By Alan W. Dowd
In an effort to limit the damage from what promises to be a political tsunami in November, President Obama and his surrogates are smearing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Republican candidates for accepting “secret foreign money,” according to a DNC ad, and contributions from “foreign-owned corporations,” according to the president.
This is nothing more than a tempest in a teapot—and one overflowing with a toxic mix of hypocrisy and cynicism—for lots of reasons. But here are just a few.
First, in the president’s smearing of the Chamber’s legitimate involvement in the political process and in his deriding of money from “the oil industry” and “the insurance industry” as “a threat to our democracy,” there is an implication that money in politics is inherently evil and that he somehow has transcended this sin.
We’ll address the latter in a moment, but on the matter of money in politics, it pays to recall that money and what it can buy have always played a role in U.S. politics.
In 1757, as he ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses, George Washington spent a small fortune on rum and whiskey. The book Money Matters estimates that he bought more than a quart of liquor per voter in that first campaign. He won, thanks in part to this special campaign expense. James Madison refused to follow Washington’s example in his bid for re-election to the same body. Perhaps predictably, he lost.
Originally published at Front Page Magazine- the official student newspaper of UC Berkeley- click the link to read more or for more information.