Thursday, January 21, 2010

Supreme Court bleg

Count me as not terribly distraught about the Supreme Court's campaign finance ruling today. I don't buy the legal reasoning in the case, but ultimately the notion that you can somehow keep money out of politics is misguided. If it doesn't go to candidates, it goes to party committees or 527 groups or whatever. The old adage about politics and money being like water on pavement seems to apply.

The solution, as I see it, is not to try to trick the moneymen into not being able to do what they do, but rather to adopt policies to encourage a more egalitarian distribution of wealth. Campaign finance issues are a symptom of an inequal society, not a disease in and of themselves. It's unsurprising that John McCain (v. 1.0) and Russ Feingold are the big heavy-hitters on this issue, as both have (had, in McCain's case) demonstrated great earnestness but little vision about the reality of the problems facing our society along these lines. All this doesn't have to mean adopting radical redistribution through progressive taxation, as there are plenty of ways to improve the standing of the working and middle classes (such as easing union organizing restrictions). But it doesn't seem that Obama or the Democrats are particularly interested in exploiting the increasingly conservative direction of the Court, and not just on this. From Bush v. Gore to striking down voluntary desegregation codes, I'm pretty sure that the Democrats could mount a strong case for a more progressive judicial system when one considers the unpopular and conservative record of the Supreme Court's recent years. I'm not sure why they don't. It sure worked for FDR (and Nixon, on the other side).

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.