Foreign Policy Implications of Campaign Financing Ruling

The first place I look for foreign policy analysis is foreignpolicy.com, a la the magazine of the same name you see in the Borders.  Today one of their people–no Leftie, he–said this (more at the link):

“Because to the extent to which politicians depend on donations to remain in power, they are inevitably influenced by those who have the most money. Not surprisingly, corporate entities, representing many people and often vast economic enterprises, have vastly more financial resources than individuals. Arguing, as American right wingers do, that campaign donations are form of free speech and thus cannot be constrained, ignores the reality that by equating money with free speech we effectively say that those with more money have more free speech, are entitled to greater influence within our society.

“The implications are stark. Should this decision go unreversed by subsequent action of the Congress, a future court or a future constitutional amendment, it tips the balance of power in the United States even farther away from average people and in the direction of elites. Since campaign donations do not flow from companies primarily for ideological reasons but rather to advance narrow self-interests, the business of U.S. political class will necessarily be driven by the politics of the business class.

“In a nutshell, yesterday’s Supreme Court decision made it very likely that America will not be an effective leader in combating global warming or preserving global resources, it will not be able to effectively resolve the internal threats to its own society like a failing health care system, and it will pursue international policies that are driven less by the broad national interest and more by the agenda of companies that in fact, have increasingly little national identity…’

I would add that the impact will be especially dire on U.S. state and local governments, where much of the innovative problem-solving is supposed to take place under our system of government.  Their politicians are epecially vulnerable because voter turnout is low and money goes such a long way.  When Exxon-Mobil threatens to spend $10 million (1/4,000 of annual profits) to unseat a state senator unless he/she agrees to sink a statewide cap and trade initiative, who could say no?

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5 responses

  1. To speak, or not to speak–that is the 1st’s question:
    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
    And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep—or….

    WAKE UP like the independents in Mass did last week.

    Just maybe MAYBE America can be saved from sliding into another dead Europe. (Hope so).

  2. Well, since the MA election had no exit polls, t was unclear for a week why they voted the way they did. (But, keep in mind that Republicans have won statewide office in MA many times; e.g., they held the governorship for most of the last 20 years. And, a solid 30% or so of voters there self-identify as Conservative, and the economy is the worst since 1945, etc., etc.)

    But, now we know more about what message they were trying to send, since polling has now been done. The results are…interesting, and counter to the cable news party line that Democrats were rebuked for having too radical an agenda.

    See this for polling details (it’s not the only one to find essen tially the same thing, either): http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/01/25/mass-poll-lesson/

    1. Mass was NOT a vote FOR Republicans but a vote AGAINST the horrible way dems have been driving stuff forward without any attempt to involve oppoonents. Obama is now toast: one term disaster prez. I cannot even guess what he might be given even a single clap at Wed’s SOTU address.

  3. Let’s put paid to this idea that Republicans
    have not been consulted, have been ignored
    and rolled over.
    Republicans, in a minority of course, are members of the House and Senate. They have
    a right to propose amendments, to vote on legislation, in a word, full participation in the process.

    But they have not participated, they have chosen rather to say No.

    As for the political future of our President–the most intelligent and decent man, I may say, whom I have seen in the office, in my lifetime of 64 years–I think
    it may be a bit early to count him out.
    Let’s see what 2010 and 2012 will bring.

  4. Third party foolishness forever has its bases in the media, both LMS and conservative. They are the sole ones babbling about it. Tea partiers do not have this in their ideas. All they want is lesser government, lower taxes, more intelligent security for the nation and an adhesion to the Constitution. The medias occupation is to make people all wild about anything and invariably overlooking the point. How many times must Sarah say to the rest of you third party cause types that this is not a political party? Right this red hot minute, those rationales actually live in the Republican Party platform. Not so much in the Democrats. Its growing quite boring for Sarah to have to carry on stating to the mass media what she says and means. She always says what she means and means what she states. This is not a big mystery story. There are way too many individuals that call themselves journalists that have comprehension troubles.

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