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Jim Hightower
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Thursday 5 January 2012
“In Iowa’s presidential scramble, the biggest players were not the candidates, but an insidious and ever growing force that voters couldn’t even see: corporate cash.”

Mediocre Candidates and Corporate Cash Storm Iowa

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And away we go!

Not just into a new year, but —zap! — suddenly we find ourselves catapulted en masse into the turbulent Twilight Zone of the 2012 presidential election. On day three of the year, while most of us were still woozy from our New Year's Eve celebration, Iowa voted. Well ... sort of.

The media's breathless coverage of Tuesday night's 1,774 local Republican caucuses in the Hawkeye State offered a mind-boggling blizzard of statistics, but made practically no mention of two telling stats.

First: 5.5 percent. That's the percentage of Iowa's eligible voters who ventured out in the cold to pick from the GOP's rather unappetizing menu of Mitt, Rick, Ron, Newt, The Other Rick and Michele. So the top vote-getters (Romney and Santorum) each got only 25 percent of the paltry turnout of 122,000 Iowans who bothered to show up — fewer people than who live in one block of some big cities.

Second: zero. That's the number of delegates allocated to the contenders in Tuesday's Hawkeye hullabaloo. You see, the 25 actual voting delegates Iowa will send to the Republican presidential nominating convention this summer will be chosen in a separate, arcane series of county, district and state meetings. The caucuses are just for show — a glorified straw poll.

But what a show it was! At one time or another in the past year, all six of the active wannabes rose to the top of the heap, only to slip on their own ugly records, lies or slapstick misstatements and then slide back into the muck of negativity and ultra-right-wing goofiness that is the lasting hallmark of this dispiriting Republican group.

In a December radio commentary, I noted that people have coined useful phrases to describe groups of animals — a gaggle of geese, for example, or a pride of lions. But what, I asked listeners, should we call this herd of political critters? The emails poured in, suggesting such juicy phrases as a pandermonium of right-wingers, an egoswarm, a klutz cluster, a cawcaphoeny (with apologies to crows), a giggle of candidates, a flub of Republicans, a pod of nimrods ... and, simply, an embarrassment.

OK, many of you are down on President Obama, and others are just pure-blooded Republicans — but, seriously, having seen these six in action, don't you have to ask yourself, in the words of the old Peggy Lee song, "Is that all there is?"

In Iowa's presidential scramble, the biggest players were not the candidates, but an insidious and ever-growing force that voters couldn't even see: corporate cash.

Welcome to the Brave New Political World created out of thin air by the Supreme Court two years ago. In its now infamous edict in the Citizens United case, the court's five-man majority of laissez-faire ideologues decreed that unlimited sums of money from corporations and the rich can be funneled into independent electioneering committees, dubbed "superPACs." These outfits are then free to bombard the airwaves with nonstop ads to elect candidates they support. In the Iowa caucuses, an unprecedented $12.5 million went into the campaigns — two-thirds of that was spent not by candidates, but by the superPACs.

The court theorized that superPACs would operate entirely independently from their favored candidates. What a fantasy! In fact, the candidates themselves have merely dispatched their top staffers and millionaire funders to create and run superPACs on their behalf, so "separation" is a legalistic fraud.

Second, although the SuperPACs operate under benign, nondescript names like Restore Our Future (Romney's) and Make Us Great Again (Perry's), they have become each candidate's nuclear bombs of negative campaigning, doing the sleazy work of sliming opponents with attacks. In addition, the Supremes also theorized that superPACs would report the names of their donors, but — surprise — most are simply not doing so.

What the court has achieved by hurling the Citizens United monkeywrench into America's democratic machinery is truly stunning. It has made corporate money supreme in our elections, drastically increased the number and ferocity of negative campaign ads, and dangerously hidden the identity of funders and candidates who are quietly conspiring to buy public office. To help repeal Citizens United, go to


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ABOUT Jim Hightower
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.



Brooklyn Dame's picture

It's not so much that the

It's not so much that the mediocre candidates stormed Iowa, it's moreso a problem that all they have to offer is regressiveness and mediocrity. I'm waiting for the (sane) voters in their party to wake up, stop voting against their own best interests, and figure out that not one of these clown show candidates cares about anyone or anything but their corporate owners.

steve tanton's picture

More like "TERRIFIC

More like "TERRIFIC CANDIDATES AND THEIR MOTHER'S MILK STORM IOWA". After all, the old Democrat adage, “Money is the mother’s milk of politics” serves us all the same, doesn't it? Now that being said, I wish too that there were restrictions on PAC money, on corporate money, and on UNION money, but the Supreme Court least for the time being. And while the left touts conservative candidates as mediocre (why would anyone expect it differently), conservatives see them all as terrific. "I'll vote for whomever wins the GOP nomination and twice on Sunday." - Brian Sack(?) And if you think that the Democrat Party is not run on corporate cash, I have a real cool bridge from San Francisco to Marin that I'd like to sell you.

hahahahha another joke

hahahahha another joke article by Nation of Change, just when I thought they were getting better. You people keep falling for the same old game.

