The Confederacy Will Rise Again
Go back far enough and you’ll quickly realize how we got to where we are now.
The Tea Party Republicans who are willing to disrupt the world markets in a radical coup of governing power in congress have always been a group inspired by the repeated right-ward lurches against taxation, against diversity, and against public goods.
Look back as far as the 80s to see when things started to turn and parts of the U.S. began lusting over shrinking the size of government as much as possible. Since then, the wealthy elite in the U.S. have been fomenting this war against the federal government and any increase in government expenditure that wasn’t defense-related.
These so-called conservatives take to heart the idea that government should be as small as possible, so the idea that the government would default wouldn’t bother them too much. Why would they care about marring something they don’t hold much value in anyway?
At least, that’s the ultimate conclusion behind the anti-taxation, anti-diversity, and anti-public goods rhetoric that the conservative movements have fostered in the last several decades.
The conservative wealthy elite in the U.S. made one huge mistake in all of this: they believed that the people they were galvanizing had similar interests. The wealthy thought these people were on their side. Now, however, we see that corporations, and even small businesses, don’t really have as much as stranglehold over them anymore. They’re a dog bred to kill but it’s turned on its master.
There’s something even deeper going on here. Bruce Bartlett who served as a domestic policy adviser for President Ronald Reagan and a Treasury official under President G. H. W. Bush wrote a piece for the Financial Times detailing how people got the Southern Strategy all wrong. The Republican Party didn’t take over the south – the south took over the Republican Party. This takeover has become more evident as time went on. Liberals got it all wrong – the tail (the south) wasn’t wagging the dog (the Republican Party) – the dog was the south and the tail was the Republican Party. Arguably, it’s been a happy, mutual relationship so far, but now the south has metamorphosed the Republican Party into a neo-Confederate party which serves the whims of the south above all else.
The membership of the Tea Party holds a disdain for the America they have come to live with. They haven’t accepted that we have quasi-socialist health care for the elderly and for the poor, a quasi-socialist welfare net for the poor and needy, the support for the sciences which aren’t market-based, and tell businesses and individual people who to operate and live their lives based upon socially accepted norms and rules that are otherwise arguably reasonable.
Here’s Josh Eidelson interviewing Doug Henwood:
You’ll hear some conservatives argue that the Tea Party represents a different politics, less “pro-business” than the GOP we knew – instead, consistently committed to “limited government” in ways that can be counter to business interests. To what extent is that just spin, or a real divide?
It’s a kind of regional and inter-class battle. I think, to use the Marxist language, [the Tea Partyers] represent an enraged provincial petit bourgeois that feel that they are seeing society change in ways that they don’t like. They look at things like Obamacare and see that as a way of subsidizing a minority electoral bloc that will push the government in ways that they don’t like. These are the small-town worthies, like the local car dealers — people who are millionaires, but not billionaires. They are big wheels in their local communities, but not on a national level. And then you have ideological right-wingers like the Koch brothers who use these folks very effectively.
To some degree the Big Business interests are paying a price for having relied on these characters in the first place. The last thing that Big Business wants to see is something that threatens the status of Treasury bonds. They don’t want to threaten the status of the dollar as reserve currency. They don’t want to rock the image of the United States as the most stable capitalist power in the world. Even though the financial crisis essentially originated here, money still flowed to the United States then because it seemed safer than everywhere else. The big boys don’t want to endanger that status.
The fact that it’s even a possibility is just surreal. The American elite has lost control, or is losing control, of some of the core mechanisms of its power. And I think the rest of the world must watch with jaw hanging down. And I think a lot of the Tea Party types either don’t care about the risk of default, or don’t believe that anything serious can emerge from a serious default.
They have never really put too much value in the – what is now called – liberal social landscape of America. So why would they relent and save the United States government from itself? It’s the government that forced them to shut down their confederate protests and surrender. Now they have us right where they want us.