Democrats In Wisconsin Confirm Now Is Oligarchy’s Time

Democrat failure to recall Scott Walker presages a new phase of demotic politics: nascent oligarchical entrenchment. In the post Bush era, oligarchy until now is largely insurgent and opportunistic, feeding off astro turfed Tea Parties or knee-capping Democratic initiatives.

Walker’s success shows oligarchy is finally battle tested. It stood its ground and Walker outperformed 2010 tallies. The Rightist national activation reveals a functionally cohesive movement. Radicalism and divide and conquer tactics are viable tools to seize and maintain power.

By contrast, Democrats focused mostly on process. GOTV. Registration. Obama wouldn’t deign to get involved at any stage but wanted to test *his* state campaign ground game. Most of the newly registered voters went for Walker.

Oligarchy,Wisconsin Recall

Axelrod et al. complain about the money. As well they should. But tellingly national Democrats clearly lack the same philosophical commitment as Rightists about collective bargaining.

Last night in Wisconsin was lost years ago. As we predicted in March 2011. We all know, Dear Reader, Wisconsin was a battle over destroying collective bargaining. It’s the age old struggle between unconstrained capital and individuals lacking power except in numbers. Except Democrats forgot the reason for that story. Thus, national Democrats rallying to unions strikes a false note, a cynical posing – with the grating exception of Ed Schultz, who undeniably gets unions.

The time to defend unions and their socio-political purpose was 20 years ago. A healthy political coalition defends an ally under attack when the ally is still strong. One reason Rightists rise up at every perceived attack meme.

Democrats themselves threw unions under the bus just like the oligarchs. Oh, unions get lip service. But operationally? Ed Rendell told unions to shove it in Philadelphia, etc. Clinton famously sent them all to hell with NAFTA and GATT, for example.

All in service of essentially Rightist fantasy ideology in which ‘consumer welfare’ is the acme of wisdom. Easy to do when everyone’s standard of living rode the promise of a bubble economy. Democrats abandoned social philosophy for consumer atavism and are indistinguishable from Republicans except for flaunting lifestyle affectations. On the Acela clutching their iPad they might feel uneasy over Foxconn slave labor suicides in China – but not because of the inequities of wealth and life circumstances. The *suicides make them feel bad about their purchases*.

And now, with constricting life opportunities and prospects for consumption, these same Democrats are easy prey for oligarchical politics of envy. Why should *those* unions remain uncrushed when *you* can’t afford a new iPhone? Unions are an affront to one’s notion of consumerism, which is to say purpose.

In the 1990s a billionaire friend of ours asked to meet Newt. He was the real life person for one of the characters in Stone’s Wall Street. He over dinner tried to explain to Newt what passage of NAFTA and GATT would mean. People like him, he said, would become even richer, but capital mobility without constraint would destroy the middle class.

He made an eloquent appeal to a superficial dim bulb, but it was also the best argument against Clinton and that crowd, too. Something no Democrat made. Then or now.


  1. RedPhillip says

    This was the random quote offered me for this page. Because I’m a cynical old dog, I had good lulz:

    “When this is all over — and I expect it will be soon — besides a great moral accounting, I hope that there will deep introspection and sober public discussion about the peculiar ignorance and deductive pessimism on the part of our elites.”
    — VDH, March 28, 2003

  2. Dr Leo Strauss says

    What we wrote in August 2009:

    Our view remains that Obama’s best function historically is to stabilize the Republic after 8 years of Christian Socialist Authoritarian misrule. Ideally, he would need two terms to return governing to a non-radical, non-extra-legal meme basis. We do not see it in him actually to roll back the damage. That will be up to one later who can build on a stabilzed foundation with a clearer restorative purpose. We personally are not reacting in this post to all the Rightist August frenzy per se. It’s to be expected. Even a stabilizing caretaker simply counter-flooding watertight compartments in our ship to compensate for huge holes left by the Warlord would galvanize the Movement eventually. Cost of doing business. We just didn’t expect Obama or the Democrats to be so pitifully unprepared.

    • Tbilisi says

      Well said, Doctor. Like you, I called what Obama would be – not an agent of Change, but a rent-seeker of a status quo that has systematically destroyed and corrupted our Republic’s foundational notions of republicanism, liberalism, citizenship, and indeed freedom and liberty.

      Nowadays I think Obama is widely recognized for what and who he is, including among the people who voted for him in 2008. But this has only exposed the depth of the rot in the American psyche. How easily and unconsciously people on the right indulge in violent – even genocidal – fantasy talk, and how those on the left not only parrot but emotionally and trenchantly defend – even at the cost of friendships – Rightist ideology and a political economic order that so obviously and manifestly contradicts their own interests, as you note.

      Your choice of Chumbawumba songs rang true in 2009. But I am not so sure how relevant Timebomb is in 2012. At least the Soviets had ancient ethnic and religious identities to save them from total nihilism. What is our bulwark?

      Talking to people, high and low, around the Imperial City, I too often find myself humming this Chumba tune instead:

      • says

        You were among the very first to predict things. The netroots have proven to be almost as big a disappointment.

        To fall back on, all we have is what we are: consumers. To be American is a lifestyle.

      • Sam Lowry says


        How easily and unconsciously people on the right indulge in violent – even genocidal – fantasy talk, and how those on the left not only parrot but emotionally and trenchantly defend – even at the cost of friendships – Rightist ideology and a political economic order that so obviously and manifestly contradicts their own interests, as you note.

        Right on cue, a Vichy “liberal” making your point. In the “liberal” New York Times no less: Steve Almond: Liberals Are Ruining America. I Know Because I Am One.

        One hopes that when the show “Everyone Hates Liberals” is made, this quote from his piece gets incorporated into the theme song (maybe part of the chorus?): “We have to seek out those on the right willing to engage in genuine dialogue and ignore the rest.”

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