maha had a very interesting post about the eroding support among Corporate America for the Republican Party:
I want to go back to the notion that the Bushies are agents of corporate America, verses the “lethal amateurishness of these loyal Bushies” apparent now even to CEOs. I think the Bushies saw themselves as agents of corporate America, people who would “run the government like a business,” to recall a popular phrase of the 1990s. When the Bush Administration began the Bushies were full of the conceit that they were so much more disciplined and business-like than the Clintons they could work regular “business” hours.
…I wrote a post last year about what bullshit that turned out to be. But one of the funny things about the loyal Bushies is that most of ’em made their bones in government service, academia, rightie think tanks or the Republican Party itself. The few who were genuine businessmen — like the original Secretary of the Treasury, Paul Snow O’Neill — were the first to go. Even Dick the Dick, though he was a CEO of Halliburton, was reportedly not allowed to make operational decisions in that capacity. He was an asset to Halliburton mostly because of his extensive contacts in government and the military-industrial complex.
In other words, these guys were of the “business world” in the same way the 101st Fighting Keyboarders are “warriors” — make believe.
This bears a lot of light on why Democrats appear to suck at politics (from John Aravosis):
The Democrats have no game plan. They don’t know how to sell meta issues. They play chess one piece at a time, one move at a time, without having any concept that there’s a larger game going on, and that the move they make right now will impact the move they make ten moves from now. Basically, the Democrats are politically high as a kite. Their long term memory is non-existent and their short-term memory only permits them about 6 seconds of cache, as we say in geek-land, before they forget everything and ask “dude, what was the question again?” for the tenth time.
We have a very serious problem in our party. We have too many leaders in Congress, too many members of Congress, too many consultants, too many advocacy groups, and just too many people with power who do not understand the basics of playing hardball. The basics of public relations. The basics of running REAL issue campaigns. The basics of how to give the other guy a black eye and not stop pounding until he cries uncle, and even then you hit him again.
Far too many people running our party and our movement have no idea how to play the game. And if we don’t figure out how to make them fear for their political lives, or finally, if we have to, run them out of town, nothing is ever going to change.
I think Aravosis has flawed assumptions: he is assuming that most Democratic politicians actually want to push an agenda that would help working Americans, and that they are too incompetent to do so. But I’m not sure that’s the case.
I think what we’re seeing is that the Republican Party has become the party of kleptocrats (many of whom are also ideologically motivated–that is, lunatic), and many in the Democratic Party are trying to position themselves as the party of ‘responsible’ corporate America. As Krugman put it (italics mine):
There’s also disgust, even in the corporate world, with the corruption and incompetence of the Bush years. People on the left often describe the Bush administration as an agent of corporate America; that’s giving it too much credit.
The truth is that while the administration has lavished favors on some powerful, established corporations, the biggest scandals have involved companies that were small or didn’t exist at all until they started getting huge contracts thanks to their political connections. Thus, Blackwater USA was a tiny business until it somehow became the leading supplier of mercenaries for the War on Terror™.
And the lethal amateurishness of these loyal Bushies on the make horrifies the corporate elite almost as much as it horrifies ordinary Americans.
Last but not least, even corporations are relieved to see the end of what amounted to a protection racket.
So who will represent corporate America? They’re definitely not going to ‘opt out’ of the political process. That leaves the Democrats.
Democratic political ineptitude, in many cases, is not just due to incompetence as Aravosis claims*, but due to an attempt to scuttle an agenda favorable to middle-class and working-class Americans without actually appearing to do so. I think that’s why Reid is ignoring Senator Dodd’s hold on the telecom bill–corporate America wants that bill passed, and Reid is trying to please his true constituency.
One of the weird collateral damage effects of the hijacking of the Republican Party by kleptocrats, radical economic ideologues, and theopolitical conservatives is that has shifted the political spectrum to the right. This isn’t just the ‘Overton Window‘ effect, but also that much of corporate America doesn’t really have a home right now, so they barged their way into the Democratic Party. This marginalizes progressive and liberal Democrats within the Democratic Party.
Rank-and-file Democrats need to understand this. It’s not just incompetence on the part of Democrats, but an attempt to play ‘stall ball’ on the behalf of corporate America against an agenda that would help most Americans.
*Although a fair number are dumber than a sack of hammers.
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