Obama's New Nomenklatura
Socialism is a rich man’s game.
Oh, sure, random overheated (sometimes impoverished) Occupiers agitate for their version of economic equality, possibly gumming up the works at the Lincoln Tunnel, but the real financial justice action comes from the wealthy – or so it would seem.
And I’m not just talking about Hollywood, where George Clooney is full steam ahead on a putative record-breaking ten million dollar fundraiser for Barack Obama, or the laughably meretricious theatrics of the “Buffett Tax” that no one would pay anyway, but across the nation.
According to a book about to be released, The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign by Brendan J. Doherty, Obama has held more fundraisers than all presidents since Nixon combined.
What does this have to do with socialism? A lot, really, because what Obama promises – especially in his second term -- is a socialism of permanent elites, a kind of new, very American, version of the old Soviet-style nomenklatura. And those who are in it will get to stay in it (via government support) as social mobility, aka the American Dream, diminishes or disappears.
This was what socialism ultimately was all about, indeed is all about, the preservation of nomenklaturas, whether of Hollywood, the media, union, and bureaucratic leadership or what remains of selected industry. Keep hoi polloi out.
All those fundraisers and bundlers, from Clooney to the considerably more anonymous, know this on one level or another. It’s certainly not subtle and those too clueless to understand were reminded by the recent quasi-blacklisting of potential Romney supporters. A warning shot was fired. No elite status for them.
Being part of this new nomenklatura is particularly crucial in hard times and even more so in hard times that look to be long-lasting and possibly permanent.
Seemingly disastrous undertakings, like the overweening government support of the feckless solar company Solyndra, therefore can actually have what would appear to be a reverse effect, reassuring elites that they will be protected, even cosseted, in their most irrational enterprises. Just stay on the team and all will be well.
It’s a pessimistic view of life and a cowardly one – and quite conservative in the emotional sense. No wonder we see the left in our country in a sour mood. (Even the professionally cautious Jay Leno admitted recently Democrats were lacking in humor and unable to mock themselves. Reviews of Obama at the White House Correspondents' dinner were not good.)
But this grim atmosphere does not mean the left will lose. Quite the contrary. Like a determined politburo, they will hang on to their perquisites at all costs. The terms of the battle have just been ratcheted up. Issues like global warming, the war on women, racial contretemps, etc., will be ginned up for the preservation of their power.
I admit that using this Soviet terminology… nomenklaturas, politburos… is perhaps excessive. We all know that could not happen here. The grey rigidity of the Soviet lifestyle seems antithetical to sunny American optimism and flare.
But we could have our own way of adopting such things. They could come in through the back door… or the front pages of a newspaper… or the way someone sings the national anthem at the Staples Center or how we look at the fireworks display (all made in China) on the Fourth of July.
In other words, it could happen here.
But not for always and probably not for long.
Liberals and progressives, who so often congratulate themselves on their generosity and social consciences (while consistently giving less to charity than conservatives), need to wake up. As the Soviet Union demonstrated – nomenklaturas only have so much room. Ultimately, they implode.
Ah, but you might say, the Soviet nomenklatura imploded only to rise again under Putin with (only slightly) different clothes and an almost identical cast of characters. And you would be right.
Let’s be American and end all nomenklaturas now.