Allow me first to address those readers who think that it just can't get that much worse. Those who are convinced that at some point even the wealthiest of the ideological corporate elite in this nation will grind their Constitution-crushing machinations of disaster capitalism and crony nepotism to a halt. Those who think that the corporate elite must realize that there is a point of no return for their organized and systematic dismantling of the middle class and that we are rapidly approaching that precipice. I need you to hear me:
Stop thinking that they will give a damn when that happens. Every single policy that they have put forward when followed to its logical conclusion, leads us to a place as a country that has no room for a strong middle class, no respect for the people having a say in how their government is run and has no resemblance to the republic that was created in our founding documents over two centuries ago. (Also, lest anyone think that I am forgetting the distinction that is supposed to exist between lawmakers and business, I suggest you read the report published by the American Association for Justice on an organization called ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which is just as crooked as it sounds.)
I appeal to you to listen to your gut, because if you have been paying attention in even some small way, you have been unable to avoid the pervasive malignancy of unchecked corporatism in this country, and your gut by now has to be screaming. Throw out your cherished notions of there being a limit to the devastation that greed and unregulated corporatism can visit on us and start understanding that the only way we have any chance of survival is when we stand as one.
We have never before seen what happens to our civilization, post-Industrial Revolution and post-prosperity, when it begins its decline. I posit that we are seeing that descent gain momentum from when it took it’s first step downhill some decades ago when the seeds were sewn for the massive and broad-reaching systemic dismantling of democracy we see happening across the nation today.
This Koch brother approved full-court press of GOP governors like Chris Christie in New Jersey, Rick Perry in Texas, Rick Scott in Florida, John Kasich in Ohio, Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Rick Snyder in Michigan stand out among the top offenders now leading the charge against our democratic process. Let's do a quick and pithy rundown:
Christie, who never shies away from a chance to provide a ridiculously egregious example of corporate elitist disdain really took the cake for douchebaggery last week when he publicly chastised a working mom who had the gall to ask him about his justifications for cutting funding to public schools while sending his own children to private schools. You may also remember Chris Christie as the meaty champion for "smaller government" who took a government funded helicopter to his son's softball game and after disembarking from the helicopter took a government funded limousine 100 yards to the actual softball field, and then repeated the process in reverse when he left. If that isn't contempt for the taxpayer and their hard-earned dollars I don't know what is. Are you kidding me?
Meanwhile, his bunk mates on the GOP tour from hell are racking up their own crimes against humanity. Rick Scott in Florida seems to think that no one will notice the fact that he placed the chain of medical clinics he used to own, Solantic, in his wife's name in an attempt to circumvent any legal conflict of interest before he set forth as governor mandating that state employees and welfare recipients be required to be drug tested. Into who's cups would these citizens of Florida most likely be peeing you ask? Yes, that's right, cups at any of Solantic's 32 facilities throughout Florida. Crafty there Rick. It's about as subtle as a tumor, which, come to think of it, you may be able to have removed at a Solantic clinic near you.
Governor Rick Perry of Texas can't seem to figure out if he wants to secede from the Union or run it, but what he does know apparently, as does Governor Scott, is that he prefers a schmooze with the Koch brothers over being at home, governing during a state of emergency. But I suppose Perry has to do something in between bouts of telling his citizens to pray for rain.
John Kasich, not to be outdone by Scottie Walker, puckers up for some Koch-style ass kissing and praises Americans for Prosperity for helping him to, as AFP's Michigan Executive Director Scott Hagerstrom puts it, "take the unions out at the knees." It boggles the mind. These people have no idea whose yard they are crapping in, really. If they think that Great Lakes region is going to take union busting lying down, they are even more out of touch than I can comprehend.
Meanwhile in Wisconsin, Scott Walker continues to operate like a sad cartoon of a man, taking down portraits of poor children in the governor's mansion and replacing them pictures of eagles. This buffoon now has the distinction of inspiring "Walkervilles," the 21st century response to his union-busting laws by citizens who actually know enough history to know what a "Hooverville" was. Hmm, something tells me they were probably educated by a qualified teacher in a good public school. He also seems to suffer under the misconception that he is something other than a one-term Koch-funded tool of the elitist corporate ideologues.
In that way all of these governors are similar, as are people like Paul Ryan - they are under the assumption that they actually have a political future. It serves the interests of their major backers to have them harbor this delusion, but in reality they are in office only until the people have another chance to oust them for destroying the middle class. They are there to ram through ALEC authored legislation, bust unions and leave the public education system in this country so broken that will take generations to repair. They care nothing for the long-term cost of such destructive action. Like George W. Bush before them, you have someone who is just egomaniacal enough to think that they have what it takes to lead, and deluded enough to think that they are "in touch" and "on the right side of history." My ass. Sorry boys.
I leave "tough nerd" (an offense to nerds everywhere, thank you) Rick Snyder in Michigan for last in this parade of corporate mouthpieces and asshat right-wing ideologues for two reasons. The first is that he strikes on my home turf, and unlike Scott Walker, I do not think that Rick Snyder is an idiot. I think he is calculating and sinister like the Emperor in Star Wars. I think he has a sense of self-importance that dwarfs the moon and ambition enough in his free enterprise-driven psychopathy to sell away everything precious and sacred in our state and our democracy.
The second reason is that in Michigan we are now the first state in the history of our nation to have legislation passed that in essence takes away our right to be duly represented in our government. Public Act 4 of 2011, the Emergency Manager Law, says that in any city or township that is deemed to be in a state of "financial stress or financial emergency" the governor can appoint a body to be the emergency manager and that person (or corporation, that's right folks, it does not have to be a person) would then have complete control over all of that municipality's services, finances, schools, everything. It takes away any conflicts of interest for the Emergency Managers in the communities they now have autocratic power over. It makes the elected boards and city councils powerless and irrelevant and gives the people no recourse for seeing their voices being drowned right out of the political process.
There is something critically wrong when the first thing that pops into a person's head as a way to deal with a financial crisis is to strip the citizens you were elected to govern of the power of their votes. When you run for office by preying on the good nature and fear of your constituents to install yourself solely at the helm and appoint your friends to "lead" under you, you govern with contempt. When your first instinct is to subvert democracy because you think you know best, you govern with contempt. When you try and pass this off to the citizenry as the "bold reform" this state needs and you do so by taking all authority away from duly elected officials, therefore making this no longer a democracy, you govern with contempt.
*This is cross-posted on the Wits and Vinegar blog.