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FISA: Money Talks

shystee's picture
Thread: 

Complaints by citizens concerned about losing their constitutional rights? Not so much:

Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint gave PAC contributions averaging:

$8,359 to each Democrat who changed their position to support immunity for Telcos (94 Dems)

$4,987 to each Democrat who remained opposed to immunity for Telcos (116 Dems)

Digby:

The article duly notes that money isn't the only reason legislators vote the way they do, but it really doesn't get any more stark than this.

Digby is right, as always, but this reminds me of sense of puzzlement I perceive by some progressive bloggers as to why the Dems seem to be working so hard to grant the TelCo's and the Bushies retroactive immunity.

I think this confusion is based on an assumption that Democratic politicians act out of a sense of morality and values that they share with their voters and activists.

Based on their recent (past 8 years?) actions this is obviously a very mistaken assumption. A more reasonable explanation is that politicians are just people doing a job.

Part of their job is to persuade voters that they share their concerns (whether they really do or not) in order to get elected.

The other (primary) part of their job is to find ways of complying with pressure from groups that have the power to keep them in or remove them from their job.

Leverage, not ethics or values or character or morality, is what determines how politicians act.

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

and to hell with anyone who says the Democrats have to hamstring themselves on campaign moneyraising to suit some conjured faux ethical limitations that the Republicans have been ignoring at will for forever.

I say the Democrats should get every dollar they can from where ever they can get it and use every cent to crush the Republican Party into dust.

After the alligators are dealt with, we can start draining the swamp.

Submitted by cg.eye on

I don't take issue with Obama's decision to opt entirely out of the public financing system. That was bound to happen eventually. Obama is smart to exploit his fundraising advantage over McCain. The political price of his about-face will be negligible. Likewise, I don't begrudge Obama his bundlers -- or Clinton's bundlers, for that matter.

What's galling is Obama's effort to portray himself through this entire episode as somehow different from, and purer than, the ordinary politician. Different might have been coupling the announcement with a self-imposed limit on the size of donations. Different might have been -- it could still be -- taking the big checks but acknowledging that, since bundlers will be bringing in even bigger hauls, disclosure should be adjusted accordingly, to reveal not only who raised $200,000 but also who brought in $500,000, who $1 million.

Let alone end the charade of not being beholden to lobbyists, but not minding at all having lobbyists' wives, relatives and friends be the designated money launderers.

He said he would bring Change. He said his campaign would be different. He lied boldly, long and unrepentantly, and ruined the reputation of someone who lied less.

If we make excuses for our politicians to be corrupt in order to remain competitive, don't we have to tell the truth, once in a while, just to check whether we still recognize it?

And, Sweetie, Obama won't crush the Republican party: He will merge with it, and add their distinctiveness to his collective.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Marcus and the WaPo aren't about telling the truth, they're about undercutting the Democrats' chances in November.

Praise Obama slightly, then call him out as a liar; same old same old tactics.

Obama & Democrats = pretty bad with the possibility of improvement.

McCain = much, much worse with the prospect of even worse yet.

You're certainly welcome to your opinion, but I have seen nothing at all to convince me you are correct. Obama was at the bottom of my list of possible Democrats, which puts him 1,000 times higher than any Republican. However flawed he may be, he is not anywhere near as bad as the best Republican. From there for me, QED.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

having you been following the latest? They have robo calls going into Steny's district alerting his constituents as to what he has done. Justice by example and couldn't happen to a better sell out.

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

....to be a member of the club, in this case, one of the most exclusive ones we have, the SCLM.

There is hardly a mainstream pundit who hasn't written exactly the same column It's an double opportunity for them, one, to demonstrate that they can be critical of Obama, and and two, for a demonstration of the kind of self-preening pretense at critical awareness of hypocrisy, with plenty of attendant sarcasm that is the mother's milk of American punditry.

As I tried to point out elsewhere, the reason that people like Marcus just love the notion of piecemeal campaign finance reform is that it keeps the real issue of genuine public financing, of the entire system, with spending caps, and the provision of free access to media outlets, from ever being discussed.

Does it strike none of you admirers of Ms. Marcus as odd that pundits like her are so passionate about this particular issue, but have nothing whatsoever to say about the far more important issue of the shredding of the 4th amendment?

Apparently not.

Apparently your dislike of Obama is so intense, which is not the same as being either reasoned or clearly stated, that it doesn't bother you to suspend the hard-earned critique that has been carried on by the progressive blogisphere aimed at pundits like Marcus. There's a reason that we call it the so-called liberal media.

Submitted by cg.eye on

to elect Obama. That's my point.

If we no longer criticize Obama for what he does wrong, what difference does it make that the only people who'll now criticize his political tactics are his and our true enemies? If we accept necessary lies as standard operating procedures, then what right do we have once someone tells lies about us?

