Some political crisis links (10.16.2008)

The right stuff

Justin Raimondo of AntiWar.com has just posted a political obituary of the Republican Party. In his analysis, the GOP's fate has become so deeply entwined with that of America's now faltering empire that it may barely survive the dénouement now in progress.

Glenn Greenwald recently addressed the same theme. He concluded his latest assessment of the right with the following:

Is there anything at all going well for the Right this year? The whole edifice appears to be crumbling faster than one can celebrate its demise. It's as though they're being simultaneously unmasked and punished for everything they've done over the last eight years. And they obviously realize that as they are now turning on each other with the same venomous accusations and demonization tactics that they've used to prop themselves up in power.

And that's to say nothing of the fact that the President they spent years creepily glorifying as a holy mix of Napoleon, Caesar and Ronald Reagan — the Ultimate Standard-Bearer of their movement — has become the most detested and failed President in modern American history. The undeniable reality…is that this is now a small and broken fringe whose worldview is not only anathema to, but in many cases repellent to, the mainstream, and the evidence for that is growing by the day.

Live by a personality cult; die by that personality cult…

Mike Whitney interviews Robert Polin about the economic crisis and the market fundamentalism which has governed the world economy since the Reagan-Thatcher era began.

How much of the present crisis can be blamed on ideology? Do you think that the ideas of Milton Friedman or the 30 year-long bias towards market fundamentalism contributed to the present troubles in the financial markets? Is this the end of the laissez-faire, free market "trickle down" era?

Robert Pollin: This is certainly a huge crisis for Friedmanite economics and neoliberalism more generally — which all along was the ideology that touted free markets and deregulation to privatize profits, but to come begging for government bailouts when the inevitable crises emerged. This is certainly not the first financial crisis under the neoliberal regime. There have been regular severe crises since the 1987 Wall Street crash. These crises were all quelled through Federal Reserve/Treasury bailout operations. Whether or not this crisis will mean the end of the neoliberal era will depend on political mobilization — specifically, how successful the left will be in building coalitions behind an agenda that combines egalitarianism with a stable financial system. I would say this: if the left is unable to defeat neoliberalism now, and build some version of social democracy or "leashed capitalism", then we will never do it.

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