George Graham

Campaign Finance Reform is Just a Dream in America

President Barack Obama is pressing Congress for swift action on measures to restrict political advertising by corporations and labor unions, and you can bet the Republicans will be saying, “Hell no you can’t” once more.

This is a matter of life and death for the Republican party. Its existence depends on massive infusions of cash from corporations and various special interests that could not possibly get their agendas implemented by any government that was really “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

It is only by spending vast sums of money on propaganda and by hiring experts to twist the facts, invent persuasive lies and flood the airwaves and internet with disinformation that Republicans can compete in American politics today. I remember when the party stood for ideas that a reasonable person could at least consider supporting. But those days are long gone.

Some of today’s conservatives consider President Eisenhower a dangerous lefty, and the Republican “grassroots” now consist of conspiracy nuts, racists, gun fanatics, and religious zealots who would have been dismissed by Jesus of Nazareth as “whited sepulchers.”

This motley crew of wild-eyed soreheads is kept in a fever of fear and hatred by an army of flacks who reap rich rewards from betrayal of their audiences and their country. It takes vast amounts of money to maintain this assault on reality and to buy off America’s elected representatives.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court moved to ensure that the flow of funds would not only continue unabated but swell to unprecedented heights. The heavily conservative court threw out limits on corporate contributions to political campaigns, opening wide the financial spigot that feeds America’s political perversion.

The President and his allies in Congress are doing what they can to limit the damage. Legislation introduced this week would require that corporations and unions identify themselves in political ads they pay for and that the chief executive or other top official state that “I approve this message.”

I guess that will do something to shame the deep-pockets into restraint. But I doubt it will do much.

As long as the Supreme Court bans campaign spending limits enacted by most other world democracies, “government by the people” will be an elusive dream in America.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for