Is there yet a TAC-ian (or Burkean) position on campaign finance? I know that Pat Buchanan had no trouble signing on to the fairly strict campaign finance reform positions popular in the Reform Party in 2000, though as a Republican previously, and after, he hasn’t written much about the issue. My initial reaction to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling was that it might well have a positive impact on foreign-policy-related campaign spending. Because, I reasoned, corporate America has an interest in peace, in trade with the Islamic world, in short with business-like relationships where such relationships are possible. And they would spend to act as brake on the neocon/Israel hawk crazies. Somehow I envisioned more from Exxon and less from Sheldon Adelson than has turned out to be the case.
MJ Rosenberg has a strong column up worrying that the new campaign-spending regime will empower the Right forever, and it’s not a kind of Right which TAC readers will find congenial. Writes MJ:
It appears now that all the legitimate complaints that the pursuit of campaign contributions had utterly distorted U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is becoming a small part of a much larger catastrophe.
That is because as critical as the Middle East is, the whole issue is now being subsumed by a much larger threat: the threat, perhaps likelihood, that thanks to the Citizens United decision, the presidency and Congress will be permanently owned by the Republican right.
As someone who cast his first presidential vote for George McGovern, I am aware that there are left-wing rich people, and without them there would have been no effective political protest against the Vietnam war. Still I wonder if the United States is going to turn into a country in which politicians are simply like race-horses, wholly owned and trained by various competing billionaires, exercising little more autonomy or independent judgment than I’ll Have Another. Since I assume that the Citizens United decision is unlikely to be overturned soon, our solution may simply be a wiser class of rich people, our salvation coming when Bill Gates decides that restoring sanity in his own country a greater priority than ending global poverty, or whatever.