Hollywood’s Dirty Cash?

Demand Progress is a reasonably right on organization that this time, in its attack on “Hollywood’s Dirty Cash,” is way off.

Demand Progress is an online activist organization that “works to win progressive policy changes for ordinary people through organizing, lobbying, and elections in the United States.”  They focus on issues of civil liberties, civil rights, and government reform—the first two of which, at least, are issues close to my heart.

Government reform… meh.  It’s usually not enough for me, and I feel that many of the aspects of our contemporary society that need “reform” lie outside what is normally thought of as the government.  And the “re…” that I really want is not “re-form.” In one sense, each election re-forms the government, and it always comes out looking suspiciously like the old form. No matter who you vote for, you always elect a politician. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

But all that aside, Demand Progress’ current call to arms on “Hollywood’s Dirty Cash” just seems to me… kinda dumb:

Tell Congress: Return Hollywood’s Dirty Cash | Demand Progress:
Motion Picture Association of America President Chris Dodd just threatened to cut off Hollywood campaign contributions to any member of Congress who doesn’t pass his Internet-censorship legislation.

After Congress shelved the controversial PIPA and SOPA bills, Dodd told Fox News:

“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.”

This is what corruption looks like in Washington. It’s outrageous that Dodd — himself a former senator — is leveling these threats. Our elected officials must send a signal back to Dodd and the rest of K Street that our nation’s laws can’t be bought.

It’s time that Congress showed that its votes are no longer for sale. Congress must give back the MPAA’s dirty money or give it to charity. Congress must make it clear to the world that it won’t be bullied into supporting censorship.

Sure, Dodd’s statement was a bit outrageous, but compared to the bizarre pronouncements, threats and promises coming out of the Republican primary silly season, it seems a bit paltry.  I mean, Newt is promising to ignore the Supreme Court. Audiences are cheering the notion of letting people die. Dobb’s comments are small beer.

And sending back Hollywood’s donations seems to me a pretty stupid idea on the one hand, and also pathetic and misguided on the other. Stupid because the majority of Hollywood’s money seems to go to Democrats and more sensible Republicans—and they are going to need that money to counteract the Koch Brother’s war chest  (see here, here or here).

Pathetic and misguided because… Hollywood? Really? THAT’S the industry/lobbying group you want to go after? What about the oil industry, lobbying to overturn industry regulations aimed at preventing massive oil spills? The polluting industries that have been lobbying against improving air quality legislation?  The NRA and arms manufacturers? Despotic mideast regimes?  Fucking hell, Hollywood has to be one of the least offensive industries with a major lobbying presence in Washington.  Cute puppies don’t have lobbyists.

The truth is, Hollywood is just a soft target, low hanging fruit. In the wake of the startling mobilization of opinion against SOPA/PIPA, an email/online petition against the MPAA, one of the main instigators of that legislation, must have seemed to Demand Progress like a no brainer, an easy win.

But it’s not a win worth winning.  Demand that Congress return ALL lobbying money, or Demand Progress in genuine reform of lobbying and campaign financing.  But Demanding Congress return Hollywood’s money? Bleech.

And while we’re at it… if you want to Demand Progress around some ugly, awful legislation what about NDAA? Or if it’s political spending, what about the outrageous Super PACs?  Demand Progress is mostly right on. Mostly.  This time, though, they’re way off. There are bigger and better battles to be fought.

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