It was the big story on Philly.com yesterday morning, and for understandable reasons. In a world where our necks were already sore from the 24/7 never-ending tennis match between MSNBC and Fox, between the Obama-hating right and the Tea Party-loathing left, this one was a head exploder. How could such a prominent Pennsylvania Democrat -- a man who not only sat at the right hand of Ed Rendell in Philadelphia City Hall for a half-dozen years but hosted President Obama in his own home -- turn around and endorse Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican who has ruled Harrisburg from the extreme right for the past two years?
Others have escaped the bowels of Philadelphia City Hall for bigger and better things, but none more so than Cohen, who now serves as executive vice president and the No. 3 official at Comcast Corp., the largest cable-TV provider in America, now in the process of becoming sole owner of NBCUniversal. His mantra -- then and now -- is getting things done. Like a lot of rich and powerful people, Cohen is a Democrat in the sense that his dream candidate is a guy (or gal) who supports low taxes and lower regulation of business AND gay marriage.
But like Mick Jagger said, you can't always get what want, but you can get what you need. And Mr. Cohen's employer Comcast needs regulatory and government predictabllity. Although cable TV is largely regulated by the feds and with some price-setting on the local level, Comcast certainly wants a friend in Harrisburg -- not just in the governor's mansion but on the state regulatory boards whose members are appointed largely by Corbett. What's more, supporting Corbett gives Cohen a chance to go to Congress, where Republicans hold sway, with more evidence that Comcast is not just a Democratic company. If you don't think a governor can help Comcast, check out (by way of the conservative writer Chris Freind) what Rendell did for the cable giant during his stay in Harrisburg.
From Cohen's penthouse view, all that culture war stuff that blares from his Comcast-powered cable TV set -- even from MSNBC, now about to be a wholly owned property of Comcast -- must sound pretty silly. Because the reality is that Big Business doesn't really care how much we fight about guns or abortion, or how it all turns out. When it come to the stuff that matters in their world -- whether it's taxes (and loopholes), or consumer protection, or punishing white-collar criminals -- there are no Democrats or Republicans. There's nothing resembling a two-party system at all.
There's just the 1 Percent Party. And there's a 99 percent chance that you're not in it.