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Obama: “The Devil” Made Me Take the Super Pac Money

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford | February 7, 2012

President Obama is like comedian Flip Wilson’s character, Geraldine: He blames everything on the Devil. The Devil made him do it.

And so, the Devil has just forced Mr. Obama to put together his own infernal Super Pac, the demon-spawn of the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision allowing corporations and wealthy individuals to spend as much money as they like on elections. Only days ago, Obama was calling Super Pacs a “threat to democracy,” but that was then, and now it’s time to make sure that the president has an equal opportunity to join in the corruption. But, don’t blame Obama. The Koch brothers made him do it, with reports that the far-right siblings plan to gather $100 million in Super Pac money. As Geraldine would say, those Koch Devils made Obama do it.

Not that there’s any danger of Obama being outspent in his re-election bid. He’s raised more money than all the Republican candidates, combined. In fact, he’s raised a lot more money from employees of Mitt Romney’s private equity firm, Bain Capital, than Romney has. All indications are that Obama will win the race for Wall Street’s campaign contributions, hands down, no matter who the Republicans nominate, just as Wall Street preferred Obama to John McCain, four years ago.

Candidate Obama opted out of public financing in the 2008 campaign, the first president since Watergate to run without public funding. He had earlier promised to accept public financing, and the limits on spending that go with it, if McCain did. McCain kept his part of the bargain, but Obama was getting more money than he could bring himself to turn down. In fact, by that time, Obama had raised twice as much as McCain, so he couldn’t claim a disadvantage. Instead, Obama’s excuse was that the public financing system was “broken.” But, of course, it was Obama’s withdrawal that definitively broke the system, paving the way for the billion dollar election of 2012.

In the summer of 2007, Obama explained the difference between himself and all of his Democratic and Republican opponents, when it comes to taking money from the rich and greedy. “The argument is not that I’m pristine, because I’m swimming in the same muddy water,” he said. “The argument is that I know it’s muddy and I want to clean it up.” But there is no evidence that Obama wants to clean up campaign financing, only that he finds all kinds of excuses to take the money.

The Wall Street crowd loves Obama, and they show it with their checkbooks. He returns their love a thousand times over, by protecting their interests while skillfully hoodwinking the Democratic base into believing that he’s on their side. The most pitiful marks in this hustle are small contributors, who Obama claims are his real base of support. Back in 2008, he even claimed that his fundraising was a better reflection of democracy than public financing, because he had so many small contributors. But it turns out that Obama got almost exactly the same proportion of his campaign funds from the little guys as George Bush did, in 2004.

It’s a rich man’s game, in which the future of the country and the world is purchased cheaply with campaign contributions. It is common sense that the player that collects the most money, has also sold the most influence. This election year, just like last time, the top influence seller is Barack Obama.

Glen Ford can be contacted at

February 8, 2012 - Posted by | Corruption, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , ,

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