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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mitt Tells the Truth

Mitt Tells the Truth

By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
Common Dreams
Saturday, September 22, 2012

Like everyone else, we watched the movie of the week – that clandestine video from Mitt Romney’s fundraiser in Florida.

Thanks to that anonymous cameraperson, we now have a record of what our modern day, wealthy gentry really thinks about the rest of
us -- and it’s not pretty.

On the other hand, it’s also not news.

If you had reported as long as some of us have on winner-take-all politics and the unenlightened assumptions of the moneyed class, you wouldn’t find the remarks of Romney and his pals all that exceptional.

The resentment, disdain, and contempt with which they privately view those beneath them are an old story.

In fact, the video’s reminiscent of our first Gilded Age, back in the late 19th century.

The celebrated New York dandy Frederick Townsend Martin summed it up when he declared, “We are the rich. We own America. We got it, God knows how, but we intend to keep it.”

And so they do, as that glitzy gathering in Florida reminds us. You could see and hear one of the guests ask Mitt Romney what they
could do to help.

The governor answers, “Frankly, what I need you to do is to raise millions of dollars, because the president’s going to have about
$800 to $900 million. And that’s – that’s by far the most important
thing you could do."

He’s being truthful there, because money rules these campaigns.

And if there were more secret videos from other candidates, we would see them in equally compromised positions, bowing and scraping in their infernal pursuit of campaign cash, bending over backwards to suffer the advice that the privileged think their
money entitles them to give.

And we mean both parties.

Not far from us the other night, at a Manhattan fundraiser hosted
by Jay-Z and BeyoncĂ©, President Obama joked, “If somebody here
has a $10 million check -- I can’t solicit it from you, but feel free
to use it wisely.”

At least we think he was joking -- Obama and Romney alike now shape their schedules as much around moneymaking events as rallies and town halls.

Even though a state may be a lost cause when it comes to votes, if there’s money to be made they’ll change the campaign jet’s flight plan and make a special landing, just for the cold hard cash.

This is a racket, plain and simple.

A new report from Moody’s Investor Service says that all that
spending by the parties, corporations, Super PACs and other
outside groups will push political ad spending up this year by
half a billion dollars -- 25 percent higher than 2010 – the biggest
increase in history.

That prompted the CEO of CBS, Leslie Moonves, to lick his chops
and tell an investors conference last December,“There’s going
to be a lot of money spent. I’m not saying that’s the best thing
for America, but it’s not a bad thing for the CBS Corporation.”

Yes, the media giants and the TV stations they own are in on
the racket.

So are all those highly paid political consultants who as part of
their fees skim a percentage of the cost of local TV airtime,
usually around ten percent.

The pickings are better than ever, thanks to all the dark money being thrown around since the Citizens United decision.

One Democratic consultant has called it “the greatest windfall
that ever happened for political operatives in American history.”

You bet it is: By the time the primaries were over this year, the
top 150 political and media consultants already had raked in an
estimated $465 million – or more.

When Election Day finally rolls around, chances are that number will have at least doubled.

So we can’t stop reporting on this, even though we’re often told:

“Please change the subject. Everyone’s tired of this one.”

Don’t be so sure.

There’s a groundswell for rooting the money out of politics, as Americans come to see that this is the one reform that enables
all other reforms.

Two polls released in the last few days report large majorities
as many as eight in ten – are in favor of clamping down on the
amount of money that corporations, the super-rich, and those shadowy outside groups are pouring into the campaigns.

It’s up to all of us to put a sign on every lawn and stoop in the land:

“Democracy is not for sale.”



Journalist Bill Moyers is the host of the new show Moyers & Company, a weekly series of smart talk and new ideas aimed at helping viewers make sense of our tumultuous times through the insight of America’s strongest thinkers.

Michael Winship, senior writing fellow at Demos and president of
the Writers Guild of America, East, is senior writer of the new public television series Moyers & Company, premiering in January 2012.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/22

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