By Brent Budowsky - 02/08/12 11:14 PM EST
Because the Supreme Court majority launched a direct attack on American democracy in the Citizens United decision by allowing unlimited and undisclosed campaign donations, which reversed more than a century of judicial precedent and directly violated the pledge to respect precedent by Chief Justice John Roberts during his confirmation hearings, and which followed private presentations by two justices in the majority to interested parties, this is a call to arms to the wealthy Democrats and liberals of America.
I strongly agree with the decision by President Obama to support large donations to super-PACs after a Supreme Court decision that deforms our democracy more than any acts since blacks and women were denied the right to vote. I believe the highly unpopular and profoundly unwise decision in the Citizens United case was the most reprehensible, anti-democratic and un-American decision by any court since an earlier Supreme Court gave judicial blessing to slavery.
Citizens United destroys the American notion of citizenship by creating separate and unequal classes of Americans. It creates a de facto American House of Lords in which the wealthiest 10 percent of the wealthiest 1 percent are given unlimited financial power to attempt to buy our democracy in secret, while all other Americans are relegated to second-class citizenship.
My advice to Obama and Democratic leaders is to launch a national and aggressive full-court press to overturn the Citizens United case through constitutional amendment, legislation and state ballot initiatives that will rally the nation against this highly unpopular decision while, simultaneously, asking wealthy liberals and Democrats to make large donations to balance the scales in a fist-flying battle for the future of the nation that must not be a one-sided war.
Obama, like all presidents, has the huge advantage of the Teddy Roosevelt bully pulpit that is unique in American politics. He can explain to the nation, as only a president using the bully pulpit can do, why the Citizens United decision must be reversed and why, until it is, both parties should compete on fair and equal terms.
This is why I opposed the Citizens United decision from the moment it was decided, yet supported and urged wealthy Democratic and liberal donors to support super-PACs such as the Majority PAC that supports Senate Democrats, the House Majority PAC that supports House Democrats and Priorities USA, which supports Obama.
I suggest Obama, all Democrats, liberals, centrists, independents, populists, the Occupy Wall Street movement and the large majority of voters who oppose Citizens United to wage a national crusade against this heinous Supreme Court decision on the floor of the House and Senate, in state after state and across the nation.
I do not begrudge wealthy conservative donors such as Sheldon Adelson, the Koch family and others from exercising legal powers so unwisely given to them by the Supreme Court.
But let’s be clear: They are willing to spend enormous sums of money to achieve their ideological and special-interest goals. They seek one-party control of the presidency, the House, the Senate and the Supreme Court for a generation. Their project is a one-party state of the right that controls the executive, legislative and judicial powers of government.
Today we witness in real time how superwealthy conservative interests finance super-PAC machines of slander, pander and defamation against other Republicans. This is a modest preview of the general election.
When the super-PAC money from the right totals $250 million, $500 million or $1 billion the question becomes:
Will men and women of the center and left fight as hard for their vision of America, or will they surrender from the sidelines? If they surrender, I tremble for the future of the nation.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics, and can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.