The twin explosions of post-9/11 national security extravagance and Citizens United political spending bonanza have reshaped Washington — not only in its political outlook but physically, with this New Class preferring lavish McMansions to show off their newfound wealth, as Mike Lofgren describes.
President Obama has called government “transparency” vital for a democracy. But, in practice, he has favored secrecy, keeping key foreign-policy facts away from Americans (all the better to manipulate them) and even balking at a rule requiring government contractors to disclose campaign spending, the latter only requiring a stroke of his pen, says Bill Moyers.
The hundreds of millions of dollars from billionaires seeking to control the outcomes of Campaign 2012 largely failed as their preferred Republicans mostly went down to defeat. But these gushers of money remain a threat to American democracy, says Michael Winship.
The U.S. political process still has many flaws, but the voters turned back the most brazen assaults on democracy, from plutocrats trying to buy the election to Republicans seeking to suppress the votes of minorities. Fairness on gay marriage and other social issues also won, writes William Boardman.
The five right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court downplayed how distorting their Citizens United decision would be to American politics. But the tidal wave of campaign cash is now inundating U.S. voters with unchecked factual claims, says Michael Winship.
Under the cloak of “free speech,” rich Americans — especially on the Right — are buying what’s left of U.S. “democracy” and doing much of it in secret, insisting their sponsorship of TV attack ads be hidden. Some of their handmaidens even boast about their impending victories, note Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.
For several decades, Corporate America has been squeezing the life out of what’s left of the democratic Republic, applying steady pressure from well-funded right-wing media and political groups. This year, under the cloak of Citizens United, the deed might finally be completed, observes Beverly Bandler.