The Bucks Don’t Stop Here
"The hard truth is that we have a corporate class that funds electoral conflict for the purpose of forging a political class that will govern in its interest" is as brutally honest and accurate as is the entire article by John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney "The Money & Media Election Complex," [Nov. 29]. Yet a majority of voters would not understand its audacity and complexity, nor would they understand how their vote, based on negative TV ads, endangers our democracy. Do voters realize that their vote in 2012 could help disable our democracy? Do they understand they are voting for a plutocracy? This essay is too important and outstanding to keep within The Nation. It needs to be the basis of a push for campaign finance reform. I suggest a ban on political advertising on TV because it’s dangerous to your health, like the ban on TV cigarette peddling.
John Nichols and Robert McChesney blast election campaign TV ads: "As ads become the primary source of political information, we create a politics based on lies or, at best…quarter-truths." Strong words. Their solution? More TV ads! "Free TV ads for every candidate on the ballot." Since, by the writers’ account, TV campaign ads absorb two-thirds of all campaign funds, wouldn’t the proper solution be a legal ban on those TV ads? TV campaign ads are already banned in England.
Let’s think big. Repeal any First Amendment protection for election campaign ads on television, radio and billboards, and prohibit all such ads. Candidates could still use debates, newspaper, magazine and Internet ads, mailers, fliers, books and phone calls. This could reduce the amount of money any candidate needs by two-thirds. Citizens lacking wealth could run for major public office!
LEO W. QUIRK
‘Don’t Cry for Me': B. Obama
Mt. Lebanon, Pa.
Re William Greider’s "Obama Without Tears," [Nov. 29]: my shoe leather is where my heart is. I am one of thousands who walked, and knocked, in the last two elections. I have been inspired by President Obama, but not lately. The president has changed from a transformational leader to mediator. When Wall Street went down, I wanted a president who would indict the perps while fixing the system. (W. didn’t, but I thought Obama might.) Instead, his opening position was compromise. Compromise is necessary, but you often get the best deal by championing your values, defending the ideal and explaining the process to the faithful. You negotiate but assert that the dream shall never die. We need candidate Obama back. Let someone else broker the deals. I didn’t walk a hole in my shoe for a mediator. I sweated for the best, most inspiring leader since Bobby Kennedy.
I continue to be confounded by President Obama’s inability to evidence real indignation against a know-nothing, do-nothing GOP. Perhaps he doesn’t want to be perceived as an angry black man; but he is beginning to look more and more like Gen. George McClellan, whom Lincoln despaired of ever engaging the fight with the forces seeking to divide and conquer.
For far too long Obama has suppressed legitimate outrage in favor of lawyerly, overly conciliatory, above-the-fray detachment while the right seizes the narrative. For the sake of the country, "fired up and ready to go" from candidate Obama needs a revival from within the bruised-but-not-bowed presidential psyche.