Sunday, October 16, 2011

Anything Goes: On Broadway...and Wall Street

I've shared my view that Michelle Bachmann is somewhere between a lightweight phony and a crazy woman with some degree of access to power. And I wouldn't walk ten yards to hear her misstate history, insult gay and lesbian people, or butcher science. But I ran across a story in The Des Moines Register  about some tough questions that were posed to her in northwest Iowa, which has become her political Alamo.

A fellow named Ken Barker, a retired teacher whom I've never met told her he has noticed "that every politician is owned by someone." He wondered who will own Bachmann in the increasingly unlikely event that she makes it to the White House. I don't know how much Mr. Barker and I would agree on, given his presence at a Bachmann rally, but his question is spot-on. Kudos to him for asking it. We ought to be asking the same of every candidate, especially since the United States Supreme Court ruled that corporations can flood political campaigns that support their interests with money.

And I'm not being purely partisan here. CNN reported that President Obama's top contributor in 2008 was Goldman Sachs. Wonder how hard he and Tim Geitner will be battling Wall Street, other than in speeches. And the fox guards the hen house. More or less.

This guest editorial by Graham Gillette in the Des Moines Register gets it about right. Party leaders on both sides seem be inept and incapable of leadership and reason and/or have been bought and sold by the fat cats who give them their marching orders. And the rest of us are being played. By both sides.

Over the weekend tourist Sandra Fox, 69, of Baton Rouge, LA got caught up in an Occupy Wall Street protest while on her way to see "Anything Goes" on Broadway. The Associated Press quoted her as saying, "I think it's horrible what they're doing. These people need to go get jobs."

Well, see Sandra, that's the thing. Those scary protesters in masks...They're mad because they can't find a job. They do need to get jobs. They want to get jobs. They want their government to be responsible and responsive. They're worried that, like Mr. Barker at the Bachmann rally, politicians on both sides represent money, power, and reelection first, and their constituents' interests last, if at all. Their wound up because they're pretty sure GM, Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil, Lockheed-Martin, and the insurance  and pharmaceutical companies are running this thing. And they're right.

And so, Sandra, Broadway isn't the only place you can see "Anything Goes." It's been running on Wall Street for quite a while now. And that's a lot of the problem.