What am I bid for this wavy-haired, toothy congressman? Who'll start the bidding at a $1,000? Do I hear two?
The Supreme Court recently lifted the cap on the amount individuals can contribute to federal candidates. You cannot only contribute $2,600 to your representative, but also to every congressional candidate across the nation.
I don't know about you, but I'd have a hard time scraping up that amount to give to one candidate, much less hundreds of them. But now the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, George Soros and other gazillionaires can contribute endless amounts not just to buy influence with their representatives, but ours, too.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer expressed outrage over the ruling.
"I would like to say to Justice Kennedy [the swing vote in the decision], 'Do you know how you're ruining democracy in this country . . . in the guise of improving free speech?' I don't think the Koch brothers lack for free speech."
Yeah, Chuck, go get 'em! Isn't it great to live in NYC, home of progressive thinkers who take the side of the common man?
I thought so, too, until I read a 2009 letter Schumer wrote to the Kochs' political action committee: "Thank you so much for your generous KochPac contribution to my 2010 campaign . . . I look forward to working with you throughout this election."
Say it ain't so, Chuck!
But Schumer isn't the only one who howls against big-money control of politics, then acts like an obedient puppy begging for a treat from these same oligarchs and big banks when the spotlight dims.
Once in a while, some brave political soul sticks up his or her head and challenges this corrupt system, on both sides of the aisle. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The old Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). But there seem to be fewer of these mavericks, as big money shuts them down and trims the herd.
"They wish to dismantle all limits on giving, piece by piece, until we are back to the days of the robber barons," Schumer grumbled after the Supreme Court decision.
But how long will it be until he approaches these masters of the universe, hat in hand, saying, "Please sir, may I have some more?"
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.