President Barack Obama in 2008 pledged to blunt the power of big money interests in politics. Instead, he's overseeing the return of a gilded age with billionaires running their own parties out of high-rise offices and candidates spending more of their time mingling with them behind closed doors.
The president's abandonment of good-government groups on the issue of campaign finance will reach a new peak this week when he signs the so-called cromnibus legislation, a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will keep the government open for a fiscal year. The bill, which Obama urged Democrats to pass, also lifts campaign contribution limits to party organizations allowing fundraisers to hit up donors for just under $1.6 million in each two-year election cycle, up from the current $260,000 limit. That comes after roughly a century during which the trend has gone the other way, with new laws tightening campaign finance rules and checking the power of rich donors.