Today’s stunning defeat of the colorless hack Martha Coakley by the Republican challenger in Massachusetts must be interpreted as crucial proof that the American electorate is hungry for populism in the midst of a worsening world economic depression. The kind of populism Massachusetts voters really wanted was New Deal economic populism in the tradition of Franklin D. Roosevelt, meaning concrete measures to break the power of Wall Street and deliver economic benefits to the broad middle class and working people generally. This was the kind of economic populism which was nowhere in sight. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, and Barney Frank is a party of Wall Street shills and puppets. Since no economic populists were in sight, Massachusetts voters settled for second best in the form of cultural populism as represented by the Republican Scott Brown, whose main claim to fame was that he drove a truck with 200,000 miles on it. That is the demagogic essence of cultural populism, the only kind of populism of which Republicans and reactionaries in general are capable. Cultural populism is what Rush Limbaugh sells on the radio every day, mocking the elitist cultural pretensions of politically correct Democrats. Cultural populism is the stock in trade of Sarah Palin, who uses it to try to make Tea Party supporters forget her warm support for the Bush-Paulson $700 billion bailout of Wall Street in October 2008, when Palin was running for vice president. Coakley, by contrast, was a prim elitist who showed her contempt for Joe Sixpack by going on a two-week vacation in the middle of her alleged Senate campaign.
The current tenant of the White House is an elitist snob who functions from day to day as a wholly owned Wall Street puppet, and Massachusetts voters recognized this very early on. They had been educated in these matters by their own governor, Deval Patrick, who spouted the very same kind of messianic and utopian rhetoric purveyed by Obama when he won the governorship some years ago. Perhaps because they had already been disillusioned by Patrick, Massachusetts Democrats made sure Obama was defeated by Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic primary there in spring 2008.
The boiling rage of the American electorate is directed against the two-party consensus which has made possible the transfer of between $25 and $30 trillion of US government money — Treasury, Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, etc. — in the form of the TARP or bailout, while the official rate of unemployment and underemployment approaches 18%. Voters are angry in particular about tax cheat Tim Geithner, generally the most prominent representative of the Obama regime. They know that Geithner’s cell phone is programmed for speed dialing the numbers of Citibank’s Vikram Pandit, Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase, and Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs. They know that Geithner takes orders from these Wall Street bandits. Voters know that Geithner committed a federal crime when he ordered AIG to falsify its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission to cover up almost $70 billion of US treasury funds which the bankrupt insurance company was using to pay off financial derivatives in the form of toxic credit default swaps at 100 cents on the dollar to a group of Wall Street banks, and even worse, European banks. These are the roots of the rage against Obama and the Democratic Party displayed today in Massachusetts.
Voters can see that Obama’s much touted health care reform plan includes the massive looting of Medicare, upon which senior citizens depend for their very lives, to the tune of $500 billion. Voters can understand that Obama’s health care bill involves an unconstitutional compulsion of the average person to bail out bankrupt health insurance companies by buying dubious policies from companies which are private, for-profit, and deregulated. Voters know that Obama’s legislation makes the Medicare MEDPAC into a death panel in the very real sense of the term. Voters may also know that Obama’s budget czar, Orszag, wants to deprive Americans of medical tests and probably represents the hidden hand behind recent efforts to limit mammograms and Pap smears — all to save money for bigger and better Wall Street bailouts. Under these circumstances, no one can be surprised by the massive vote of no confidence in Obama and the Democratic Party carried out today by Massachusetts voters.
Democrats did not turn out today in Massachusetts because they have been systematically disappointed, betrayed, and attacked by the Obama regime and its congressional allies. Antiwar activists have been appalled by Obama’s tripling of the US troop strength in Afghanistan and his evident resolve to export that civil war in neighboring Pakistan, with massacres carried out by private military contractors and Predator drones. Those concerned about civil liberties have been deeply antagonized by Obama’s claims of authority for indefinite detention, his continuation of illegal renditions, and his probable maintenance of illegal black sites across the world. Trade unionists have been enraged by the Obama regime’s demands for vicious wage cuts on the part of UAW members working for the Detroit auto companies which Obama deliberately and cynically drove into bankruptcy, even as Obama’s fatcat contributors at Goldman Sachs have been laughing all the way to the bank with tens of billions of dollars of bonuses racked up with the help of low-interest loans from the US government. Teachers and other public sector trade unionists are equally shocked by the unionbusting tactics of Obama and his sidekick Arne Duncan, who are using charter schools and merit pay as the centerpiece of the unionbusting strategy against the American Federation of Teachers. The best informed members of the black community are acutely aware that Obama has done nothing to address sky high jobless rates in the inner city. Gay activists are resentful that Obama has not acted on any of their concerns. All in all, Obama has already managed to alienate virtually all of the key constituency groups of the Democratic Party, including women, whom he already alienated in his misogynist presidential campaign.
