Why I stopped reading Gary Hart’s piece on oligarchy.

Found here, via here.  Anyway, I was reading along, and came across this passage: “With its monumentally wrong-headed Citizens United decision…”  That was enough for me.  Oligarchical elements in our Republic are, indeed, rather strong: but it is instructive to note that they were not weaker under so-called ‘campaign finance reform.’ In fact, if you look at American politics since free speech was reaffirmed under Citizens United you will note that a good number of local political dynasties have been since defeated. 2014 in particular gives some prime examples; but ask the Carnahan family in Missouri how well they’re doing these days. Or the Reids in Nevada. I’m sure that there are other political families now on harder political times, these days.

I am not saying that life is all nice and egalitarian, now.  I am saying that it’s more egalitarian than it was. Such things typically happen when you make it easier for people to talk: there’s nothing an oligarch likes better than to be able to restrict what may and may not be freely said. And I have no real time at all for somebody who can’t tell the difference between what he thinks is going on, and what is actually going on.  There are only so many hours in the day, you know?

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: I should also note that Gary Hart probably has a bit of a personal grudge towards the Bush family – a grudge that would be all the more pronounced because it is largely not reciprocated. That’s how these things typically work. Usually to the chagrin of the person holding the grudge.

5 thoughts on “Why I stopped reading Gary Hart’s piece on oligarchy.”

  1. Citizens United is a red herring.

    Money corrupts the political process because it is a medium for a transaction: a politician uses his public authority to aid some private faction, and in turn that private faction confers a private benefit upon the politician (a campaign contribution, promise of a future lobbying career, etc).

    Citizens United allowed virtually unlimited money, but only into the public square. How is the transaction supposed to happen now? The special interest supplies a sum of money to swing the election, then claims credit for the election having been swung; the politician, believing this and feeling full of gratitude, rewards the special interest with favorable policy.

    The chain of influence here breaks down along the way at several points: (a) the voters have to be persuaded by the spending; (b) the politician must believe that the spending was necessary to victory; (c) the politician must not “cheat” on the covenant and do what he wants anyway.

    It does not make a heckuva lot of sense. And it is hypocritical, too. Long before Citizens United, organized labor could spend unlimited money mobilizing and coordinating its own members, which is not peanuts in states in the Midwest. Unlimited money in politics only becomes a problem for the left insofar as it appears to benefit Republicans.

  2. The irony here for Gary Hart is that the immediate subject of Citizens United was about restricting a hit-piece on one of the subjects of his “oligarchy” rant, Hillary Clinton. If it would have gone the way I infer (the immediate gag order did, IIRC), it would have enabled the very oligarchy problem he confesses to deplore.
    And I have no idea why he’s so butthurt about the Bush family; he brought that Monkey Business down on *himself*. Of course nowadays the media would absolutely not look into it, him being a democrat and all.

  3. I always figured Hart would be mad at Bill Clinton for getting away with the monkey business that sunk Hart.

    1. Clinton not only got away with it, he kept on winning large portions of the Bible Belt despite everyone knowing how much of a man-whore he was.

  4. I have the right to a free press. I have the right to publish. Full stop.
    What others do with that right, alone or in conjunction, does not take away my right to publish. No matter who they are, no matter how well-funded they are, I have that right. And so do they.
    Who gets to decide who can publish and who cannot publish?
    Who guards the guardians?
    If you disapprove of their published speech, then publish right back; I’m in favor of that rather than giving a turd like Harry Reid position as editor-in-chief for American political opinion.

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