "right" granted, you 99%ers, and sooner than later the government will come after you with a quid pro quo. We wouldn't play this shell game on city streets, why allow the government, especially the democrats, to do this to us?
Comment: #1
Posted by: Tom
Thu Feb 9, 2012 11:37 AM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Robert Scheer
Dec. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
30 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 1 2 3
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 22 Dec 2014
Mark Shields
Mark ShieldsUpdated 20 Dec 2014
Jamie Stiehm
Jamie StiehmUpdated 19 Dec 2014

24 Oct 2007 Bush Defense Spending at Highest Level Since WWII

3 Sep 2008 Palin's State Reaps the Windfall Profits McCain Decries

11 Nov 2009 Gorbachev's Sermon on the Mount