Under these circumstances, it is clear that the Democratic base is fragmented and demoralized, as a direct result of Obama’s multiple betrayals of his explicit and implied promises. Both major US political parties have now been roundly repudiated at the polls — this applies to the reactionary Republicans and the Democrats, whose economic doctrine might best be summed up as a slightly modernized and watered down version of the Mussolini fascist corporate state. We note in passing that the Libertarian candidate in Massachusetts gained no traction, not least because libertarianism of the Austrian and Chicago schools offers nothing whatsoever in terms of populism, and mainly concentrates and demands that the American people he stripped of their existing economic rights to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, food stamps, and other benefits.
Scott Brown appears to have run as a clone of Virginia’s new GOP Governor McDonnell, who took pains to conceal how reactionary he actually was under a cloak of amiable moderation. Brown can best be defined as a reactionary gigolo, who got his start as a male model posing seminude for risqué photographs. But anybody ostentatiously riding in a truck with 200,000 miles on it qualifies a cultural populist, and so Brown carried the day. But if Brown brings gridlock and paralysis U.S. Congress, he will be doing everybody a favor. It is imperative to block Obama’s destruction of Medicare, one of the last fruits of the New Deal-Great Society era. It is imperative to block Obama’s attempted carbon dictatorship under the cap and trade lunacy favored by lunatic Democratic Party radical ecologist ideologues. It is basically better to block Obama’s entire congressional agenda, with the hope that some clarity on economic program might emerge over the next year or so as the depression worsens. In the meantime, divided government is best. The Democratic preponderance in Washington is one of the most toxic legacies of the hated regime of Bush the younger, and ironically it is part of this problem which Massachusetts is helping to fix.
In a depression, voters want populism. If they can find potent New Deal economic populism, they will vote for it every time, as US elections between 1932 and 1944 show without a shadow of a doubt. But if they do not find economic populism, they can easily fall prey to the cynical demagogy of cultural populism. That is what has happened in Massachusetts. The only way to be an economic populist is the shift the cost of the world economic depression and the tax burden generally onto Wall Street financial interests, that is to say onto the malefactors of great wealth who created this crisis in the first place. That is the recipe for winning elections in a depression. Most Democrats appear to be too far gone on the road to plutocracy to learn that lesson. It therefore may well be time to create a new party to represent the one major political current in American life which is not represented by either of the two big parties of the day. In other words, we desperately need, one way or another, a New Deal economic populist party to lead this country and much of the world out of the world economic depression.
Any Democrat now wishing to survive must immediately carry out a sharp anti-Wall Street, economic populist turn. A few ideas in that regard, to be supplemented by the detailed economic recovery program the displayed on my website: make Wall Street pay for the depression by enacting a 1% Tobin tax on all Wall Street financial transactions and turnover, including stocks, bonds, and above all financial derivatives. Claw back any remaining money of the bailout or TARP. Reimpose the Glass-Steagall law to separate commercial banking, insurance, and stock brokerage. Outlaw credit default swaps and adjustable rate mortgages. Enact a 10% federal usury law to limit interest rates on credit cards and payday loans. Stop all home foreclosures for five years or for the duration of the present economic emergency, whichever lasts longer. Seize the Federal Reserve and make it a bureau of the Treasury, passing to issue 0% federal credit for industry and agriculture, not speculation and financial services; stop federal borrowing and start federal lending. Launch a massive program of infrastructure in the spirit of the Tennessee Valley Authority, featuring 100 nuclear reactors of the most modern type, 1,000 modern hospitals, and 50,000 miles of maglev and high-speed rail, while rebuilding the entire interstate highway system in the water systems of every American city. This is the kind of program which can create 30 million new jobs over just a few years, creating full employment in this country for the first time since 1945. The only interests that need to be sacrificed in order to get out of the depression in this way are Wall Street interests, and it is time for politicians desirous of survival to begin taking the struggle to Wall Street. Otherwise, we appear to be heading for for a seizure of power by a bonapartist regime of General Petraeus and Mitt Romney, the notorious Wall Street asset stripper and hedge fund hyena who was much in evidence at the Scott Brown rally tonight.