Corporate-ocracy

The Supreme Court made what strikes me as a supremely wrong-headed decision today in the campaign finance case, Citizens United v. F.E.C.  I love me some free speech, but I can quite confidently claim that I do not think there is any constitutional basis whatsoever to suggest that corporations have 1st amendment protection for free speech.  The Bill of Rights is a guarantor of the rights of "we the people" embodies the social contract between citizens and government.  I think it is fair to say that corporations are not part of this social contract.  Any citizen who works at ExxonMobil can spend all the money they want and say whatever they want to influence the political process, I think it can only harm our democracy to guarantee the same rights to ExxonMobil, Wal-Mart, and Coca-Cola that we guarantee to our citizens.  To paraphrase Kevin Drum– does anybody really think we need more corporate influence in our government?  My favorite quote comes from EJ Dionne, "Corporations are not individuals, as Congress recognized when it first
limited the role of corporate money in politics back in 1907.
Corporations are created by law, and they should not be treated the
same as we treat live human beings."  As per usual, Slate has great coverage of the Supreme Court and you can't beat Dahlia Lithwick

Dionne briefly takes on George Will in his commentary, and I think it is interesting to quote Will to see how obviously wrong-headed he is.  His conclusion:

The court’s decision will be predictably lamented by people alarmed by
the prospect of more political money funding more political speech. The
Supreme Court has now said to such people approximately this: The First
Amendment does not permit government to decide the “proper” quantity of
political speech.

In no way is this decision about the "proper quantity of speech."  It is about to whom the Constitution guarantees that right.  And for the record, ExxonMobil and pals can say whatever they want and put out a million press releases.  It's the spending of the money where they have a huge, democracy-distorting advantage that's the problem.

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Quote of the day, number 2

From Ezra Klein's on-line chat:

Washington D.C.: With health care reform possibly failing
because House Democrats can't swallow their pride, and with the Supreme
Court decision that gives corporations more control over our
government, can you give me a reason to feel not completely despondent
today?

Ezra Klein: You don't live in Haiti?

 

Quote of the day

Ta-Nehisi Coates on liberal unwillingness to pass the Senate bill:

 If you have the numbers to pass arguably the singular liberal issue of
our time, and then refuse to do it, then why are we here?

 

It’s the people’s problem, not the Senate’s

Great post by Matt Yglesias today.  I wish I had written it.  Worth an extended quote:

And then, apparently, there’s angry liberal Raul Grijalva:

For instance, Grijalva said, why not send the Senate
individual bills that would, among other things, nix the “Cadillac” tax
or close the donut hole, pressuring the Senate to deal with each
provision separately?

“If the Senate chooses not to close the donut hole, that’s their damn problem,” Grijalva said. “They’ve had it too easy. One vote controls everything. Collectively, we’re tired of that.”

That’s pernicious nonsense. If the Senate doesn’t close the doughnut
hole, that’s a problem for seniors who need medicine. If the Senate
doesn’t force insurance companies to offer insurance to men and women
on equal terms, that’s a problem for women who want health insurance.
If the Senate doesn’t expand Medicaid, that’s a problem for poor
people. If the Senate doesn’t establish regulated, subsidized insurance
exchanges that’s a problem for the self-employed, for employees of
small businesses, and for everyone who’s nervous about maybe losing
their insurance in the future.

Absolutely nothing is the Senate’s damn problem. Senators are fat
and happy. Nothing bad happens to Joe Lieberman if health reform dies.
Nor to Ben Nelson. Nor to Kent Conrad. Nor to anyone else. US Senators
are wealthy, older individuals with good salaries, great health
insurance, and a good pension plan. Failing to pass reform does not
punish them.

Well, I guess it is useful to have such a potent reminder lately that liberals really can be just as dumb as conservatives (and, unfortunately, much less politically savvy).

Question of the day

This morning on Dianne Rehm, Dianne asked if we would be having a Senator Elect who had posed nearly nude 20 years ago if it had been a woman.  Actually, the answer is obvious, no women who had ever posed in anything similar to this could become a United States Senator.

 

 

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