Friday, February 03, 2012

The Circus of Overreach

Sometimes the circus act more than fills the big top--it's over the top, and the tent collapses.  That may be happening now, as the extent of overreach becomes obvious. It's becoming especially obvious in the fatal mixture of big money politics by the obscenely wealthy and Rabid Right ideological politics.

For example, the Religious Right Meets Class War of money for poor women's health in a society that makes health depend on wealth. The reaction from the Susan B. Komen Foundation decision to stop its longstanding financial support for Planned Parenthood breast cancer screenings continued to get even stronger on Thursday, with several prominent resignations from the Foundation, protests from U.S. Senators and many individuals--and this story that fleshes out the right wing political agenda behind the foundation's act.  Friday Update: It appears that the Foundation has reconsidered and will continue funding the Planned Parenthood screening programs, although some warn that it's not clear how solid this commitment is now.

The continuing influence of money on political policy got the curtain torn back in Florida on Thursday.  Florida is just one of the states where an extreme Tevangelical plus Big Money agenda has been trying to destroy political, organizing and women's rights since that combination took over their governments in 2010.  It is distinguished only by how the obscenely wealthy Rick Scott (probably the wealthiest pol short of Rich Richney) bought the governorship with his own millions.  And now it has revealed just how organized the changes in these states have been.   The rightward American Legislative Council has been providing direction and "model bills," but though their influence has been hotly denied, that's going to be harder when a Florida legislator forgot to remove their mission statement from their template bill that she introduced as her own.

In the GOPer presidential circus, news organizations continue to study the report of superpac donors, fleshing out the extent to which just a few of the obscenely wealthy--just 41, by one count--are supplying Richney's millions.  But in a revelation that surprisingly didn't get headlines Thursday, the Richney campaign has 14 lobbyists bundling cash for his campaign, including at least one who lobbies for foreign nations--including a Middle Eastern oil-producing member of OPEC.   So big foreign money buying access and self-interest joins big corporate money and big money in general in trying to buy the U.S. presidency.

Richney is easy enough to parody, simply by sticking to the facts: "you and a few buddies with names like T. Coleman Andrews III made pots of dough by starting up a venture-capital firm with other people’s moolah and then spent the rest of your life living off the "carried interest" proceeds at a low, low, low tax rate of 15 percent, upgrading your $12 million vacation home in the ritzy San Diego suburb of La Jolla and running for president because you can’t get elected to any other office..."

It could be that Richney is getting so defined right now that he won't be able to overcome this impression later.  But a lot can happen, and a lot of bucks are yet to happen. Big money, already way too influential, is trying to buy the place outright, and that campaign is just getting started.

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