There was a telling moment in last night’s Nevada Senate debate in which Sharron Angle and Harry Reid explained how they view the proper role of government and its relationship with corporate America. And their answers must have made the nation’s largest corporations smile.
The man Democrats picked to be their Majority Leader explained that through his efforts, Congress had passed tax relief and funding for various projects in Nevada, including one at Harrah’s hotel/casino that created lots of jobs.
Ms. Angle, of course, didn’t have such a list, but what struck me wasn’t the fact she wasn’t impressed by such standard political pork. It was her lecture to Reid that government should just get out of the way and let America’s businesses do their thing. Just let the free market work, she said, and all will be well.
That, of course, is exactly what the Tea Party’s corporate sponsors, who have successfully co-opted the movement with lavish behind-the-scenes funding and Fox’s cynical message manipulation, want loyal tpee-ers to believe.
Yesterday, Glenn Beck urged his listeners to donate money to the poor Chamber of Commerce, because these fine Chamber folks are, he assured his rubes, just the mom and pop stores down the street. The dupes fell for it. (I can’t believe this isn’t a crime.) Apparently, the rest of us just imagined that the Chamber, like Karl Rove and other fronts for corporate wealth, is functioning as a money laundering machine for hundreds of
billions millions in secret donations. They’re about to buy the Congress they want, and until we reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, all we can do is watch in horror while American democracy gets sold.
At this point, one has to entertain the possibility that on the other side of black holes there is an alternate universe with a reality very different from the one I assume to be valid. In that alternate universe, a substantially deregulated Enron or World Comm or Country Wide or dozens of other criminal firms never bilked investors and employees out of billions in life savings. And Wall Street’s deregulated banksters never put the world’s economy at risk, never tanked the US economy or threw millions out of work and millions more out of their homes.
In Angle’s Tea Party universe, there would be no housing crisis: no millions forced into bankruptcy by underwater mortgages and millions more in foreclosure, many of them the victims of pervasive fraud that ran from predatory origination to extend and pretend modification efforts to failed recordings, never mind flawed title/note transfers to "trusts" to support fraudulent securitizations for investors insufficiently warned about the trash they were buying.
There wouldn’t be banks tossing millions of people out of their homes without following the most elementary due process. And the banks wouldn’t be staring at billions in potential liability for failing to move notes and mortgages into trusts as they promised their duped investors, and we wouldn’t be staring at the next bank crisis.
The Tea Party’s corporate sponsors have managed to convince the Sharron Angles that just letting the banks practice free enterprise without government oversight did not require trillions in government bailouts, loan guarantees and subsidies. And if we just let the oil and coal companies do their thing, the Gulf of Mexico’s life would not have been threatened, miners wouldn’t die, and the planet would not be faced with a global climate disaster. Of course, health insurers would gladly take care of all sick children.
I’ve tried to imagine what it must be like to believe we live in that alternate universe, but it requires such a massive denial of reality and overturning of logic that to hold even a fraction of such views seems indistinguishable from insanity.
Perhaps there is an alternative universe on the other side. But I suspect Matt Taibbi was correct when he said the Tea Party folks are "just full of **it, all of them." And the media thinks they’re all the rage.