Obama is owned by the same global bankers as the rest.
Well, not Ron Paul, the only candidate willing to stand up to them and protect what remains of the constitution. Mediocre, that's funny.

Ron Paul is the least racist of them all:
Many Black Americans realize this: (You think the corporate media really cares if Paul is racist? LOL)
Who's the racist? 15 year old newsletters written by someone else in your name or bombing brown people with joystick bombs.

Our politics is a quasi-religious cage match between the Reds and the Blues. It's decadent and depraved.
If you think of it in terms of left vs right, we all lose.

They are holding your head underwater as we drown in dissonance.

better mediorce than bad

better mediorce than bad

"the 25 ac­tual vot­ing

"the 25 ac­tual vot­ing del­e­gates ... will be cho­sen in a sep­a­rate, ar­cane se­ries of county, dis­trict and state meet­ings. The cau­cuses are just for show — a glo­ri­fied straw poll."

As a former Iowan, I take exception to this characterization.

Last I knew, the cau­cuses choose the delegates to the first level of conventions, which in turn choose delegates to the next level, etc. Thus the cau­cuses are not "just for show" — the preferences expressed there ultimately determine how the national convention delegates will be allocated among the candidates.

Christina Marlowe's picture

It is indeed very

It is indeed very interesting, from my viewpoint, that each and every one of these [delusional] Presidential wannabes denigrates the entire government in general, and specifically argues the role(s) that government should or should NOT assume in our society. The Republicans each extoll the supposed virtues of a smaller government and thereby, the limitations and restrictions of the government's functions, vis-a-vis the individual citizen.

The fact is that, as they each attempt to qualify the benefits of "less government" (when and only when "less government" benefits THEM directly), they all want so BADLY to be PRESIDENT of the very government they claim to disdain!!

Well, hopefully it's obvious to most people that the benefits are really quite nice for them: The hefty and steadily rising salaries, free lifetime health care benefits for themselves and their entire families, huge lifetime pensions, Free Insider Trading; The list goes on...And it's All on OUR, the taxpayers' dime!! When it comes to any (similar), um, "benefits" for their "constituents," i.e. US, on the other hand, each one of these worthless HUMPS wants to dismantle anything that resembles their own fully-TAXPAYER-funded benefits, calling any such "perks" as basic health care access, an evil part of a "Welfare State," which will only lead to dreaded "Socialism."

Yes, it is quite fascinating and ironic that each of these career government HACKS has been on the DOLE, on OUR, the taxpayers', money most of their, rotten, corrupt and wretched lives. All whilst these same government HACKS continue to fiercely deny any semblance of "benefit" to the citizenry, particularly after THEY, the self-same (self-serving) HACKS in this miserably failing government, are directly responsible for RUINING EVERYTHING with all their FAILED POLICIES. Oh, and their PATENTLY CRIMINAL ENTERPRISES.

And still, in the very same breath, each "contender" actively courts and shamelessly panders to the most dangerous of all [religious] zealots (Bigots), the R-Wing fundamentalist "Christians." The fact of the matter is that any presidential contenders that puts religion on the table is OUT in my book. These crazed lunatics seem to be constantly playing a game of one-upmanship as to whom has more faith in god whilst the word "god" should never, ever, enter the political arena at all. The most omnipresent danger in politics is religion--and time after time, particularly with the fanatical right-wing conservatives, it, religion, seems to be at the forefront; and this is indeed dangerous. And VIOLENT. Even FATAL. READ HISTORY!!!!!!!!

So, if these megalomaniacal idiots really believe in a hands-off approach in governing, what in God's name are they doing telling anyone else how to live one's own life through legislation of their rabid, crazy and delusional beliefs, e.g. Pro-life stance, Bible-study in PUBLIC SCHOOLS, etc., etc., etc.

Maybe it is that the voters who do vote for ANY of these government HUMPS truly deserve EVERY BIT OF IT, but what about the rest of us who did NOT vote for the likes of these barbaric, backward, short-sighted primates, each crawling out of the blackest of The DARK AGES?? After all, we ALL are left wide open to the SHRAPNEL from the Average-Moron-Voter and the veritable BUFFOONS running this godforsaken and, by the way, totally ILLEGITIMATE and CORRUPT, government!!

It is, therefore, most curious that each of these wannabe Presidential "contenders" (HA!!) not only desperately cling to their respective positions in the very government they all claim to disdain; But now, having been in the government as career politicians, i.e. HACKS, each moron-contender wants to now become PRESIDENT!!

Well I say to every one of these CREEPS: "Who in HELL do you think you're KIDDING? Now, Get the $@#% out of my face and MIND YOUR OWN GODDAMNED BUSINESS!! In other words, the likes of YOU are NOT going to tell ME what to do. You're NOTHING BUT A JOKE.

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