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Adolf Hitler
There are two competing but equally hard to believe possibilities about "The Rich Strike Back," a Politico article drawing attention for including yet another .01 percenter comparing liberals to Hitler. Either it's meant entirely seriously, or Politico's Ben White and Maggie Haberman have jumped straight from stenography to satire. Sadly, it's probably the former.

The article's premise is that the Republican victory in the House special election in Florida's thirteenth district is evidence that it's time for Wall Street and big business and lobbyists to reclaim both the Democratic and Republican Parties. The Democrats because they lost the election—never mind that the seat had been held by a Republican for 30 years and that, while President Barack Obama carried the district in 2012, his margin was tiny and Democrats typically see significant drop-off in off years, never mind special elections—and the Republicans because the election's winner is a former Washington lobbyist. That's the cue for the billionaire sharks to circle. And circling they are (right around White and Haberman, eager to give quotes). So about that Hitler analogy:

“I hope it’s not working,” Ken Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot and major GOP donor, said of populist political appeals. “Because if you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany. You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.”
These guys are always talking about how they're so wealthy because they're smarter and harder-working than anyone else, but apparently those smarts don't extend to understanding the difference between returning the top marginal tax rate to what it was in, say, 1980 and world war in the service of genocide.

All the signs point to this piece being stenography, not satire, and one of the key signs is that it says nothing new. We know that Wall Streeters are always looking to pull the Democratic party into their class war from above. We know that the Republican establishment is always looking to channel the passions of the far-right fringe into a nice, predictable MBA candidate. The facts that Republicans held a Republican seat in a narrow special election victory and Wall Street's boy in the New York governor's mansion, Andrew Cuomo, is doing his best to thwart New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's agenda don't actually translate into income inequality being popular and expanding Social Security being unpopular. All they translate into is what we've always known: Even when the majority is with you on the issues, it's hard to win when the money is pouring through cannons from the other side. And all this article is is rich people reminding us that they're rich, and that money means influence. And the occasional Hitler comparison, evidently.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:04 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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