This article from the LA Times was the first thing I saw this morning. You might think I am outraged by this. I'm not. I have come to expect this behavior. This passage sums up the situation very succinctly:
"This is about intentional disregard for the interests of doctors, hospitals and patients in California, and the pursuit of cutting costs at any means possible," said Adam Cole, the insurance department's general counsel. "It's a story of intense corporate greed."
But the observation could legitimately be made about any of our major corporations. The finance industry has intentionally disregarded the interests of their shareholders, some clients, and the nation as a whole in their pursuit of obscene profits. I doubt that TransOcean and BP were the only companies that pursued their profits at the expense of the environment and local people. The problems these rogues cause affect so many people (and such a wide area) that we absolutely must have good regulation in place and agencies empowered to deal with them. But we still have a strong block of people who thing government can't do anything right and therefore should do nothing at all. Further, those same people still hold to the belief that "the Market" will some how force these criminals in suits to behave nicely in spite of all of the evidence to the contrary
Then there is this article from HuffingtonPost. The article deals, specifically, with the problem the Obama administration has had in getting its judicial nominees confirmed. But as I read this I remembered part of an article I read and a conversation that article triggered. Sorry I can't put up a link to the article but I can't remember which blog I found it on. The article talked about a crisis of authority in this country. At the moment I am remembering the old Paul Newman movie Cool Hand Luke: 'What we have here is a failure to communicate.' But we have much more systemic failure in this country and the situation has been building for a long time. The failure goes well beyond simply communication. The fundamental bedrock of this Republic is that we hold elections and then abide by the results but I have seen repeated cracks in this bedrock over the last few decades. While I lived in Missouri I saw ballot measures concerning riverboat gambling come up several years running. The proponents got the measure passed the first year. Then the opponents came back the next year with ballot initiates to cancel out the law. Then the proponents...yada, yada, yada. You see where this is going. One party may lose the election but they simply refuse to accept the legitimacy of the other party's right to rule. Obama won his election with a far greater margin than George W. Bush won his elections but the Republicans have refused to accept his right to rule. Their obstructionism has gone far beyond the actions of a 'loyal' opposition. We have a crisis of legitimacy and I don't know how we are going to deal with it.
Time Goes By has a guest post this morning by Saul Friedman that deals extensively with similar issues. I realized as I was reading this that I also miss the old time conservatives. I often didn't agree with them but you had to respect them. They stood for something. I don't have any respect for the so-called conservatives of today. They are shills and hacks too often for something before the political winds blow them in the opposite direction. They do something that Lillian Helman and other brave Americans refused to do before Sen. Joe McCarthy's House Un-American Activities (witch hunt) committee: cut their consciences to fit the current moral fashion. Or what they think is the moral fashion that will get them re-elected. We don't have statesmen anymore--we have political prostitutes.