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Metropolitik: Money is speech, so talk mo’ bucks

An interesting thing happened this week: By responding positively toWednesday’s anti-SOPA/PIPA Internet blackouts, Republican lawmakersactually made Democrats look like the ones grossly out of touch withmainstream opinion.

Welcome to Metropolitik, a new Metro feature designed to bring you the best election coverage that no money can buy. In our march toward truth and accuracy in reporting, we reserve the right to besmirch, mock and/or uplift. For complaints, suggestions and mail-order brides, please e-mail brayden.simms@metro.us.

An interesting thing happened this week: By responding positively to Wednesday’s anti-SOPA/PIPA Internet blackouts, Republican lawmakers actually made Democrats look like the ones grossly out of touch with mainstream opinion.

The protests — led by such Web behemoths as Google, Wikipedia and Reddit and supported by millions of avid ‘net surfers — represented an almost unheard-of effort on the part of “real Americans.” According to Google, whose website Wednesday sported a censored doodle and directed visitors to a petition aimed at Congress, 4.5 million people signed to protest legalizing permanent changes to the Internet.

And as the people spoke, at least one party listened. Droves of Republicans retracted support for the bills. Sen. Rand Paul promised a filibuster. Tea Party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint spoke out against the proposals’ danger. Even House Speaker (and perpetual stick-in-the-mud) John Boehner ceded the bills’ “lack of consensus.”

On the other side, stalwart defenders of Mickey Mouse include the predictable cadre of Hollywood beneficiaries. In the Senate, according to Propublica data, the top six recipients of studio donations in 2010 are all Democrats supporting PIPA — like California’s Barbara Boxer, who claims $571,600 in campaign funds from copyright crusaders for that year alone.

These six senators became $2,640,555 richer in 2010 thanks to the music and entertainment industry. For Democrats, those millions apparently speak louder than millions of American voices.

To be fair, a few Democrats have stopped supporting the controversial bills. But as the entertainment industry threatens President Obama with reduced support, we wouldn’t expect many others to follow suit.

Follow Brayden Simms on Twitter @metropolitik

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