The casino owner who would be kingmaker
Notes On Mitt’s Main Man
In the Las Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson, our worst fears about the danger to American democracy posed by the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizen’s United case have come true. From the moment this decision was handed down thoughtful Americans recognized that it had the potential to transform our participatory democracy, where the masses ruled, into a plutocracy ruled by a minority of the filthy rich.
An arrogant, vulgar, multi-billionaire; Adelson has no shame in his game. He kept that dangerous charlatan and intellectual poseur Newt Gingrich in the race for the Republican nomination single handedly with his deep pockets; which is estimate to be around 20 Billion – and now he has threatened to spend up to 100 million on the coming general election to put Mitt in Office since his first love has crashed and burned.
The presence of arch-Zionist Adelson at Mitt’s speeches in Israel demonstrates that the legal prohibition against collusion or coordination between the Super packs and the candidate is a farce. One need only listen to the reckless pro-Israel rhetoric flowing from Mitts’ pie hole to recognize who’s paying this piper.
In one of the most activist decisions by a US Supreme Court ever, the present Court overturned campaign laws passed by Congress and State legislatures limiting campaign contributions and granting corporations the same free speech rights as individuals. The Court also allowed third parties to spend as much money as they can raise on behalf of federal candidates, so long as it is not contributed directly to the candidate. It was arguably the third worst decision ever made by the High court – right behind the Dread Scott Decision of 1857, and Plessy v Furgueson in 1898.
The theory of the Court is that if the funds do not go directly to the candidate it will not have the same potential for corrupting the political process. Yet the brief history of American politics since the Citizen’s United decision has shown this reasoning was fatally flawed and the decision is a colossal mistake that could destroy our unique democratic polity.
Justice John Paul Stevens railed against it in his powerful dissent, and the Harvard trained Professor of Constitutional Law in the White House said it was wrongly decided. Alas, we now know for sure that the potential for special interest money to corrupt our politics is just as great as if they could contribute directly to the candidates – it is a distinction without a real difference – and to continue down this road is folly.
In this instance I am employing the term folly in the sense that the two time Pulitzer Prize winning historian Barbara Tuchman defines it in her broadly learned and deeply insightful book: The March of Folly. Folly is defined in this grand treatise as the decision of a great nation to pursue a course that all the objective evidence demonstrates is against their best interest.
Since the right-wing majority of the Supreme Court has demonstrated that they intend to take no corrective action by their recent nullification of Montana’s campaign laws – which were written in response to a horrid history of corporate money corrupting the politics of the state – we shall maintain a course that will lead inexorably to the destruction of our democracy.
Alas, Abraham Lincoln’s fear that if the north lost the Civil War “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people” would “perish from the earth,” should be our own. Because the alternative is the Sheldon Adelson’s of the world: angry racist old white men with a lot of money who are ready and willing to spend it promiscuously to determine the course of our politics. According to the Wall Street Journal Adelson has already made a down payment of $10 million to Mitt’s super pack “Restore our Future”
Hence the future of our union is as endangered now as it was when Lincoln uttered those words on the bloody battlefield at Gettysburg. The election of a shallow plastic plutocrat like Mitt Romney, a corporate and shill and Adelson puppet who aspires to be our supreme leader, will surely hasten the demise of our popular participatory democracy. And we shall surely get the government we deserve.
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
August 2, 2012