Phony Populism Arrives

Thomas Frank writes an excellent article about the possible rise of the teabaggers. Paul Ryan, the man who takes more money than anybody from big bu

Thomas Frank writes an excellent article about the possible rise of the teabaggers. Paul Ryan, the man who takes more money than anybody from big business is trying to be their golden boy and he's using an ideology that is based on crony corporatism embedded with language that actually opposes the fundamental root of their philosophy.

They paint themselves as anti-corporatists and want to destroy the government for the benefit of the corporations they are supposed to hate. And if that doesn't work, then kill more government and give more tax breaks to the rich and make sure you hate brown people enough. It's all this twisted logic, but they make it work because of the influence of the right-wing media machine led by FOX News and have been making it work since the '80s in one form or another. Just ask Grover Norquist since he's an orchestrator of the K-Street project.

Thomas Frank:

It's easy to underestimate conservatism's chances in these dark days. Over the last year, the Republican Party has appeared to be either a gang of obstructionists or a confused relic of some prehistoric past; its thinkers seemed to do little more than repeat catch-phrases you've heard dozens of times before; even its most earnest activists sometimes appeared to be the pawns of lobbying organizations.

But the movement might stage a comeback yet. According to the demented logic of American politics, the world began anew with the Obama presidency, and so it is the Democrats who will have to go before the public this fall and defend the bailout of Wall Street. Similarly, it might be the Republicans who seize the opportunity to capture public outrage this time around, denouncing concentrated economic power, insisting on holding big business accountable, and promising to settle scores with the nation's erstwhile financial rulers. Given the GOP's doings over the past 30 years, such a reversal may strike you as implausible, if not downright ridiculous...read on

Read the whole article, because Frank knows as much about movement conservatism as anyone alive.

Digby has a great analysis of the article, and writes:

He goes on to explain that this is actually an old argument about how free markets keep business from gaming government and forming cartels. Indeed, according to this concept deregulation is the only way to control corporations. Isn't that convenient?

As Frank points out, that cracked notion is "twisted and counterintuitive" and you'd think that after three decades of a mass experiment in government deregulation, privatization and "free" market ideology people would realize how cracked it really is. But Frank rightly understands that to the Republican base, it will all ring true: the problem with big business is big government.He goes on to say that for the disaffected Independent voters (the new electoral Holy Grail) the logic is less important than the sincerity of the emotion. I actually don't think sincerity is necessary at all and that the reason it will have salience is because all these DIVs will hear the comforting old saws about Big Gummint being the enemy and will breathe a great big sigh of relief that "somebody is finally talking some sense."

Frank predicts the future and I agree:

That's why we may be heading for the greatest burst of fake populism since those TV commercials 10 years ago that showed a mob breaking down the doors of a stock exchange—not because the revolution was on but because they wanted to trade like the pros, which the sponsor promised to let them do.

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