Money can be exchanged for goods and services

A lot of posts like this, lamenting Obama’s apparent Great Betrayal, his looking more and more like a garden variety stooge of the Big Business.

My first reaction was, obviously – huh? He is an American politician, elected president, why would he be anything else?

But then I realized that there might be something interesting in it after all. Remember: the guy had collected gazillions of dollars over the internet, small contributions from ordinary people. Shouldn’t it make him, to an extent, immune to the pressure? Well, apparently not.

Which means (and it makes sense) that the size of the campaign war chest is not the single or defining factor for winning elections anymore, assuming it was in the past. It’s not the campaign money, it’s the media.

It seems to me that the media have become so concentrated and integrated with the establishment, that they can (and do) affect elections results to a much greater degree than whatever pitiful amount the campaigns spend (what, less than a billion in a presidential election?) ‘to broadcast their message’.

The media are controlled by the Big Business, the elections are controlled by the media, and your $20 contribution makes no difference, even if 50 million of you send twenty bucks each.

The system evolved, that’s a much more manageable sort of operation.


  1. tim
    Posted December 20, 2008 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    You didn’t notice that Ron Paul was the one who started the whole internet contribution thing? And he was effectively shut down by the media?

  2. Posted December 20, 2008 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    well it would make a difference if people wanted their money back when they felt ‘betrayed’. something like the amazon honour system(ironically being disbanded right now)?

  3. Posted December 20, 2008 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    d’oh, i meant this link

  4. Posted December 21, 2008 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    How would it make a difference – the guy is already elected, he is the king.

    In Robert Sheckley’s story Ticket to Tranai anybody can become Supreme President on planet Tranai – by simply volunteering. The Supreme President has unlimited power. There is a catch, tough: anyone else can step into Citizens’ Booth at any time and express dissatisfaction by pressing the big red button. What happens then? Well, read the story.

  5. Posted December 24, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    i dont deny that at this stage he is the king, i just meant during the campaign… such as the telecom immunity thing, if all the techno-liberals and those they influenced had taken back their donations… would he still have stood for telecom immunity?

    of course the campaign donations from the AT&T etc vastly outweigh the small change that individuals put in, but i wonder if it would still not be enough of a PR nightmare that he would have given in….

  6. Posted January 14, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    As the author of the post in question, I can say that you misread it. It certainly wasn’t “lamenting Obama’s apparent Great Betrayal”; it was documenting it, which I think is a very worthwhile exercise (I expect to spend the next four years doing quite a bit of it). I’ve been warning Obama supporters that this was going to happen since the first time I wrote about the guy, and I’ve never had any illusions about him to shatter.

    I know the kind of post you’re talking about, but even in those cases I’m not likely to pass judgment on the writer–I’m just happy any time I see a befuddled liberal waking up to the fact that there is no Democratic messiah.

  7. abb1
    Posted January 15, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    It does sound like I call you naive, doesn’t it. I apologize.

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