What 2014 and 2016 Will Be About: Running Against the 1%

 

I’m co-opting the term “1%” here to refer to elites of all stripes:  from Wall Street, DC, and Hollywood.  In today’s WSJ, Peggy Noonan identifies the source of that queasy wrong-track feeling some of us have.  She starts by meditating on the current media/political obsession with the Netflix hit House of Cards.  Why do so many political elites agree to appear on the show, she wonders:

…it’s all vaguely decadent, no? Or maybe not vaguely. America sees Washington as the capital of vacant, empty souls, chattering among the pillars. Suggesting this perception is valid is helpful in what way?

I don’t understand why members of Congress, the White House and the media become cooperators in videos that sort of show that deep down they all see themselves as . . . actors. And good ones! In a phony drama. Meant I suppose to fool the rubes.

It’s all supposed to be amusing, supposed to show you’re an insider who sees right through this town. But I’m not sure it shows that.

And then she knits in  the Kevin Roose piece in New York magazine about a high-flying, private “secret society” of Wall Street partiers:

They’re making their videos, holding their parties and having a ball. OK. But imagine you’re a Citizen at Home just grinding through—trying to do it all, the job, the parenthood, the mowing the lawn and paying the taxes. No glamour, all responsibility and effort. And you see these little clips on the Net where the wealthy sing about how great taxpayer bailouts are and you feel like . . . they’re laughing at you.

Elites watching themselves portray themselves on House of Cards, wallowing in the cynicism and the corruption.  Bankers yukking it up on Wall Street, gleefully mocking the poor American taxpayer.  If you feel like they’re laughing at you, it probably because they are.

Add this to Matt Continetti’s observations — I posted about them here — on the new American progressive elite, and you have what the NYTimes, anyway, would call a trend.

And, finally, some interesting campaign advice:

No one wants to be the earnest outsider now, no one wants to play the sober steward, no one wants to be the grind, the guy carrying around a cross of dignity. No one wants to be accused of being staid. No one wants to say, “This isn’t good for the country…”

Except, maybe — and here’s my early political prediction — whoever wants to win the White House in 2016.  These feel like titanic issues to me.  Big issues.  Reagan-in-1980 kind of issues.

There are 40 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Profile Photo Member
    @TerryMott
    Rob Long: …

    Except, maybe — and here’s my early political prediction — whoever wants to win the White House in 2016.  These feel like titanic issues to me.  Big issues.  Reagan-in-1980 kind of issues. · · 4 minutes ago

    I agree, but if you expect the GOP to produce, let alone champion, such a candidate, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.  Sorely disappointed.

    See, such a candidate is unlikely to have gone to the right schools, speak with the right accent, or mouth the right platitudes.  They’d be an embarrassment to too many influential republicans.  See Palin, Sarah.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @TheKingPrawn

    I am happy that the popularity of House of Cards demonstrates some life left in the American Spirit and our natural distrust of those we place in power over us. I’m also frightened that it hits close to the reality of why our skepticism is so well founded. (Yes, I power watched the second season over the long weekend.)

    As to your prediction, welcome to the side of the stalwarts. We don’t need a messiah like the left got in Obama, but we sure could use a Sampson who whips some ass with a jawbone (or however that went) and tears down the temple.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @TheUnreasonableMan

    “Failure of the elites”- slogan for our times.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Moonzoo

    Re # 1 Terry:  it is amazing how consistently note-perfect Palin is.  If you took away the exterior qualities you mention, she would be far from the pariah folks like Noonan have made her to be for the reasons you give.

    Personally, I think 2016 is exactly the right time for Palin, and not a moment too soon.

    But the Noonans of the world are too small minded to permit that to happen.

    I hope Palin defies them all and strides to victory.  If anyone can do it, she can.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MichaelC19fan

    I do not see any such candidate coming out of the GOP. The simple reason is the GOP pay masters, I bet many of them in the video, would not tolerate it.  

    For example:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/paul-singer-republican-gop-fundraising-campaigns-donors-103600.html?hp=f1

    Rod Dreher has a take on this:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/wall-street-huey-long/

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Inactive
    @RichardFulmer

    Republican candidates are living in a target-rich political environment.  Not only are facts and logic on their side, but they also have a populist appeal sitting in their laps.  By attacking crony capitalism they can become (simultaneously) the party of the poor, the middle-class, and the “deserving wealthy.” 

