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Stupid Debate Questions

Posted: 01/20/2012 2:03 pm

Freud considered denial to be one of the most powerful psychological disorders.

The GOP primary debates feature politicians and the debate moderators in a deep state of denial about the most burning issue facing the country -- one that a vast majority of Americans care intensely about: the fact that our elections have become auctions.

How intensely? A recent Rasmussen poll shows that a record 48% of Americans agree that Congress is "corrupt." A CNN poll shows that 86% believe that Congress' priorities are set by donors. Congressional approval ratings are at 9%. And, in polling released yesterday, voters, by a two to one margin say that reducing the influence of money in politics would be an important factor in their votes. This issue cuts easily across party lines, by the way.

Super PACs are outspending the candidates 2 to 1, and manipulating voter views dramatically and often anonymously. Yet of the 17 Republican primary debates, the topic of money in politics has come up a mere couple of times -- and only in relation to the nasty tone of some political ads.

If we had a truly representative democracy and an accountable media, this would not be the case. A topic this big, that burns this hot -- from the Tea Party to Occupy to everyone in between -- must be at the center of the conversation. Money's control over politics is at the root of the rip-off Wall Street bailouts, the never-ending jobs crisis, the yawning wealth gap, our ancient energy policy, inflated health-care costs, and the list goes on and on.

This year's political campaigns are expected to spend a total of $6 billion dollars, and it's going to be a mess that often times will have little or no connection to the huge, structural problems our country faces. People are going to continue to be cynical and nauseated by the attack ads and the robo calls and the utterly disingenuous poll-tested messages that are going to be sprayed around.

This weekend marks the second anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that flung open the floodgates of corporate and billionaire political spending. And on Monday the first televised Florida primary debate will be held.

So what better time than now to spark a great conversation about the routine buying and selling of our government?

We just produced a funny video that illustrates the problem with the debates so far. Take a look.

Alcoholics and addicts are masters of denial. There is no better metaphor for our money-flooded politicians than that - utterly dependent on a substance (big money) that is ultimately destroying them and everything around them. But incapable of admitting there's a problem. It's time to yank our elected officials out of their collective state of denial.

Starting today, and throughout this year's elections, we'll be helping end the denial and force the real debate that we all - left, right and center - are hoping to have. Let's do it together.