The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

The rich are different from you and me, but the really, really, really rich are also different from the merely rich.

For example, the rich can buy caviar and Champagne, but the Triple-R Rich can buy entire presidential campaigns.

Take Sheldon Adelson, the moneybags who’s pumped $11 million so far into Newt Gingrich’s right-wing run. He has single-handedly kept Gingrich’s White House ambitions alive. Without this one guy’s money, The Newt would’ve been long gone. Thanks a lot, Sheldon.

But Adelson can easily afford to roll the dice on a far-out candidate. This global casino baron hauled in $3.3 million in pay last year. Not for a year — that’s what his hourly take was. In other words, his $11-million bet on Newt, which altered the Republican presidential race, was nothing — less than three-and-a-half hours of one of Sheldon’s workdays.

Even Rick Santorum, who’s so far to the right that his left brain has entirely atrophied from lack of use, is actually in the running for the GOP nomination. He insists that people are flocking to him because of the power of his ideas. Sure, Rick — and the power of Foster Friess’ money.

This little-known Wall Street multimillionaire has long been a partner in the Koch brothers’ plutocratic cabal and a steady funder of right-wing Christian politics. Friess modestly claims that God is “the chairman of my board.” I doubt that, but Friess definitely is Santorum’s guardian angel, having kept his campaign of wackiness afloat with untold infusions of cash. When Friess was told that Santorum’s recent caucus wins would prompt Mitt Romney’s Triple-R Richies to counterattack, he was thrilled. I think that “is so exciting,” he warbled.

So there you have it — American politics has developed into a game for the fun and profit of a few superrich narcissists. And, that’s why Barack Obama was right on target two years ago when he denounced the Supreme Court for allowing unlimited corporate cash to flood into our elections, calling it a “threat to democracy.”

But, where did that guy go? Now that gushers of that money are pouring into this year’s Republican presidential campaigns through super PACs, he has pivoted adroitly from condemning such corrupt funds … to creating one of his own. Savvy, or cynical?

I call it sad. Not because Obama wouldn’t stand on principle, but because his switch affirms that special interest money now governs us, too powerful for even the sitting president to resist. These super PACs, all of which are creatures of a handful of rich Americans, were already the biggest power in the Republican presidential contest. Front-runner Mitt Romney’s last name is even an anagram that spells M-O-N-E-Y, and a $30 million super PAC financed chiefly by Wall Streeters is what has powered him to the front. They want to buy a president who’ll undo Obama’s financial reform law that restrains some of their greed. That’s what our “democracy” has become. Sad.

Rather than taking the high road and rallying a public that’s thoroughly disgusted by this, Obama now joins Romney, et al. on the money-slicked low road. His super PAC, named Priorities USA, is as corrupt as the Republicans’. All of them perpetuate the ludicrous legalistic fraud that the secretive funds operate independently of the candidates. Come on — hand puppets act with more independence than super PACs! While Obama piously says he won’t work directly with the PAC, he has directed Cabinet officials and White House aides to rustle up big donors to fund it.

What we’re getting this year is not a presidential election, it’s an auction! And it’ll keep getting worse until we — the people — repeal the Supreme Court’s money rule. To help, go to www.united4thepeople.org.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

Sixteen states vying for the early slots in 2024’s presidential primary calendar pitched their case to the Democratic National Committee onWednesday and Thursday, touting their history, diversity, economies, and electoral competitiveness in the general election.

State party officials, a governor, lt. governors, an attorney general, members of Congress, senior staff and party strategists touted their electorates, industries, heritage, and features that would propel presidential candidates and draw national scrutiny, which pleased the officials on the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC). But the panel’s leaders also probed whether Republicans in otherwise promising states would seek to impede a revised Democratic primary calendar.

Keep reading... Show less

Supreme Court

YouTube Screenshot

When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was confronted over his support for the bipartisan bill addressing elements of gun violence, he defended his Second Amendment record, telling reporters: “I spent my career supporting, defending and expanding” gun rights, and stressing that he had “spent years” confirming conservative judges. McConnell made that statement in full confidence that the Supreme Court he packed with three illegitimate justices would do precisely what it did: ensure that sensible gun regulations anywhere would be eliminated.

The court decided the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen case Thursday in 6-3 decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas, striking down that state’s 108-year-old provision requiring anyone who wants to get a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show “proper cause” before being granted a permit. The Court’s extremists, Thomas writes, find that New York's strict limits on the concealed carry of firearms in public violates the Second Amendment. It essentially throws out the previous restrictions the Court upheld in its last big gun control case, the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}