Unlimited access to the president -- for a price

President Obama is “committed to reform,” but it would be “stupid” to let those dastardly Koch brothers “just roll over you,” added Bill Burton, the former White House press aide who in January joined the “Democratic-leaning public affairs firm Global Strategy Group” after serving as senior adviser to Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama Super PAC that spent $65 million last year tarring Mitt Romney’s good name. Obama was against Super PACs, which also can raise unlimited amounts of money, before he was for them, just as he was with dark-money groups such as Organizing for Action. In each case—and in the case of the president’s support for same-sex marriage—Obama’s position followed the money. It would have been “stupid” to do otherwise, according to Bill Burton.

Rational choice theorists would agree. They have long assumed that man is a selfish actor who calculates his every move for maximum advantage. And a survey of Obama world at the beginning of his second administration would not prove them wrong. All of the players are cashing in. No one, it seems, has any idea who will be paying Messina to sprinkle his Pixie Dust on public officials for private benefit. But look at how the Oneida Indian Nation paid Obama’s pollster Joel Benenson to survey New York attitudes on legalized casino gambling. Look at how the Weinstein Company, in preparation for the Academy Awards, hired former Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter to promote, without disclosing the financial arrangement, Silver Linings Playbook on her Twitter feed and the web extra of “This Week.” Look at how the property-shark owner of a failing political magazine, himself an Obama donor and former staffer, paid former Obama communications director Anita Dunn to promote the “re-launch” of his publication and maybe, just maybe, help score an Oval Office interview and photo shoot with POTUS.

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