I write this as an American liberal, more concerned about the need for honest government than I am about the fortunes of any particular politician. It’s alarming to me to see Democrats who blasted corruption in the Bush Administration give Barack Obama a free pass.
Barack Obama claims to oppose the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, which opened up unlimited independent expenditures to interfere in political campaigns for federal office – money that is largely impossible to trace. Yet, Obama has done nothing to actually end the corrupt influence of independent expenditures.
In fact, Obama has embraced independent expenditures. He has actively encouraged organizations and wealthy individuals to exert influence over his campaign. Corporate money has poured in to help Barack Obama get re-elected, and Obama has welcomed it.
What’s more, Obama has acted to ensure that the government body that has the job of ensuring that campaign finance regulations are complied with, the Federal Election Commission, is hobbled. According to Pro Publica, President Obama has decided not to ‘nominate anyone to fill five out of the six vacant positions at the FEC.
The consequence is that the FEC has been deadlocked, unable to take any significant action to protect the American people from corrupt campaigns for public office.
Yes, Mitt Romney has terrible ideas for eliminating campaign finance regulations to an even greater extent. It isn’t enough, however, for Democrats to find fault with Mitt Romney. There’s no space on any ballot for “Not Romney”. Democrats are asking us to vote FOR Barack Obama, and Obama has a rotten record on campaign finance reform.
Alternatives to both Romney and Obama exist. One of them is Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President. Jill Stein supports strong campaign finance regulation, and, unlike Obama, has not accepted support in the form of any big corporate independent expenditures.