Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I'm going to skip over the bad news for Obama in the new Politico/Public Strategies poll, which is pretty much the same as the bad news in all the other recent polls, and go straight to the result I find the most disheartening:

Support for further regulation of American business has also dropped off markedly.

Just under half of those polled said regulation of corporations should be increased, down from 61 percent in March. In addition, a plurality of 40 percent of Americans fear the federal government will go too far in regulating financial institutions, up 9 percentage points from March, when voters were more worried that the government would not go far enough in regulating financial firms.

Well, that's what you get when even America's "liberal" party is unwilling to challenge what the political class considers the one "acceptable" narrative regarding the relationship between big business and the rest of America, namely the Reaganite narrative, in which fat cats are heroic at best and vengeful gods at worst, but either way we must do nothing to incur their wrath. Even with all we're going through, it's apparently still impossible for a Democratic president to say what FDR said easily, and what every blue-collar schlub understood instinctively until a few decades ago: that the interests of bosses and workers don't coincide. Now the only people who still understand that are crazy lefties -- and the fat cats themselves.

Regarding business, the other results in the Politico poll are an odd mix:

At the same time, nearly two-thirds of those polled fear the government will provide too much financial help to ailing companies, up from just over half of those polled in March.

As support for regulation has dropped, trust in American business has increased.

While 59 percent still do not trust corporations to do the right thing, the number who do has ticked up from 37 percent to 41 percent.

So America is saying: Don't regulate business or reward business. We don't trust it, but we trust it more than we did.

I find myself thinking that the Reaganite message isn't quite getting through in its pure form -- but instead of being angry at the fat cats, or at least skeptical, Americans are treating the fat cats the way the adults treat the omnipotent, tantrum-prone kid in the old Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life." Don't get the fat cats mad! Don't try to help them! Just stay quiet and leave them alone! You never know what will set them off!

One more poll result:

At the same time, despite lagging economic indicators, 53 percent of the poll's respondents believe American business is on the right track. In March, only 40 percent said the same.

Well, Goldman Sachs, say, is on the right track, isn't it? Even if we're not there with it?

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