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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Your cash ain't nothin' but trash

For all the talk about the Loony Left and the Red Meat Right, there's a bigger problem with the American political system today -- the fuel that fires the wars. And it's vividly on display on the front page of today's Boston Globe -- along with a possibly overly romantic hope for a solution.

Globe reporters dipped into campaign finance reports and discovered that the grassroots that launched Scott Brown to Capitol Hill were quite deep, stretching to Georgia and the Virgin Islands.

In another time, those kinds of folks might have been called outside agitators, but today the folks from all 50 states who contributed to Brown and Martha Coakley were only exercising their constitutional rights to political speech -- to influence things far from their home.

A far more worrisome trend is the $600,000 poured into local pockets over the last two years to influence legislation that backers say would make it less expensive for Massachusetts consumers to repair their cars. The money is coming for corporations who make the cars and from those who fix them. It's safe to say they don't want to see the flow of your money into their pockets change directions.

Both forms of speech are constitutionally protected, even more so after the recent Supreme Court decision that give GM and Toyota virtually the same speech rights as you and me.

But there can be little doubt that the amount of money flooding the system, for candidates and issues and lobbying, is the root cause of the current dysfunctional system -- and the anger people feel on both sides as lawmakers react to those who talk louder.

I'm not saying all politicians can be bought (a few, yes, some like Dianne Wilkerson for veritable chump change.) Nor am I saying all lobbyists or corporations are corrupt although once again a few stand out in ignominy like Jack Abramoff.

But the unfettered flow of dollars into the system is a huge problem, drowning voices in a sea of cash. And I wish I could share the optimism of folks like Shaun Casey and Adam Winkler that the flow of dollars will reach "the good guys."

Conservative activist judges who blew up the dam last month
in the alleged defense of "free" speech" have only assured things will get worse before they get better.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the $700k that SEIU gave to Coakley?

February 24, 2010 5:34 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Same problem. Doesn't matter whether the flood comes from the left or right, it's still drowning discourse -- and civility.

February 24, 2010 5:47 AM  

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