    The Democrats, by contrast, have become the party of the undeserving rich – the people who make their money thanks to Washington-conferred privilege.  From Solyndra to ambassadorships, the Democratic Party has made it clear that it is for sale to the highest bidder.  And highest bidders are, unsurprisingly, rich.

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Contributor
    @FrankSoto
    Terry Mott

    Rob Long: …

    Except, maybe — and here’s my early political prediction — whoever wants to win the White House in 2016.  These feel like titanic issues to me.  Big issues.  Reagan-in-1980 kind of issues. · · 4 minutes ago

    I agree, but if you expect the GOP to produce, let alone champion, such a candidate, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.  Sorely disappointed.

    See, such a candidate is unlikely to have gone to the right schools, speak with the right accent, or mouth the right platitudes.  They’d be an embarrassment to too many influential republicans.  See Palin, Sarah.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    I will again remind everyone that Palin’s problems were more than just style.  

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Listener
    @FricosisGuy

    The most recent EconTalk points out just how rigged the banking game is. Many of these folks will pat us on the back and tell us how much they hate Obama…yet they’re first in line at his trough for that sweet, sweet slop.

    We need those who can and will take on the state capitalists — public unions, bankings, insurance, and health care — to step up now.

    Rob Long: And then she knits in  the Kevin Roose piece in New York magazine about a high-flying, private “secret society” of Wall Street partiers:

    They’re making their videos, holding their parties and having a ball. OK. But imagine you’re a Citizen at Home just grinding through—trying to do it all, the job, the parenthood, the mowing the lawn and paying the taxes. No glamour, all responsibility and effort. And you see these little clips on the Net where the wealthy sing about how great taxpayer bailouts are and you feel like . . . they’re laughing at you.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DocJay

    So somehow our government ramped up our debt from 8 trillion to nearly 20 trillion and the middle class got worse.  Now more of the same is going to help the country.  Brilliant. 

    The GOP is all about their own cronyism rather than principle.   Well,  except of course the honest patriotic tea party types who should get derided by everyone else for their fiscal sanity messaging.   How dare anyone speak facts in this land of emotion.  

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Contributor
    @RachelLu

    King Prawn, I can’t quote from my phone, but I love the last paragraph from your comment.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    @GreatGhostofGodel
    Frank Soto:

    I will again remind everyone that Palin’s problems were more than just style. 

    I’d actually appreciate your account of this, Frank, because while I have issues with Bristol’s attention-seeking and, to a lesser extent, what I perceive as a lack of focus on Sarah’s part, I still can’t fault her grasp of the issues or her appeal to “western conservative” or even “libertarian” principles.

    More to the point: there’s literally no one else in discussion on the R roster that gets close. No, not even Rand Paul, although he’s obviously closest.

    So what gives?

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Karen

    But the problem is the base of either party doesn’t know what it really wants. Liberals like Obamacare, but it’s a failure. Conservatives want to repeal/replace Obamacare. Ok, with what? It’s so terrible, but few of the voters bother to find out that it won’t or can’t be repealed, not entirely. Unless the GOP can make a better deal with the healthcare insurance industry than the Dems, single payer is here. And I don’t have a lot of patience for conservatives who sat out the last two presidential elections because the GOP candidates weren’t conservative enough. Conservatives are pouting their way into a permanent minority status. No wonder House leadership is blowing them off. The electorate is naïve, because they think that getting their guy in office will turn things around. If only. No, conservatives have largely disengaged from the federal governance process and relied too much on the free market. But if the senior level federal employees are all Dems, you don’t have a chance. Crony capitalism happens regardless of which party is in control, because it’s senior feds implementing policy. They pick the winners and losers.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @TerryMott
    Frank Soto

    I will again remind everyone that Palin’s problems were more than just style.   · 5 minutes ago

    My intent was not to pitch Palin (whose main recommendation for me was simply how hated she was by liberals), but to remind us of the visceral reaction she produced in certain republican circles.

    Remember who was her opposite number in that election: Biden, he of the room-temperature IQ.  Yet certain GOP grandees acted as if they’d have preferred Biden to Palin, not because he was more qualified, but primarily due to style.

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Contributor
    @RachelLu

    And I think this post is exactly right. Republicans need to work on persuading Americans that this is where the normal people live. It’s not just about who has money. It’s about who wants to stand with the world at their feet… and I think people are persuadable that that’s mostly liberals.

