Little Shop of Tea Party Horrors: Corporate Astroturf Campaign Turns Into Giant Man-Eating Venus Flytrap
In the New World Order, the political system operates in cycles where a “new guy” is elected to undo the incompetence of the previous administration and clean up government. In reality, he works for the same corporate masters, and his primary virtue is to convincingly play the role of “the other guy” in the eyes of the public, who can be convinced that he represents “change.”
Once elected, the job of “new guy” is to convince the public that he’s doing something other than fulfilling the same corporate agenda of his predecessor, to put a new PR spin on the old policies. He keeps his job until public confidence erodes and a new pitchman must be put in place. Thus the illusion of democracy is maintained.
The job of the opposition party during the fallow period is to burnish its image of having principles that they don’t possess, to reinvent themselves and attack the “new guy” for doing the exact same stuff they did when they had the reigns.
Thus Bush passes Medicare Part D, and when the Democrats take control of the House, their first act is to pass Medicare prescription drug price negotiation — which Obama votes for as a Senator. The bill of course goes nowhere with Bush in the White House. When the Democrats control both houses of Congres and the White House, however, the hollowness and insincerity of this symbolic gesture is laid bare when they actually do pass a health care bill, and Medicare prescription drug price negotiation is nowhere to be found.
When Bush was voted out of office (because let’s face it, that’s what the 2008 election was all about) the GOP had an image problem. After looting the taxpayer trough for 8 years, they underwent a second virginity and pitched themselves as the very model of responsible fiscal conservatives. Fox News gave untold millions worth of free air time to promote, build and empower the tea parties, while corporate America poured millions more through their coffers to fuel not only deficit hysteria but anti-regulatory mania. Cut government down to a size where Fortune 500 corporations could do what they liked, unimpeded, with no obligation to conform to any law that restricted profits. Of course this was actually toxic to small business too, not to mention the economy itself, but boy those short-term profits were tasty.
And so the Tea Party grew and grew. The Chamber of Commerce and the financial sector alone dumped $20 million into electing Tea Party candidates in the midterm elections. The newly refurbished Tea GOP was delighted with its fresh set of perky fake boobs, the smooth-as-glass forehead and the plump lips that erased its previous image as an aging corporate whore. They were thrilled when corporate America proudly started swinging them around on its arm once again like a hot trophy wife.
So imagine corporate America’s horror when they wake up one morning, roll over and discover that the trophy wife has turned into a giant venus flytrap:
A sprawling coalition of Wall Street and Main Street business leaders sent an unmistakable message to lawmakers Tuesday: Enough squabbling. Get the debt ceiling raised.
The message, sent in a letter to President Obama and every member of Congress, puts pressure on GOP lawmakers, who have staked out an uncompromising stance against raising taxes in the partisan wrangling over the country’s borrowing limit…..The letter, signed by hundreds of senior company executives and groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, said that “it is critical that the U.S. government not default in any way” and urges lawmakers “to put aside partisan differences and act in the nation’s best interest.”
Not just any venus flytrap, but an enormous man-eating venus flytrap that threatens to consume everything in its wake with its enormous gaping jaws:
The developments underscore the increasingly awkward marriage between corporate leaders and the ambitious House GOP freshman class, which has joined the business lobby in opposing Obama’s health-care law and financial regulations but has shown no sign of budging on the debt ceiling.
The Public Campaign Action Fund, a liberal-leaning advocacy group that favors public financing of elections, calculates that the Chamber and the financial services sector together spent nearly $20 million on GOP midterm candidates affiliated with the conservative tea party movement. Those rank-and-file Republicans now form the backbone of opposition to any new tax revenue, including Democratic proposals to end loopholes benefiting hedge fund managers, corporate jet owners, and oil and gas companies.
Corporate America and the GOP have been playing a very dangerous game, throwing enormous amounts of money behind PR campaigns demagoguing the very deficit that their radical manipulation of the political system created in the first place. They thought they could hide their true intentions under the cloak of fiscal responsibility and good governance. The fact that the very tool they virtually invented to captivate the democratic process finally turned around and bit them in the ass is almost Shakespearean in its irony.