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Just spell it ''$upreme Court of the United $tate$ of America''

January 22, 2010 |  5:48 pm

Thanks to the Supreme Court – well, five-ninths of it, anyway – one sector of the economy will be thriving this autumn: campaign consultants, TV ad creators and commercial sales people, and anybody who stands to get rich riding a tsunami of TV and radio political mud.

Thanks to the court ruling, the only limit on money that can be spent on politics is the merest gauze of a law: big interests can’t dump uncounted loads of loot directly into a candidate’s campaign.

Otherwise, to use a phrase Barry Goldwater was fond of, it’s "Katie, bar the door." Starting now, it’ll take all the wheelbarrows in Weimar, and then some, to move the K-2 mountains of cash that will be sent from corporate accounts into political ones.

This ruling is premised on the notion that the 1st Amendment rights of the nation's corporations are being treated cruelly and unconstitutionally when companies are banned from throwing unlimited money chum in the political waters. The court deep-sixed limits on corporate million-dollar bigfooting that have been around since Teddy Roosevelt’s trust-busting days, and which were strengthened after Watergate, and most recently by the McCain-Feingold limitations. The court found these limits to be constitutional seven years ago, but that was when Sandra Day O’Connor was on the court. What a difference a justice makes.

The Supreme Court ruling means that labor and public interest groups are perfectly entitled to the same spend-a-thons, but that’s just dousing legal manure with eau de cologne. The day that labor can even come close to match the ante of Wall Street or Big Tobacco or Big Pharma is the day Rush Limbaugh is the Peace and Freedom Party candidate for president.

So let’s drop the pretense, cut to the chase, and cut out the middleman. Don’t bother with the TV ads, the slate mailers, the "informative" pseudo-documentaries like those that slandered John Kerry’s war record. I’m a voter. Just figure what my vote’s worth, Wall Street and Big Pharma and Bigger Oil, and send me a check.

That’s really what this ruling amounts to. While it’s pretty much illegal for anyone to offer me so much as a doughnut to thank me for having voted, it’s not illegal to spend ungodly gobs of dough to turn every elected official in the country into a wholly owned subsidiary of Oligarchs R Us.

On Election Day 2008, when Ben & Jerry’s and Starbucks and Krispy Kreme were offering free treats to people who had done their civic duty by voting, those businesses were not allowed in many places to ask for actual proof of voting, like a voting stub, because that could be considered an unlawful incentive.

Money talks, all right. And theirs is going to out-shout us all.

-- Patt Morrison


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