Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Nothing to see here...

This is not the conflict of interest you're looking for.

So let's see who pays the Govinator's rent. Hmmm... the Western Growers Assn., which represents agribusiness. Under ordinary circumstances, I would worry that payments from agribusiness to the governor would contribute to Schwarzenegger's resistance to user fees for water customers like, oh, agribusiness. But since Ah-nuld "just never bothers himself with it" there's no problem!

An ethical system that relies on politicians' assurances that they aren't swayed by unlimited donations is no ethical system at all. Sure, in some share of cases, the politicians wouldn't be liars and wouldn't be swayed (or, as in the case of Bush and Cheney, are so much a part of the system they are sponsored by that they'd never take action against it anyway). But clearly the "I don't pay attention" excuse could be hugely useful for those that want to accept money from special interests. Schwarzenegger's denials of influence are completely besides the point: the man who said that he would accept no money from special interests is in fact benefiting from millions of dollars in money from special interests. Since these same special interests fight tooth and nail over the smallest dollar amounts they might be required to pay in taxes and fees, I can't imagine that these funds are given in the spirit of pure charity or noblesse oblige. These arrangements display Schwarzenegger's true role as governor: a bought-and-paid-for proxy for big business and an enemy of the environment and working Californians.

No comments: