Am I Becoming A Populist?

peoples party

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.

Populist:a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people 

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.

greed1In 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.




13 comments to “Am I Becoming A Populist?”
  1. I have reached essentially the same conclusions, CBD. As a result, I simply do not trust those entrenched in Washington — of either party, it must be said — who have, one and all, contributed in some manner to the bloated, over-powerful, self-aggrandizing mess we have today.

    By the same token, I’m pretty much against the “liberal” and “conservative” labels, and those who co-opt them for their own purposes. A few of my beliefs tend to be those that “liberals” claim to support (except they really don’t), and more would be considered “conservative.”

    In fact, where I sit now is fairly simple: I believe the entrenched, familiar politicians need to be dispensed with, one and all, and a “Common Sense” Party needs to arise. Its tenets would probably make most political junkies squirm, as it would embrace elements from both ends of the spectrum. And yet — if this makes sense, which it probably doesn’t — it would not be “moderate.”

    My so-called program would, however, depend on the public, not the government except in those rare cases — defense, roads (maybe) and overall monetary policies — where a central structure is preferable. The rest would be up to individuals.

  2. That’s why I quit the GOP over the summer. It’s nice to not have to participate in the kabuki where Boehner and McConnell pretend they’re representing “my” interests. I knew they already didn’t; just made it official. A GOP candidate that deserves my support will get it, but not the ones who don’t. And if they put a squish like Jeb! or Rubio against the Dems, they won’t get my vote.

  3. But what does that leave us? The Democrats are one mustache away from being Stalinists. Third party? That just ushers Hillary! in for eight years, at which point presumably they’ll amend the Constitution so Chelsea can run.

  4. I think that it leaves us in very bad shape, but with careful application of the principle that all politicians are thieves, we can possibly recover. Term limits, lifetime bans on any involvement in lobbying or with any corporation that has business before the government, etc.

    Realistically? It’s impossible.

  5. Exactly. These people do not represent my interests, and work in direct opposition to them. I will not vote for them.

  6. Who defines what’s moderate and extreme these days, anyway. Oh, right, the extremists who say their positions are moderate.

    What good are those labels anymore? There’s only sense and nonsense, and I’m sick of the nonsense.

  7. Don’t automatically assume that a third party would lead to a Clinton win. There’s a lot of people that are unhappy with the system as it is, and have dropped out of paying attention to politics and voting because of it. A third option would get attention from them, as well as the extreme LIV crowd just for the novelty of it. You can win with as little as 34% in a three way race, and 25% support for something based on Tea Party style principles is already baked into the cake.

  8. @Cato…..
    I would be very suspicious of the supposition that a third-party candidate from the Right can win.

    Yes, there is an unmovable voting bloc that will support the most conservative candidate, no matter his affiliation. But the same holds true for the Left, and they have the support of the media.

  9. @CBD:

    First off, let’s throw out the word conservative. The way both the GOPe and everyone else on the right uses it, it’s ceased to have any meaning. It’s like liberal, tortured beyond its original definition to pointlessness.

    The last thing a third party would want is to be tied to either of the two failing parties, no matter it’s origin. Branding is important. It needs to present itself as an appeal to common sense and a place for the average American, not the political hacks and their bullshit.

  10. >First off, let’s throw out the word conservative.

    Absolutely agree. The classic SoCon movement was staked in the heart by SCOTUS is year.

    >Branding is important. It needs to present itself as an appeal to common sense and a place for the average American, not the political hacks and their bullshit.

    Also agree. Libertarianism, though it’s surely a practical philosophy and closest to my own at this point, has been branded as moonbatism for the Right, and the Tea Party strangled with a homophobic slur by the Left as the GOPe nodded in agreement. I don’t know how you brand a third party.

    The practical problem is that a third-party candidate will have no electoral coattails due to the lack of infrastructure and will face a united bloc of Dem and GOPe politicians in Congress. Stagnation and four years of gridlock is the most likely result.

  11. “Stagnation and four years of gridlock is the most likely result.”

    This is not preferable in the place of today’s “progress”?

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