In desperate attempts to rally around Willard Mitt Romney, Fox is falling down in the messaging department. Today they announced that Republicans have always been more “pro-capitalism” than Democrats. This was supposed to soothe the combined Mitt sting of Bain Capital job killing and “I like to fire people.”
But they forgot that capitalism is out, and economic freedom is in!
From the January 13 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, courtesy of Media Matters. Doocy: “Historically, The Republican Party Has Been The Pro-Capitalism Party.”
Capitalism is not what the Republicans are known for, actually. Capitalism involves competitive markets, wage labor, private ownership of the means of production, creation of goods or services for profit or income, and the accumulation of capital. Republicans do not do competitive markets.
Republicans have been using their political power to play favorites with certain private companies (those with the money to lobby or that benefit the politician or their family or friends). Are Bush’s bailouts (different from Obama’s stimulus in that the money was not required to be paid back) an example of private ownership? Is “too big to fail” an example of making a profit? No, Dorothy, I’m afraid Republicans do not practice American capitalism these days, but it’s a nice try. One could say (also known as “some people say”) GOP capitalism resembles European mercantilism.
They are the gentry and we are the peasants… They are the plantation owners and we the slaves……
We have been, since the Great Depression, a mixed economy wherein the state plays a significantly larger role. We did this to prop up capitalism from what appeared to many to be its demise.
A pause while we let this sink in. And now we understand why some people on Wall Street do not support the Republican unfettered market approach; it leads to wild, erratic growth and inevitable complete destruction. It invites the prosperity of the dishonest and the greedy rather than the hard-working and the excellent. A healthy economy requires some regulation.
But even the wild west fantasy that Republicans are laissez-faire Libertarians toward the free market is off base. Republicans have messed with the market for years, playing favorites, offering tax breaks and subsidies to certain industries while not to others and even to certain companies while not others. It is, in fact, Republicans’ abuse of what they call capitalism that has most threatened its viability. It’s ironic that they are unable to even take responsibility for this, and are still operating in a tunnel of denial about their part in the Bush Stock Market Crash of 2008.
I suppose the Democrats will be happy to see the publicity arm of the Republican Party align themselves so happily with the failed Bushian polices of anti-labor, pro-greed, destruction of mom and pops for the benefit of the 1% and a market based on favorites rather than merits, but really. Didn’t Fox get Luntz’s memo?
Post OWS, Luntz is rebranding capitalism as “free-market” and “economic freedom.” Luntz wrote, “Don’t say ‘capitalism.’ I’m trying to get that word removed and we’re replacing it with either ‘economic freedom’ or ‘free market.’ The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we’re seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we’ve got a problem.”
Yes, we wouldn’t want anyone catching on about the immorality of lawless markets. See, it’s economic freedom when Romney and his vultures bankrupt a mom and pop and get crazy rich putting everyone out of work, leaving behind a dying town as they head to Switzerland in their private jet for a schuss down a Swiss mountainside. You are free to be financially ruined by a sleazy group of entitled millionaires!
Why are you so unhappy? Perhaps you made the mistake of thinking it was all about your willingness to work and that family businesses meant something. Does it look like it means anything other than bits to be leveraged and sold so Romney and gang can make even more money off of your misery? It’s not about hard-work; it’s about putting money and profit above all else. It’s about being willing to sell one’s soul to the devil as one destroys the free enterprise of hard-working individuals.
Perhaps Romney can count on Rush Limbaugh et al getting his message out better, after all, Bain Capital owns a large stake in Clear Channel. From their website, “Premiere Radio Networks Inc., a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, syndicates 90 radio programs and services to more than 5,000 radio affiliations and reaches over 190 million listeners weekly. Premiere Radio is the number one radio network in the country and features the following personalities: Rush Limbaugh, Jim Rome, Casey Kasem, Ryan Seacrest, Glenn Beck, Bob (Kevoian) & Tom (Griswold), Delilah, Steve Harvey, Blair Garner, George Noory, John Boy and Billy, Big Tigger, Dr. Dean Edell, Bob Costas, Sean Hannity and others. Premiere is based in Sherman Oaks, California, with 13 offices nationwide.” And Premiere Radio Networks uses the services of paid actors to pretend to be callers so that narratives and story-lines can be pushed (aka: propaganda). And again, we call this conservative freedom!
Of course, when a Republican talks about being pro-capitalism, they don’t mean pro-healthy capitalism. They mean pro-bastardized capitalism. They mean more Bush.
According to Republicans, business knowledge will get you everywhere as President; after all, Bush was our “first MBA president.” Walter Shapiro wrote for USA today in 2002, praising Bush’s order and discipline (I kid you not) and explaining that a clean desk and less work hours were symptoms of excellence wrote, ”Our first MBA president grasps basic truths about how praise and simple thank-yous help build a cohesive team. He understands that 18-hour days should not be seen as a badge of honor among staffers, but rather should be viewed as a symptom of a chaotic White House.”
You can see how easy it is to glorify even the most embarrassing puppet as being great at business. George W Bush is to healthy economies as Mitt Romney is to free enterprise.
And so we will now be regaled with the strategy of embracing the criticism and turning it around. Republicans are going to hold Romney up as a businessman who loves capitalism unlike the Muslim who doesn’t love America the “way we do.”
Except that times are different now, and I’m not so sure that this strategy is going to work. It’s almost as if Fox News is still spinning furiously away in their basement bunker of lies, but the crap isn’t sticking like it used to. This may be a symptom of Republicans getting lazy with their messaging, after all, for years now they’ve coasted with Fox amplifying their message until it becomes the New Reality. Or it could be that Republicans keep trying what worked last time, never recognizing the insanity of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Or it could be that Fox News, like the Republican Party it represents, is so used to catering to an elderly crowd upon whom certain fear points always work that they just can’t get up to speed.
As unusual as it is for Fox News to fall down on messaging, it’s even more odd to see Republicans embrace being pro-capitalism as the country is still reeling from the horrors of the lawless markets of the Bush economy.
But what else do they have? Republicans no longer have the “keeping us safe” fear tactic because President Obama has shown them who our daddy is and he is a black man in the White House who kicks some major bums across the world; not a draft-dodging, privileged white boy from the hallowed halls of ivy laden Cranbrook.
Republicans can’t run Romney as the “family values” candidate, they’re going to have a hard time positioning Romney as anti-healthcare reform no matter what he says, and his record on social issues isn’t exactly a Bachmann style burn.
So Republicans are left with making the despicable admirable. Again. They call it capitalism but it’s not capitalism; it resembles mercantilism more than it does capitalism. Republicans are killing capitalism with their unwillingness to moderate themselves, their friends and their greed. Republicans lack the discipline and integrity needed to grow healthy capitalism (see Warren Buffett).
So Republicans dress greed up and call it capitalism. And now Romney is pro-capitalism. This will certainly not go well, especially when someone points out that there is little difference between Romney’s economic policies and George W Bush’s, except that Romney’s tax cuts for millionaires would be nearly twice the size of Bush’s.
There’s something Americans can get behind, waiting for that to trickle down from the Romney “job-creators.” Insert macabre laughter here.