You're currently reading an archived version of Jim Hightower's work.
The latest (and greatest?) observations from Jim Hightower are only now available at our Substack website. Join us there!
Supreme Court justices don’t strike me as a fun-loving bunch. I mean, would you really want to waste your down-time with the perpetually petulant Clarence Thomas, or kick back with the supercilious Antonin Scalia?
Yet, they and three other up-tight and far-right Supremes snuck a whoopee cushion into our elections when they rendered their Citizens United decision two years ago. With a straight face, the five jokesters decreed that corporations and the super-rich can dump unlimited money into political action committees, as long as – get this – these so-called SuperPACs do not explicitly coordinate with the candidates they’re backing.
Enjoying Hightower's work? Join us over at our new home on Substack:
What a hoot! I’ll bet these smart lawyers laughed themselves slap-happy over this non-coordination rule, knowing that it had a built-in loophole bigger than Newt Gingrich’s ego. Sure enough, every presidential candidate this year has one of the Court’s supposedly independent SuperPACs backing them with unprecedented levels of corporate cash. And every candidate solemnly declares that in no way are they coordinating or even talking to those running these money funnels. The punch line, of course, is that the SuperPACs are – whoopee! – brother-in-law deals, set up and run by the candidates’ cronies and business partners.
Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert is exposing the Court’s crude joke on our democracy by having his own SuperPAC (called Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow) support his satirical run for president. Noting that it “would be coordinating with yourself” for him to both be the candidate and run the PAC, Colbert turned ABTT over to his Comedy Central colleague, Jon Stewart. Both pledged not to coordinate, with Stewart saying he wouldn’t even watch Colbert’s TV show.
It’s easy to laugh at the absurdity of the Supreme Court – but the joke’s on us.
“Colbert for President: A Run or a Comedy Riff?” The New York Times, January 13, 2012.
“More that $12 million spent on campaign ads ahead of primary,” The Austin American Statesman, January 21, 2012.
“Super PACs seek to delay filings revealing donors,” Austin American Statesman, January 8, 2012.
“PACs’ Aid Allows Romney’s Rivals To Extend Race,” The New York Times, January 13, 2012.
“Campaigns and ‘Super PACs’ Inundate Airwaves in South Carolina,” The New York Times, January 11, 2012.