Some speech is more freerer than other speech
Finally, corporations will have a voice in American politics. I guess the only real question is, as Juan Cole points out, whether corporate money was already so dominant in our elections that “democracy” was already a touchingly naive fantasy. In this sense, I’m glad that the Massachusetts debacle happened virtually simultaneously; after all, this way, we can at least have a sense of proportion about the Supreme Court’s vicious assault on whatever it was we were supposed to have going for us as a nation. It seems hard to imagine that 2010 isn’t going to be a Republican bloodbath fueled by the complete unfettering of corporate money, but then what was the point of voting for a democrat anyway if their fondest desire is to lose valiantly on their signature issues? If there’s a silver lining in all of this, its that the incumbent democrats will get so thoroughly washed out of office as to leave some space for an opposition politician or two that actually wants to win on an issue of importance. After all, since there are still disclosure rules, at least it will be completely obvious that the entire political process is bought and sold by corporate money. Speaking of touchingly naive fantasies; I’m not holding my breath.
It is remarkable, though, as Fallows and Klein remark, that a 51% majority in a statewide election is a national landslide, and that while a 59% majority in an elected governmental body is an impotent minority, 55% of an appointed body can overturn the very basis on which our democracy has proceeded for a century. And like Dave Johnson, I look forward to the Supreme Court ruling that bribery is protected free speech. Try arguing that it’s not, by the logic of this clusterfuck of a ruling: since the managers of corporations have a fiduciary duty to maximize corporate profits, and corporate resources can now be used to influence our elections, corproate executives now seem to be required by the basic logic of the corporation to break 18 U.S.C. § 201 : US Code – Section 201: Bribery of public officials and witnesses:
(b) Whoever –
(1) directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official or person who has been selected to be a public official, or offers or promises any public official or any person who has been selected to be a public official to give anything of value to any other person or
entity, with intent –
(A) to influence any official act; …
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.
I’m with Umair Haque, his satire aside; if corporations want to take part in the political process like a human being, then give them one single lonely fucking vote like the rest of us.