(hey, haven't we been down this road before?)

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

especially when her "beat" is almost always more personal and character stuff (and she does it 100000000 times better than others like Dodd and Noonan, etc)--doesn't really carry much weight, i don't think.

Her thing on Yoo and Berkeley showed that she has principles--and falls on the side of the Constitution when the topic calls for it, i think. She's not just always parroting the DC Village/WaPo company line.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

she's usually much normal, and doesn't usually spout the usual "the Administration is always right, and Dems are only good when they cave in to the GOP/Administration" bs (which is probably why she's ignored in favor of Hiatt and Novak and Broder and Robinson and Dionne, etc)

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Hiatt and Novak and Broder and Robinson and Dionne, and Marcus too. Of all the stuff that's wrong in this country today, she finds room to write a negative about Obama and campaign money. Issue number 9,538 on my list of what’s important.

But we get to hear about it here, because it’s a knock on Obama and boy are all of those tasty, no matter how conjured up they are or how false or how trivial. Somebody's harshing on Obama, drag it out! Tapper? Great source, honesty personified; Broder? Always a trusted intellect and the best opinion writer around, impeccable track record for accuracy and intelligent discourse. Hey look, he just turned on Obama - what a shocker, didn’t see that coming! Garbage from Drudge, BS about secret tapes of Michelle, bastard Barack sat next to Bill Ayers once, must be a commie or a secret terrorist! OOOH NOOO, he's from Chi-Ca-Go! They're all corrupt in Chicago, not like decent folks from places like New York or Boston or Cleveland or DC. Obama’s dumb as a stump and Congress will run everything, how awful! Obama is scary smart and will manipulate everyone else, how awful! Obama is a wimp and the Republican minority will walk all over him! Obama is a rabid authoritarian and will control everything like a dictator! Obama is every horrible nightmare you've ever had!

Why don't we just plug in a live feed of the Limbaugh show here and have done with it?

cg-eye: If we no longer criticize Obama for what he does wrong.... Who is we, and why would we not? Plenty of room for critique, but I am flat out of patience for all the simple Ohate and referencing VRWC/MSM sources as justification. Where he deserves criticism, have at it; where policies need improvement, tell why and make suggestions; where he is in error, document it and call him on it. But hearing about how awful it is that the Democrats for a change are being organized and effective and on message and well-funded and, mostest scaryest of all, might actually win, is seriously getting on my nerves.

When some VRWC-MSM gasbag is trotted out as a reference to prove the awfulness, my patience is exceeded. When I read about how McCain would be better, I just lose all restraint. Keep putting out that crap, and I’ll keep pointing out that it is just a pile of crap – and it stinks.

What is this thread about anyway? Oh yeah, FISA, 4th Amendment, trivial stuff.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

simply see as the very overdue truths that weren't told.

Stop attacking the messenger--the message has value whether it's attacking one or the other if it's based in facts.

you obviously don't want to hear any of this --except for some alternative/better sources? sorry--i think what the MSM says counts--and their voices--good and bad--reach millions daily--that greatly affects your "might actually win" thing, btw.

Reading all sources critically and assessing whether they're full of shit or not counts too--Marcus never drank the koolaid and isn't suddenly attacking because he's now the nominee--unlike most of the others. Tapper too, was critical all along as well--and alone in that. McClatchy too... Walsh at Salon too...

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

--this is just one result of that--you probably don't think it's important tho -- after all the big media dared to report on it.

"... aides to Mr. Obama asked Mr. Ellison to cancel the trip because it might stir controversy. Another aide appeared at Mr. Ellison’s Washington office to explain.

“I will never forget the quote,” Mr. Ellison said, leaning forward in his chair as he recalled the aide’s words. “He said, ‘We have a very tightly wrapped message.’ ”..."

shystee's picture
Submitted by shystee on

"This is not a pie-fight post"

Thought it wasn't necessary anymore but it's always good to use protection.

The post was not about Obama but about Corporate money influencing Democratic politicians.

I hope nobody caught an STD.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I'm still convinced this was driven primarily by Hoyer and Rockefeller and the BlueDogs, and the notion that they could drive something like this does not bode well for the future.

Here's a Roll Call article discussing the growth in BlueDog numbers and influence, and the expected coming influx of PAC cash.

Many of the new Democrats elected to the House this fall will be conservatives, good BlueDog material. The caucus is expecting to open their membership after the election, and their numbers will be a quarter of the full Democratic caucus.

The average cost of a winning house seat in 2006 IIRC was about $1.25 million, so cash is king if you want to keep your seat. This will be a tough cycle to interrupt, and trading Republicans for BlueDogs doesn't help much with progressive goals. On the other hand, a solid Democratic majority will allow the leadership to put some seats at risk to move topics that the majority of the caucus want to enact. Thin gruel.