Not really….or at least not in the historical sense, but this definition is oddly pleasing in a time in which our political representatives conspicuously, publicly, arrogantly reject the desires of those who elected them.
As a callow youth I sneered at the populist movements of the 19th century, as embodied by the People’s Party of The United States. How quaint and silly of them to rail against monopolistic behavior. Didn’t they know that the great industrialists of the age drove the country into modernity, that they built libraries and schools and railroads and great engines of commerce? And if their control of the political process dwarfed that of the common man….what of it? Their goals were noble; the creation of the wealthiest and strongest nation on earth. That they enriched themselves and many of their political supporters while risking everything seemed a small price to pay.
Even Eisenhower’s famous warning against “the military-industrial complex” seemed naive, hearkening back to a simpler time that no longer, and could no longer exist.
But the dynamic has changed. The political supporters of big business (read: The GOP) are no longer acting in the best interests of their paymasters in corporate America and their constituents. They have rejected even the pretense of their oaths and act as a rubber stamp for any pro-big-business initiative presented to congress. That includes such silliness as the Ex-Im Bank, a boondoggle of thankfully modest proportions that benefits a few large corporations at the expense of the American taxpayer. But it also includes opening our borders to an influx of uneducated and backward people whose labor will be used to depress wages, change the social fabric of the country, and arrest the unprecedented wealth creation for the middle class. And it sadly and dangerously includes creating the conditions for a nuclear Iran and a huge increase in terrorism across the world, just for the opportunity for a small amount of commerce with the Mullahs.
In addition to the existential threats that are routinely ignored in favor of some transient business benefit, the default stance on taxes on the rich is to minimize their burden, while carefully ignoring the real plight of the middle class, with the creeping Alternative Minimum Tax, increasing state and property tax burdens, and the hidden tax of inflation. And the very regulation that is strangling small business creation is used to great effect by large companies to stifle the growth of their competitors and improve their bottom line, not through innovation or hard work, but through their puppets inside the beltway who tailor regulations and tax policy to favor them, and them alone. Rent seeking behavior is impossible without the corruption of a political class in thrall to the pervasive corporate money in Washington.
So I have finally become disgusted with the corporatists in Washington, who seem always to be just about to do the right thing, but never quite get there. I will no longer reflexively support the Republican Party. They have sold themselves to the highest bidders, something that doesn’t surprise me, but those bidders no longer care for the nation that gave them the opportunity to become what they are. They care only for short-term gain, often at the expense of America. And those politicians? They too care nothing for their country…they care only for the donations necessary for reelection, and then the soft and well-paid corporate or lobbyist position at the end of the rainbow.