People often picture a tsunami as a towering wall of water slamming into the shore, as in the movies 2012 or Deep Impact.
Generally, that's not the way it works. Instead a tsunami is like a super-tide, rising so fast that it can engulf you in minutes, if not seconds.
And the water is a tsunami usually isn't normal sea water. It's filthy sludge, filled with debris.
And that is what we are going to see between now and November on our TV screens and web browsers: a fast-rising tide of filthy, sludgy right-wing propaganda, threatening to drown us all. Dirty Money.
I looked at the list of donors of $500,000 or more to super PACs, as of the last reporting period. There are 84 such donors. Ten are unions; we'll set them aside, because they are simply aggregating the support of their 15 million members. (By the way, the unions' grand total was only $16 million, which may not even be enough to fund Elizabeth Warren's campaign.) That leaves 74 major super PAC donors.
Here is the score: right-wingers 64, progressives 10.
It's actually worse than that, because the average contribution of the right-wingers was larger than the average contributions of progressives.
The total of super PAC contributions by the ten progressives was $10.7 million. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that Sheldon Adelson alone already has spent three times as much.
Of the $10.7 million in contributions from progressive super PAC donors, $6.1 million went to support the Obama campaign. That left $4.5 million for the other 500,000 Democrats running for office, or $9 each. (Yes, there actually are that many elected offices in the United States.)
$4.5 million? For the Koch brothers, that's no more than a nice tip. A gratuity. A small token of their appreciation. Just a little something.
I don't know why this should surprise anyone. When a progressive spends that kind of money, it's out of the goodness of his heart, and how many people are that good? When a right-winger spends that kind of money, though, it's an investment: an investment in tax breaks, bailouts, government contracts, earmarks, regulatory exemptions and lax law enforcement.
With all due respect to Oliver Stone and Gordon Gekko, I don't know whether "greed is good," but it sure is rich. And powerful.
The U.S. Supreme Court has created a system of campaign finance where dirty money is king. Just watch in the next few months as that tsunami of dirty money washes over the American political landscape.
In my campaign, we're trying to do things differently. We have to, because I won't sell out. And necessity is the mother of invention.
I'm counting on you. Will it work? You tell me.
"Christ, you know it ain't easy.
You know how hard it can be.
The way things are going,
They're gonna crucify me."
- John Lennon, "The Ballad of John and Yoko" (1969).
Follow Rep. Alan Grayson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alangrayson