Part One Of The Five Part Series-Don't Be Upset With Us, At Least We're Not Republicans!
Examining the actual role of the Democratic Party In post Reagan America.
Ronald Reagan's ideaology was a product of the years that he spent as corporate spokesman for and contracted employee of General Electric. Reagan's time with GE was sort of a political conversion process. When he joined GE, he was a Democrat who was once a union president (Screen Actor's Guild). He hosted GE Theater on CBS and, as part of his duties for GE, gave "inspirational" speeches that expressed the company's position on various issues to employees at various GE plants and locations. Reagan also made the rounds in the rubber chicken dinner circuit, giving those "inspirational" speeches to civic and community groups in small town America, mostly in the South and Midwest, in so called "Right To Work States."
GE was also training other people to become corporate spokespeople and carry their message.
During his time with GE, Reagan learned the labor relations and other theories of Lemuel Boulware, a GE Vice President of Labor and Community Relations. In union circles, he was notorious for inventing a "negotiating" technique known as "Boulwarism" or the "Boulware Contract", where the company representative puts one offer on the negotiating table and tells the union representative that "this is our first, final, best, and only offer". This take it or leave it technique was later declared to be an unfair labor practice by the National Labor Relations Board.
By the time Reagan completed his contract with GE, he was a devout "free" market conservative who knew how to deal with unions. You might say, he was destined to become a newly minted corporatist President, a de-facto corporate Manchurian candidate. I wonder how many other corporations had similar spokesmen training programs?
He got to put all that political "training" into practice between 1981 and 1989, during his two terms as president. In 1981, Reagan broke up PATCO, the Air Traffic controller's Union, fired PATCO members for striking and brought in replacement workers. That action sent an all important signal to America's corporations that it was open season on unions. Reagan poured salt on the wound by appointing anti-union people to the NLRB, the Federal agency that regulates union/employer relations. This was the beginning of the end for the middle class and the American dream.
Ronald Reagan was a firm believer in "free" trade and proposed the ideas behind NAFTA during his campaign in 1979. As you will see in another part of this series the NAFTA concept was actually implemented by a Democratic administration. Needless to say, "free" trade is a cancer that attacks middle class jobs.
Deregulation was another Reagan specialty. He believed that government shouldn't stand in the way of corporate profits. Many government regulatory agencies became rubber stamps for the industries they regulate as the agency ranks were filled with Reagan appointees. I have personal experience with the effects of deregulation on the broadcasting industry, which I will cover in the next installment.
Next: Part Two, Television & Radio, A.K.A. The Crack of Politicans!
A five part series on the actual role of the Democratic Party in post Reagan America.
Being a progressive Democratic voter is kind of like being a fan of a certain baseball team that begins it's season with the hope and promise of a winning year and winds up in the cellar by mid-summer. The Reagan administration was the start of the Republican's serial economic assault on the middle class. The two Democratic administrations that were elected after Reagan occupied the White House have not provided the kind of transformative change that could undo the massive cumulative economic damage that each succeeding Republican administration has done to the middle class in the name of their "free" market philosophy.
There are several reasons for the lack of really transformative change that will be covered in this five part series, but, at this point, let's just say that each Republican administration has taken our country further to the right and given corporations, the Banksters and Wall Street greater say in U.S. economic, national and foreign policy than any mere voter could ever hope to get. The only real fix for the above would be for each Democratic administration to take an equally sharp policy turn to the left. That hasn't happened and the middle class is becoming the underclass.
Listen to Show 42, an audio presentation that accompanies this intro by clicking here.
Next: Part One, The Reagan Years-The Raw Deal (FDR in reverse)!
For the past few days, progressive Democrats on Twitter were treated to the spectre of "mainstream" Democrats (that's an uppercase D, certainly not lowercase) verbally attacking them with the same intensity and hostility they usually reserve for teabaggers. The attacks varied in intensity from a paternalistic, "I know better than you", from people who are barely wet behind the ears, all the way to full bore, foaming at the mouth rants, complete with liberal use of the F-bomb. These attacks have one thing in common, they accuse progressives of dividing the party and always claim that progressive bickering will cost the party re-elections and put Republicans in office.
To all of the delusional folks who think that progressives are as harmful to the Democratic party as the teabaggers just because we feel that the President and many of his advisors are diluting the change he promised during his campaign, rather than serving it straight-up, get real! I feel that palpable harm to the Democratic party is caused by many of it's politicians' tacitly supporting the Republican agenda by virtue of their own intentional lack of consensus. After all, politicians from BOTH parties get frequent visits from the same corporate lobbyists. This is an issue that has to be addressed by everyone who calls him or herself a progressive. We have to do lots of soul searching.
In one sense, we owe our vociferous friends a vote of thanks for clarifying where we stand in the Democratic party and for opening up a gigantic can of worms. Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to explore the situation in depth. We will take a historical look at the post Reagan (yes, I said post Reagan) Democratic party to illustrate some shocking things. We (you and I) are also going to come up with a game plan that gets us on the right course.
To those "Democrats" who rant on Twitter and blindly support the party, even when it ignores the issues that traditionally define democratic thinking, I say to you - Strap yourself in, you're in for a bumpy ride!" Oh, there's one more thing; progressives don't whine, we get things done like getting Barack Obama elected, for example.
Now that some European countries are experiencing major economic pain, our conservative "friends" are trying to pin the blame on Europe's government run social programs. To uncover the real culprits, visit my Listen Here! page.
For many years the oil industry, their conservative buddies and other assorted money people have been promoting the idea that Americans can achieve energy independence by offshore drilling. Some experts say the collective output of these offshore operations couldn't produce enough oil to handle more than a few days worth of U.S. oil consumption. As we now see, offshore drilling comes with major risks to our environment and our economy.
Why are the oil companies pushing the idea of energy independence through offshore drilling? They want to keep us addicted to oil consumption. Once we develop viable alternate fuel sources, we will no longer be at their mercy. When we break the oil habit, we not only free ourselves from the oil corps., which in some cases are foreign or multi-national corporations, we also free ourselves from the price fluctuations caused by Wall Street (merchantile exchange) oil speculators. That's what I call true energy independence.