Rise of the new mercenaries

Sam Smith

One of the things that has perplexed me about the current chaos is how did so many Republicans become so bizarrely crazy so fast? The closest example that comes to mind is the McCarthy era – but that only targeted a progressive minority and not all union members and the middle class. Further, McCarthy was brought down with the help of other Republicans who saw the damage he was doing to their cause. Has any leading Republican spoken out firmly against Scott Walker?

While it is easy to blame it on the fiscal crisis, that seems a bit too simple. For example, consider the number of Republican politicians who have announced their retirement in the face of potential more rightwing opposition. I suspect what’s scaring these folks is not ideology but money. They are not facing a grass roots rebellion but political mercenaries well paid by forces recently liberated by the Supreme Court decision on corporate personhood.

One of the ways you can tell they’re mercenaries is because true conservatives act more like Ron Paul, people with a solid record of commitment to particular ideas. Can you imagine John Boehner actually having a coherent set of principles? Or Scott Walker doing anything based on ideals rather than campaign cash flow?

We have been educated to treat politics as a battle of ideas. In America it no longer is. It is the elite and their well financed mercenaries on the one side and their victims on the other. A milder and less violent variety of what’s going on in Libya but still pretty damn ugly.

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