This morning I saw Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius on Meet the Press with Tom Brokaw. She was supporting Barack Obama, obviously hoping for the Vice Presidential slot that was denied Jim Webb.
She is a great example of the pseudo-populism that characterizes much of the Obama campaign. Obama pretends to embrace stupid ideas while quietly supporting the status quo. This has the drawbacks of making politics more deceitful, making the public less informed, and making it harder for those who wish to be open about the benefits of growth (such as John McCain) to do their job.
Governor Sebelius criticized American CEOs for being paid more than Japanese CEOs. She said that under Obama’s plan, this would end.
Tom Brokaw was skeptical. In a free market system, there is no maximum wage. Was Obama now proposing one?
Well, Sebelius responded, the maximum wage would depend on share-holder approval.
In other words, Obama’s plan for lowering CEO pay is no plan at all. It’s not a real issue (CEO pay is a nearly insigificant corporate cost for large companies). And shareholders already have the write to set a maximum wage for their employees.
So Obama encourages the class-war tendencies of the political left, while not doing anything substantive to help the lives of those worried about executive pay in the first place.
She’s a phony populist. More on the phenomonon, from Salon:
To serve their interests, the old latifundist families and corporate elites hired “Dixie demagogues,” who were to genuine populists like William Jennings Bryan what a Disney pirate is to a pirate. All of them were entertaining. Some began as entertainers, like musician-slash-flour miller W. Lee “Pass the Biscuits, Pappy” O’Daniel, who went from hosting the “Hillbilly Flour” radio show to the Texas governor’s mansion in 1939. The “Dixie demagogues” denounced various supposed enemies of the white tribe, but with two exceptions — Huey Long and George Wallace — they never threatened the rule of the country clubs and courthouse gangs. Jesse Helms was one of these theatrical quasi-populists, an uncomplicated establishment conservative who parlayed a liberal-baiting radio show into a political career. Like other faux-homespun Southern conservatives, he employed rhetorical populism against blacks, homosexuals, liberals, professors, modern artists and “common-ists” in the service of his business backers, most noticeably North Carolina’s tobacco industry.
At a time when John McCain has ads out emphasizing the value of immigratns (globalization’s bete noir to many Republicans)
Obama joins in with the stupidest of the attacks on corporations (globalization’s bete noir to many Democrats).
However they will govern in the future, as of now John McCain is part of the solution. Barack Obama is part of the problem.