Tag Archives: corporate raiders

An Intriguing Analogy

A recent article in The New Republic made the argument that our current governmental paralysis is actually evidence of insufficient partisanship–if partisanship is understood to require concern for the long-term best interests of one’s political party rather than one’s own political fortunes.

In other words, if the crazy caucus really gave a rat’s patootie about the fortunes of the GOP, they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing.

In fact, as the article notes, there has been a massive shift away from traditional partisanship, enabled by donor-ideologues like the Koch brothers and Super Pacs, and abetted by districts-as-fiefdoms created by gerrymandering.

The analogy that struck me, however, was the comparison of traditional political parties to old-fashioned corporations, enterprises whose executives used to aim to build long-term value and market share.

In the 1980s, that long-term focus changed. The new mantra became “shareholder return,” and financiers (aka corporate raiders) swept in with leveraged buyouts, greenmail, private equity, etc.

As we saw with Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital portfolio, some companies survived these raids but many were wiped out. Cruz, the Kochs, Sheldon Adelson, DeMint, and even Paul Ryan should be seen as something like the corporate raiders of American politics. They are trying to extract maximum value from their current positions in the system, with little regard for the long-term future of the Republican party.

Worth pondering.