Les Echos, France
Primaries with a Moral
Translated By Marisa Burnside
14 April, 2012
Edited by Peter McGuire
France - Les Echos - Original Article (French)
Money can’t always buy happiness. In the U.S., Rick Santorum’s withdrawal from the race for Republican nomination has almost certainly made Mitt Romney Barack Obama’s challenger in November. However, these primaries will leave their mark: their brutality is proportional to the millions of dollars raised.
The American presidential election is set to break all records in terms of candidate spending, because the fragile barriers that have regulated campaign finance since the 1970s have been swept away. In January 2010, in the name of freedom of expression, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates by authorizing “Super Political Action Committees” to raise funds and to spend them without any limits, providing that they do not promote a candidate by name. The result has been that each candidate has developed a “Super PAC” that can only be used to criticize, denigrate and make caricatures of their rivals in publicity commercials. Mitt Romney has by no means been the least aggressive in this character assassination contest. His front-runner position, however, has also made him particularly vulnerable to criticism.
Romeny’s opponents have likened him to a weathervane, changing his speeches to suit whichever audience he is in front of; his campaign has been compared to an “Etch A Sketch,” that disappears when shaken; his membership of the Mormon church has been extensively commented upon; he has been classed as a “socialist” for having developed a health care insurance system in his state, Massachusetts, and yet his concessions to the Republican right on abortion and immigration have alienated him from some female and Hispanic voters. All of this without the more or less blunt allusions to the “speculative” origins of his wealth.
There is, in all of this, something to cheer up the moralists amongst us: the money that has been used to pervert the course of justice has proved counterproductive to the candidates, and the Republican primaries' expenditure has, above all, benefitted the Democrat presidential candidate. The election, however, is not for another seven months, and, in politics, public opinion is fickle.
CLICK HERE FOR