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#311 by TammanyTiger
Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:39 pm
I’d like to invite Anthony (“Money is Speech”) Kennedy to my congressional district—MI-11—and show him first-hand the results of his bubble-bound view of the First Amendment.

Last month, our district elected foreclosure king David Trott* to the U.S. House. You might think that being the Snidley Whiplash of Greater Detroit would make a person less than electable. But this is 21st century America, where money equals speech. And Trott carries a big megaphone thanks to his fortune, which has been estimated at between 50 and 100 million dollars.

According to his Federal Election Commission disclosure, Trott spent $4.8 million http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2014/12/05/trott-spends-win/19968343 for his seat in Congress. That was more than enough to bury the incumbent congressman, Kerry Bentivolio**, in the primary, and to defeat his Democratic opponent by 16 points in the general election.

Wealth and incumbency guarantee that Trott will be in the House as long as he wants to stay there. There will be other David Trotts elected in other districts in the future. Seats in Congress will become the equivalent of English peerages—minus the pageantry and stately mansions.

In the words of Charles Pierce, “This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.”

* It’s too bad that Eric Cantor got voted out in the primary. The horse puns would have written themselves.

** Bentivolio, a Tea Partier, won in 2012 after the incumbent, Thaddeus McCotter, got kicked off the ballot once it was discovered that his staffers had submitted forged nominating petitions. Among other things, Bentivolio said that impeaching President Obama would be “a dream come true” and once promised a GOP gathering that he’d get to the bottom of the chemtrails conspiracy.
#313 by gulfgal98
Sun Dec 07, 2014 6:56 pm
TammanyTiger wrote:* It’s too bad that Eric Cantor got voted out in the primary. The horse puns would have written themselves.


Excellent post. I would give a thumbs up anyway, but if I could, it would be at least two more thumbs up for the quoted passage that made me laugh out loud! :lol:
#318 by lapsedlawyer
Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:26 am
I've trotted out this quote from sociologist G. William Domhoff's book The Powers That Be before, but it seems to constantly bear repeating:

The candidate who spends the most does not necessarily win, but the person who does not have a large war chest to begin with usually is eliminated quite early. It is the need for this large amount of start up money -- to develop name recognition, to gain legitimacy, to undertake direct-mail campaigns, to schedule radio and television advertising in advance -- that gives members of the power elite a very direct role in the [candidate selection] process right from the start, permitting them direct access to politicians of both parties. Even if they do not tie specific strings to their money, as they often do not, the fund-raising process gives members of the power elite a chance to ensure that only people whom they consider sensible and approachable will emerge from party primaries.


Money is the gatekeeper. It determines who is free to speak, and for how long and how loud. It is the nuclear weapon in this arms race of political representation, and if you're gonna compete, you're gonna need lots of it, and in a hurry. And the only place you can get lots of it and in a hurry is from the socioeconomic elite of this country. So both parties need to appeal to the same people to persuade them to part with some of their millions/billions to ensure their agenda is represented in Congress.

Dear justices Scalia and Kennedy:

This is a system that is the very definition of corruption, as the Founders saw it. It's. That. Simple.
#325 by TammanyTiger
Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:07 pm
lapsedlawyer wrote:Money is the gatekeeper. It determines who is free to speak, and for how long and how loud. It is the nuclear weapon in this arms race of political representation, and if you're gonna compete, you're gonna need lots of it, and in a hurry.


A book worth reading is The Big Money, by Kenneth P. Vogel. It identifies the big funders of both parties, and the extent to which these people--a relative handful--have seized control of our politics. Vogel points out that in 2012, Obama and the Democrats benefitted from a split among the right-wing zillionaires, which led to the destructive (but amusing) Republican clown-car primary.

The mandarins of the Democratic Party want to avoid a divisive primary, which means that they've already lined up the big money behind Hillary the Inevitable. Much of that money will come from hedge-fund operators and tech entrepreneurs. Those who expect a progressive agenda to come out of her campaign need to cut down on their consumption of potent hallucinogens.
#326 by lapsedlawyer
Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:50 am
Those who expect a progressive agenda to come out of her campaign need to cut down on their consumption of potent hallucinogens.


Oh, I fully expect a progressive agenda to indeed come out of her campaign. Just like Obama's.

And I expect nothing -- even less than Obama's effort -- to come of it once she's in office. It will all be dropped down the memory hole, never to be heard from again.
#327 by gulfgal98
Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:01 pm
Terrific dialogue here on this thread! :D

TammanyTiger wrote:Those who expect a progressive agenda to come out of her campaign need to cut down on their consumption of potent hallucinogens.


Apparently a lot of them are residing at another website we all know of, including the owner himself. ;) Counting on demographics to make up for a shitty or non-existent agenda is foolish. Personally I do not see "identity politics" carrying Hillary. Her negatives are already too high, so she has little room to move up, but a lot of room to implode. I am betting on implosion myself.

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