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.
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.