Charles Erwin Wilson, a GM exec who eventually became Eisenhower’s Secretary of Defense, once told Congress “I thought what was good for the country good for General Motors and vice versa” (this is the source of the famous “What’s good for General Motors is good for the USA” expression). I’m no corporatist, but I’ve always thought there was some wisdom in the old-school conservative belief that the well-being of America’s largest employers is inextricably linked to the well-being of the nation.
The days of pro-business conservatism are over now. The US Chamber of Commerce begged Republican Congressmen to support the stimulus package to no avail. Conservatives are actively rooting for the liquidation of automakers and banks, with “Let them fail” replacing “drill baby drill” as a rallying cry. And that’s when they’re not urging us to boycott Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts for supporting the United Pastry Jihad.
Paetec is a local company that employs close to a thousand people. They took advantage of some tax breaks and other incentives, and they plan to move their headquarters downtown. They are having a tough time because of the recession, so they’ve been downsizing their plans.
I didn’t realize that pointing and laughing was the “conservative” response to a company that’s having a hard time, but I guess we’re living in a new era.
Republicans once called themselves the party of Lincoln. Then they began to use opposition to Civil Rights as a staple of their “southern strategy”. They once described themselves as defenders of freedom. Then they started supporting wiretapping and the suspension of habeas corpus rights. They once called themselves pro-business. Now they laugh at American companies that face bankruptcy.
What’s left, other than hatefulness and the occasional reference to Edmund Burke?