Little Caesars

What seems to define modern Republicanism as we approach the 2012 elections is a firm, Randian belief that the only acceptable model for governance be that of a particularly ruthless and avaricious corporation beset by a self-interested and narcissistic CEO bent on looting it.  Like their corporate sponsors, Republicans have abandoned any sense of creating lasting value, choosing instead to indiscriminately and heedlessly unload long term assets, along with the talent and institutional memory that go with them, for immediate personal gain.  Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, and all that.  The only trouble is, if you look at the performance of corporate America’s titans over the last couple of decades, a dreary litany of collapse, retrenchment, and global competitions repeatedly lost are trumpeted as great successes, because, well, look at how many people lost their homes, careers, retirements, health care, and financial security, and how these losses fattened bonuses and executive pay.  The Free Market has spoken, and that’s how the cookie crumbles.

Back in the days when Republican leading lights said, “The business of America is business,” or “What’s good for General Motors is good for America,” such simpleminded assertions at least carried a whiff of plausibility; American businesses did lead the world in many ways, their vast industrial might having helped win two world wars and by the latter part of The American Century, created a secure middle class larger and more prosperous than the world had ever known.  The top tax rate was a whopping 91% in the tail fin era, and corporations paid more than a quarter of all taxes, rather than the single digits they do today, and perhaps most surprisingly, firing lots of people was rightly considered the failure it is, rather than some sort of act of heroism.

On the corporate side, the failures are all too familiar; the relentless pursuit of “profit”  and the riches that it offered the chosen few, though often contrived through deceitful accounting, almost always involved sacrificing quality, whether the product was cars, televisions, airplanes, or newspapers.  For a time, such festering weaknesses could be papered over with aggressive marketing, tax evasion, government contracts, and increasingly expensive anti-regulatory efforts, but in the America of 2011, there simply isn’t any business talent  out there capable of running a video store or telephone company properly, let alone a sprawling, multi-trillion dollar government.

Our CEO’s, like our Republican politicians, think they’re capable of something, and should therefore be allowed to do it, despite their track records, and everyone should just shut up and let them.  That worked out so well at Enron, you know.  Across the country, the Republican tea party temper tantrum is headed for a time out, because, like their financiers, these cretinous little Caesars don’t know what the fuck they’re doing, so much so that they can’t even fake it respectably.  From Florida to New Jersey, from Ohio to Wisconsin, a bunch of sleazy bamboozlers are bringing the slash and burn corporate ethic that goes over so well at CNBC to a neighborhood near you, and even the local Republicans are starting to feel the heat.  You see, layoffs, outsourcing, and executive plunder are too drearily familiar to actual Americans in their working lives for them to blandly acquiesce to them from their government, wherein they at least nominally have a say in the matter.

Leaving aside Scott Walker, whose fifteen minutes are nearly and quite ignominiously over, every Koch-funded nincompoop with whom the mainstream media has become inadvisably infatuated is singularly focused on utterly failing at their jobs for the greater glory of, well, Fox News or something.  Rick Scott, who had made a big name for himself ripping off Medicare to the tune of billions and was duly rewarded with Florida’s governorship, has now pissed away thousands of federally funded jobs for his state, where the unemployment is 12%. Longtime Wingnut Welfare Queen John Kasich has brought the warmed-over “Neutron Jack” hype to Ohio, with predictable results, just as Chris Christie has confirmed once again that New Jersey is a place where being a fat asshole is a competitive sport.  In Indiana, they actually elected George W. Bush’s budget director, Mitch Daniels, to fix the state’s deficit, an act akin to, well, hiring Bristol Palin as a spokesmodel for abstinence….  Never mind.

As disappointed as I am with President Obama and the Democrats as a party, none of them are as dumb, obnoxious, and/or self-defeating as the sanest Republican, if there were any, so I’m momentarily optimistic that in 2012 the Kochs et al will waste a lot of money and fall a bit short of their goal, which as we have seen, isn’t something anyone is going to like.  Failing upward is only tolerable when it doesn’t involve everyone else falling downward.

7 Comments

  1. Williambanzai7 says:

    Inadvisably infatuated ;-)

  2. The Heel says:

    Brilliant ascertainment of the status quo.
    Not sure I would rank Dems higher on the sanity scale than Reps, but you certainly summarize nicely, what’s been going on in God’s own country.

  3. Annice says:

    Well said Hagster! I agree with the Heel!

  4. Henry says:

    So what do we do about this stink hole of a mess? Sit back, suck on it? Start our own revolution right here in the good old USofA?

    • cocktailhag says:

      Hell, I don’t know. After all, I spent much of the day hanging drywall. Fortunately, a bit of a revolution is beginning, and according to a Forbes (!) article today, Walker is already toast. It’s a new thing, really, for Americans to actually watch their own political system openly bought by billionaires, but the fact that there’s some effective resistance gives me heart.