Ron Paul: "Obama is a Corporatist"

Unfortunately, I find it hard to disagree. Congressman Paul is correct in his assessment. The question I have, however, is whether Barack Obama is a corporatist by conviction or one of electoral necessity.

The story in Talking Points Memo:

Near the end of the third day of this year's Southern Republican Leadership Conference, it was time for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) to take the stage. Paul, fresh off his victory in the CPAC straw poll, gave a characteristically fired-up speech that took on the views of the Republican party establishment.

"The question has been raised about whether or not our president is a socialist," Paul said. "I am sure there are some people here who believe it. But in the technical sense, in the economic definition of a what a socialist is, no, he's not a socialist." "He's a corporatist," Paul continued. "And unfortunately we have corporatists inside the Republican party and that means you take care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country."

Paul said examples of President Obama's "corporatism" were evident in the heath care reform bill he signed into law last month. He said the mandate in the bill put the power over health care in the hands of corporations rather than private citizens. But he said the bill wasn't the only place where corporatism is creeping into Washington.

"We see it in the financial institutions, we see it in the military-industrial complex," he said. "And now we see it in the medical-industrial complex."

In terms of the cure, I tend to doubt that I'll find much concurrence with the libertarian Ron Paul but in terms of the diagnosis, I'm hard press to disagree. We have become a country of corporations, for corporations and by corporations. Until we tackle the issue of corporate personhood, our democracy is very much in jeopardy and it's evermore the pity that the Democratic party is too often so beholden to corporatist interests.

To learn more about corporate personhood and the dangers that it poses to American democracy, please visit Reclaim Democracy.

Tags: Rep. Ron Paul, President Barack Obama, corporatism (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

hee

I saw the headline "Paul says Obama is not a Socialist" and didn't click through. Apparently though, for TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro, that he is not a socialist is a bigger plus than that that his being a corporatist is a negative.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-04-11 12:15PM | 0 recs
RE: hee

I probably should have been more nuanced in the post. The question I have is Obama a corporatist by conviction or by electoral necessity?

by Charles Lemos 2010-04-11 01:01PM | 0 recs
RE: hee

The actual question is whether Obama is a corporatist at all.

by vecky 2010-04-11 01:44PM | 3 recs
RE: hee

He's a successful American politician. I think the two go hand in hand. I just see him as less a corporatist than most others, and in this world I'll take what I can get.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-04-11 04:42PM | 2 recs
It is a good question.

If R0N P4UL thinks he can get traction in the GOP by running on an anti-corporatist platform, then that's quite the dance on the head of a pin.

I give credit to Paul for being consistent, even if not intellectually so. This goes back to our discussion from a few days ago: how exactly again do you manage anti-corporatism and libertarianism together? You don't.

Paul, as a libertarian, has some viewpoints that appeal to me, even if they are politically deader than a doornail in this environment. I do admire his desire to see an end to the role of the US Military as an International police force, and his opposition to the Military/Industrial Complex is intellectually consistent with libertarianism. But being anti-corporatist? I don't see how one can reconcile libertarianism and anti-corporatism? Anti-corporatism, practically speaking, needs a strong government to keep corporatism in check. I think Paul is pandering here and trapped between two conflicting viewpoints. But he'll hook some fools out there who desire anti-corporatism more than they desire reason.

But back to the question at hand: Is Obama a Corporatist?

My response is: so what? I think the question is as fruitless and subjective as asking whether Obama is a socialist. To both questions, one can make equally endless arguments for and against the case and end up nowhere, simply because there is a litany of evidence on both sides. All I care about is whether Obama is doing what is necessary to improve the US Economy. Everything else, to me, is an academic exercise.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-04-11 04:48PM | 0 recs
RE: hee

I think the political system itself breeds such behavior as being corporatist, but I'm with Nathan I'll take what I can get.

by Chuckie Corra 2010-04-11 04:49PM | 1 recs
RE: hee

Of course he is a corporatist.

That is why the Chamber of Commerce suppoted HCR, and supports cap and trade, and why Wall Street is fighting for his financial reform package.

Wait, actually they are fighting tooth and nail every one of these initiatives.

Paul's argument is that government will always be corrupt, and as a result it will always be incompetent.  That liberals are falling for this argument is a sign of how far gone some of them are, and how ideologically confused they are.

The financial crisis was caused first and foremost by PRIVATE ACTORS making bad decisions.  There are increasing numbers of liberals who have forgotten this fact.

The idea that some of them are actually joining coalitions with Grover Norquist shows that they neither understand politics nor economics very well. 

This post is making the right wingers case for them. 

It is ideologically incoherint, and politically inept.

by fladem 2010-04-12 10:04AM | 0 recs
We need a return to the front page button

I can't seem to navigate back to the front page without having to go through my bookmarks.

by Charles Lemos 2010-04-11 01:05PM | 0 recs
Corporatism

I think that the lack of any explanation of anything other than anti-government market fundamentalism since Reagan's time has left most people with no other way to understand the world.  I don't think that Obama is a corporatist, but that maybe he and those around him have absorbed so much of this market stuff that they can't  envision another path.  

Government is We, the People making the decisions.  All this nonsense about private companies being more efficient, government being bureaucratic and incompetent has infected people's minds.  They're really saying that the wealthy should be making the decisions instead of the people. 

Taxes are another example of this stuff.  Obama uses the phrase "tax relief" and has said that taxes hurt the economy, stuff like that. Actually taxes provide the means to build a public infrastructure that enables an economy to do well... and very high top tax rates provide an incentive for business owners to think long term instead of just grabbing the quick buck and leaving behind shells of companies.

 

by davej 2010-04-11 02:13PM | 1 recs
OBAMA

The Dems tend to run liberals in the primary who tend to turn out to be moderates when they govern.  As in the case of John Kerry when he stopped campaigning, Obama has flipped on the his chief campaign promise to end the dependance on foreign oil and completely bring an end to the oil wars in the Persian Gulf.

 

But on social issues, he has govern more to the liberals liking on HIR and other social issues.  I think Obama was the best thing that was offered in 2008 but we need an energy independent policy

by olawakandi 2010-04-12 11:06AM | 0 recs
OBAMA

The Dems tend to run liberals in the primary who tend to turn out to be moderates when they govern.  As in the case of John Kerry when he stopped campaigning, Obama has flipped on the his chief campaign promise to end the dependance on foreign oil and completely bring an end to the oil wars in the Persian Gulf.

 

But on social issues, he has govern more to the liberals liking on HIR and other social issues.  I think Obama was the best thing that was offered in 2008 but we need an energy independent policy

by olawakandi 2010-04-12 11:06AM | 0 recs
this is the reason I've always feared Ron Paul

because while he appeals to the far-right, he also has a strong appeal to the far-left. People laughed at me when I said he could be a spoiler against Democrats, but I fear in 2012, if the GOP has anything close to a moderate candidate and its close, Paul could set a precedent of being a spoiler who actually helps the challenger in the popular vote, and thus 94% chance the election (94% of US elections are won with both pop vote and electoral vote).

He can appeal to the small government conservatives who think Obama is a socialist, and to the lefties who think he is a corporatist neo-con continuation of Bush.

by Lakrosse 2010-04-15 09:53PM | 0 recs

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