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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
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It's Official: Money Now Governs America


The rich are different from you and me, but the really, really, really rich are also different from the merely rich.

For example, the rich can buy caviar and Champagne, but the Triple-R Rich can buy entire presidential campaigns.

Take Sheldon Adelson, the moneybags who's pumped $11 million so far into Newt Gingrich's right-wing run. He has single-handedly kept Gingrich's White House ambitions alive. Without this one guy's money, The Newt would've been long gone. Thanks a lot, Sheldon.

But Adelson can easily afford to roll the dice on a far-out candidate. This global casino baron hauled in $3.3 million in pay last year. Not for a year — that's what his hourly take was. In other words, his $11-million bet on Newt, which altered the Republican presidential race, was nothing — less than three-and-a-half hours of one of Sheldon's workdays.

Even Rick Santorum, who's so far to the right that his left brain has entirely atrophied from lack of use, is actually in the running for the GOP nomination. He insists that people are flocking to him because of the power of his ideas. Sure, Rick — and the power of Foster Friess' money.

This little-known Wall Street multimillionaire has long been a partner in the Koch brothers' plutocratic cabal and a steady funder of right-wing Christian politics. Friess modestly claims that God is "the chairman of my board." I doubt that, but Friess definitely is Santorum's guardian angel, having kept his campaign of wackiness afloat with untold infusions of cash. When Friess was told that Santorum's recent caucus wins would prompt Mitt Romney's Triple-R Richies to counterattack, he was thrilled. I think that "is so exciting," he warbled.

So there you have it — American politics has developed into a game for the fun and profit of a few superrich narcissists.

And, that's why Barack Obama was right on target two years ago when he denounced the Supreme Court for allowing unlimited corporate cash to flood into our elections, calling it a "threat to democracy."

But, where did that guy go? Now that gushers of that money are pouring into this year's Republican presidential campaigns through super PACs, he has pivoted adroitly from condemning such corrupt funds ... to creating one of his own. Savvy, or cynical?

I call it sad. Not because Obama wouldn't stand on principle, but because his switch affirms that special interest money now governs us, too powerful for even the sitting president to resist. These super PACs, all of which are creatures of a handful of rich Americans, were already the biggest power in the Republican presidential contest. Front-runner Mitt Romney's last name is even an anagram that spells M-O-N-E-Y, and a $30 million super PAC financed chiefly by Wall Streeters is what has powered him to the front. They want to buy a president who'll undo Obama's financial reform law that restrains some of their greed. That's what our "democracy" has become. Sad.

Rather than taking the high road and rallying a public that's thoroughly disgusted by this, Obama now joins Romney, et al. on the money-slicked low road. His super PAC, named Priorities USA, is as corrupt as the Republicans'. All of them perpetuate the ludicrous legalistic fraud that the secretive funds operate independently of the candidates. Come on — hand puppets act with more independence than super PACs! While Obama piously says he won't work directly with the PAC, he has directed Cabinet officials and White House aides to rustle up big donors to fund it.

What we're getting this year is not a presidential election, it's an auction! And it'll keep getting worse until we — the people — repeal the Supreme Court's money rule. To help, go to

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at



6 Comments | Post Comment
If anyone reads this column and is surprised, shame on you. Money has always controlled and corrupted government(s). Only difference is they don't hide it or deny it anymore. Welcome to America land of the bought and home of the sold.
Comment: #1
Posted by: demecra zydeem
Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:22 PM
Not surprising in the least. Now a really good article would propose a solution. The 2 parties have a headlock on the whole system and are not interested in fixing it. What kind of force could go into Washington and really change things?
Comment: #2
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:17 PM
The best government money can buy!
Comment: #3
Posted by: Rafael Espericueta
Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:27 AM
America is 'still' the land of the free and the home of the brave and I really recommend you don't challenge that thought.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Cowpoke
Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:43 AM
Re: Cowpoke

Land of the free? I'll challenge it. Exactly what sort of freedom are you referring to? Freedom for the public to be secure in their democracy and opportunities? Or freedom for the rich to own us?
Comment: #5
Posted by: CitySlicker
Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:52 PM
Its not that these candidates suck any more then the previous ones. Its just that all the extra dough is putting a big spot light on their lies. Just like the extra dough will eventually put a big light on your dear leader obamaExtra money is extra political ads. Extra political ads is more information. Is more informsation bad? Not unless its false and then its slander liable in court. If the politicians dont have anything to be ashamed of then there is nothing a big pile of money can say about you. Its just another tool the social progressives in both the parties use to try to censor the truth. Ron Paul does not have any where near as much super PAC as the other three but he hasnt voted for anything he still does not stand by today. Therefore he doesnt have to stand there babling trying to expalin away anything like Obama and the psuedo conservatives have to.
Comment: #6
Posted by: SCOTT
Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:15 PM
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