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The Rec Report

Thursday, 03 January 2008


Rec's Wreckage

I note with interest an article written by Realist at American Realistan critiquing my installment, "Corporate Democracy, Corporate Democrats?." I thank "Realist" for his comments and attention to my piece, and his linking to other articles in the past. I apologize that this recent essay doesn't meet with his approval. However, I would like to clarify some things that I believe Realist has misunderstood about my essay.

First, I stated that "'corporate democracy'" is an oxymoron. It cannot exist. Realist took this to mean that I didn't believe that we could possibly have a corporate democracy in the U.S. and that therefore, "corporate sponsorship of political candidates is nothing to be concerned about." Unfortunately, this interpretation represents a misreading. When I said that corporate democracy is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, and thus, that it cannot exist, perhaps I should have made it manifestly clear (for those prone to jump to false conclusions) that a "democracy" that is "corporate" is no democracy at all. The phrase "corporate democracy" is meaningless. That is to say, I am not arguing that we don't have what some may call a "corporate democracy," but that such an expression is an impossible semantic contradiction.

This clarification should serve to defuse the other critiques leveled at me, charging me with not knowing recent events, such as "the attempt by Fox News to keep both Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter out of the January 6th Republican debate because of their low polling numbers." I am aware of these and other efforts. Given the ideological variety represented by these two candidates, Faux's decision would seem to have more to do with political theater than ideological commitment. But the view that Realist expresses about this kind of travesty is shared by Dr. Rec. Thus, I am not sure what he's suggesting, or why.

I should like to remind Realist that I never discounted the importance of corporate power. In fact, I made it clear that these ideological gaps are simply that, "fissures" in the power of corporate hegemony. But I also suggested that the belief that funding sources can be necessarily and simply translated into ideological commitments is belied by some stubborn facts, more so in the case of Democrats, due especially to the egalitarian ideology and rhetoric overtly avowed in those quarters. Unfortunately, many in our quarters have slid into the kind of 'faith-based' reasoning that we critique in our opposition. Somehow facts are just not enough and 'gut feelings' are more reliable. Here, I am not criticizing Realist, because he has not referred to any such "gut feeling." I am referring to other, otherwise rational bloggers who have gotten onboard a hate train of gut feeling which simply refuses to stop or even slow down for the facts along the way.

Secondly, I made it clear that I am not endorsing Hillary Clinton. (Given a chance to vote in a primary in which Edwards is a viable candidate, I will vote for him. As a pragmatic Democrat I don't vote my 'conscience,' per se. Rather, I vote strategically in connection with what I believe to be the best of possible outcomes. This allows me to avoid having my 'conscience' dictate a voting preference that could help put an unconscionable person in power, simply because I and others like me participated in some imaginary purist exercise rather than acting like a pragmatic political actor. I am not deciding on my own fate only and cannot allow some imaginary God's-eye-view notion of righteousness determine my vote. This religious notion of 'conscience' has no place in politics.) I was simply trying to disentangle a big and growing, largely unsubstantiated, and rarely examined ball of rhetoric built up into mythical proportions regarding some Democrats. Such phrases as "corporate whore," and "corporate Democratic," are repeated ad nauseum and then presented as self-evident fact. "What, haven't you got the memo that Clinton, Obama, Biden, and others are corporate whores? Where have you been?! Don't even mention their names without the phrase 'corporate whore' in close proximity! Otherwise you are naïve!" I'm sorry if I have actually been weighing my words in an attempt to accurately characterize reality, rather than simply jumping on a rowdy band-wagon of anti-Clinton, anti-Obama, anti-Biden, anti-anything-but-more-radical-than-thou revelers. It may be a lot harder to analyze than to add yarns to the mythical ball of bullshit, but that is what I intend to do.

Finally, a note on my being so-called "self-styled." If Realist is referring to my persona, then I wonder what forces he would rather shape it. Should I be "committee-styled," or "publishing-company-styled," even "corporate-styled," instead? One might think that a fiercely independent blogger would be more accepting of "self-styled" than any other styled persons. If he is referring to my moniker, "Dr. Rec," then I simply must correct his presumption. That name was coined by my students at the university where I teach, in an effort to skip the other two syllables. Finally, what is the name "Realist," if not "self-styled?"

Dr. Rec, The Rec Report

Michael D. Rectenwald, Ph.D.


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