We all know that Republicans support the Citizens United decision that opened the flood gates of corporate money into our politics, but they’re usually pretty good about not saying too much about it. Steve Womack, however, has done something that may unprecedented. In a letter responding to the concerns of a constituent, he flat out endorsed the ruling in a way that I honestly don’t think any other Republican congressman has dared to do.
I believe that the Citizens United decision strengthens the fundamental right to free speech afforded to all Americans by the First Amendment. In the same way that individual Americans and political groups are able to speak out during election season, corporations should be allowed to have their voices heard. They are now allowed to use the same media outlets that as large political and interest groups are allowed to use…Corporations are comprised of Americans too and it is important that we uphold the Constitution without selectively granting First Amendment rights.
I’m really stunned by that statement. I really don’t think any Republican in Congress has ever laid out their support for corporate personhood and the corrupting corporate influence in elections quite like that. For all that lofty talk about the Constitution, what Citizen’s United actually does is give corporations the chance to dump millions or even billions into shaping public opinion. You and me? We get to try to scrap together maybe 2o bucks if we’ve got it to spare and send it to the candidate we like. Our speech, and under the current legal regime money does equal speech unfortunately, gets buried under the avalanche of seemingly endless corporate money, leaving us with free speech on paper and paper only. What’s more, the “protections” Womack alludes to in the letter have been largely gutted and left useless. Remember those racist ads anonymous corporate money funded to beat Bill Halter? Case in point.
Womack set the tone for the AR-03 debate from the start. He did that when he made the comment about how he and Ken Aden ran in different circles-Ken in middle class circles, him with so called high society. Aden has stood solidly with the 99% of Americans while Womack has done the bidding of big business every day of his short congressional career. And while Ken Aden has been getting a lot of donations from ordinary Arkansans who believe in his campaign but can only give a small donation, Womack has just had to sit back and let the corporations he’s been defending hand him the cash in a form of perfectly legal, commonly accepted bribery. The good news for those of us who can’t just cough up a six figure ad buy? Even a ton of money will only go so far, and the power of ordinary people can still match that of the already powerful. So send Ken Aden a contribution, to protect your own free speech rights.