Obama ad buy troubling but necessary

In time of corporate dominance, fight fire with fire

Organizing for America, the campaign arm of the Obama machine, is targeting constituents of moderate Senators in both parties with a cable TV ad buy.

We have no quarrel with the content of the ad, shown below. The stories of the people featured ring true, and this campaign serves a noble purpose in letting their stories be heard and encouraging constituents to make their wishes known to their senators.

But an ad buy by the campaign arm of a sitting president is not business as usual. It’s a new tactic we’d prefer not to see.

Most of the current problems the United States is in, including the financial crisis, can be tracked back to Supreme Court decisions that have granted corporations the same rights as individuals. But those corporations’  nearly unlimited budgets to buy the results they want have seriously knocked our country’s scales of justice out of balance. Instead of giving corporations an equal voice with individuals – a concept that is nothing short of bizarre to start with – it actually has the effect of neutering individual opinion.

The health care industry – private insurers, pharmaceutical corporations, hospitals, doctors, nurses and thousands of lobbyists – is currently spending around $1.4 million a day lobbying the 535 members of Congress to defeat a public option. More yet in advertising falsely warning of the dangers of “socialized” medicine. That is an insane amount of money, and a corrupting one. (Read the Transcript of Capital Eye Blog’s Web Chat on Money and Lobbying in Heath Care Reform.)

The much smaller ad buy by Organizing for America is a David vs. Goliath effort. Beyond health care, we need to work to lessen the influence of corporations in our legislative processes.