Friday, January 11, 2013

Dems to Retake House in 2014?

When I first read a piece connecting President Obama's take-no-prisoners tactics with Nancy Pelosi's plan to retake the House in 2014 I did a double-take.

Taking back the House in the sixth-year of a presidential term?  Are they serious?  But maybe what they are saying between the lines is that they are going to pull out all the stops to limit the damage.

Now there's a lefty report from Mother Jones on the fabuloso meeting of all the progressive groups to work out a "massive new liberal plan to remake American politics."

What might that be?  Well, it's nothing more than a three-part program to push Democratic advantages at the polls:
  1. getting big money out of politics, 
  2. expanding the voting rolls while fighting voter ID laws, 
  3. rewriting Senate rules to curb the use of the filibuster to block legislation.
Oh.  Is that all?

What is really interesting in the article by Andy Kroll--all these lefties seem to write under nicknames--is the absurdity of their demonization of Big Oil and the Koch brothers.  Really.  Here we have all the progressive institutions, "labor officials, environmentalists, civil rights activists, immigration reformers, and a panoply of other progressive leaders" all planning a campaign in a "the kind of meeting that conspiratorial conservative bloggers dream about."  Ya think?

We are talking about this sort of thing:
"It was so exciting," says Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director. "We weren't just wringing our hands about the Koch brothers. We were saying, 'I'll put in this amount of dollars and this many organizers.'"
Really.  And just what have the Koch brothers with their millions achieved recently against the Sierra Club and its billions?  And this:
 Greenpeace's Phil Radford notes that for decades conservatives have aimed to shrink local, state, and federal governments [in a] "a 40-plus-year strategy by the Scaifes, Exxons, Coors, and Kochs of the world…to take over the country."
There is a profound misunderstanding of what conservatism is all about in remarks like that, particularly where Exxon is concerned.  Exxon, dear liberal friends, is just a big corporation that knows it must pay protection money to keep the feds off its back.

But of course, that's what the left is all about.  It believes in a profound division between supposed "haves" and "have-nots" epitomized by "capitalists" that represent the modern incarnation of the feudal lords of the feudal era.

I realized, while writing a chapter in "An American Manifesto" a week or so ago that this is a complete fantasy.  It is just not true that capitalists sit astride modern society like feudal lords.  Capitalists are not and never have been a ruling class, except in the thousand years of the Serene Republic of Venice.

Oh, and by the way, the ruling merchant aristocracy in Venice was a pretty good governing elite.  You could check it out.

Today's ruling class is the ruling class of the educated elite.  Ours is an aristocracy of politicians and publicists, not a plutocracy of businessmen.

But the idea that businessmen rule the world is essential to the rule of the educated elite.  That is why The Communist Manifesto remains modern and vital.  Its message is the means by which the modern ruling class divides employers from employees.  And politics, let us never forget, is division.

That is why the progressives descant endlessly on "the Scaifes, Exxons, Coors, and Kochs of the world."  Their rule depends on workers mistrusting their employers.

I am reading right now the Hardt and Negri Commonwealth.  Today, the Marxists want their revolution to transcend both the capitalists and the welfare state, because they see a life in common among the multitude of "biopolitical production" meaning the modern creative economy in cities of individuals creating a spontaneous combustion of creative work and "affect."  These people will not submit to the control of the capitalists, that only slow them down, or the state either.

The trouble is that the common man has never been either a helpless proletarian or a creative singularity in the multitude of various lefty narratives.  Most people are social animals that go along to get along in the society and the economy of the day.  They work for employers because it is easier than working for themselves.  They take a fixed wage instead of the uncertainty of the market and its risks: what's not to like?  They resent the income and the power of their employer, well, just because.  Some people are creative; some people want to build a business.  But most people just want to fit in and stay out of trouble.

The saving grace, for conservatives, is that each progressive lurch ends in disillusion as the folks inspired by the New Deal or the New Frontier or the First Black President eventually realize that the incandescent hope of the great political hero isn't really going to make a difference in their lives.

In the rhythm of American politics that disillusion seems to set in about the sixth year of a presidential term.  The only exception seem to be when the disillusion sets in in the first presidential midterm.  And the rule seems to work whatever cunning plan the president's partisans may have to persuade themselves that this time is different.

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