Thursday, January 21, 2010

The best government money can buy

Justice Kennedy, in a ruling issued today, said:

"The appearance of influence or access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy."

I read that and laughed. It's so blatantly wrong. The voters have looked at the amount of money poured into campaigns from wealthy interests and have *already* lost faith in our democracy. Obama's ability to raise tons of money from the common man restored some hope, but he seems to be squandering that.

The ruling (in case you haven't heard), is that corporations may spend freely in campaigns for president and Congress. Their reasoning is that free speech extends to corporations.

Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor strongly dissented, saying:

"The court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions around the nation."

Senator Bernie Sanders, independent from Vermont, called for public funding of elections. So has Chellie Pingree, Democrat of Maine, a state that already has a successful public financing of campaigns. Other states have similar laws and it's about time it happens nationwide. Can Sanders interest his money-hungry colleagues and dodge calls that the federal budget can't afford it just now? 50 of them have signed on.

Is there a way to get a candidate elected without tons of money? Let's put some good minds on it.

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