Big money runs today’s political game, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you are one of those cynics who think that none of today’s presidential candidates for the White House care about people like you and me, check out Republican wannabe Scott Walker.
The Wisconsin governor, who is presently a full-time campaigner for the GOP presidential nod, not only cares, he wants to sit down with you, get your ideas and stay in close touch. No matter who you are, Scottie wants you to join his team, so his presidency can be your presidency! Not a Republican? No problemo, amigo. Walker doesn’t check your papers. Well… except for that million-dollar check you have to write to his super PAC.
That’s the ticket price for entering Walker’s inner circle, where you can discuss all of your policy concerns and seek personal favors — straight from your lips to the candidate’s ear! Even if you’re a common working stiff, just give a million dollars, and you’re in, baby! Is this a great country, or what?
Maybe you’re wondering what, specifically, your million dollars buy. Well, Scott’s super PAC even prints out a handy purchasing slip showing that you’ll get to be an “Executive Board Member” of the Walkerites’ campaign. Thus, you’ll have two private dinners with The Man, a Walker staffer dedicated to your needs, special briefings, weekly emails, bimonthly conference calls, bi-annual retreats, and — best of all — an “Exclusive Executive Board Pin.”
Golly, I haven’t been this excited or felt so included since the 1950s, when I became a member of “The Mickey Mouse Club” and got my own set of mouse ears.
When the Supreme Court descended into the “Alice in Wonderland”-like fantasy that corporations are people and money is speech, it was inevitable that American politics would devolve into a frivolous game that shuts out the workaday majority and enthrones a Koch-brothers plutocracy sustained by secret-money super PACs and whorish candidates such as Walker.
I think we can all agree that news stories like this that highlight the ever-rising flood of big money in politics do not tend to have a lot of laughs in them.
But a recent item from The New York Times unintentionally got a good guffaw from me. It was a seriously serious piece about how Karl Rove’s super PAC of corporate political cash has been surpassed both in cash and clout by the billion-dollar electioneering network of the Koch brothers. The reporter stated that the Kochs have “leapfrogged” Rove. There is nothing factually funny in that, but the image of the multibillionaire brothers, Charles and David, laughing and leaping over a bent-over, frog-like Karl Rove is the delightfully ridiculous stuff of slapstick.
In fact, today’s whole political game, run by an absurdist’s nightmare of moneyed elites, is ridiculous — a game in which corporations are people and money is magically empowered to speak; candidates trek to the corporate suites and secret retreats of the rich, shamelessly selling their political souls; super-wealthy interests clandestinely pump unlimited sums of money into disgustingly negative campaign ads that turn off most voters; candidates “win” with only a small minority of the electorate choosing them; winners then claim to have a democratic mandate to enact the plutocratic agenda.
This could be hilarious in a slapstick routine, but it is tragic in a country with democratic aspirations. But don’t despair, for a backlash is building all across the country among voters who are fed up with the money-rigged game that excludes them.
One group called the New Hampshire Rebellion is bird-dogging presidential candidates in that state to demand action to get Big Money out of politics. To help start your own rebellion to end this corrupt mockery of our electoral democracy, you can get a free online toolkit from these modern-day Paul Reveres by going to www.nhrebellion.org.