Western democracy, as we've grown it since Magna Carta, is under attack today not from foreign totalitarianism but from domestic and global corporatism. Indeed, today's "corporatism" could just be the 21st century's equivalent of fascism. In today's New York Times, Nobel economist and Princeton professor Paul Krugman warns that's the very struggle underway today in America.
"...[Wall Street's] rage against regulation seems bizarre. I mean, what did they expect? The financial industry, in particular, ran wild under deregulation, eventually bringing on a crisis that has left 15 million Americans unemployed, and required large-scale taxpayer-financed bailouts to avoid an even worse outcome. Did Wall Street expect to emerge from all that without facing some new restrictions? Apparently it did.
So what President Obama and his party now face isn’t just, or even mainly, an opposition grounded in right-wing populism. For grass-roots anger is being channeled and exploited by corporate interests, which will be the big winners if the G.O.P. does well in November.
If this sounds familiar, it should: it’s the same formula the right has been using for a generation. Use identity politics to whip up the base; then, when the election is over, give priority to the concerns of your corporate donors. Run as the candidate of “real Americans,” not those soft-on-terror East coast liberals; then, once you’ve won, declare that you have a mandate to privatize Social Security. It comes as no surprise to learn that American Crossroads, a new organization whose goal is to deploy large amounts of corporate cash on behalf of Republican candidates, is the brainchild of none other than Karl Rove.
But won’t the grass-roots rebel at being used? Don’t count on it. Last week Rand Paul, the Tea Party darling who is now the Republican nominee for senator from Kentucky, declared that the president’s criticism of BP over the disastrous oil spill in the gulf is “un-American,” that “sometimes accidents happen.”
The mood on the right may be populist, but it’s a kind of populism that’s remarkably sympathetic to big corporations."
It sounds to me that this hellspawn of RJ Reynolds and Lee Atwater, today's Rovian Corporatist Republicans, have perfected the art of manipulating a large segment of the American people by luring them to a populist movement that is really a corporatist service. It worked for years on tobacco, it's working still - and will for many, many years to come - on global warming, why ought it to do any less well on thwarting regulation of their interests to protect the public interest?
Harnessing populist discontent to advance a corporatist oligarchy is simply brilliant. Diabolical certainly - but brilliant.