This is way late in the thread but I do want to respond to your post.
Money has nothing to do with it. Money is the symptom. Power is the problem, specifically consolidation of power at the national level. Money follows power. We've allowed way too much power to be consolidated at the national level. Every single problem we're talking about here can be traced to that.
Part of what I see here is a philosophical difference between our viewpoints. I'm going to assume that you are some variation of a Libertarian. And while I agree with a lot of (note the big L) Libertarian ideals I think that it has gotten corrupted by money just like everything else. (I'm using the word money here with purpose.)
You can continue to rail against money in politics but until you address the disease instead of the symptom you're wasting our time and your breath.
You use the word Our. I honestly think that you are wrong. That is ok. You can be wrong, I can be wrong, Lawrence Lessig can be wrong. We all can be wrong. However I disagree.
Money is power in this day and age. It is not absolute but if you don't think that money is power in a real sense then again I think we have a real disconnect. If you have not watched that TED talk, if you have not seen the numbers on how money influences our elections (hint, it is not just about the informed voters, if you have money you can essentially buy votes with the media) and how the person with the most money wins 90% of the time (congressional races), if you don't see the effect that money has then on those "representatives" who were bought and paid for by corporations who then write the bills (ALEC, look it up) which are signed into law, if you don't see any of that as being driven by money but only by the idea of power...well then.
I'd ask you what money is. Money is an abstract for a lot of things. Fungible is a good word to learn. Oil is money. Gold used to be the same way but how often do you need gold for anything? Food is money but we have a LOT of food so it is not nearly as fungible as it once was. Money is a way we use to abstract power. Money IS power.
Back after the Iraq invasion happened and I was chatting with a US Army Ranger buddy we were playing a lot of RTS games together. (For the record once I showed him how to play the game, he kicked my ass up and down the maps.) He told me point blank that the reason we invaded Iraq included a lot of things and a few, as we know now, lies, but one very important reason. They had a lot of fucking oil and they were about to move their oil to the EU currency instead of having it back the US Dollar.
So I'm going to end on that note. Money IS power in this day and age. You almost need a degree in Econ to see the depth of it but for any real geek that wants to be on /. you should be able to get the gist of it.