Gawker- By Mobutu Sese Seko
Feb 23, 2012 2:05 PM
The after effects of the Citizens United ruling shouldn’t shock anyone. Corporations were granted the ability to spend ungodly sums on campaigns, and guess what they’re doing?
They’re spending ungodly sums on campaigns.
There is one byproduct of this mess, though, that is unintentionally fun to observe: Americans get to watch billionaires hijack the election process like a bunch of shit-hammered uncles blindly destroying a pious family gathering we wanted to skip in the first place.
Currently, just five donors are controlling 25 percent of funds pouring into GOP super PACs. In the last week alone, faux cowboy Foster Friess made Rick Santorum’s “aaaiiiigh! intercourse!” campaign about aspirin and women’s knees, island builder Peter Thiel came to Ron Paul’s aid by upping his investment to $2.6 million, Sheldon Adelson gave Newt Gingrich another $10 million, and we learned that Mitt “I Like to Fire People” Romney has a huge backer in Frank “I Like to Sue Blogs out of Existence” VanderSloot.
(We won’t talk about VanderSloot here—because he likes to sue blogs out of existence—except to say that he looks like Alternate Universe Dick Cheney‘s opening-credits photo from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He’s the one who knows about wine and shaving brushes.)
In years past, we would never have met these guys. Even as far back as 2000, if you wanted to be a billionaire who ran a campaign, you actually had to be the one campaigning. Ross Perot set the standard in 1992, opening the door for men like Steve Forbes.
Forbes, unfortunately, demonstrated how troublesome rich-guy candidacy could be: Namely, he proved that being rich is proof of nothing other than being rich (his major life accomplishment was emerging from Malcolm Forbes’ wife), and wanting to keep being rich is a shitty platform for the 270 million-plus Americans who are not. In later years, we came to think of Forbes as “the creepy version of Rory Gilmore’s grandpa from The Gilmore Girls,” but in 1996 and 2000, it was obvious why he steered any question back to the need for a flat tax. That stuck out. Herman Cain perfected this failing greedheaded tax formula by replying, “Nine, nine, nine…” endlessly on the stump, like he was going through some celestial voicemail, begging for an operator to come on the line and tell him what Libya is.
What Citizens United has done, however, is create a formula for actual campaign surrogacy. Billionaires with two ideas (“I want to keep being a billionaire!” and “Something else!”) can remit funds to the person whose job it is to have all the other ideas. It’s great fun. We’re lucky to get the chance to meet these guys.