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I've often wondered about this:
Of [Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s] top 25 individual donors, only 10 so far have contributed to Cuccinelli -- leaving three-fifths either on the sidelines or actively working against Cuccinelli, financial disclosures posted by the Virginia Public Access Project show. […]

Cuccinelli is “perceived as more of a culture warrior than McDonnell was by the time he ran for governor, and much of the large business community that funds campaigns would probably prefer to see social issues go away,” said Bob Holsworth, a Richmond, Virginia-based political analyst who added that the business community was particularly troubled when the attorney general tried to derail a $6 billion transportation package backed by the governor.

Republican candidates are still, as we've seen in the last presidential election, founded in large part by corporate-minded sugar daddies. Republican focus, however, is increasingly directed at social issues. That's not to say that there aren't still pure crooks to be had—Wisconsin's Scott Walker has done a bang-up job on pretty much every pet issue his sponsors have bent his ear on—but in places like North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and elsewhere the inmates have been running the asylum and crackpot social issues have been pursued with abandon. What actual business is getting out of that deal seems increasingly sketchy. You might expect that on a national scale, the business community would have no greater priority than turning House Republicans into a business-friendly subsidiary of their own industries, but it hasn't worked. I don't think you can make a plausible case that the current GOP class has been anything but a disaster for the wider economy. What industry out there is making money off of the furlough of large chunks of government workers, or the cancellation of government projects? How does an unprecedented level of uncertainty about United States debt obligations or future budget plans help any non-financial-gambling-based industry?

More on the political subservience to big business below the fold.

From a corporate side, the deal has turned rather sour. Current GOP tax policies may be a boon for individual wealthy people, people who fear taxes on their current wealth far more than they need to actually conduct business themselves, and the lack of any labor policy more sophisticated than "screw the little guy" works out well for any business that relies first and foremost on cheap labor, but the stagnation of the wider economy means that nearly every other industry has been getting rather screwed.

I expect the answer is the obvious one: None of those other businesses matter. American big business is currently obsessed with cost reductions and stock gimmickry (see the K-Mart-plus-Sears saga for yet another tale of a cornerstone American brands brought to their knees by the new brand of vampiric "genius" that sees all physical industry as merely another animal on which to temporarily feed); earning money via sales of actual things is not nearly as interesting as coming up with a new clever instrument for gambling on those possible sales (see: energy industry).

For better or (cough) worse, the modern Democratic party is every bit as subservient to corporate industry as the Republicans were during previous decades. This was done by choice, in an attempt to court industries that the GOP once had largely in their pockets. The conversation, however, has moved beyond those industries and those times. Sure, a candidate might pop in for a nice stump speech at a local factory, get a tour of a local mill, get photographed behind the wheel of a tractor or at the checkout line of grocery store, but policy is not geared towards heavy industry, or farming, or retail or anything else. Government policy from both parties is targeted squarely at the needs of Wall Street. It's Goldman Sachs that has a revolving door into government offices, not John Deere. If there is a policy choice that requires a choice between benefiting hedge fund managers or benefitting the railroads, it's been a very long time since any politician would give a rat's ass what the railroader had to say. National health policy (yes, that would mean the dreaded "Obamacare," among many other iterations) is dictated not by doctors or patients but by the insurance companies that have come to dominate the interactions between the two—a purely financial entity. Energy regulations were famously rewritten to allow financial manipulation of those markets; we were told it would be good for us. I've lost track of the scandals in that particular sector, though I hear yet another settlement is in the works for yet another set of banks getting caught yet again manipulating the sector.

Even the decline in union power has just as much to do with corporate guttings and profit-takings as it does with international competition. It's not merely that a few thousand factories decided they couldn't afford to give pensions any more; it's that the factories got acquired, the pensions got defunded and the result presented as a fait accompli to all involved. Don't have a pension? That's okay, because our business plan doesn't rely on you having a factory anymore either. It also doesn't rely on having an American middle class, either.

Nobody can really claim to be surprised at this point by political subservience to big business. It still seems surprising, however, that that subservience is targeted towards such an excruciatingly small set. If you're very, very rich, the status quo is working well. If you're a business that relies on dodging government interference in order to make money—put more simply, you're a crook whose business is siphoning off cash from other individuals or businesses in ways that seem so dodgy that you need a phalanx of lobbyists to explain to regulators why they should let you keep doing it—you're doing great. If you're in almost any other sector, the national economy has waffled between horrific to merely stagnant, and it's been that way for a long, long time.

The number of actual businesses that might think they will gain any concrete benefit from obsessive culture warrior Ken Cuccinelli gaining higher office seems, one would think, to be excruciatingly low. What I don't know is whether the tide of labor-bashing, stock-twiddling financial hucksterism that has fueled current government "policies" just as readily as they have fueled the corruption of so many other aspects of formerly well-run businesses will run its course anytime soon, and whether that will in eventually result in the ouster of this new set of nihilist Republicans by sponsors who finally notice that angry and stupid does not good national fiscal policy make.

Probably not. The problem with steadfastly devoting our economy towards the coddling of financial parasitism is that the parasites now have more money than everyone else combined. If you're very rich or mostly a crook, you're still getting the government you wrote your very big checks to get. The rest of us, not so much.

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