Which Republican Party do you belong to? The Trump Party, or the one of Theodore Roosevelt?
Roosevelt’s huge election victory of 1904 was fueled by spectacular campaign contributions by corporations and mega-rich businessmen, such as Henry Clay Frick, the steel baron. According to Jeffrey Toobin, author of books about the U.S. Supreme Court, Frick commented years later about campaign contributions to Roosevelt (quoted on page 148 of “The Oath”): “He got down on his knees to us. We bought the son-of-a-bitch and then he did not stay bought.”
In his message to Congress on December 5, 1905, Roosevelt stated that “all contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law.”
And the Tillman Act of 1907 did just that: It barred corporations from making campaign contributions.
Compare that Republican President Roosevelt’s support for the Tillman Act to the right-wing political activism of the Roberts Court, which sanctified every manner, any amount of corporate campaign contributions, mostly anonymous, in the decision Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 310 (2010). Our current Supreme Court has sunk back into the Lochner era, legislating corruption and give-aways to the rich from the bench with the Roberts Court enthusiasm on steroids.
Of course, another big difference between the Republican Party then and now is that our contemporary sons-of-bitches do stay bought.
Nonetheless, let’s all enjoy Thanksgiving, in the hope that better days are in our future — our distant future!
Attorney at law
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One fine body…