When I think something is shady or unethical about the way in which a Democrat votes, I don’t hesitate to call it as I see it. The House’s approval of retroactive immunity for telecommunication corporations last week is a prime example. I have zero love for corporatist Democrats. My interests (and yours) aren’t taken seriously when companies like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint can spend millions of dollars to ensure they get their way.
MapLight.org examines how two votes this year produced Democrats that voted against immunity before they voted for it. Not surprisingly, a large number of Democrats that switched their votes also received money from the afore-mentioned corporations.
Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint gave PAC contributions averaging:
$8,359 to each Democrat who changed their position to support immunity for Telcos (94 Dems)
$4,987 to each Democrat who remained opposed to immunity for Telcos (116 Dems)
88 percent of the Dems who changed to supporting immunity (83 Dems of the 94) received PAC contributions from Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint during the last three years (Jan. 2005-Mar. 2008).
Click on the link above to see the list of these 94 Dems.
Of note to Coloradans:
John Salazar (CO-03): $6,000
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07): $1,000
Mark Udall (CO-02): $0
Here’s the way I read this: John Salazar is a Corporatist Democrat. He’s willing to vote based on pressure applied from big-money interests (note: you and I don’t make that list). I don’t think Ed Perlmutter is a Corporatist Democrat, but I’m not sure how else to describe him. Why would he vote to grant retroactive immunity to corporations that knowingly broke federal wiretapping laws? Especially with Qwest’s presence in the state: they didn’t hand control over to the Bushies. Why should the other telecoms get off scott free?
Mark Udall is running hard for the center of the political spectrum and it’s disgusting, quite frankly. Republican politicians will stab his “bipartisanship” in the back the first chance they get (see Sen. Ken Salazar’s ridiculous contortions for proof). I don’t think Republican voters want immunity that much more than Democrats do, which is to say not at all. I would be very interested in seeing any kind of quantitative rationale for switching his vote. Does his campaign think it will secure Undeclared or Republican votes this November? He might need them if he continues to stick it to his base.
Here’s what it means to Democrats at the national level: folks like Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi need to be replaced with better Democrats. This capitulation based on campaign donations is sickening.