Election 2012: Koch Brothers vs. Wall Street?

The upcoming election may appear to be between a Republican and a Democrat but it could end up being a battle between two massive moneyed interests: Big Oil vs. Wall Street, i.e., the Koch Brothers and ExxonMobil vs. the savvy businessmen of Goldman Sachs and Citibank. The clash of the titans may play out in the coming year through their proxies, Wall Street backed Barack Obama and Texas oilman, Rick Perry. (Unless the GOP decides Perry is too radical and chooses Romney)

How does this moneyed influence play out in real life?

Here are a couple of examples. Unlike President Obama, the CEO of ExxonMobil has endorsed the carbon tax. Obama prefers a cap and trade market, a less effective tool on both economic and environmental grounds. But a carbon tax doesn’t provide Goldman Sachs a market to manipulate, so Obama doesn’t (and couldn’t) support it. If you want to read more about this issue, Matt Taibbi covers it well in his now classic Vampire Squid piece.

When the BP oil spill occurred in 2010, Republican governor Rick Perry, warned against a “a knee-jerk reaction” to the spill. He recommended against shutting down drilling in the Gulf because the cost to the country (oil industry) would be staggering. He suggested the spill could have been an act of God. You can read further about his oil industry friendly position on the spill at Politico.

What we can be sure of, the election will not be about us

The election will not be about the needs of working families, i.e., jobs, health care, housing, education, ending corporate driven wars, regulating banks and corporations, or getting money out of politics. We will be addressed at rallies and televised debates. We will attend campaign events where the candidates will flip hamburgers and serve us pancakes. They will drink our beer and eat our bar-be-que to assure us they are one of us, and on our side. We will listen to the stirring faux populist rhetoric of two charismatic leaders and compare their messages, hoping once again that they mean what they say.

Yet. who wins will depend on the state of the economy, the candidate who has the most money and the most effective TV ads, his or her performance in scripted, televised “debates,” and how well GOP voter suppression tactics work against Democratic GOTV efforts. That the economy is predicted to be similar to what it is today, if not worse, does not bode well for President Obama’s reelection. A tired, scared, discouraged population may, in desperation, give an evangelical Republican a chance to clean up Bush’s mess, or, if businessman Romney is the candidate promising jobs, they may give him a try.

Something similar happened in 2010, when the normally sensible, progressive people of Wisconsin, scared and discouraged about the economy, elected Koch Brothers backed Scott Walker for Governor. Why? Because he promised to create jobs, which is what Perry, pushing his Texas (un)miracle, will do if he is the Republican party’s nominee. The people of Wisconsin, who are suffering from voter’s remorse, are now trying to recall Governor Walker. Democrats have a good chance of doing so if they can overcome the rampant GOP vote tampering and suppression tactics that have been rampant in the recall elections of senators. Elections are never simple—or clean.

James C. Moore thinks oilman Rick Perry is headed to the White House

James Moore, Texas-based Emmy award-winning former national TV news correspondent, and co-author of the best-seller, Bush’s Brain, thinks the GOP candidate will be Rick Perry. Moore gives compelling reasons why Perry will be the GOP candidate and why Sarah Palin, who did badly in the Iowa straw poll, yet is still sticking around, will be his vice presidential choice. He also thinks Perry is going to win. Here’s a taste of what he has to say about Perry and the upcoming election:

Because presidential politics tend to be more visceral than intellectual, Perry’s coyote-killer good looks, $2,000 hand-tooled cowboy boots, supernova smile and Armani suits, combined with podium skills to embellish the mythology of Texas, all will create a product Americans will want to believe and buy.

After he wins the nomination, protocol will require Perry to have discussions with Bachmann about the vice presidential slot, but he will, eventually, turn to Sarah Palin. The general election will force the Texan back toward the middle and he will stop talking about faith and abortion and gay marriage; Perry will campaign on jobs and the economy. . . .

The general election will, quite literally, decide the fate of a nation. Every time Team Obama criticizes the Texas economy for its minimum wage job boom, the president will be accused of attacking the working men and women of America. (Texas has created a large share of the new jobs in the United States in the last decade but studies indicate many of them are at places like Wal-Mart and Carl’s Jr.)

President Obama will also get beaten up for presiding over the first bond rating downgrade in U.S. history as well as high unemployment. When the cold rains fall in early November next year, unemployed voters in places like Ohio will step into the booth and dream of a minimum wage job in the Texas sun selling fishing rods at big box sporting goods stores or working in call centers; they will vote against Barack Obama.

And in the process, they will write the epitaph to set upon the tombstone of history’s greatest democracy: Perry-Palin, 2012.

This, of course, depends on two big “ifs.” If the GOP candidate ends up being Rick Perry, and if you are banking on Wall Street losing the election. So far, in the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression, Wall Street not only hasn’t lost anything, it’s doing very well. I think the savvy businessmen will do everything possible to reelect Barack Obama rather than let Koch Brother’s backed loose canons Rick Perry and Sarah Palin in the White House. On the other hand, if the GOP candidate is Mitt Romney, they could work with him. But why would they choose Romney over President Obama who has been very good to them?

The first billion dollar presidential election will be an historical event. It will be interesting to see which moneyed interests win out. Will it be the Koch Brothers, or will it be Goldman Sachs? Will it be Obama, or Perry or Romney? The real question, though, is, When it’s all over, can we still say we have  a functioning democracy?