FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Progressive Bribery

by DOUG GIEBEL

A guest on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman urged that voters write to their representatives telling them to not accept contributions from tainted corporate donors.

On a recent Diane Rehm Show, Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd inelegantly dodged a question asking if he would support Elizabeth Warren to head the new consumer protection agency. Dodd opined there are many qualified people for the job.

Some believe the rumor that upon his retirement from the Senate, Christopher Dodd will take a position with Goldman Sachs and bring home sacks of cash for his willingness to cave in when Big Finance says “Cave,” for Senator Dodd has willingly helped water down legislation aimed at regulating industry. But, of course, Senator Dodd is not alone, and asking the current crop  in Congress to turn down big money handouts from powerful interests  would be like asking someone to avoid breathing for the next twenty minutes.

A “modest proposal” has no place in the political culture of hypocrisy, cynicism and greed where modesty and virtue are virtually unknown. How deep is the cynicism? Just listen to the standard response given by elected officials when asked if big campaign donations influence their votes. “Why, no. My vote is never influenced by those contributions,” they will reply with straight-faced sincerity worthy of any successful con man.

Some may ask, “How stupid do they think we are?” Well, my friends — and you are my friends — they think you’re really stupid, and you are. This goes for those Tea Party followers who believe that throwing the bums out of office will bring purity to the hallowed halls of Congress. They ignore the fact that a “system” has been developed by Big Money and Willing Legislators making it all but impossible for anyone to be elected to national office without plenty of cash or access  to cash through a willingness to play along with Big Money’s demands.

Earnest but naive progressives will fail to influence most in Congress with pleas to just say “No,” as they have mostly failed to get the  ear of President Obama once he swore the oath and entered the White House.  Money talks. Power talks. Money is power. Power is money.

This administration’s knee-jerk reaction to the Breitbart and Fox News hustle in the Shirley Sherrod debacle demonstrates how foolish today’s Democrats are when lies trump fairness, decency and common sense. Yes, President Obama and others offered up apologies to Ms. Sherrod because they had been caught with their proverbial trousers unzipped, but the climate of fear that has infected Democrats won’t go away. And Shirley Sherrod should have been invited for a face to face with our thin-skinned commander in chief. He chose the easy way out.

On the other hand, there will be no apologies from this administration after its eager face-to-face pow-wows with Big Money when writing legislation ranging from health care to financial regulation to climate change. No apologies, either, for the demeaning treatment of such honorable and creative  people as Van Jones and Dawn Johnsen.

Instead of begging for ethical respectability from politicians, progressives may have only one choice: If they can’t lick ’em, buy em.

The Obama campaign demonstrated that fired-up Little Guys (men and women who believed “change” was necessary and possible) would fork over plenty of loose change to help build a better nation. Many of those same Little Guys are disappointed because, as in a Frank Capra movie, their heroes turned out to be spineless slaves of the status quo.

Therefore the answer to reform in Washington may be to show them the money, pay to play, compete by shoving bundles of cash into campaign pockets and then demand responsibility, accountability, fairness, compassion and God-forbid  enlightened government in return.

As it is, so let it be.

DOUG GIEBEL welcomes comment: dougcatz@itstriangle.com

WORDS THAT STICK

?

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail