If you believe in Straws and Camels, it seems there’s always one that broke the other’s back. And so it is with the 147 Republicans in Congress who supported the effort to overturn Joe Biden’s election
The nation’s CEOs finally had enough
Those of us who have the idle time (or idle interest) to follow such things have always known that business and the GOP are connected at the hip. Certainly my couple of decades of political writing made me aware of that and I accepted it as gospel. I still do and without either remorse or criticism, the same as I expect (but do not demand) that the middle class is largely Democrat.
So I’ve mostly bet on big business to change things
Call that capitulation if you care to but, if one dares to offer an opinion, he or she ought to at the very least be a realist. Charles Wilson (then CEO of General Motors) never actually said “what’s good for General Motors is good for America,” but he might as well have. And the statement held more truth than fiction.
All through this mind-numbing forty-year march toward the stratification of American society into he-said, she-said hissy-fits, I have felt and written that business interests would keep us from wandering too far off the rails. That’s been a more and more difficult sell in recent years and I’ll stretch your credulity by telling you why.
They saw it coming and stood idle
Late to the party they were, at least from my point of view and it was dis-heartening to watch. The only answer I could come up with was that they had no skin in the game. Business didn’t give a shit who won or lost because they owned both parties. Sad to admit but true. With the political divide as wide as the Grand Canyon I’d shifted my hopes toward business to keep the lights on at night for democracy. They’d already made their voice heard on economic inequality—the need to throw a rope to the homeless and poorest of the poor, so I had hopes.
I loved it. Business, those other guys I once was, weren’t going to let their markets disappear because Congress couldn’t find their ass with both hands. Politics is always a cock-fight with lots of feathers and blood, but business understands there’s always a client with cash in his hand at the end of the sale.
But this was different, off-menu enough to bring tears to my eyes
This thing with the 147 was a full-frontal attack on the integrity of the constitutional separation of powers.
When has Big Business ever given a shit about integrity? For them, when has government ever been more than the over-regulated envelope within which business existed?
Rock-Star CEOs always tipped their hat toward republican democracy on their way to the bank. But somehow, 147 Representatives and Senators trying to overturn a national election was simply a bridge too far.
“C.E.O.s have become the fourth branch of government,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, which has pressured big companies to take stands on social issues. “They’re trying to hold the country together.”
And they knew exactly how to react. Public disapprobation is important and extremely good PR, but the twist of the knife is cutting off funding. You guys want to mess with our American way of life? We’ll hang you out to dry. Not unexpectedly, many of the 147 are frantically walking back their bold moves—well, er, not really what we meant, just protecting fee speech you know.
The best part is, this was not an either-or
Big Business isn’t bargaining. Too late, ladies and gentlemen of the Congress. Adept as they are at paying the fine and accepting no guilt, that deal wasn’t on the table. Sometimes to catch a thief you need a thief. Quite possibly this will give the House and Senate the collective backbone to throw these miscreants to the wolves. The laws of congress allow for that.
The downside is, Joe Biden doesn’t need and enormous distraction in the Congress at the moment. He’s got a hell of an agenda to legislate and a properly chastised 147 may be able to slip by in the winds of necessity.
But the point has been made.
Charlie Wilson’s “what’s good for General Motors is good for America,” still rings true, accurate or not.
Photo Credit: truthout.org