Free Speech

The Supreme Court today reversed decades of campaign finance laws and held that corporations and unions, as voluntary associations of individulas, have all the first amendment rights that individuals have.

First, I don’t think that’s a wild interpretation. It seems far more bizarre to argue that an individual loses his constituional rights when he associates with other individuals. That, it seems to me, goes to the very heart and soul of the first amendment.

However, I do understand–and even to some extent sympathize with–the instinctual revulsion at the idea that elections might be bought and candidates sold to the highest bidder. But that’s politics as usual. Indeed, that’s politics as the parties and politicians have  designed it.

Second, laws limiting the abilities of corporations or unions from spening money on elections are pure mummery. When billions are at stake, the loopholes in the law will be found and they will be stretched wide. McCain-Feingold did nothing to slow or stop corproate influence in American electoral politics. All campaign finance laws serve to do is drive donations through opaque, circumlocuitous routes; transparency suffers and the electorate is denied information.

But really, if you want money out of politics, get politics out of money.

The President had this to say,

[The ruling] is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.

Big Oil (like Saudi Arabia? Where 14 year old girls are flogged and homosexuals crucified?) , big banks and big insurers marshal their power in Washington because Washington gives them hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money. This Administration and Congress have literally handed hundreds of billions of dollars in payouts to connected bankers and friendly corporate lobbyists.

Don’t want politicians being bought? Elect better politicians.

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