I'm just back from a huge rock n' roll fundraiser for Haiti relief here in Ashland. Ran into a few progressives who were in full-blown grief. Not about Haiti, but about today's Supreme Court decision sanctifying unfettered bribery in Congress.
The elimination of all limitations on corporate contributions is stunning in the perversity of its timing: on the heels of the process we've watched over climate change and health care legislation, throwing the gates open to more, much more corporate money in politics sounds like a sick joke. Or perhaps George Bush's farewell gift to America.
So here's my shot at a silver lining: we now have the opportunity to abandon the whole enterprise of limiting campaign contributions, which is just too hampered by legal vulnerabilities and loopholes to ever be effective. Remember the gyrations that led to the ugly camel of McCain-Feingold, and how much confusion and how little improvement came out of it? With all the existing constraints (even without today's decision), I seriously I doubt that an effective federal law to limit contributions could be passed and sustained.
So now we're free to put all our energy for this issue into the other alternative: public financing. My understanding is that it's legally bulletproof as long as it's voluntary. Which would make our key task to persuade a critical mass of people to withhold their votes for candidates who won't run with public funding; not a cakewalk, but more promising than any other approach I can see. If you think we're too far away from building sufficient support for public financing, see if this essential site cheers you up.
If you know a better strategy, please share with the class.