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Aemilia Scott

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Money Can't Buy Me Gov

Posted: 11/07/2012 5:02 am

The biggest loser of this election isn't Mitt Romney. It isn't Paul Ryan, or Todd Aiken, or evangelical Christians. It's Karl Rove. Sheldon Adelson. The Koch Brothers. The people who tried and failed to use money to deliver themselves the election. American Crossroads and Americans For Prosperity attempted a coup in 2012 -- a uniquely American coup made legal by the Supreme Court and made possible by the low information voter.

These super PACs with unlimited money made the most cynical play you can make in electoral politics -- getting hard-up Americans to vote for deregulation and fiscal blood-letting that would only benefit the donors writing those huge checks. It almost happened. Let's not forget how close we came.

I don't want to be a wet blanket on this incredible victory for President Obama, gay Americans, and people who enjoy an occasional bong rip. However, this election was a goddamned travesty.

It lasted too long, it had too many expensive TV commercials, and it required too many lawmakers to continually debase themselves and their constituents in order to fundraise, instead of doing the job they were fundraising to do.

Obama needs to do campaign finance reform immediately. It needs to be his hit single, his second act opener, as the Affordable Care Act was for the first. More than a metaphor, dismantling Citizens United and enacting real campaign finance reform is the health insurance our body politic needs -- because if there is one thing we can all agree on from both sides of the aisle, it is that the two billion dollars spent on this last election nearly killed us.

The money didn't lift up discourse: it dragged discourse down into the muck of lies and half-truths, and beat it to a pulp of sound bites and 30 second fables. The money didn't reveal any truths: it amplified truths to the point of distortion, dissected them until they lost their emergent properties, and lit them so harshly they became impossible to see.

And amazingly, incredibly, against all cynical predictions, the money did not change the outcome. Karl Rove must be sitting in an empty bathtub somewhere.

Be afraid, America. Hell hath no fury like the wealthy scorned. I guarantee you, as we speak the linen is being set at the table in the Chalet where they will meet to plot their revenge.

I invite anyone who has an issue they hold dear to take all that fire in their gullet, and immediately abandon their issue for the sake of campaign finance reform. Money in politics is the issue from which all other issues flow. Power must be returned to the individual voter and the individual donor. If we don't, there will be Amoco stations on the moon before we get the crude oil off of those birds.

Why? Because fuel companies want to build gas stations, not clean oil off birds. And they don't want to admit that fossil fuel contributes to climate change, because then they'd have to stop making huge amounts of money. But there are things that are true, like sad oily birds and verifiable climate change. So they will pay as much money as it takes to convince lawmakers and voters that, in fact, the sky is not blue. And as we've seen, with enough money the sky starts looking anything but blue.

This is more important than immigration reform, it is more important than gay rights, it is more important than reversing climate change. Because all of those issues suffer the same defeat: a lot of regular people who support reform getting their asses handed to them by a tiny group of people with cash.

You think global warming is real? So does the EPA. And the NRDC, and Greenpeace. And all scientists everywhere. And a majority of voters. However, you will never have as much money as the fossil fuel industry. And whoever controls the media controls the message.

So instead of celebrating the victory for my party, I'm going to take some time to celebrate the defeat of Karl Rove and the Koch brothers. The Fifth Estate almost got its coup. And they would have gotten away with it, too. If it weren't for those darn voters.

 

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