Jonathan Alter in Bloomberg View on campaign finance reform The 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision by the Supreme Court, which declared money a form of speech in elections, has quickly become "explosive." "Instead of sitting around hoping that one of the conservative justices in the 5-4 Citizens United majority will leave the high court during a Democratic administration, Americans concerned about the degradation of politics should get cracking on a constitutional amendment ..." Alter argues 2012 will be the most corrupt campaign in history, pointing to the power of a small number of super wealthy individuals to bankroll entire presidential campaigns as a threat to republican government. Though Obama has hypocritically caved and will accept Super-PAC donations, Alter says he should still help build momentum for an amendment, noting that it will take leadership in a political climate not currently favorable to campaign finance reform. "[T]he risk of the United States moving from a democracy to a plutocracy is growing stronger every day."
David Brooks in The New York Times on Romney's crowd-pleasing personality In 1950 David Riesman coined the term "other-directed" for a personality type emerging from the service economy that prizes selling oneself and adapting to what others want of you. Mitt Romney "is giving the impression of being a classic other-directed type," writes Brooks. His industry, private equity, allowed him to specialize not in any industry but in managing managers. His politics have changed as his audience has changed. But in a Republican party that portrays itself as embattled against a different culture, other-directedness won't play well. Romney needs to prove there is something beneath that by taking several different tacks in his campaign, Brooks says. "Since many people fear that he is a suck-up, it would actually help him at this point if he violated party orthodoxy in some bold and independent way."