The Brownshirts are Good News

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Crossposted at Agent Orange, ~7pm EDT, Saturday

This short essay started as a comment on a Docudharma Diary,  but its something that’s been percolating in my head for a while, now.

First, yes, of course, the Administration is acting like a representative of the moderate wing of the Corporate Party, because after all … that’s what they are. That is, after all, what they ran on … if they had pivoted to act as progressive populists, they would, indeed, have given substance to the radical reactionary lies about running as a moderate while secretly yearning for a radical agenda.

Instead, it turns out that the radical reactionary charge is more of the same projection … since they have for such a long time been running as more moderate than their actual radical agenda. The marketing genius of labeling a program of ripping out not just the New Deal of the Democratic Roosevelt but also the Square Deal of the Republican Roosevelt “conservative” … the tagline of the Fox Noise Channel as “Fair and Balanced” is just a pale shadow of that rhetorical trick.

Still …

… the different wings of the Corporate Party are different, they have a different approach, and the country is far better served by having the fascist wing out of power.

It would be a silly unrealistic fantasy to expect that a Democrat who ran as a representative of the moderate wing of the corporate party to govern as a progressive populist … but if the corporations backing the fascist wing were getting everything they wanted, they would not be organizing the brownshirts to get into the fray.

If there were no quite serious corporate interests subject to threat, the corporations would not bother with organizing the brownshirts.

The Corporate Party likes to be in control with as little muss and fuss as possible. They like power exercised behind close doors, with the deal between the various parties with enough clout to have a seat at the table wrapped tightly within a sealed box of mutual self-interest, and a well-honed cover story for what is really going on.

Brownshirts are too volatile to be a nice, safe, business-as-usual tactic. They are therefore a tactic being deployed by subsets of the Corporate Party that sees its position under threat.

And that means that there is something there in the legislation coming out of committee that can, in fact, accomplish something.

My suspicion is that its the public option. The grounds for that is that the public potion is the focus of the political fight … all manner of public regulation of health insurance companies have been given a pass in order to focus the fight on the public option. While that does not ensure that all of those regulations will get through, it does imply a quite substantial risk that some of them will get through even if the fight to kill off the public option is successful.

And choosing such a blunt instrument as brownshirts for such a substantial part of the political fight means that quite a lot of opportunities for political subtlety and subterfuge are off the table. Investing in the idea that the public option means that grandma is going to be killed by a government bureaucrat does not make strategic sense if you are willing to trade acceptance of a public option for removal of some regulatory reform.

Now, I could speculate on why they view the public option as being a sufficiently serious threat to their position to choose the blunt and risky tool of organized reactionary populist outrage … and if I was to speculate, it would be that they expect that once established there will be a strong dynamic toward extending accessibility to the health exchanges. Whether or not there is a dynamic toward the public option taking over, or whether it remains a mixed system, quite clearly – from the behavior of the health insurance companies and big pharma – a regulated market system represents a substantial threat to their corporate power.

There is, after all, nothing that a “free market” corporation dislikes quite so much as a genuinely competitive market.

However, its also possible to overthink it. The basic evidence is that they are willing to invest so much to fight it. That’s how I know its worth fighting for.

This does not mean that the public option is an across the board assault on corporate power. Indeed, it obviously is not, or else the Obama administration would not and could not support it. But in a fight with the wing of the Corporate Party willing to call out the brownshirts, its well worth our while to fight to help ensure their defeat.

Now, its not a good thing that they have the brownshirts to call upon … and it would be a terrible thing if we let the brownshirts win. But the fact that they are calling on the brownshirts means that we have them under pressure.

42 comments

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    • BruceMcF on August 8, 2009 at 7:10 pm
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    … I hope that despite the vanilla beginning, there is something or other in it that merits some discussion.

    • Edger on August 8, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    However, there is another possibility.

    The fact that they are calling on the brownshirts may mean that they want us to think that we have them under pressure thereby manipulating the public into supporting the so-called “public option” and co-opting and quieting people calling for a single payer system, since as far as I can see so far the “public option” is an option designed to fleece the public while continuing to deliver to the U.S. public the highest per capita health care spending, the highest infant mortality rate, and the lowest life expectancy of all advanced countries.

  1. at Progressives who refuse to shut up and let him cut his corporate deals in secret.

    Sources at the meeting tell me that Emanuel really teed off on the Dem-versus-Dem attacks, calling them “f-king stupid”. This was a direct attack on some of the attendees in the room, who are running ads against Dems right now.

    Rahm and his Blue Bellies are feeling the heat two ways right now, from Progressives who want a government plan that can actually succeed and from his corporate campaign donors who are getting nervouser and nervouser about their political ROI.  

    We need to keep it up, because if we let this hack have his way on Health Care, the PO is doomed to fail.

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