That phrase captures the essence of what is wrong in America today, and I wish I could claim credit for having coined it but I can't - that honor belongs to Sarah Palin, or more likely to one of her speech writers. Not only do I like the sound of the phrase (I always liked alliteration) but I think I actually agree with her point.
Now first, I have to say that I am writing this on the basis of a very brief piece in the paper about Palin's speech at a tea party rally in Indianola, IA - I did not hear the speech nor do I know the whole context of the remark. But in this age of 30second sound bites and echo chamber reporting maybe that's all I need to form an opinion that's at least as informed as the next guy's.
Apparently Palin's remarks were intended to chastise the president (no surprise there) and a "permanent political class" that she said has protected their powers and enriched themselves, their friends and their contributors at the expense of ordinary Americans and the country's well-being. Honestly, I cannot find much to disagree with there.
"There is a name for this," Palin said. "It's called corporate crony capitalism. It's not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and risk, No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts...and influence peddling and corporate welfare." (That's some pretty good speechifying, right there.)
So while I'm pretty certain that Palin and I would be at opposite poles when it comes to creating solutions, it seems I am actually in agreement with her (I expected a lightning bolt to strike me as I typed that) in identifying the problem - it's the "permanent political class", installed and financed by the plutocrats to maintain and protect the system that enables them to enhance their wealth and power at the expense of the rest of us.
Apart from the cool phraseology, a couple of other things about the speech (or what I read about it)strike me as significant. First, this is pure populist stuff designed to appeal to citizens of every political persuasion. With approval ratings of just about everybody in government in the single digit range, who's going to disagree with any criticism of the whole bunch? Second, and more significant I think, is that Palin didn't, as far as I can tell, exclude the current batch of Republicans currently seeking the presidential nomination from the ranks of "professional politicians of all stripes" who she said are all but destroying the country.
So what we seem to have is a political speech designed to appeal to the masses by railing against something that everybody, not just the tea party, loves to hate, while at the same time setting herself apart from every other aspiring candidate for president. Ironically, she seems to be staking out some of the same territory that Barack Obama claimed on his way to victory in the last presidential election. The newspaper account of the speech said, "she offered no fresh clues" as to whether she will seek the presidency in 2012 - I beg to differ, I think the clues are right there staring us in the face, and I predict she will run, and she may even win the Republican (tea party) nomination. And if she were to pick someone other than Michele Bachmann (can you imagine the cat-fights?) or Rick Perry (who'd wear the pants in that relationship?) as her running mate I can imagine a scenario (topic of a previous post) where she might pull it off.
I need a drink.