Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 14, 2002
Ever ask yourself, "I wonder what Mark Green is up to these days, after suffering one of the most humilaiting exits from electoral politics in history?"
I didn't think so, but Green turns up anyway, subbing for Eric Alterman, and bestowing upon us this sage advice: "although issues such as terrorism, social security, health care, and pollution absorb far more public attention and concern, the scandal of strings-attached money corrupting politics and government is the most urgent problem in America today-because it makes it harder to solve nearly all our other problems. How can we produce smart defense, environmental, and health policies if arms contractors, oil firms, and HMOs have such a hammerlock over the committees charged with considering reforms? How can we adequately fund education and child care if special interests win special tax breaks that deplete public resources?" (emphasis mine) And this clunker: "Because the press and public judge a candidacy by its treasury, and because no one can be sure how much will be “enough,” candidates feel the pressure to engage in financial overkill, just as the Soviets and Americans did with nuclear missiles in their arms race."
Wow, that's a lot of different varieties of foolishness to pack into such a short space . . (1) the complete lack of perspective in putting campaign finance reform ahead of terrorism on any list - I may think it's funny, as a former McCain voter, that I get mail from his PAC saying "help me defeat the influence of money in politics - send $100!", but at least McCain hasn't confused his favorite straw man with the real threats to the nation. Oh, and which national party is siding with its campaign contributors in the fight over the structure of the Homeland Security bill? (2) Perhaps we can "adequately fund education and child care" if we do it at the local level. "Enron" probably didn't buy influence at your local School Board, and you can raise property taxes without raising money from Global Crossing. But then, that would require you to pay for this stuff yourself. (3) Do you think he means the Senate committees? I doubt it. (4) The throughly gratuitous moral equivalence between the U.S. and the Soviet Union - why do people like Green try to re-fight the Cold War in totally unrelated discussions, when their side (being charitable, I mean appeasement of Communism, not Communism itself) didn't win? (5) Green grumbles about "self-financing multimillionaires," which sounds an awful lot like Whitey Herzog complaining about the unfairness of home field advantage in the World Series.
For added humor, you can go to Green's website, which has the hilarious and ungrammatical slogan "Don't let them run our democracy -- the way they ran Enron" (who, Ken Lay? I think Enron's management has been stalled in his tracks pretty effectively. But isn't the charge against Enron that the company had bad management with obscure finances and too little accountability, not that its pure-hearted management was bought out by moneyed outside interests?) and fumes about the "evil of access" to Congress.