Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 7, 2014 / 7 Nissan, 5774

The effects of showering more money on politics are harder to predict than you might think

By David M. Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | With its members holding lifetime tenure and sheltered from elections and polls, the Supreme Court has the capacity to structure the politics of the other two branches. It did so in 2000, when it settled the electoral standoff between Al Gore Jr. and George W. Bush. It did so in 2010, when it permitted corporations and nonprofit organizations to make unlimited "independent expenditures." And it did so again this week.

This latest decision, which threw out a $123,200 limit on contributions to federal candidates and political parties over a two-year election cycle, threw American politics into upheaval and altered the landscape for this fall's elections.

The high court's decision buttressed two important trends. It chipped away at campaign-finance laws that since the mid-1970s had sought to restrict the influence of big money on American political campaigns. And it affirmed the notion that political contributions are a form of speech protected by the First Amendment.

Both of these developments have shaped American politics in recent years, and though they were embraced with new vigor by special-interest groups and deplored with new outrage by activists seeking to limit the effect of money on politics, they in effect return American politics to pre-Watergate, or even pre-20th century, contours.

More specifically, the ruling may help the established political parties, traditionally the source of the money that the California politician Jesse M. Unruh described as the mother's milk of politics. In recent years the two major parties had watched helplessly as streams of political money flowed to outside groups. But the partial reversal of this trend almost certainly will return American politics to a shape more familiar to readers of textbooks than to readers of contemporary newspapers and websites.

That world is a politics of a nearly unfettered flow of money into the major parties, accompanied by a nearly unfettered influence on politics of the lobbyists who are both instruments of big money and distributors of big money.

In pre-20th century terms, this means the likely re-emergence of party-aligned power brokers like Mark Hannah, who bankrolled Republican President William McKinley (in office 1897-1901) and also served himself in the Senate (1897-1904). In more modern terms, it also means the sustained and perhaps enhanced power of organized labor over Democratic politicians and of large business groups like the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers over Republican politicians.

This decision prompted the predictable hails and horrors from the predictable corners of American civic and political life. But its effects — like the campaign finance laws themselves, which reshaped American politics in unanticipated, often mischievous ways — are impossible to predict.

That said, some changes are almost inevitable. "A relatively small group of donors capable of giving large sums now will be able to give even more," says Anthony J. Corrado Jr., a Colby College political scientist specializing in campaign-finance issues. No one disputes that.

There likely will be a new Niagara of money flowing into this year's 36 gubernatorial races, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the states, including the four big ones (California, Texas, New York and Florida) and several other politically important ones (Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland and Wisconsin).

Money will flood into the 435 House races, too, where Republicans almost certainly will retain and very likely enhance their majority, as well as the 33 Senate races that now loom so important for the final two years of Barack Obama's presidency and for the rest of this decade.

One of the campaign-finance caps that remains — the ban on giving more than $5,200 to a single candidate during the two-year election cycle — is almost meaningless on a national scale. Now big donors can direct their contributions to all candidates coast to coast or contribute to the national parties, permitting the parties in turn to distribute the money where it would be most effective. That latter tactic could trump the influence of an individual donor on an individual campaign, as it would permit party strategists in Washington to concentrate money where its impact can be greatest.

This is not to say that big money and big power don't rule the capital already. Many analysts believe their influence is greater than ever, reinforced not only by the Citizens United decision four years ago but also by the astonishing growth of wealth at the upper income levels of American life and by the new fundraising tools created by the Internet. Even apostles of the so-called little guy in American politics have been beneficiaries of big money — and here Mr. Obama immediately comes to mind, though much of his campaign treasury was gathered in small contributions by ingenious initiatives on the Web.

This is one reason the established parties don't rule Washington the way they once did: ruthlessly, remorselessly, relentlessly.

Though the major parties have been recast in the last quarter-century by money, though both have become more ideologically aligned and though both have become more ideologically rigid, both have in some senses become less powerful. While their ability to stymie their rivals seems unlimited and their inclination to slime their opponents seems inexhaustible — the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the demonization of George W. Bush, the relentless attacks on Mr. Obama — they have been eclipsed by independent groups.

With more money and thus more power available to the parties, it is possible that groups such as the Tea Party could find their influence undermined by the very party establishments that their money and candidates are trying to change.

Groups like the Tea Party will still have funding, to be sure; many of their donors are more interested in their causes than in promoting the GOP. With enhanced power residing in groups like the National Republican Campaign Committee, however, leaders of the party establishment may be able to drown with money those candidates they regard as rogues — particularly when incumbents are involved.

Nobody can accurately predict how this Supreme Court decision will reconfigure American politics, just as no one thought the post-Watergate laws would create political-action committees that would come to dominate the politics that followed. That is why careful commentators never refer to campaign-finance "reform" — and why commentaries like this one are dangerous.

Supreme Court decisions are sometimes like rafts on a river. You think they are drifting in one direction — and then ripples and rapids change their course entirely.


ARCHIVES

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

© 2014, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Universal Uclick, as agent for UFS.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast