Editorial: Leadership and unintended consequences

Before I get into what I thought of Shayne Gallo’s speech, I want to talk about the Republican presidential primaries.

Obviously, there are hundreds of commentators who actually know what they’re talking about on this subject, but I do want to point out something which hasn’t been pointed out too much: how the Citizens United decision has, like the Tea Party and Rush Limbaugh, come ’round to bite the GOP on its hind.

No, I don’t think corporations should be regarded as people. Yes, I believe an elections process based on a less hyper-funded method of debate would be better for the republic. (I support the idea of amending the Constitution to overturn Citizens United; as go small towns inVermont, so goes the nation?) Sometimes, though, things happen that one can’t anticipate. Everybody anticipated what happened as a result of Citizens United in 2010 — well-funded Republicans, riding the inchoate wave of tea-party angst and helped along by the torpid economy, used their cash edge to demolish their foes. That was the Republican plan for this year, too, but it hasn’t worked out so far. They’ve had a devil of a time coming around to the “inevitability” of Romney as their nominee — so much so that their restless hearts wander hither and yon in a quest for someone else. Anyone else.


This trashing about and refusal to commit have been enabled by the super PAC’s Citizens United birthed. If Santorum and Gingrich didn’t have deeply committed and thoroughly rich individuals willing to fork in vast sums, they would likely have had to pack it in a long time ago. Further, Romney has had to spend a lot of money to eke out wins which should be coming a lot easier to him, because of his foes’ rich supporters. Further still, once Romney does get the nomination, he will have to deal with all of the super PAC money Obama will have. Mitt may raise more, but he (and the Republicans in general) will still have to deal with all the damage this primary process (which proves among other things that if you keep talking long enough, sooner or later you’re going to say something you wish you hadn’t) is inflicting. If the economy continues its slow upturn, Obama should be OK this fall. Which indicates in this case, Citizens United is not the all-annihilating juggernaut for the plutocrats it’s been supposed to be. Life always has the capacity to surprise.

So what did I think of Shayne Gallo’s speech?