Calling Wealthy Democrats

obama walking dog

Official White House Photographer: Pete Souza

Because the Supreme Court majority launched a direct attack on American democracy in the Citizens United decision by allowing unlimited and undisclosed campaign donations, which reversed more than a century of judicial precedent and directly violated the pledge to respect precedent by Chief Justice John Roberts during his confirmation hearings, and which followed private presentations by two justices in the majority to interested parties, this is a call to arms to the wealthy Democrats and liberals of America.

I strongly agree with the decision by President Obama to support large donations to super-PACs after a Supreme Court decision that deforms our democracy more than any acts since blacks and women were denied the right to vote. I believe the highly unpopular and profoundly unwise decision in the Citizens United case was the most reprehensible, anti-democratic and un-American decision by any court since an earlier Supreme Court gave judicial blessing to slavery.

What super-wealthy conservative donors and factions that Madison and Hamilton warned us against in the Federalist Papers understand, in ways that many wealthy liberals and Democrats do not, is this:

Citizens United destroys the American notion of citizenship by creating separate and unequal classes of Americans. It creates a de facto American House of Lords in which the wealthiest 10 percent of the wealthiest 1 percent are given unlimited financial power to attempt to buy our democracy in secret, while all other Americans are relegated to second-class citizenship.

My advice to Obama and Democratic leaders is to launch a national and aggressive full-court press to overturn the Citizens United case through constitutional amendment, legislation and state ballot initiatives that will rally the nation against this highly unpopular decision while, simultaneously, asking wealthy liberals and Democrats to make large donations to balance the scales in a fist-flying battle for the future of the nation that must not be a one-sided war.

Obama, like all presidents, has the huge advantage of the Teddy Roosevelt bully pulpit that is unique in American politics. He can explain to the nation, as only a president using the bully pulpit can do, why the Citizens United decision must be reversed and why, until it is, both parties should compete on fair and equal terms.

This is why I opposed the Citizens United decision from the moment it was decided, yet supported and urged wealthy Democratic and liberal donors to support super-PACs such as the Majority PAC that supports Senate Democrats, the House Majority PAC that supports House Democrats and Priorities USA, which supports Obama.

I suggest Obama, all Democrats, liberals, centrists, independents, populists, the Occupy Wall Street movement and the large majority of voters who oppose Citizens United to wage a national crusade against this heinous Supreme Court decision on the floor of the House and Senate, in state after state and across the nation.

I do not begrudge wealthy conservative donors such as Sheldon Adelson, the Koch family and others from exercising legal powers so unwisely given to them by the Supreme Court.

But let’s be clear: They are willing to spend enormous sums of money to achieve their ideological and special-interest goals. They seek one-party control of the presidency, the House, the Senate and the Supreme Court for a generation. Their project is a one-party state of the right that controls the executive, legislative and judicial powers of government.

Brent BudowskyToday we witness in real time how superwealthy conservative interests finance super-PAC machines of slander, pander and defamation against other Republicans. This is a modest preview of the general election.

When the super-PAC money from the right totals $250 million, $500 million or $1 billion the question becomes:

Will men and women of the center and left fight as hard for their vision of America, or will they surrender from the sidelines? If they surrender, I tremble for the future of the nation.

Brent Budowsky
The Hill 


  1. dusty says

    Friends and Brent — if you would look at the “Federalist Papers” number 10 then you would understand why we are in the mess that we are and why so far our movement has been denied and the fault lies with not just the Republicans but with Democrats who allowed the Repugnants to pack the Supreme Court, sort of like some supreme burritos — lots of calories but no nourishment, with reactionary flunkies for business. It will take lots more street action, witness Egypt, Spain, Portugal, Greece etc for examples, to begin to rebuild our democracy. Note that the Republic form was chose to defeat the populace from exerting power — that was the selling of the nation to slavery way back when the Constitution was written and now it is being re-done with Citizens United except now we are all supposed to be the slaves of the rich, disenfranchised and under the iron heel.

  2. Joe Weinstein says

    Once again I must point out that Citizens United does little to change – or worsen – the inherently obsolete political structure and dynamic created by the US federal constitution (and copycat state constitutions and local charters) and which – fatally – seems OK or even delightful to most folk, including progressives and other would-be ‘reformers’.

    This structure is Roman-republic-style populist-election-veneer oligarchy. An upper 99% – have no actual decision power, but are thrown a populist-veneer bone: mass popularity-contest elections which select or ratify the oligarchs who make the actual decisions.

    A high officer gets power for a long term over many key decisions. This power he can, with de-facto impunity, in effect sell out to the highest-bidding corrupters. Unlike today’s naive ‘reformers’, earlier folk – democrats in ancient Athens and Lord Acton in 1887 – perceived that oligarchic concentration of political power inevitably promotes government corruption: ‘power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

    By the way, this structural incentive to corruption – sell-outs by powerful officers and payoffs by their corrupters – is independent of election and campaign costs. Corruption is promoted and will exist whether campaign costs are high, low or nonexistent. Of course, insofar as they are legal, campaign donations serve as one useful pathway – among many – for paying off officials.

    In any event it pays to win a mass-election contest to gain office. And prevailing ‘civic’ and ‘patriotic’ rhetoric insists that the most marginal voters – those who perceive (sometimes correctly and sometimes not) little to be at stake, and those who rarely or never heed public affairs – have an unconditional duty to vote and at all costs should be persuaded to vote.

    Given these facts, a popular theory infers that – contra what actually happened in California in 2010 – it pays to spend enormous amounts of extra money in hope of swaying the whims of those marginal voters. According to the theory, the Citizens United decision will promote such spending. The theory then infers that therefore Citizens United is a nasty threat to ‘democracy’.

    But ‘democracy’ does not correctly describe the USA’s usual political systems, past or present.

  3. says

    I agree with Brent when he writes “I strongly agree with the decision by President Obama to support large donations to super-PACs after a Supreme Court decision that deforms our democracy.” For Obama to refuse super-Pac donation support while Republicans flood the airwaves with super-Pac anti-Obama ads would be tantamount to unilateral disarmament.

    I also agree that “Democrats, liberals, centrists, independents, populists, the Occupy Wall Street movement and the large majority of voters” who oppose the Supreme Court decision should do all they can to return our electoral system to some semblance of sanity, one in which elections cannot so easily be bought.

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