Monthly Archives: January 2010

In Defense of Corporations

By John Feehery

01/22/10 published in The Hill

Last night, I said something on “The Ed Schultz Show” on MSNBC that caused unbearable consternation among the left wing of this great nation: “What is so bad about corporate America?” I asked quizzically. “They do employ the vast majority of people in this country.”

For that simple little statement, the left wing has gone into a tizzy. One helpful and very respectful liberal e-mailed me and said that he hoped I would lose my healthcare and die. Another called me an “asshat” (not sure what that is). Still another said that I should be permanently banned from talking on television. One guy said that my statement defending corporate America was akin to trying to convince people that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (interesting, but stupid, as Arte Johnson used to say).

Corporations do employ the vast majority of people in this country. They provide the vast majority of people in this country with healthcare insurance. They make the products that we eat, that we watch, that we drink, that we wear. They make the products that defend us, that transport us, that cool us and warm us. People in corporations (and the corporations themselves) pay the vast majority of taxes that keep the government running, public schools teaching, and essential services at the state, local and federal level working. They help us to wake up with coffee in the morning, and they make the beds that we sleep in at night. Corporate profits help shareholders, most of whom are common folks who own 401(k)s and IRAs.

Without corporations, we would live in the splendor of Soviet Russia. Now, many on that left romanticize the anti-materialistic, frugal and brutal existence of life in Stalin’s USSR or Mao’s Red China, but I, for one, think that living that way is vastly overrated.

The Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance was common sense. Why should media corporations have First Amendment protections while other corporations do not? Well, the simple answer is that there should be a level playing field. If corporations want to engage in politics, that is their right, as protected under our Constitution.

The practical effect of this ruling, of course, is negligible. Corporate America doesn’t like to overtly engage in politics. General Mills wants both Democrats and Republicans to buy their Cheerios, so it is unlikely that they will be putting Barack Obama or Sarah Palin on their cereal boxes with a message “Vote for them” anytime soon.

It is ironic that the left feels compelled to attack corporate CEOs, because those CEOs tend to be the biggest proponents of political correctness in the world. They are the ones who push for diversity programs. They are the ones who fund the foundations that usually end up attacking capitalism. They are the ones who give the Human Resources Departments so much power to terrorize their employees over the slightest divergence from liberal orthodoxy.

The Chamber of Commerce, whose leader, Tom Donohue, actually believes in the free market, may be a beneficiary of this Supreme Court ruling. And other advocacy groups and associations will likely get more aggressive in soliciting support from the business community.

But the labor will also get to do legally what it has been doing anyway since McCain-Feingold passed. Labor will continue to shake down its members for money, and it will take that money to give to Democrats, who will continue to do all that they can to destroy corporate America, which then will not be able to create as many jobs as it might otherwise.

Big Ed asked me last night on his show, “Who will be looking out for the little guy” after this ruling? Any congressman of either party who is worth his salt should always be looking out for the little guy. In my view, the best way to help the little guy is to create the best possible conditions for the business sector so it can give more jobs and more healthcare to more little guys.

How did the little guy fare in Soviet Russia or Mao’s China? Not very well.

I am not overly sentimental about corporate America, but I recognize that without the corporations that create most of the jobs, most of the wealth, and most of the products that we use every day, this country would be screwed.

The Underdog of Massachusetts

By John Feehery – 01/20/10 =-
America loves an underdog.  And Scott Brown (R) was the big underdog in the Massachusetts Senate race against Democrat Martha Coakley that culminated in Brown’s triumph.

Brown reveled in his underdog status. He talked incessantly about his old truck, his tough childhood, his rags to riches story, and his long-shot status as a political outsider.

His campaign rallies featured Doug Flutie, the ultimate football underdog, the man who threw the famous Hail Mary pass that put Boston College back on the college football map, the scrappy short guy who succeeded in the both the underdog Canadian football league and in the NFL. They also featured Curt Schilling, who helped guide the underdog Boston Red Sox to their first World Series championship in close to a hundred years.

And they featured Cliff Claven, the postman from “Cheers.” John Ratzenburger, who played Claven in the iconic television series, plays the down-and-out everyman better than anybody.  

My own theory is that an endorsement from Cliff Claven is better in most areas than one from an elitist snob like Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). Watching Kerry, who recently bought a multi-million-dollar yacht, make fun of Scott Brown’s pickup truck further reminded me who the party of the rich really has become. The Democrats are no longer the party of the people. They are the party of Big Government, Big Labor and Big Business.

America loves an underdog, because most Americans see themselves as underdogs. And for most of our nation’s history, we were the underdogs.  

As an emerging nation in the 19th century, we didn’t have the culture or the vast wealth of European powers, like the English or the French. What we did have was the American can-do spirit, which came from a nation of frontier settlers.  

We were reluctant warriors when we went to end the war of all wars in 1917. We were brutally attacked by the Japanese in 1941, and we saw ourselves as the underdog in our fight against the Nazis. And, in fact, at the beginning of that conflict, we didn’t have the armed might of the Third Reich.  

Even during the Cold War, we saw ourselves as the underdog against the evil Soviet Empire. Our Olympic teams never had the resources that the Warsaw Pact countries had, and when our boys beat the Soviets in Lake Placid in 1980, it was truly a “Cinderella” story.

We Americans like being the underdog. We make a lousy Rome. We don’t want to go bailing out the rest of the world. We don’t particularly want to keep the peace in far off places. We don’t like being the lone superpower.  

China’s rise gives us an excuse to once again be the underdog. Obviously, they have more people, more money, more smarts. But, because we are America, even though we are the underdog, we will put forward all of our American ingenuity, and we will beat them.

The problem for the Democrats and for President Barack Obama is that they used to be the underdogs. Now, they are the ones trying to stop the underdogs. 

Scott Brown represents that individualistic, can-do, up-from-the-bootstraps kind of American underdog that is an iconic part of our national heritage.

Ronald Reagan was that kind of underdog. Bill Clinton was that kind of underdog. Jack Kennedy was that kind of underdog, and so was Richard Nixon.  

Barack Obama was that kind of underdog when he ran his insurgent campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton, and although there were some troubling signs that Obama was a secret elitist during the presidential campaign, his opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), couldn’t make that an issue, as he was dealing with the disastrous GOP brand which smacked of Bush snobbery.  

Obama is the snob now. He is the one who wants to tell middle-class Americans how to live their lives. He is the one telling us that we are too fat, too dumb, too rustic, too red-neck and too greedy. He is the one who wants us all to change to better fit his definition of what America should be all about.

Obama seems overly fascinated with himself. (Who can forget the picture of him carrying a copy of the GQ issue that featured the president on the cover?) He and his family appear on at least one magazine cover a week (a posed picture, not an action shot). He loves to talk, and he loves to give speeches with his nose turned slightly up at the teleprompter.  

The president’s populist demagoguery is unconvincing. He talks of reining in government spending, but does nothing to veto any spending bill from the Congress. He talks of punishing the banks, but does so by raising taxes (which will hurt lending and hit the middle class the hardest). He talks of taking on the drug industry, as he defends the deals he cuts with them.  

The president and the Democrats are not the underdogs. They are the establishment. They are running the government. They are raising the taxes. They are spending the money. They are passing unconstitutional mandates (according to some) on those who can’t afford to pay the penalties.  

It is the Republicans who are now the underdogs. Nobody gave them a shot, nobody took them seriously, nobody thought they would be back so soon.

But as Scott Brown showed, the Republicans are back. America loves an underdog, even if those underdogs are Republicans.  

Fighting for the Filibuster

Fighting for the Filibuster

BY Gary Andres