The great issue in 2012 pits patriotic capitalism, which offers integrity and fairness to the 99 percent, against crony capitalism, which offers special power and privilege to the 1 percent.
Ron Paul has an opportunity to galvanize new support if he becomes the only Republican candidate to join a majority of New Hampshire Republicans who condemn crony capitalism and the widely disapproved Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case.
In Citizens United, which I consider the worst case in American history since the Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court held that the 1 percent with the most money could “independently” spend all of that money to influence elections without regulation, disclosure or limits.
In a recent poll announced by the nonpartisan Americans for Campaign Reform, whose leaders include former Republican Senators Alan Simpson and Warren Rudman, strong majorities of New Hampshire Republicans oppose the Citizens United decision and would be more likely to vote for a candidate who shares their opposition.
Citizens United is a dagger to the heart of our liberty and democracy. It mocks the warnings from Hamilton in Federalist 9 and Madison in Federalist 10 against the toxic poison and power of factions.
There is a national revulsion against abuses of money, power, secrecy and selfish greed in politics and finance.
It is wrong when the Fed gives trillions of dollars of secret bailouts to the 1 percent, paid for by the 99 percent who were not told. It is wrong when supercommittees have secret conversations with moneyed lobbyists for the 1 percent while excluding the 99 percent.
It is wrong when the Supreme Court, after nonpublic presentations by two justices in the majority to highly interested factions with access to vast monies, and in a reversal of judicial precedent of the kind the Chief Justice promised during confirmation he would not support, gives unchecked, unlimited and unprecedented financial power to the 1 percent to use allegedly “independent” spending to destroy the equality of democratic citizenship that is the core of the American idea.
If Ron Paul becomes the only GOP candidate joining a majority of New Hampshire Republicans against these travesties to our liberties, and these mockeries of our Founding Fathers, he will tap into the great issue of 2012.
Let me offer my personal thanks to one of the greatest Americans of our time: H. Ross Perot.
Last weekend, C-SPAN, in its series “The Contenders,” offered a lengthy discussion about Ross Perot. President Obama, members of Congress and all Americans concerned about the future of our county should watch the full C-SPAN show about Perot.
Ross Perot was so right. He was a passionate advocate of campaign finance reform. He warned with clarity that the corrupting influence of big money is a central cause of big deficits and an unfair tax code, and a great threat to our democracy.
Perot’s nominee for vice president in his 1996 campaign, Pat Choate, told me Tuesday for this column that “our very democracy is endangered when it is bought by those with the most money and sold to those who make the highest bids.”
Ross Perot should be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his super-patriotic devotion to those who serve; his clarity in warning the nation about budget and trade deficits; and his integrity as a champion of campaign reform.
Whether the 2012 champion of patriotic capitalism against crony capitalism is Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Obama or someone else, that candidate will win a standing ovation from a grateful nation rebelling against corruption, whether that leader is Democratic, Republican or Independent.
I propose that Occupy Wall Street, supporters of Ron Paul, admirers of Ross Perot and all Americans concerned about our country join millions of people in Washington this spring in a historic march to make patriotic capitalism, not crony capitalism, the law of our land once again.