Mitt Romney thinks there’s a conflict of interest when unionized teachers negotiate with politicians because those unions may have donated to that politician’s campaign. He also thinks that airplane windows should open and his super PAC raises millions of corporate contributions each month, so his opinion should be taken with a grain of salt. It seems that Mr. Romney only has a problem with unlimited campaign contributions when people who disagree with him are contributing.
“I believe we simply can’t have a setting where the teacher’s unions are able to contribute tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of politicians and then those politicians, when elected, stand across from them at the bargaining table, supposedly to represent the interests of the kids,” Romney said Tuesday in an NBC interview.
To him, these contributions are a “mistake,” even though corporations like drug companies and entire industries like health care spend billions of dollars to get candidates elected who will represent their interests while in office. It’s no surprise that a GOP politician is starting a fight with labor unions, but to state that unionized workers should not be able the exercise the power of political contributions which the SCOTUS has ruled as free speech — especially because of his “corporations are people” remarks — will do nothing good for the candidate. Romney is literally positioning himself as the defender of big business from the the evil cancer of organized labor.
But the Republican presidential candidate took it further, suggesting a situation far more vile than a union having the same political power as a for-profit corporation. While backpedaling, Romney explained that a “productive relationship” between government and teachers unions relies on an important factor — “that the person sitting across the table from them should not have received the largest campaign contributions from the teachers unions themselves.”
Take a second to really let it soak in. What Mitt Romney suggesting is that politicians only act in the interest of their donors. It’s not a secret that there are corrupt people in politics, but for a presidential candidate to say that workers should not be allowed to band together and make contributions to politicians who support their interests but for-profit corporations should undermines the fundamental purpose of a free democracy. These remarks are especially troubling when you recall what Mitt Romney says to his donors to make them happy.
It seems that Mitt Romney’s answer to Citizens United and campaign reform in general is, “Keep the money coming – to me, at least.”