Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Paul Abrams Headshot

Mayor Bloomberg: You Can Save Our Democracy - Will You?

Posted: Updated:

"Only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed" -- (JFK, Inaugural Address)

Dear Mr. Mayor:

I write you because, of all your billionaire colleagues, you have demonstrated by your direct involvement in the political process, to care deeply about our government institutions.

I also write to you because you are a registered Independent, having been both a registered Republican and a registered Democrat in the past, and my suggestion (or plea) is completely non-partisan.

No one needs to explain the democracy-degrading effects of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United. Any suggestion that all such concerns are speculative or hyped has been dissipated by the spectacle of the Republican presidential nominating process and the extreme sums being raised by SuperPACs from a small number of individuals.

My request, no plea, to you is to invest $3 billion of your fortune to save our democratic institutions from this corruption, in the following way: announce that the money is available to answer with 3 ads for every ad run by a SuperPAC, regardless of whether it is pro-Obama or anti-Obama, pro-Romney or anti-Romney, or pro-or-anti-Congressional elections. However, if no such ads are run by the SuperPACs, your money will not sponsor any ads at all.

Thus, you are not doing this to get into the battle -- but, like "mutually-assured-destruction" during the Cold War, your money is meant to prevent the battle from occurring, because the 3:1 political costs are too great to risk.

Estimates are that the major SuperPACs are planning to spend $1 billion. If you (and you can engage some of your friends, of course, such as Warren Buffet to share the risk) confront them with the money for a 3:1 response, it is highly likely they will think hard before they try to buy the elections.

You can even be more specific. If a SuperPAC runs an anti-Obama ad, you will respond with 3 anti-Romney ads. If a SuperPAC runs a pro-Obama ad, you will respond with 3 pro-Romney ads. And, so on.

Thus, the SuperPACs will not only be "paid back", but paid back in kind. 3 eyes for an eye.

It is doubtful, but not impossible, that the SuperPACs will match your $3 billion. In that case, you would do a 1:1. But, there is a point of saturation, and it is quite unlikely that they would want to match you. It is much more likely that they would see their plans to purchase our democracy are blocked, and decide not to waste their money.

To avoid doubt, I do not suggest that any of this money be used to counter whatever the Romney Campaign, the Obama Campaign, or the national parties do. That is entirely for them, under whatever remains of our campaign finance laws.

This is directed solely at the independent-expenditures on TV and other advertising funded by the SuperPACs (and other entities) spawned by the Citizens United decision where unlimited funds from individual or corporate donors both remove accountability from the candidates and also enable small groups of extremely wealthy people to buy the elections.

I realize, Mr Mayor, that it is easy for anyone to ask others to spend (or, in this case, risk) their money. I would ask you only to consider this: this country's institutions have enabled you to exercise your talents to the fullest, and you achieved great success. You have far more money than you can ever need or use, and you will certainly give much of it away. What could be more valuable, for everything you hold dear, than to use 15 percent of it to preserve that for which men and women have sacrificed their lives and limbs.

Please, Mr. Mayor, consider this. It would be an extraordinary sacrifice for your country and it would place you, as it should, among our nation's historic heroes.

Moreover, as with mutually-assured destruction during the Cold War, there is a good chance most of it will never be used.