The Tea Party has long attempted to portray itself as a populist movement -- angry both at Wall Street bailouts and social spending. The notion of government action working to save the private sector from collapse was literally depicted as a giant step towards Nazism, most prominently by unofficial Tea Party leader Glenn Beck.
And it is that Glenn Beck who today wrapped his arms around the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce business lobbyists who, when facing crisis, clamored for that government help -- the fascism known as TARP, and the slavery known as the stimulus.
Today, Beck cut a check for $10,000 to the Chamber of Commerce, and urged his radio listeners to follow his lead. "They are us" said Beck.
What is it that so closely bonds the Chamber with Beck?
Here's Glenn Beck, talking about TARP in April 2009:
...where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society's economic process through direct state operations of the means of production, fascism sought to control indirectly through the domination of nominally private owners. Would you say that this is what's happening with G.M. right now? And AIG? ...
... We're giving our freedoms away. G.M., AIG, any of these banks, Citigroup -- they're all giving their freedom away for security.
A few weeks later, Glenn Beck said TARP was "exactly what happened to the lead-up with Hitler."
Yet here's Glenn Beck's soulmate, the Chamber of Commerce, testifying to Congress about TARP in September 2009, one year after the bailout was enacted:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbied for the creation of the TARP program and continues to support efforts to improve the program to ensure its success. With banks not lending, businesses lost the liquidity needed to function, while simultaneously, consumer spending, which makes up 70% of our economy, was shrinking at an historic rate. Simply put, the financial crisis had driven the United States to its worst economic predicament since the Great Depression. In order for businesses to function and for an economic recovery to take hold, the financial services sector needed immediate shoring up and that vehicle was TARP.
...The TARP program has had its problems, but a year later we can say that an outright collapse was avoided, the financial sector is stabilizing, and the first signs are appearing that an economic recovery is taking hold.
Is that the United States Chamber of Commerce or the gas chamber of Auschwitz?
Well, maybe Beck and the Chamber come together on the most defining act of Obama presidency: the stimulus.
Glenn Beck equated the stimulus to "slavery":
It is the nanny state. They're going to tell us what we can eat, they're can tell us what our temperature needs to be in our homes, they can tell us what kind of car to drive. They can tell businesses how to run their business. It's slavery. It is slavery.
The global economy is in uncharted and dangerous waters and inaction from Washington is not an option. No package of this size can be perfect but we need a bill that will unlock capital markets, free up credit, and create momentum in the economy...
...Spending on 'shovel-ready' construction projects, expanding broadband access, and modernizing our health care information are major steps toward boosting our nation's infrastructure and creating American jobs...
...We urge both chambers of Congress to swiftly pass the bill.
The marriage of Beck to the Chamber exposes the hypocrisy of both.
Why would Beck embrace an institution that supports the things he claims will end a free America?
Because he is just another conservative hack who wants to defeat Democrats, and will say anything, and give money to anyone, who can further that goal.
Why is the Chamber fighting so hard to defeat the President and the Democratic congressional leadership, when in its own words, they saved its bacon?
Because the Chamber is just fine with government help for CEOs, but not for anyone else. They want all the handouts from the public, without any of the responsibility to act in the public interest.
The Chamber already got theirs from the Democrats. Now that new regulations are coming with it, the Chamber can move on.
I am sure there are some actual rank-and-file Tea Partiers who, like many progressives, felt that our government did too much for Wall Street and without doing enough for Main Street.
But the fact is: the current leadership in Washington did something for Main Street -- more jobs, more health care, more consumer protection than if our government stepped aside.
While Tea Party leaders and financiers, like Glenn Beck, Dick Armey and the Koch brothers have, in Beck's own words today, put their money where their mouth is. And that's on Wall Street.
Originally posted at OurFuture.org