This story originally appeared at Truthdig. Robert Scheer is the author of The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street (Nation Books).
Let’s just dip our fingers in purple ink and pose for photos now that voting has the same significance for us as it had for those Iraqis who got conned into thinking they were participating in some grand democratic experiment.
Our own elections, the ones our government has modeled for the world, are a hoax. What other word should we use to describe this year’s presidential election, whose outcome will turn on which party’s Super PACs gets the most generous bribes from billionaires? The Republicans, enabled by decisions of a Supreme Court they still control, were the first out of the gate and are far more culpable in destroying our system of popular governance. But the Democrats, no less committed to winning at any cost to political principle, have now jumped in.
The generally reserved New York Times editorial page responded to the Obama campaign’s decision to seek Super PAC funding with a scathing editorial headlined “Another Campaign for Sale.” The Times reminded that Barack Obama, in his State of the Union speech two years ago, called out the Supreme Court justices sitting before him over their decision to free special interests from campaign spending limits. “I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests,” Obama said then. “They should be decided by the American people.” But sadly, as the Times editorial noted this week, “On Monday, the President abandoned that fundamental principle and gave in to the culture of the Citizens United decision that he once denounced as a ‘threat to our democracy.’ ”
Monday was the day the Obama campaign sent out an e-mail announcing that members of the president’s administration would solicit funds for Priorities USA Action, one of the Super PACs that can now, thanks to the Supreme Court decisions that Obama had castigated, raise unlimited funds in an effort to sway the election.
Just as the super political action committee supporting Republican primary contender Newt Gingrich had raised $10 million from Nevada gambling kingpin Sheldon Adelson and his wife, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama campaign set its sights on media mogul Haim Saban.
A backer of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries in 2008, Saban had not subsequently supported Obama because of criticisms over the president’s actions toward Israel. Perhaps because the president has done nothing to effectively pressure the Israeli government to make any concessions toward Palestinian self-determination, Saban recently made his first contribution to Obama and in a written statement Tuesday said, “We are looking at all the Super PACs at the moment, will surely participate, but haven’t decided on the details.”