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Of Course Politicians Don’t Listen to Ordinary Citizens. Why Would They?

2010 July 18
by Ian Welsh

So, apparently 68% of Americans think that the political class doesn’t listen to them.  After TARP, where calls were running between 100:1 to 1200:1 against, passed, the failure of Congress to get out of Iraq after 2006, the failure of the 70%+ supported public option, and on and on, the only mysterious thing is why it’s only 68%.

But why should the political class listen?  They get the majority of their reelection funds from corporations and the rich.  Their spouses and children are given good jobs by such donors, and if ordinary people do actually ever vote them out for not looking after their interests, well, as long as they went down doing what they were supposed to, they’ll still be very well taken care of.

Get elected, do what your corporate masters tell you to, and you’ll never ever have to worry about money ever again.

Only a sucker or an idealist would do anything else.

This is the fundamental problem with the US.  There is no accountability for the political class.  They and those who take care of them have made sure of it.  Go to war with a nation which has never attacked the US based on a big lie propaganda campaign, or spy on millions of Americans, or torture, or deregulate the economy so that Wall Street can cash in and crash the economy, and hey, so what, there’s no cost for you.

And as long as there is no cost for them, they’ll keep doing it. Just like Wall Street, having been bailed out after crashing the world economy, will do it again.  They got rich doing it, why wouldn’t they do it again.

They’d have to be suckers or idealists not to.

13 Responses
  1. Tom Hickey permalink
    July 18, 2010

    This only works as long as they can keep the middle class co-opted. That is ending for a number of reasons that are going to increase. The US is not going back to business as usual, and that is going to have political ramifications. There is still a good chance that the US will slip into deflation, which in the current environment will manifest as debt deflation and depression. If that transpires, big changes are in store politically. If that doesn’t happen, high unemployment will become entrenched and it will feel like recession. Moreover, global labor arbitrage will keep wages depressed. This will create political pressure also. I don’t think that the elite is smart enough to curtail their own greed enough to head this off. They are killing the goose that laid the golden egg and have been since the Reagan/Thatcher era, which has not yet played itself out. But everything changes eventually, e.g., economic imbalances arising from excess and deficiency lead to political disruption.

  2. July 18, 2010

    Why do you hate Obama?

  3. July 18, 2010

    This is what I call the Retroactive Implicit Bribe. No communications or promises need be exchanged, it is simply “in the air”.

  4. Pepe permalink
    July 18, 2010

    Comité de salut public?

  5. July 18, 2010

    Their system shields them from paying a price for selling us out. Obviously, the system has to be changed (purely publicly financed elections is a necessary starting point IMO) or citizens have to go outside of the system and break the law to make these politicians, who are almost all millionaires, pay a price for selling out the vital interests of hundreds of millions of people … people that they purport to represent … so that they can become filthier rich.

    Z

  6. July 18, 2010

    Tricoteuses…

  7. Albatross permalink
    July 18, 2010

    This is just symptomatic of the general breakdown of the rule of law and the commons in general caused by the increasing gap between the wealthy and the rest of us. Not only do they have their own non-accountable political system, so too do they have their own looser set of laws, their own schools, their own medical system (of private doctors), and their own foreign policy (international corporations rather than state policies).

    This class has gamed and developed their own little enclave culture that feeds off America’s culture and finances., and they will protect it from the rest of us until we take it away from them.

    Since their political policies don’t respond to reality they will inevitably come into conflict with reality. Each time this happens America is diminished, and the question is whether America will survive this misrule.

  8. cripes permalink
    July 18, 2010

    It is increasingly clear the two party political process, and politics generally, is an irrelevant farce that holds no prospect for popular reformation or any avenue for the populace to exert their will or interests into the equation.

    It’s a rigged game, the plutocrats hold all the cards and they are relentlessly driving the thing off a cliff.

    I can only envision the reconstruction of the pieces once the empire has collapsed.

  9. July 18, 2010

    As far as the Democrats, why should they bother listening?

    They can promise one thing, deliver another, and get reelected anyway. All they have to do is be 2% less evil than the GOP.

  10. anon2525 permalink
    July 18, 2010

    Of Course Politicians Don’t Listen to Ordinary Citizens. Why Would They?

    If the 68% think that politicians don’t listen to them, then why the excitement over the Citizens United decision? Why should voters care what corporations have to say about campaign issues and whom to vote for? After all, if 68% think that they’re not going to be listened to, what does it matter what someone says in a television ad? (Let the (non-television) corporations spend themselves into bankruptcy.) Why does it influence anyone’s vote? For that matter, why even vote if no one is representing you? And why haven’t people organized if they don’t think they are represented? Not enough pain for the 68% yet? Or, is it because they still believe in the two-party system?

    Likewise, why was someone from the administration complaining to some media outlet? Why should they care if their positions are unpopular?

    At this stage, the outcome of elections matters to the officeholders only because it decides who runs the show — who chairs the committees, who holds majority leadership positions. Both parties will serve the rent-seekers and only make window-dressing changes for the 68%.

    Would a national non-vote do any good? Could it get the 68% to start thinking about putting up replacement candidates for the current officeholders? There is no changing the minds of the current officeholders — only changing who holds the offices changes minds.

    Of course, lots of strikes or a few large strikes would help, too.

  11. July 18, 2010

    And the battle cry, “None of the above!” went up throughout the land.

  12. anon2525 permalink
    July 19, 2010

    More likely the weaselly cry of “status quo!” (via gerrymandering, ballot access, and incumbency) will be heard.

    Not enough pain for the 68%, yet.

    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

  13. July 19, 2010

    A guy can dream, can’t he? …even if he realizes that it’s a pipe dream.

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