As Mitt Romney becomes increasingly the caricature of plutocratic indifference and the party as a whole is splashed in the muddy wake, the question is worth asking; how did we get here? The evidence points to two factors:
1). The opinion held by the majority of our highest judiciary that money equals speech.
2). The obstructionist spirit among Republican legislators that those whose money is spent to skew public opinion ought not to be subject to the economic consequences of public opinion.
If we can't keep money from exerting influence upon the actions of our elected servants, at the very least we ought to know whose pocket our elected servants are being kept in. If not, how is public opinion to hold them accountable, as our Supreme Court insisted that it would. Indeed the republican party has for a couple of decades held that this monied influence coupled with secrecy is the most republican of ideas, so long as we cannot devolve to the system of property qualifications outright.
And yet, even without such outright corruption of democratic process, there has always been a significant proportion of the electorate which for whatever reason is more than willing to vote against their own interests. As James Madison put it:
"One of the divisions consists of those who, from particular interest, from natural temper, or from the habits of life, are more partial to the opulent than to the other classes of society; and having debauched themselves into a persuasion that mankind are incapable of governing themselves, it follows with them, of course, that government can be carried on only by the pageantry of rank, the influence of money and emoluments, and the terror of military force. Men of those sentiments must naturally wish to point the measures of government less to the interest of the many than of a few, and less to the reason of the many than to their weaknesses; hoping perhaps in proportion to the ardor of their zeal, that by giving such a turn to the administration, the government itself may by degrees be narrowed into fewer hands and approximated to a hereditary form."
So why then, is there this propensity to stack the deck, in favor--not of check or balance upon the excesses of envious rabble--as is the excuse made--but of naked power-grabbing? It is with great satisfaction that I observe this perversion coming home to roost upon the party responsible. It is with Schadenfreude that I witness them becoming tangled in their own snares, exposed to the whole world as the party whose nominee "went to China to buy a factory" and yet sneers at our downtrodden; as the party which defends vigilantism, which professes Know-Knothingism, which appoints Gold-Bugs to oversee the Federal Reserve, and Luddites to the science committee, who opine about willingness of rape victims based upon their resultant pregnancies!
Money made this happen, but the party embraced it and embraced the lunacy of those who gave it; the cormorants and Birchers and warmongers and theocrats. Shame! You've made your bed, Grand Old Party. And if you don't change your ways, you'll be laid to rest in it.