Thursday, February 21, 2008

Missouri Senate Republicans Are Junkies Needing the Fix

Honestly, I grudgingly admire the straightforward corruption of Senator Charlie Shields of St. Joseph. In pushing to repeal limitations on campaign donations, he doesn't spout some pseudo-"good government" crap, or act as though he is behaving in the public interest. Instead, he embraces the corruption at the soul of the Missouri Republican party, the one thing that unites the Bond "country club" Republicans and the Bartle "Bible belt" Republicans. It's all about the love of lucre, and the lengths those Republicans will go to get it.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Charlie Shields of St. Joseph, said contribution limits had done little to reduce the flow of money into political campaigns.

Rather, he said, they had encouraged politicians and their fundraisers to devise ever more creative ways to circumvent the limits and obscure the identities of those seeking to gain influence.

“We’ve become so good at this that Missouri politicians could give seminars to Colombian drug lords on how to launder money,” Shields said.

. . .

Shields argued that any rule that attempt to stem the flow of money into political campaigns would be fruitless. People attempting to funnel money to politicians will find a way around any rule.


It's not at all surprising that Shields had drugs on his mind as he was pushing this corrupt subversion of campaign limits the voters of Missouri approved by a 3:1 margin years ago. Go ahead and substitute the "heroin" in for "campaign contributions" in the arguments made by the Republicans and you'll see that our Republicans, Country Club and Bible Belt, are strung out junkies who will stop at nothing to get their next fix, defying the Missouri Supreme Court and the voters of Missouri for just one more fix.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous GMC70 said...

" . . . contribution limits had done little to reduce the flow of money into political campaigns.

Rather, he said, they had encouraged politicians and their fundraisers to devise ever more creative ways to circumvent the limits and obscure the identities of those seeking to gain influence."

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You may not like it, Dan, and you can deny it all you like, but he's right. Money has always been the mother's milk of politics, and campaign finance measures are ALWAYS the equivalent of sticking one's finger in the dike: the money just flows elsewhere. But it still flows.

It's simply a fact of political life, in BOTH PARTIES, and no amount of grandstanding, posturing, or fingerpointing will change it.

Yes, I said both parties. Politicians in BOTH parties will find ways to circumvent the limits. And those who seek to use campaign contributions to attempt to influence politicians will continue to do so.

BOTH parties. Ad infinitum. Forever. Trying to eliminate the influence of money from politics has about as much chance of success as eliminating breathing.

2/21/2008 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trying to stop drug trafficking is like trying to stick one's finger in the dike.

Trying to stop prostitution is like trying to stick one's finger in the dike.

2/21/2008 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous -

You're a lot more insightful than GMC70. While GMC70 is correct that money will find ways to influence politics under any system, that does not mean that we should not attempt to regulate it.

The public finance suggestion by Smith was one of the best suggestions ever to be shot down by the guns of greed and expediency. The Republicans are in thrall to large donors and don't mind selling government to millionaires. This is the last gasp of a dying party - the voters will turn them out and the Democrats will have the opportunity to make positive changes.

2/21/2008 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Name one democrat that turned down campaign funds from George Soros, Dan... then you can get on your superior high-horse to discuss dirty GOP money.

2/21/2008 7:36 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ahh, the old "you're a hypocrite if you live in the real world" game. That's pretty desperate - you're kind of like one of those republicans who makes the point that people arguing against tax cuts for the wealthy are free to mail in as much money as they like.

What, pray tell, does the acceptance of legal contributions have to do with attempts to improve the law?

2/22/2008 6:41 AM  
Anonymous GMC70 said...

Dan -

Campaign finance is designed to clean up the "appearance" of politics, but not the reality. And given that the laws are passed by encumbants, they will always favor encumbants - i.e. professional politicians.

In other words, the law is written to fool the public that we are "doing something" even as the money, diverted through another source, keeps flowing.

It has always been so. It will always be so. Both parties.

My proposal's simple: Only voters can contribute: not organizations, corporations, unions, etc. Real people only. They can contribute as much as they want to whever they want. Contributions and expenditures must be disclosed regularly, say every two weeks, for the 12 months prior to election. Then let the voters decide if the sources of the money matters to them.

But trying to limit contributions - and eliminate the influence of money in politics - is a fool's errand. And at times (not very often, Dan) you're a fool.

2/22/2008 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your shallow cynicism is cute, but deeply flawed. The restrictions and disclosure requirements we do have are all proof that "encumbants" are capable of making changes if pressured by the populace. Do you think those other political bodies that have enacted public financing and other reforms were somehow divinely inspired?

I understand that Republicans want unrestricted donations from zillionaires. Those Democrats with zillionaires backing them kind of like the idea, too. It's not much of a solution, IMHO, but I do like the rapid disclosure idea.

2/22/2008 12:55 PM  
Anonymous GMC70 said...

Anonymous:

I'm not cynical - I'm realistic.

2/26/2008 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Real Dem said...

Koster voted with the Republicans, still.

2/27/2008 9:42 PM  

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