Ezra Klein observes that
three years after Wall Street set off a bomb under the global economy, the two parties are competing to secure their support in the coming election.
But he doesn’t blame either the politicians or their funders:
But this isn’t a story about spineless, corrupt politicians and it isn’t a story about the power of Wall Street. It’s a story about our campaign-finance status quo. So long as we expect our presidential candidates to come up with the better part of a billion dollars to finance their campaigns, then like Willie Sutton, they’re going to have to go where the money is. And in our country, right now, the money is on Wall Street. If we don’t want them kowtowing before bankers and hedge-fund managers, well, we have to change the laws governing our elections, not whine about politicians who’re playing the game as we’ve set it up.
In the Obama administration’s failure to push for campaign finance reform, Klein sees a missed opportunity:
One of the real dilemmas of [Obama’s] presidency has been finding some way to express outrage against the banks without causing collateral damage to the economy. … A campaign-finance fight, if framed correctly, seemed like a possible way for Obama to return to his campaign roots, address a political cause of the financial crisis, and give his supporters a new cause to fight for.
If the Fair Elections Now Act were ever passed, the U.S. Supreme Court would probably declare it “unconstitutional.” Nevertheless, spotlighting the issue would benefit not only the Obama campaign but the nation.