Thursday, June 7, 2012

Transferring wealth into votes

BY NOW EVERYONE,  save Queen Elizabeth, who was intently preoccupied with her lavish Diamond Jubilee, has spun the  outcome of Wisconsin's  recall election.  What more can be added to the fact that Gov.  Scott Walker famously survived a  challenge that, by all post-election reports, was destined to happen anyway?  The intensity of the rivals and the failure of the recallers to execute their plan have been  elevated by the pundits and pols to having  a significant  effect on the presidential election, still five months down the road.  I wouldn't go that far.  Considering the royal investment  that the biggest gorillas poured into Walker's campaign against Tom Barrett,  it amounted to filet mignon versus Hamburger Helper. More than $30 million went to Walker; roughly a ratio of 6-1 against Barrett.

It's fair to ask why  this was so.  The princely financiers of state elections certainly are not in need of a second yacht, a fourth home,  a new pair of designer socks or a second car elevator at their homes.   And it's doubtful that a guy like Barrett could deny them of any privilege accorded to an isolated and insulated  New Age Plutocrat.  So Walker was merely a symbol, not of advancing   civilized society to a higher order  but rather to advancing their own purses for a greater cascade of non-essential income.

ITEM: During the campaign, Walker was caught on camera assuring his top contributor that he would "divide and conquer" the unions.  The sugar mommy in this case was Diane Hendricks, chairman of ABC Supply, the nation's largest wholesaler of roofing, windows and siding.  Forbes listed her worth at $2.8 billion, and her company paid zero taxes in 2010.   She has  dropped  a half-million dollars into the governor's  cash box.

Kendricks, the billionaire Koch Brothers and other right-wing mega-financiers taking full advantgage of  Supreme Court privileges of buying and selling candidates have proved that not all primates walk upright. The headline above a political column in the Los Angeles Times put it this way:  Billionaires buy recall election for Scott Walker.

A.J. Liebling, the late chronicler of colorful  Manhattan habitues for the New Yorker during the Great Depression, once wrote about  Izzy Yereshevsky, a Broadway cigar store owner and minor philosopher whose customers often bounced checks on him.  Izzy, however, reacted with godly patience, insisting these were otherwise honest folks who  weren't driven by greed but a "need for self-expression".

Think that describes today's high-rollers?  I wouldn't let them off that easily.  

1 comment:

David Hess said...

If you think the purchasers of elections for a state governor were lavish in their generosity, think of how much they'll spend to buy a president. We ain't seen nuthin' yet!