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The Obama Way?

In today's Wall Street Journal, Steven Rattner has a very revealing op-ed (the full piece is only available to subscribers).  Arguing that "Wall Street Still Doesn't Get it," he quotes the President's comment to a group of bankers that "my administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."  I take that to be the Obama way. H e did the same in the health care deal. If memory serves, Obama made deals with drug companies and the AMA very early in the process. I gather that, until recently, he was working the same angle with BP on cap and trade. (BP has extensive natural gas reserves which could make the company a good deal of money, if the bill is structured in a particular way).  I suspect he's doing the same with Israel just now. Thanks to the cartel-breaking dust-up, he has more leverage than he had recently. (He tried to use the recent housing permit incident similarly).

The President, in other words, practices classic Chicago politics.  He uses popular anger to threaten the big guys, and then cuts a deal with them for half. The intended result--the big guys are happy that they did not get killed, and the common people are happy that they took a hit. (In the mean time, the smaller players are creamed. The big guys can take the hit, and then profit from the reduced competition).

This corporatist approach is not all that new, but Obama is trying to expand its scope.  It is probably the inevitable direction that bigger government will take in America.

I suspect the part of Obama's anger at the tea parties is that they gum up the works of his pragmatic, moderate, corporatism.  They show that there are other ways of seeing it. There are people who don't want such cartelization.  When Obama says he's no socialist, he's being sincere.  He wants to use the market to serve what he takes to be public goods that otherwise would be ignored.  A big, diiverse economy, with players of all sizes makes that more difficult. It is much easier to use the private sector when it's limited to fewer, bigger companies. The tea parties, in this sence, represent the ancient American prejudice in favor of mediating institutions.  Their principles reflect that idea.

Categories > Politics

Discussions - 7 Comments

Bingo, yahtzee! Well thought out and well said,

Two things going on here -- (1) Obama is an evil genius; or (2) Obama is a bumbling fool, in way over his head.

I can only hope it's (2).

"my administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."
The first image that came to mind with that statement is of an old ventriloquist act where the puppet threatens the the puppet master.

On a somewhat related topic. MSNBC is about to run a special to demonize conservative tea partiers. read the transcript here:
some really good stuff in this, pitty that they only get around half a million viewers or the blatant would win the tea party more supporters. this stuff would make goebbels and bernays blush.

Funny how Mr. Corporatist surrounds himself with Communists and types of hard Leftists. I think I agree with Beck on this one -- corporatism is seen as a stepping stone to a more thoroughly socialist future. Mr. Adams, I think you are falling for the rhetoric rather than the reality.

Well, isn't a communist government really just a big corporation when all is said and done, except the "CEO's" of the company are also in charge of its unions (and receive all of those perks) AND the major stockholders.

Is this the same Steve Rattner who was the subject of a Newsweek piece: Being Mr. Big?

The Financier and Democratic Money man who backed the Clintons?

Would make some sense since he had Lehman connections and the government let this competitor fail and then bailed out AIG to ensure the GS monopoly and profits.

Redwald I think the reality is quite corporatist, and the corporatist can even argue that the critique of corporatism is fueled by Marxists (Since Capitalism in its last stages is corporatist). To think we are corporatist is thus to be marxist.

If this is the same Steve Ratner he would at least have the most expertise about the meme, being as how he is really a a crony capitalist/corporatist who made a few bad bets(picking Lehman over Goldman and Clinton over Obama).

Yea, "late capitalism." Talk about wishful thinking.

If corporatism is an end-state, and that end-state is considered Marxist, then Karl is spinning so rapidly in his grave that you could wire him up and provide all the power New Jersey needs for the next century! Corporatism offers none of the "social benefits" Marx promised, and would most likely be thought of as a capitalist "quick fix" by orthodox Marxists (i.e., something to stave off collapse and the Revolution) - much in the same way that Lenin viewed imperialism.

No, I think Obama and crew see corporatism as just another step toward socialism/communism. This is why so many liberals made such poor cold warriors -- their disagreement with the Soviets/Chicoms was over methods, not goals.

And given that socialism never ever works, whether tried by the Mao, Hitler, Castro, or Kim Il-Sung, I've decided that left-liberals are nothing more than overly-educated idiots. I mean, you gotta really TRY to ignore reality to believe that socialism is the way to go.

Either that, or they are diabolic power-grabbers using socialism as a ruse to consolidate their power. You pick it.

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