What the “I’m Mad-as-Hell” Party Could Do

A third political party is emerging in America. Call it the I’m-Mad-As-Hell party.

It’s a mistake to see the Mad-As-Hell party as just a right-wing phenomenon – the so-called Tea Partiers now storming the gates of the Republican Party. There are plenty of mad-as-hellers on the left as well – furious at Wall Street, health insurers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and establishment Democrats.

Mad-as-hellers don’t trust big government. But they don’t trust big business and Wall Street, either. They especially hate it when big government gets together with big business and Wall Street – while at the same time Main Street is in shambles and millions of people are losing their jobs and homes.

First it was TARP, the giant bank bailout that seems to have made Wall Street flush again — so flush the Street is now distributing giant bonuses as if the crash it brought on never happened.

Then came the stimulus package, replete with earmarked goodies for every corporation big enough to hire a team of Washington lobbyists.

And then it was health care, which to some people looked like a sweetheart deal between government and Big Pharma and big health insurers.

To the Mad-As-Hell party, the biggest event last week wasn’t Scott Brown’s upset victory in Massachusetts. It was the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United vs. the Federal Election Commission, allowing corporations to spend however much they want on political campaigns. True mad-as-hellers see this as inviting even more collusion between big business, Wall Street, and big government – and against the rest of us.

With the mid-term elections months away, both Republicans and Democrats are scrambling to embrace the Mad-As-Hell Party as their own. Republicans are hoping the mad-as-hellers forget the gushing corporate welfare of the Bush administration and the last Republican congress. And Democrats have become born-again economic populists, blaming the nation’s problems on the same “fat cat” bankers and corporate lobbyists they’ve been cozying up to for years.

If the Mad-as-hell Party helps get money out of politics it will do a world of good. I might even join up. But if it just fulminates against the establishment, forget it. Wrecking balls are easy to wield. Rescuing our democracy is hard work.

About Robert Reich 545 Articles

Robert Reich is the nation's 22nd Secretary of Labor and a professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

He has served as labor secretary in the Clinton administration, as an assistant to the solicitor general in the Ford administration and as head of the Federal Trade Commission's policy planning staff during the Carter administration.

He has written eleven books, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into 22 languages; the best-sellers The Future of Success and Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His articles have appeared in the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Mr. Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine. His weekly commentaries on public radio’s "Marketplace" are heard by nearly five million people.

In 2003, Mr. Reich was awarded the prestigious Vaclev Havel Foundation Prize, by the former Czech president, for his pioneering work in economic and social thought. In 2005, his play, Public Exposure, broke box office records at its world premiere on Cape Cod.

Mr. Reich has been a member of the faculties of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and of Brandeis University. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

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2 Comments on What the “I’m Mad-as-Hell” Party Could Do

  1. Well, Robert…you don’t get it either.

    You must be Obama’s half brother.

    You and people like you…with all of your “us” vs. “them” mentality – your greed and your derivatives are what brought us to our knees…you, Barney Frank, Countrywide, etc.

    “The rest of us”…yeah, well, hide and watch. Let us teach you.

  2. R Reich missed the mark by stating only that ‘rescuing our democracy is hard work’ . . . especially when America’s school system has failed our society by not presenting the principles of the United States Constitution nor presenting an in depth review of the founding fathers’ vision.

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