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A Poisoned Chalice

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Or..Beware enemies bearing gifts.

There are some Democrats who are excited at the disillusionment of big business with the Republican Party. Paul Waldman, for example, thinks that the Democrats could peel off some valuable pieces of the Republican coalition, wedging "responsible" from "irresponsible" businesses. If he means wedging apart small from big business, then I'm listening. If he's talking about bringing the corporate wolves into the house, then he's crazy. They care about one thing and one thing only: making a profit. They've demonstrated precious little interest in the public good, or even an enlightened self-interest.

The Democrats are raising a lot of money these days, something many on the left are quite excited about. But while some seesthe rise of the "small donor democracy," I see wealthy interests hedging their bets, trying to win influence with the new Democratic majority. This isn't a valuable addition of strength - this is the corruption of progressive ideals. We see the effects of this already, with Democrats in the Congress refusing to tax hedge funds at the same rate as other income.

The fact is that the interests of big business America are fundamentally at odds with liberalism. The only way to salvage the middle class is to re-structure the economy, distributing money away from the top 10% and towards the bottom 90%. We cannot do so while at the same time courting the very same people who are benefiting from the current economic arrangement. You can either help the middle class or big business, but not both. It's just that simple.

We've been here before. The triangulation and passivity of the Democratic Party from the 1980's forward was in large measure due to the efforts of Tony Coelho and others to win corporate contributions. It is no accident that at the same moment the Democratic Party lost any enthusiasm for labor unions or real progressive reforms. I for one am not at all happy that Democrats running for Congress and President are raising so much cash, because I know where most of it comes from - the enemy.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 8:01 AM
  • Um, yeah. Agree entirely.

    I cringe with every Kos FP post about our fundraising advantage.

    K Street will always back the big dog so long as the status quo is enforced. But they'll turn for the conservative movement in a heartbeat when the wind is blowing the right direction.

    By Blogger Brian, at 3:45 PM  
  • Yeah, Kos is who I was thinking of....

    By Blogger Arbitrista, at 4:09 PM  
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