24 February 2012

Corruption Inherent in the System

I am not so naive as to believe that politics has ever been free of corruption and self enrichment. No belief exists within me that the "good old days" were a halcyon period of upright public servants. Even the most casual student of history quickly realizes that governance has always lent itself to corruption.

But I did used to believe that at least some political actors were honest. Perhaps I am naive. But now, after Citizens United, and the rise of the super-PACs, is it possible that there is anyone -- anyone at all -- who can remain clean? Just the sheer numbers alone would indicate that any successful politician must be enormously compromised.

My great frustration when I was working with the Modern Whig Party was the immediate need of money. No matter the level of involvement, no matter the enthusiasm, without money, and lots of it, the powers-that-be will simply not allow admission to the political process.

Even the Tea Party was not taken seriously until money started being raised and spent. And then of course that effort was quickly co-opted by the entrenched money interests and directed into already established channels.

NY Times: Donors With Agendas
Just two dozen or so individuals, couples and companies have given more than 80 percent of the money collected by super PACs, or $54 million, according to disclosure forms released on Monday.
Many are involved in businesses or ideological causes that have clear policy agendas with the federal government. Their huge influence on individual candidates demonstrates the potential for corruption inherent in the super PAC era.
Until a few weeks ago, the president might have credibly campaigned against the undue influence of special interests on his Republican rivals. He can no longer make the case because, after his PAC received only $58,816 last month, Mr. Obama invited donors to give without limits.
And all but the most privileged Americans will pay the price if the nation’s wealthiest can buy elections.

1 comment:

Solomon Kleinsmith said...

People have a lot of totally unrealistic expectations about politics. The idea that you can win without much money is one of them. You can do fine in a local race with maybe just a few thousand dollars, but only if you work your tail off, and treat it like a full time job. People think they can just get their name on the ballot, go to some events, raise a few hundred for yard signs from friends and family and they'll win. It's mostly because people don't see what campaigns do behind the paper thin layer of PR that makes it into the local paper and local TV news.

The center loses not because of some conspiracy. There are hurdles that the two majors have put into place to get in our way, but we'd SMASH through them if centrists and moderates were even remotely as organized, willing to donate and willing to volunteer their time at rates even remotely close to democrats and republicans.

Solomon Kleinsmith
Rise of the Center