Representative Ted Deutch, D-FL, member of the House Judiciary Committee, might have a good heart deep down, but I sincerely doubt it.
One of the websites I keep in my RSS feed is ThinkProgress. It's a blog with a reliably "new Left" / progressive slant. I try to read news from a variety of ideological perspectives, and it's good to keep a pair of left-Democrat lenses handy.
I consider this a valuable exercise for many reasons, but the primary purpose is to make sure that my bull$h!t detector has fresh batteries and still works on "my side" as well as on those with whom I disagree.
Today I was pinged with the headline "Rep. Deutch Introduces OCCUPIED Constitutional Amendment To Ban Corporate Money In Politics."
Well there's something you don't see every day, I thought. Let's crack that sucker open.
In one of the greatest signs yet that the 99 Percenters are having an impact...
Okay, I have to say that right off the bat this sentence made me want to scream. Be very wary of anybody - blog, pundit, anybody - who says or imply that they speak for the #Occupy movement. There's only one organ capable of producing genuine, #Occupy-approved communique, and that's the horizontally-oriented love feast of a General Assembly (or a likewise-empowered subcommittee). Keeping that in mind, and that sentences like the above instantly put me on the guard for pandering and lies, let's resume:
In one of the greatest signs yet that the 99 Percenters are having an impact, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Florida), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, today introduced a [constitutional] amendment that would ban corporate money in politics and end corporate personhood once and for all. Deutch's amendment, called the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) Amendment...
That's just precious.
Who is Ted Deutch, Hero of the Common Man?
He was elected to Florida's 19th district and has served since 2010. In his first year of Congress, Representative Deutch has sponsored nine bills and co-sponsored 152. Of those combined 161, a grand total of zero have passed. Zero, none, a big old goose egg.
Meantime, in his run for Congress, then-Citizen Deutch raised a total of $215,330 in campaign contributions from "Real Estate, Securities & Investment." I intentionally only picked industries that are so rotten with fraud and malfeasance that they totaled one of the largest economies in the history of Planet Earth.
While he was scooping up wads of finance industry and speculator money, Deutch did manage to raise a paltry $62,000 from public sector union PACs.
When a man who is largely financed by ...well, finance... introduces something as transparently Quixotic and bound to fail as a constitutional amendment banning corporate personhood and money in politics it's pretty obviously pandering. When that same man has not successfully sponsored or co-sponsored a bill yet, it's either entertainingly dumb or depressingly crafty - take your pick.
I know that #Occupy isn't a short-term operation. If anything, it might take five to ten years, or even a generation, for this country to shake itself loose of the shackles of the kleptocracy that has been built for us, and I don't imagine the process will be free of nasty compromises or difficult choices.
That said, #Occupy has proven itself to be wise in one important way - unlike the Tea Party, it seems perfectly content so far not to engage at all with a national politics so corroded that it needs to have significant portions of its deep structures cut out and replaced to be at all viable. From where I look at it, #Occupy's victories so far have been small but its sights are set far enough ahead and on big enough goals that none of the infotainment detritus of our advanced media culture has affected it too much.
When jackasses like Ted Deutch, Ron Paul, or Barack Obama try to pander to #Occupy, they seem to be unaware that many people just aren't speaking that language anymore.