Americans Hate Supreme Court Ruling on Corporate Political Influence

monopoly man1 295x300 Americans Hate Supreme Court Ruling on Corporate Political InfluenceIt’s no surprise: 80 percent of Americans oppose the U.S. Supreme Court’s notorious Citizens United ruling that allows corporations to spend unlimited sums to influence election outcomes. Sixty-five percent are “strongly opposed.” That’s from a Washington Post poll published this morning.

The dislike is bipartisan. It’s about 8 out of 10 among both Republicans and Democrats. The political unrest we see across the spectrum comes from Americans’ feeling of powerlessness. Insurance corporations have delayed health care reform. Wall Street’s unfettered greed wrecked the economy. The federal stimulus is working — millions of new jobs created — but economic fears persist.

The Supreme Court stepped right in this mess and made individual Americans even less powerful. And citizens know it. It is outrageous that the Court would give corporations unprecedented political power over our lives. It is outrageous that the Court considers corporations people. It is outrageous that the Court rules money is equal to speech, meaning those with more money have more speech.

There are several initiatives aimed at correcting the Court’s terrible error and pointing the nation back toward something like a democracy. Plutocracy is not what the Founder intended, though it is clearly what today’s U.S. Supreme Court intended.

“If there’s one thing that Americans from the left, right and center can all agree on, it’s that they don’t want more special interests in our politics,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is spearheading the legislative effort, said in a statement after the poll was released Wednesday.

The Post details some of the efforts:

Under legislation being drafted by Schumer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), companies with foreign ownership or federal contracting ties would be limited in their ability to spend corporate money on elections.

The lawmakers also want to require companies to inform shareholders about political spending; to mandate special “political activities” accounts for corporations, unions and advocacy groups; and to require that corporate executives appear in political advertising funded by their companies.

Other likely proposals include banning participation in U.S. elections by bank bailout recipients.

Congressional Republicans, deaf to both the anti-democratic consequences of the ruling and the strong public sentiment against it, have praised the Court, calling the decision a victory for free speech. As the November election grows closer, I’m betting they change their tune.

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About Glenn W. Smith

Glenn W. Smith has spent the past 30 years in journalism and politics, where he’s made a name for himself as a writer, campaign manager, activist, think tank analyst and, as Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas says, a “legendary political consultant and all-around good guy.” “There’s no one like him,” says author George Lakoff. CNN commentator Paul Begala says, “He has unmatched experience, a graceful pen (or pixel nowadays) and deep insight into the best and worst of us.” Novelist Sarah Bird speaks of his “lucid and lyrical” prose. And, she says, he’s fun. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington says Glenn writes with “grace and abundant humor” and “uses his colorful experiences in Texas to enlighten us all.”

Smith led Ann Richards’ successful 1990 campaign for Governor of Texas. He worked for former Texas Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby and U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen. Earlier, Smith was a political reporter for the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post. He’s coordinated national campaigns for groups such as MoveOn.org. In 2004, he authored the highly acclaimed book, The Politics of Deceit: Saving Freedom and Democracy from Extinction. He also wrote Unfit Commander, a book that detailed George W. Bush’s mysterious disappearance from military service.

In 2004, Smith was featured in the film, Bush’s Brain, a documentary about Karl Rove. Smith provided commentary on Rove’s role as then-President Bush’s senior advisor. He has made numerous media appearances with Chris Mathews on Hardball, Joe Scarborough, Brit Hume, and many others. He writes a regularly for top national web sites, including FireDogLake and Huffington Post.

As a senior fellow at George Lakoff’s prestigious Rockridge Institute in Berkeley he studied, wrote and taught on the power of metaphor and narrative in political communications. He also lectured on religion and politics at the Starr King School for Ministry in Berkeley. As a sponsor and organizer, he has pulled together numerous national events with progressive religious leaders. He also organized a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King at Riverside Church in New York City as well as “Freedom and Faith” bus tours, which was a nationwide campaign for social justice and progressive values.

Smith’s play, Double Play, which explored American Western myths and legends, was held over to sold-out audiences. He’s even written and performed songs in the Americana tradition, such as his best-known song, “Helping Marty Robbins,” a tribute to his hometown, Houston.

Most recently, Smith is the creator of DogCanyon, a political and cultural web site covering state, national and global issues from a Texas perspective. DogCanyon is an exhilarating and unique site that gets the connections between politics and culture and explores both the personal side of politics and the ups, down, craziness and beauty of “life its ownself,” as humorist Dan Jenkins would say. DogCanyon offers heartfelt personal essays, hard-hitting political analysis, and, most importantly, laughs.

As Paul Begala said, Smith writes in “the finest, firmest, fearless tradition of Texas essayists like Molly Ivins.”