Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mitch, Money and Manipulating Elections

You will be stunned to learn that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is doing the Snoopy Happy Dance over the decision by the Bush Judicial Commission (formerly known as the Supreme Court) to overturn the futile attempt by the McCain-Feingold Act to remove the pernicious and destructive influence of corporate money from U.S. elections.

Here's what the Louisville Courier-Journal said this morning:

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Monday regarding the Supreme Court's decision in the case of Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission affirming the constitutionally protected right for grassroots lobbying groups to engage in electioneering communications in federal elections:

"Prior to this ruling, citizens were allowed to speak their minds except for just before an election - this ruling corrects that obstacle to free speech. This decision is a victory for free speech and confirmation that grassroots advocacy organizations have the same free speech rights as all Americans.

This is a step toward restoring the rights of citizens of every political affiliation to vigorously engage in political debate, whether the government agrees with them or not.

"Americans have a constitutionally protected right to hold their elected representatives accountable and, I hope, with this important decision, we can begin to undo the stranglehold that campaign finance legislation has placed on political debate."


Wisconsin Right To Life (WRTL) challenged a provision that prevents organizations and corporations from mentioning candidates for federal office during the "blackout" period mandated by Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). WRTL and its supporters contend that the law is unconstitutional as applied to them as it outlaws advocacy on legislative issues during election season.

In an Amicus brief filed with the Court in the case in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission, McConnell wrote:

"This case presents the exceptionally important question whether BCRA's restrictions on electioneering communications can be constitutionally applied to grassroots lobbying ads that do not serve an electioneering purpose. … The government has not identified a compelling interest sufficient to justify the imposition of BCRA's restrictions on grass-roots lobbying ads during the weeks immediately preceding an election, when constituents are most receptive to political ads."

Leader McConnell has been a defender of free speech rights, particularly as they relate to political debate. His beliefs on the First Amendment led him to challenge the constitutionality of the BCRA following its enactment.

Let's get a couple of things straight. This is NOT, repeat NOT, a free speech case. This is not a victory for the First Amendment. This is a catastrophe for ordinary Americans trying to make their voices heard in election campaigns.

And Mitch McConnell is about as far as anyone can get from being a defender of free speech rights. He is a defender of the ability of corporations to turn American workers into slaves and American voters into sheep.

I once had a conversation with a charming, intelligent, eloquent Libertarian. A real one, not a fake one like Newt Gingrich.

A self-made millionaire, he argued passionately for not just eliminating all limits on campaign contributions, but for establishing "one dollar, one vote." The more money you have, the more votes you get to cast for the candidate of your choice.

Granted, that system would probably not produce results much different from what we get now, but it's hardly what the Founders had in mind.

It is, however, precisely what Mitch McConnell has in mind.

He who has the gold makes the rules.

In case you forgot, Mitch is up for re-election next year, and he's more vulnerable than he's ever been. If you don't agree with Mitch that money equals speech, help defeat him at Ditch Mitch.