Why is this presidential campaign a contest of styles and personalities and not policy? Why is the leading Democratic candidate campaigning on her cookie recipes rather than her position of the Trans Pacific Partnership? Why is no Republican giving us straight talk on climate science? Why does the corporate lobbyist think-tank commentariat so viciously marginalizes any candidate who opposes amnesty for illegals, the national security state or military pork?
To be a leading candidate is to be muzzled and directed by today’s big-dollar political money system that has subverted the national interest and corrupted Washington to the bone.
Former US Senator Gary Hart lays it out forcefully in his newly published Time.com essay. Below are snips:
- Four qualities have distinguished republican government from ancient Athens forward: the sovereignty of the people; a sense of the common good; government dedicated to the commonwealth; and resistance to corruption. Measured against the standards established for republics from ancient times, the American Republic is massively corrupt.
- There has never been a time …when the government of the United States was so perversely and systematically dedicated to special interests, earmarks, side deals, log-rolling, vote-trading, and sweetheart deals.
- The key word is not quid-pro-quo bribery, the key word is access. In exchange for a few moments of the senator’s time and many more moments of her committee staff’s time, fund-raising events with the promise of tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars are delivered.
- You have a billion, or even several hundred million, then purchase a candidate from the endless reserve bench of minor politicians and make him or her a star, a mouthpiece for any cause or purpose however questionable, and that candidate will mouth your script in endless political debates and through as many television spots as you are willing to pay for.
- The lobbying business is no longer about votes up or down on particular measures that may emerge in Congress or policies made in the White House. It is about setting agendas, deciding what should and should not be brought up for hearings and legislation.
- America’s founders knew one thing: The republics of history all died when narrow interests overwhelmed the common good and the interests of the commonwealth … [T]he government of the United States is for sale to the highest bidder.
- In addition to the rise of the national security state, and the concentration of wealth and power in America, no development in modern times sets us apart more from the nation originally bequeathed to us than the rise of the special interest state. There is a Gresham’s law related to the republican ideal. Bad politics drives out good politics. Legalized corruption drives men and women of stature, honor, and dignity out of the halls of government.
- [If we are] to restore our highest ideals, then major changes must be made in the way we elect our presidents and our members of Congress.