The Supreme Right Court

The Robert’s Supreme Court has issued a ruling on campaign financing through the unlimited use of “issues” ads.  The Court’s decision signaled the opening of unlimited spending by Unions, Corporations, and any special interest.  If we thought the 521’s in the last election (for example those sponsored by the Swift Boaters against John Kerry) were gutter politics, we have seen anything yet.

The Supreme Court is by definition the highest court in the land and by inference, the most reasoned and fair Court.  The Court has a responsibility to think through the implications of a new interpretation of the Constitution for the unobvious and unwanted consequences.  The Roberts’ Court let us down.  Here’s some of the fruits we can expect to harvest from this less than supreme decision:

1. Smear ads filled with half-truths and mis-statements paid for by a candidate’s opposition.  The purpose will be to influence the congressional split between parties in a coordinated (although with the appearance of grass roots) effort to gain a majority of one party or the other.  This would apply to the Presidential election as well as State Governors too.

2. Unlimited advocacy of special interests such as pro-life, pro-choice, pro-gun, anti-gun, pro-union, anti-union etc, with a clear slant towards a certain candidate, will flood the airways and print media.  This will tend to drive candidates to be even more “two faced” than now (hard to imagine).  In addition an election may turn on pro-guns/anti-guns when the situation cries for thoughtful consideration of major issues like social security, education, national defense, health care, or energy realism (independence from foreign supplies while reducing green house gas emissions).

3. A larger voice to those with lots of money.  This will undoubtably reinforce the growing difference between the rich and the poor.

4. A general invitation for more graft and corruption as politicians work to harness these ads in their personal efforts to get elected.

In addition

5. These special interests will spend even more amounts of money to advertise their positions.  Radio, TV and print media will seek these ads and will become neutered when they become addicted to this income stream.  Fairness in communications will be forgotten.

6. The already wasteful spending that accompanies our elections will only get larger.  At a time when we should be looking to reduce the money and time spent on election campaigns in favor of more serious discussion of issues, we will be increasing our waste of money.

7. The airwaves will become so confusing with “pro and anti” that people will cease to listen and may seek their information from the internet.  This is a cheaper form of commications and when these special interests detect this shift, that the volume of “spam messages” masquerading as a banner ad or a blog will change the landscape we see today.

The amazing issue here is that the Court in essence reversed early Court judgements aimed at trying to keep elections fair and open.  The Court could have ducted this by not having accepted the case in the first place and second by standing by past practice.  I can not imagine that the Founding Fathers had this type of spending in mind when they talked of free speech.

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Explore posts in the same categories: 2008 Election, Democratic Party, News Media, Republican Party, Supreme Court

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