Saturday, June 18, 2011

Too Much to Prune

If it is wrong for Republicans to fuel their campaigns with corporate cash, then it is wrong for Democrats to do so.

That was the no-hold-barred message that Russ Feingold brought to Netroots Nation.

“Sometimes we have to be very direct with the Democratic Party itself,” the former senator from Wisconsin told the thousands of bloggers, thinkers and activists who packed the great hall at the Minneapolis Convention Center. “I fear the Democratic Party is in danger of losing its identity.”

Feingold was talking about the decision by some Democrats that the party must form so-called “super-PACS” – political action committees that use corporate money in much the same way that Republicans have.

If Democrats fuel their campaigns with corporate cash, the senator said, “we’ll lose our souls.”

~ from Feingold to Netroots Nation: Call Out Corporate Democrats by John Nichols ~
For you gardeners out there, you know that sometimes, when a plant is struggling to survive, you have to prune it back. You cut off all the dead portions in the hopes the plant will resuscitate.

In a manner of speaking, this is what Feingold is suggesting. If the grassroots would only call out those those "Corporate Democrats," the party could have a rebirth and return to its roots.

Unfortunately, in my not-so-humble opinion, there is one glaring problem with his calculus: If the "Corporate Democrats" were pruned from the party, there wouldn't be much of a party left to resuscitate! The reason for this should be obvious. In this day and age, almost all mainstream party office holders and candidates are beholden to corporate interests!

It has become very expensive to seek federal and state office. It even is true for many county and city races as well. We're talking about millions upon millions (maybe even billions) of dollars.

Who has that kind of money to contribute? It certainly isn't going to come from the working class and what's left of the middle class. The only class that possesses that kind of disposable income is the uppermost strata. They are the ones who contribute the bulk of campaign funds and, not surprisingly, these are the people who stand the best chance of influencing the outcome of elections and legislation.

Do you really think your twenty dollar contribution to Candidate A will get his or her attention, particularly when a wealthy individual or corporation is handing the candidate buckets of one hundred dollar bills? If you genuinely believe that your chosen candidate will listen to you, you are in la-la land!!

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