Money in politics

Mark Hanna was a Republican kingmaker who promoted William McKinley to the presidency in 1896. The following is from The Age of Acquiescence, The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power by Steve Fraser.

“(Hanna once mordantly remarked, ‘There are only two things that are important in politics. The first is money and I can’t remember what the second one is.’)  The two party machines had exercised some independence immediately after the Civil War, demanding tribute from the business classes. As the century ran down, however, they were domesticated, becoming water carriers for those they once tithed. Legislative bodies during this era, including the Senate, otherwise known as ‘the Millionaires Club,’ filled up with the factotums of corporate America.”

That was before the direct election of Senators and when a million dollars were worth much more than now. Some members of the GOP want to return to the election of Senators by state legislatures, a time of even greater corruption than we have now in Congress.

Hamas

Hamas is generally labelled a terrorist organization. Rumor has it that having lost its Iranian backing, Hamas, a Sunni organization, is now seeking backing from Saudi Arabia. If Hamas succeeds, will the US reclassify Hamas as a non-terrorist organization or will we reclassify Saudi Arabia as a state sponsor of terrorism? I favor reclassifying Saudi Arabia, the people behind 9-11, as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Live politicians

It was the summer of 1960 and the GOP were holding their national convention in Chicago. Rather than watch on TV, I decided to take the 16 mile train ride downtown to see the action in person. The Loop was crowded and on Michigan Avenue I saw Nelson Rockefeller get out of a car and walk into a hotel. That was my first sighting of a politician in the flesh. Not very impressive since he was so short and I was a block away.

Later that fall, I was on campus at the University of Illinois in Urbana. While crossing the quadrangle, I noticed a small crowd of about one hundred people grouped in front of a speaker on a low platform. Moving closer drawn by curiosity, I saw that it was Nixon’s running mate, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., who had been the US Ambassador to the UN. I did not stop to listen because I was too young to vote and I was not interested in politics at that time.

I decided to become politically active in mid-2004. The first campaign event that I attended thereafter was on February 18, 2007, in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Barack Obama. I have attended several other political events with live candidates since. I find that one can learn much more by attending events than one can learn from the minmal coverage given by the media.

Ben Ghazi

Ben Ghazi is the son of reputed crime boss John Ghazi. Makes as much sense as the GOP attempts to smear Hillary Clinton with the death of four Americans in Libya. The Right has prepared a Benghazi movie which is scheduled for release two weeks before the Iowa caucuses. I predict that the GOP efforts are going to backfire. Tearing down Hillary will allow the Democrats to nominate an even stronger candidate for 2016, Jim Webb.