The dust is beginning to settle from Tuesday’s primary elections and the political class is debating the Meaning Of It All. The pundits are casting about for ways to say the American body politic is angry and there will be a big shakeup inside the Beltway in November. Maybe so, but we can be assured the shakeup won’t be big enough in the view of a wise veteran observer of national politics.
Jock Nash is the longtime Washington legal counsel and lobbyist for Milliken and Company, a North Carolina business that is a major name in what remains of the U.S. textile industry – an industry decimated by the offshoring of jobs by clothing manufacturers.
Nash has watched good American jobs disappear for a long time. His is one of the few voices arguing America needs an industrial base and things to sell in the glocal economy if we are to survive as a major industrial power. All too often the voice of Jock Nash has fallen on the deaf ears of senators and representatives who have been bought off with campaign contributions; so-called leaders who look the other way while the middle class of America is being raped.
I asked Nash what it will take to turn things around, to stop the destruction of America’s middle class so a relatively small clique of uber-wealthy globalization high rollers can become even richer.
“The American people need to throw the incumbents out,” Nash said simply. Which ones? “All of them,” he replied. This isn’t a partisan issue anymore, if it ever was, Nash explained. In his view most of the incumbents on both sides of the aisle in Washington have been bought off by global money interests.
“We need two wash-and-rinse cycles,” Nash said. “The American people need to let the politicians know loud and clear that unless they put America first, they are going to be out of a job.” After a pause, Nash said, “That’s the one thing they fear more than the loss of lobbying money.”
Sadly, the American people don’t get it yet. Too many of them are hung up on the old labels of Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative. They are too busy fighting each other to see there is a common enemy. There are powerful interests who hope the public continues to be distracted by the sideshow while their pockets are being picked by some who want to eliminate our middle class. Too many Americans don’t get the hard truth that the gutting of our economy has been a bi-partisan screwing. It is a shafting that has been going on for years.
Name one politician in Washington from the President on down who does more than pay lip service to “putting America first.” You can’t. Oh, some of them talk a good game. But where is the legislation, the sustained political action needed to stop the employment hemorrhaging that has been going on since the Reagan years? Lest the Reagan worshipers jump down my throat let me hasten to add it was Democrat Bill Clinton who pushed NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA lined some pockets alright, but not among America’s Middle Class.
While some may say Tuesday’s elections signal that a seismic shift is underway, my fellow cynics and I wish it were so. The American people may be angry but they are not angry enough. A thorough wash-and-rinse cycle in November would be the best thing to happen to this country in a long, long time.