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CrowsNest

    I’ve said it before, but the Populist party’s slogan from the late 19th century is very much the mood right now:

    Fairness for all, special privileges for none. (sometimes it was rendered “Equal Rights to all, special privileges for none.”)

    If a candidate would speak with conviction on that, and if they had a credible record of delivering on that, they’d be hard to beat in 2016.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Listener
    @FricosisGuy

    Great point.

    Just today, the Bushies (Ed Lazear and Karl Rove) are out touting the Bush 43 health care proposal (very substantial and portable tax credit). Perfectly plausible and interesting solution.

    The only problem was that he trotted it out during the 2007 State of the Union address. Which, of course, was after the 2006 midterm election debacle, so there was no hope or expectation of it passing. Therefore, the idea that it was a serious proposal was easy to mock.

    Karen: But the problem is the base of either party doesn’t know what it really wants. Liberals like Obamacare, but it’s a failure. Conservatives want to repeal/replace Obamacare. Ok, with what?

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Listener
    @FricosisGuy

    I hope that this comment thread doesn’t become a Sarah Palin referendum.

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Member
    @TerryMott

    Which reminds me of tangential issue:  Everyone complains about the GOP Establishment, but no one admits to being part of it.

    So to help people out in this regard:

    <Jeff Foxworthy voice>

    If you think, or ever thought, that the GOP lost the 2008 election because of Sarah Palin…

    You might be an Establishment Republican.

    </Jeff Foxworthy voice>

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KCMulville

    This has a vague Sopranos feel to it. That is, to the Sopranos, The Godfather was seen as the blueprint for behavior, rather than being a depiction of what the behavior really was. House of Cards depicts unscrupulous power brokers in DC, and the real power brokers ask the fictional ones how to behave. (See Stephanopoulos’ interview with Kevin Spacey).

    The picture doesn’t depend on the reality; instead, the reality depends on the picture.

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Contributor
    @FrankSoto
    Gödel’s Ghost

    Frank Soto:

    I will again remind everyone that Palin’s problems were more than just style. 

    I’d actually appreciate your account of this, Frank, because while I have issues with Bristol’s attention-seeking and, to a lesser extent, what I perceive as a lack of focus on Sarah’s part, I still can’t fault her grasp of the issues or her appeal to “western conservative” or even “libertarian” principles.

    More to the point: there’s literally no one else in discussion on the R roster that gets close. No, not even Rand Paul, although he’s obviously closest.

    So what gives? 

    It isn’t that her grasp of the issues was poor when she was thrown into the fray.  It’s that years later when she had time to bone up, it was still poor.  She was continually embarrassed in interviews with hostile press, in a way our candidates nationally simply cannot afford to be.  She has no one to blame but herself.

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Inactive
    @TheKingPrawn

     

    Crow’s Nest: I’ve said it before, but the Populist party’s slogan from the late 19th century is very much the mood right now:

    Fairness for all, special privileges for none. (sometimes it was rendered “Equal Rights to all, special privileges for none.”)

    If a candidate would speak with conviction on that, and if they had a credible record of delivering on that, they’d be hard to beat in 2016. · 7 minutes ago

    We’ve always treated populism as a dirty word. Perhaps it’s time to revisit it, but from a conservative perspective.

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Member
    @DrewInWisconsin

    2012 was also about running against the 1%, which is why nominating the poster boy for the 1% was one of the stupidest things that the GOP ever did.

    Although I’m sure they’ll come up with something stupider.

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DocJay
    Karen: But the problem is the base of either party doesn’t know what it really wants. Liberals like Obamacare, but it’s a failure. Conservatives want to repeal/replace Obamacare. Ok, with what? It’s so terrible, but few of the voters bother to find out that it won’t or can’t be repealed, not entirely. Unless the GOP can make a better deal with the healthcare insurance industry than the Dems, single payer is here. 

    I’d rather have single payer than let the insurance industry run the show.     Every doc I know ( L,D,I,R) feels single payer is coming within a couple decades.   

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Inactive
    @CrowsNest
    The King Prawn:  

    We’ve always treated populism as a dirty word. Perhaps it’s time to revisit it, but from a conservative perspective. · 11 minutes ago

    From a conservative perspective is the key. From a conservative perspective, we’re not trying to make Americans more class conscious, or permanently pit one group against another. We’re trying to restore, as TR called it, a “square deal”.

