As Congress’ Super Committee ends in failure, two new books, one from the left and one from the right, have come out, both excoriating Congress as self-serving and self-dealing.
From the left, comes Lawrence Lessig, of Harvard Law School, with Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress — and a Plan to Stop It. From the right, comes Peter Schweizer, of the Hoover Institution, with Throw Them All Out.
The message from the Super Committee impasse seems to be that polarized Democrats and Republicans, and therefore the voters they represent, are so philosophically divided that we can’t find common ground. But both Schweizer and Lessig blame our problems not on partisan divisions in Congress, but on bipartisan corruption. Both call on Americans, wherever we fall on the political spectrum, to come together to take back and clean up our government.
When you read Schweizer and Lessig, you realize that the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street should be allies. Interestingly, the confidential memo from the CLGC lobbying firm (which has ties to John Boehner) to its client the American Bankers Association, which Chris Hayes of MSNBC disclosed this weekend, makes the same point. CLGC proposes an $850,000 campaign to prepare “negative narratives” on Occupy Wall Street and any Democratic politicians that support it. In trying to sell their plan, they warn the bankers:
“Well-known Wall Street Companies stand at the nexus of where OWS protestors and the Tea Party overlap on angered populism. Both the radical left and the radical right are channeling broader frustration about the state of the economy and share a mutual anger over TARP and other perceived bailouts. This combination has the potential to be explosive later in the year when media reports cover the next round of bonuses and contrast it with stories of millions of Americans making do with less this holiday season.”
This fear that the Tea Party people could wake up and realize that they’ve been co-opted by corporatist groups like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity is why people like Sean Hannity call OWS “left-wing lunatics.”
OWS and the Tea Party shouldn’t be insulting each other, they should be working to defeat their common enemies in Congress.
Imagine a Congress full of people like Elizabeth Warren. I don’t mean people who necessarily share her political views and would all vote like her. I mean people who can’t be bought and who vote based on their convictions, not their contributors.