Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Anti-Reich

A very different take on the new populism.

1 comment:

PBM said...

I think that article has some good points about union spending but its connection between Dems and big business is disingenuous. It says Wall St. gave more to Dems in 2008 and 2010 combined, but in 2010 the balance was tilted much more towards Republicans, and a lot of the 2008 spending on Dems (Obama especially) was because they knew Dems were going to win and wanted to get on their good side. The Republicans they gave to this round, however, are now carrying Wall St.'s water by talking about repealing Dodd-Frank and handicapping the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is highly regarded by mainstream voters.

Further, the Business lobby (aka Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, etc.) spent record amounts in the 2010 elections mostly against Democrats. The article also doesn't take into account the energy industry that consistently gives generously to Republicans (and some Conservadems, or Dems from fossil fuel states.) It also doesn't take into account business expenditures on groups like American Crossroads GPS, which are virtually unknown to the public.

While I agree that Obama has been trying to shape a more pro-business image, the ties between the GOP and big business are still much stronger and more obvious. Also, after months of attacking Obama for being anti-business, the right is now jumping on him for being business' lackey. Can he do anything to make them happy? I understand anger about business and government colluding against the people, but I don't think that is something you can blame on Obama and Democrats when the bailouts were started by Bush, and when Bush's cabinet and regulatory regime was run by the executives of companies that the government should have been regulating.

This is one of the reasons I think Obama could have branded a new populism against government-business collusion during the Bush administration. The links were clear between Bush's corrupt MMS and the oil spill, Bush's SEC and the financial crash, and between a number of other things. I know there are more instances of collusion, I'm just not well-versed enough to discuss them, but I think these instances show that Obama missed an opportunity to brand his own variety of populism against the collusion of big gov't and big biz. In the absence of that populism, he is now being charged by this author and the tea party of colluding too much with business. Where were these complaints when Bush disassembled government regulation and showered big business with subsidies (Medicare expansion to Pharma, ethanol subsidies for big corn, etc)?

Obama should have taken advantage of these connections and the public's concerns with them when he came to office, but instead he ignored them out of a hope for bipartisanship that never came to fruition.