Free Speech for People

Subtitle "SCOTUS = SCum" Actually, I think Dems and progressives need to stop wringing their hands and moaning about public financing, and accept the Supreme Court's Jan 21st ruling that corporations are entitled to spend unlimited funds in our elections for what it is: a great gift tossed right in our laps in our time of need, and a fabulous wedge issue for 2010, 2012, and possibly beyond.  I am not talking about the supposed bonanza this means for the political consulting industry, I'm not even really talking about campaign financing at all.  That is a piece of the pie, but we have got to think BIGGER.  The Court's ruling has successfully flanked McCain-Feingold, and with this conservative majority it ain't gettin' better soon.  The big picture issue that is beautifully highlighted now is simply this: Corporations are Not People.  There is a very fast-moving effort afoot to amend the Constitution and specify that its rights and liberties do not automatically apply to corporations, i.e., abolishing the notion of corporate personhood.  Nope, not a crazy idea at all -- there has been vigorous academic and legal debate about this created notion since the moment it was first handed down.

It is possible that Congresswoman Donna Edwards (MD-04) will be introducing an amendment as early as this week.  I really like this video that sums up the thinking: Free Speech for People -- and Kudos for excellent use of a Mel Brooks clip!  Senator Jamie Raskin is my State Senator -- he melts my hard little consultant's heart!

Think about it:

  1. Between the banks, Wall Street, and AIG our respect for corporate America has never been lower.  Very few voters disagree with the notion that corporations have undue influence in our political system.
  2. Precedent for the notion of  "artificial persons" is traced to an 1886 Supreme Court Case,  Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, wherein the railroad barons managed to finagle an interpretation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause to include corporations.  Ri-i-i-ght.  It wasn't about slavery; it was about freeing the poor railroads...
  3. Conservatives will gnash their teeth, and moan that we are trying to destroy the capitalist system, but this is not about harming corporations.  We, as People, can decide to give corporations all sorts of rights that make sense for smooth commerce.  But I don't believe for a minute that their rights were guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as "inalienable."  And about 90% of Americans would agree.
  4. Care to run against anyone who votes for the rights of corporations to spend unlimited amounts in campaigns?  How, exactly, does one explain in non-legalese that you think corporations = people?

And for the record, there are already some swell efforts under way to limit how corporations can participate in campaigns.