Friday, December 18, 2009

Glenn Greenwald on Failed Leadership of New Administration: Radically Corrupt Governing Model

Glenn Greenwald writing at Salon today about the divisions in the Democratic party that the health care debate has illuminated—divisions between blue dogs and centrist liberals on the one hand, and progressives on the other hand, over core issues like how to handle (or not) the corporate ownership of America:

Whether you call it "a government takeover of the private sector" or a "private sector takeover of government," it's the same thing: a merger of government power and corporate interests which benefits both of the merged entities (the party in power and the corporations) at everyone else's expense. Growing anger over that is rooted far more in an insider/outsider dichotomy over who controls Washington than it is in the standard conservative/liberal ideological splits from the 1990s. It's true that the people who are angry enough to attend tea parties are being exploited and misled by GOP operatives and right-wing polemicists, but many of their grievances about how Washington is ignoring their interests are valid, and the Democratic Party has no answers for them because it's dependent upon and supportive of that corporatist model. That's why they turn to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh; what could a Democratic Party dependent upon corporate funding and subservient to its interests possibly have to say to populist anger?

Even if one grants the arguments made by proponents of the health care bill about increased coverage, what the bill does is reinforces and bolsters a radically corrupt and flawed insurance model and an even more corrupt and destructive model of "governing." It is a major step forward for the corporatist model, even a new innovation in propping it up. How one weighs those benefits and costs -- both in the health care debate and with regard to many of Obama's other policies -- depends largely upon how devoted one is to undermining and weakening this corporatist framework (as opposed to exploiting it for political gain and some policy aims). That's one of the primary underlying divisions Kilgore identifies, and he's right to call for greater examination and debate over the role it is playing.

Greenwald is responding to Ed Kilgore at the New Republic writing about the same issues.

I wholeheartedly agree with Glenn Greenwald’s analysis (just as I agree with his take on the dishonest role the White House has played in the health care debate when it seeks to portray itself as a helpless victim of refractory Dems who won’t toe the party line). And this is why I argued yesterday that the Senate health care bill needs to be killed, since it continues to invite corporate interests to control American politics and American lives, and continues to hand over the store to Wall Street and the banking, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries.