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The “Family Values” That Weren’t Mentioned At The Democratic Debate, by Clancy Sigal

Due to the excellent legwork of three NYT reporters (Confessore, Cohen and Yourish), and Federal Election Commission reports, on which I rely, that meaningless phrase “campaign finance reform” takes on flesh and blood. We now have a clearer idea of something we more or less knew, that our real rulers are overwhelmingly white, rich, rightwing, older and male, and live in  guarded mansion-fortresses in places like Indian Creek Road and River Oaks, Texas, and Bel Air up the hill from me in Los Angeles.

These 158 amazingly rich families are not your traditional “old money” from blue-chip corporations and industries but “new money” wildcatters from finance (Wall Street) and energy (oil and gas), a few foreigners (Pakistan, Israel etc.) and some in the movie business. The 158 invest mainly in far-out, not always mentally stable Republican candidates as a way (as they see it) to help protect their own wealth and insure we poor slobs don’t get our hands on a little of it through “entitlements” like Social Security and Medicare which they passionately despise. 

In a perfect world the 158, doubtless church-going and charitable, would like us dead. This is no conspiracy, just the natural way big money walks and talks.  In a country like ours being re-imagined by the young, and women, and black and brown (usually Democratic) voters, the 158 are like King Canute who believed his command could hold back the ocean tide.  We slobs are the ocean tide, and super PACs are the 158’s seawall.

Aside from a few candid primitives like the Koch Brothers and casino-rich Sheldon Adelson, the new donor elite do bookkeeping mystery magic to hide where their money is coming from.  The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision made it so easy for them to secretly dump cash on candidates via post office boxes or anonymous trusts, anything to obscure the source.  

We’re talking serious money, witness: The Wilkes (fracking boom) family of Texas $15 million; hedge funder Bob Mercer $11 million; Texas leverage buyout king Toby Neugebauer $10 million; Texan pipeline tycoon Kelcy Warren merely $6 million; and, Oh the pain! Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts $5 million.  And so on down the long line to a paltry $500,000 or $250,000, the pikers. The 158 are simply doing what comes naturally to entrepreneurs who are without tradition, taste or a sense of limits.  After all, that’s how they got into Forbes.  In the immortal words of the 19th century political boss George Washington Plunkett, “I see my opportunity and I take it.”

Pigs at the trough, the Democrats refuse to be piggied away from super PAC cash.  “Democrat” of course means Hillary who has a stranglehold on the Democratic National Committee through her henchwoman, DNC caporegime Debbie Wasserman Schultz who could give lessons to Tony Soprano in rubbing out the opposition and lying about it. (FYI: in this year’s third quarter Bernie and Hillary raised nearly $30 million each.  Almost 80% of Bernie’s donors were small-time.  Exactly the reverse, more than 80% of Hillary’s money came from top-dollar moguls. )

It’s an open secret that much of the organized Left is financed by liberal money.   This “non-profit, philanthropic complex”  runs foundations and leftwing think tanks; the wealthy ladle us a fraction of their money to keep up appearances and help good causes.  Let us not inquire how market manipulator and liberal angel, currency trader George Soros, makes his living and whether the money we take from him is part of his triggering global financial crises he profits from. As the Australians say, no wurries, mate.

We’re all caught up in the cash nexus, a web of cash.  Who among us will turn down a million bucks from a benefactor?’

"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.

Who among us will be the Little Red Hen?