    We realize that in our moment we have a decadent and all too frequently amoral set of entrenched elites operating under a bipartisan Washington Consensus who often rule in their own interest, rather than the common interest. And they do not appear to care how much of the future they mortgage to that interest.

    Because of that, because we are partisans of the rule of law, equality under the law, and markets, rather than of cronyism, insider exemptions, and corporate welfare, we find ourselves sounding like “populists”–however strange, especially in my own case, that may be.

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DocJay

    But of course being right to soon is socially and politically unacceptable.  

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Karen
    DocJay

    Karen: But the problem is the base of either party doesn’t know what it really wants. Liberals like Obamacare, but it’s a failure. Conservatives want to repeal/replace Obamacare. Ok, with what? It’s so terrible, but few of the voters bother to find out that it won’t or can’t be repealed, not entirely.Unless the GOP can make a better deal with the healthcare insurance industrythan the Dems, single payer is here. 

    I’d rather have single payer than let the insurance industry run the show.     Every doc I know ( L,D,I,R) feels single payer is coming within a couple decades.    · 1 hour ago

    I think it’s coming sooner than that, and single payer and the insurance industry aren’t mutually exclusive. The Ricochet editors missed a real opportunity by not promoting this trenchant post to the Main Feed. But maybe we shouldn’t be finding out how Obamacare actually affects us. That would require more effort than discussing fictional TV shows and cats. That would require us to be the serious adults who want to save this country that we claim to be.

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Inactive
    @PlatosRetweet

    In adapting the delightful, Conservative whip character Ian Richardson played in the original House of Cards, the producers chose a safer option for Spacey’s Frank Underwood: a moderate Democrat in power.

    Safe, because no such animal or power bloc exists in American politics right now.

    It would have been riskier and more interesting to make Underwood a member of the widely despised establishment Republican elite, someone like Mitch McConnell. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see in fiction how effective a skilled inside player Senator McConnell could be with the electoral majority Frank Underwood enjoys?

    I, for one, would enjoy seeing a McConnell type in a position to put a little stick about, make ’em jump.

    And the great thing about fiction is, when some annoying media type gets “thrown under the bus” (or subway), it’s often not just a figure of speech.

    • #27
  28. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DocJay
    Karen

    DocJay

    Kare

    I think it’s coming sooner than that, and single payer and the insurance industry aren’t mutually exclusive. The Ricochet editors missed a real opportunity by not promoting this trenchant post to the Main Feed. But maybe we shouldn’t be finding out how Obamacare actually affects us. That would require more effort than discussing fictional TV shows and cats. That would require us to be the serious adults who want to save this country that we claim to be. · 7 minutes ago

    I have a congressman  friend, a former Iraq trauma surgeon,  who had a great “replace” plan. I wrote an article about him, linked his plan and begged a couple editors to address it back in 2012 election season.  I got 5 comments and crickets.

    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Karen
    DocJay

    Karen

    DocJay

    Kare

    I think it’s coming sooner than that, and single payer and the insurance industry aren’t mutually exclusive. The Ricochet editors missed a real opportunity by not promoting this trenchant post to the Main Feed. But maybe we shouldn’t be finding out how Obamacare actually affects us. That would require more effort than discussing fictional TV shows and cats. That would require us to be the serious adults who want to save this country that we claim to be. · 7 minutes ago

    I have a congressman  friend, a former Iraq trauma surgeon,  who had a great “replace” plan. I wrote an article about him, linked his plan and begged a couple editors to address it back in 2012 election season.  I got 5 comments and crickets. · 16 minutes ago

    Would you mind linking it or PMing me the link?

    • #29
  30. Profile Photo Inactive
    @PettyBoozswha

    How do we harness this emotion? Ross Perot might have done it if it weren’t for the Cuban hit teams running around in his head. McCain might have done it in 2000 if Rove and the establishment hadn’t put up and put over their hood ornament candidate. Here’s how someone could surge from vanity candidate to real contender for our nomination – think Howard Dean on the Dem side. 1) Propose Glenn Reynolds revolving door tax on lobbyist income. 2) Say his election is a mandate to abolish the filibuster, secret holds and other paraphernalia of the shake down artists in the Senate. 3) Demand a test of the line item veto; Republican leadership in the House and Senate will promise an up or down vote within 90 days of any vetoed bill as it’s rewritten by the administration, with the pork and log rolling taken out as much as possible. 

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.