Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2016 oligarchy update

-- Jeb Bush goes exploring.  He announced on Facebook, where some derided the quantity of his 'likes' and 'shares'.  This is the state of our political discourse today.  I'm revolted; how about you?

A majority of Americans polled would prefer he just go straight to painting portraits and landscapes.

-- Hillary Clinton is against torture, says black lives matter. Tough positions to take, all things consideredIn Houston tomorrow you can actually greet the Ready for Hillary bus -- not the candidate, mind you, but her transportation -- and get a free poster or a bumper sticker.  Isn't this exciting?

Glenn Greenwald speaks for me.

Having someone who is the brother of one former president and the son of another run against the wife of still another former president would be sweetly illustrative of all sorts of degraded and illusory aspects of American life, from meritocracy to class mobility. That one of those two families exploited its vast wealth to obtain political power, while the other exploited its political power to obtain vast wealth, makes it more illustrative still: of the virtually complete merger between political and economic power, of the fundamentally oligarchical framework that drives American political life.

Then there are their similar constituencies: what Politico termed “money men” instantly celebrated Jeb Bush’s likely candidacy, while the same publication noted just last month how Wall Street has long been unable to contain its collective glee over a likely Hillary Clinton presidency. The two ruling families have, unsurprisingly, developed a movingly warm relationship befitting their position: the matriarch of the Bush family (former First Lady Barbara) has described the Clinton patriarch (former President Bill) as a virtual family member, noting that her son, George W., affectionately calls his predecessor “my brother by another mother.”

If this happens, the 2016 election would vividly underscore how the American political class functions: by dynasty, plutocracy, fundamental alignment of interests masquerading as deep ideological divisions, and political power translating into vast private wealth and back again. The educative value would be undeniable: somewhat like how the torture report did, it would rub everyone’s noses in exactly those truths they are most eager to avoid acknowledging.

And those first in line to save us from this are Ted Cruz and (not) Elizabeth Warren.


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