Robert Reich on Money & the Left Political Establishment
by Gaius Publius, Down With Tyrany
Monday, January 25, 2016
Are Planned Parenthood, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and NARAL, to name a few, establishment in the work they do? No. Are their leaders acting like and supporting the “political establishment” in their endorsements? Yes. The last sentence in the supposed walk-back is key. Note that it reiterates his main point rather than reversing it.
Are groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood, to name just a few, part of the “political establishment”? Of course, they are, in the sense that the leaders cause their organizations to support positions and political figures which they deem advantageous to the organization’s goals as organizations, whether or not those endorsements advance the goals of those they represent and/or serve. For example, consider that (national) NARAL and Planned Parenthood endorsed Joe Lieberman over Democratic candidate Ned Lamont in the election for Senate in 2006.
Why did Planned Parenthood and NARAL endorse Joe Lieberman over the clearly more-pro-women’s rights Democrat? “In order to advantage the organization (and perhaps its leaders) politically” is the obvious answer. Does advancing the career of Joe Lieberman better the lives of those whom PP and NARAL serve and represent? Of course not. Lieberman did all kinds of damage in the Senate, before and after 2006, including give us Samuel Alito by voting for cloture, which guaranteed his later confirmation.
None of this speaks to motives, but in cases where the interests of the members or constituents of an organization are opposite to the actions of its leaders, one is forced to ask questions. And when those contrary actions help keep in place powerful establishment political figures, no matter how deserving they are of that support, the answers suggest themselves.
In the (Chris) Hayes interview he (Robert Reich) was much more pointed about the effect of all this left-wing money on the organizations that take it. For some reason, all YouTube versions of that interview have been taken down, but (there is a) transcript.
Reich: They “go to the same conclaves, such as Davos; travel in similar private jets…” How is an organization like HRC, at the leadership level, not the “left establishment” in the same sense that the owner of the private jet that ferries them around is also “left establishment”?
In that light, consider HRC’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton. About the timing, as Signorile indicates, one could easily see her getting that endorsement because now is when she needs it, when she’s in trouble in Iowa.
I’ll expand on this later, but there’s a bigger story here. This election is the “emperor’s new clothes” election. Bernie Sanders is telling the truth, finally, and people are saying, yes, I agree. Then they’re watching their leaders, their progressive and “progressive” leaders, sort themselves into two camps — Sanders’ camp and the emperor’s camp.
Those leaders can say, “No, the emperor is perfectly well dressed. Now let’s just get on with business as usual. ‘Cause Republicans….” Or they can say, with Sanders, “Yes, I see that too.” The election is not calling out the left electorate. It’s calling out the left electorate’s professed leaders, sorting them into groups for us. In that sense, this election is performing quite a service.
It’s as though one day everyone in town assembled in the town square, and all of the nobles and town officials took the stage as a group and threw off their masks. What a sight for the townspeople. Masks flying into the air like birds from a tree.
And another sight, the sudden revelation of who’s really who. On the one hand, those for whom the mask is identical to the face — the Keith Ellisons of the world — those who’ve been working for the town, in other words. On the other hand, those for whom the mask is very different from the face — the Chad Griffins of the world, if Signorile is to be believed — those who’ve been pretending, but really working for themselves, their careers, their enrichment all along. And those who’ve been trying to straddle both worlds, with only a mask to hide their failure to do so.