Co-director Roger Hickey appeared on the Dylan Ratigan Show Tuesday to discuss the influence of big money in politics and whether progressives could find common cause with tea party activists on giving power in the democracy back to ordinary people. Hickey said common ground does exist, and progressives are leading the way in forging it.
"I have a lot of respect for what the tea party has done in terms of going out and fighting for what they believe in, and there's a lot of overlap between my organization and the rank and file of the tea party," Hickey said in the interview, such as opposition to the Social Security and Medicare cuts being pushed by the likes of such wealthy conservatives as the Koch brothers and Peter G. Peterson.
Hickey also identified a common "suspicion of concentrated financial power, especially in Wall Street, but in corporate America all over the place," Hickey said. "And it's a demand that the big guys, the wealthy, have to pay their fair share for getting wealthy here in America. They've got to be part of the solution."
"Corporate power and the money that's sloshing around in politics that buys every politician, to some extent, has to be removed. and I applaud what you're doing. We've been doing this Take Back the American Dream conference here in Washington for the last two days, and we're talking about the power of the corporations to buy elections and that's got to be part of what we do if we're going to get what we want in terms of the American dream. we can't let them keep, as you say, auctioning, creating a financial system that undermines all of our futures," Hickey said.
Ratigan has been using his MSNBC show to promote a constitutional amendment that would ban corporate or individual financial contributions to political campaigns. Hickey said a newly awakened public has to let politicians know that they will get support for "doing the right thing," and "doing the right thing in part means getting money out of politics, the constitutional amendment that you're talking about. We've got to say to the politicians, say no to big money, we will elect you, and then we can get on with the big kinds of reform that we need, including creating jobs and getting money out of politics."