The Sleaziest Show On Earth
by The Cranky Media Guy
If you're planning on a late Summer visit to Washington, D.C.,
you'd be best advised to approach Capitol Hill from upwind.
The manure they're spreading right now is particularly fragrant.
Here's the scenario. Firestone makes tires. Ford puts
them on its SUV's. The tread on some of them acted like Bill
and Hillary about six months from now and separated. This is
not a good thing. It's killed 88 people in this country and a
bunch more in other countries. Congress says, "Great
googly moogly!" (or words to that effect) and calls hearings to
"get to the bottom" of what happened.
The question is, why? This is, after all, a
"business friendly" majority Republican Congress that
claims to believe that government should stay out of the way of
industry. If they really believe the stuff they've said, it
would be incredibly hypocritical of them to chastise Firestone or
tell them how to run their company. That would be a violation
of their principles.
I wanted to quote the exact wording of the part of the Republican
platform that deals with how government should stay out of the way
of business, but when I went to the official web site, www.rnc.com,
the links marked "2000 platform" and "Our
Issues" didn't work, even after repeated tries. The link
that lets you make a contribution to the party worked just fine,
though. It's good to see they have their priorities straight.
Anyway, the Republicans (and a lot of people in the Democratic
party, which looks more and more like Republican Lite with
each passing day) believe that, when it comes to business, the less
regulation the better. During the 1980's, the administration
of Ronald Reagan (the patron saint of laissez faire) drastically cut
funding to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and
reduced its authority. NHTSA is the outfit that would have
been the watchdog over Firestone in the old, fully-funded,
days. Since the current crop of Republicans grovel at the feet
of the Enfeebled One in the belief that he could do no wrong, what's
with this dog and pony show that's disguised as Congressional
Saint Ronald believed that business should be allowed to do
whatever it wants, so he got his blow boys on the Hill to cut
funding to the regulatory agencies. Firestone is a
business. When one of its factories was hit with a strike by
trained union personnel, it continued to produce tires using
ill-prepared scabs overseen by equally unqualified management.
Is anyone surprised that some of the tires turned out to be
defective? Gee, it's not as if you could have seen that coming
"Hands off business" means just that. You can't
take that position and call for hearings later when the de-regulated
toxic shit starts hitting the Indonesian factory-produced fan.
If the Republican leaders in Congress were anything other than a
pack of jackals desperately trying to hang onto to their high-paying
gigs, they'd say one of two things to the public:
1: "Despite the apparent problem with some Firestone tires,
we continue to believe that the best policy is for government to
keep its hands off business. We believe that market forces
should decide what will happen to Firestone. Therefore, there
is no reason for Congress to take action in this matter."
2: "In the past, we Republicans espoused a policy of letting
business do what it wants, with minimal government regulation.
This current incident demonstrates that that philosophy inevitably
leads to shoddy products being sold to the public. The deaths of 88
Americans are directly attributable to the amoral philosophy we
promoted in the recent past. Their blood is on our
hands. We offer our sincere apology for our misdeeds and we
will make every effort to correct them in the future."
Unless your hobby is paying sadistic construction workers to hit
you repeatedly over the head with shovels, I trust you realize they
will issue neither statement (or anything like them). They'll
continue to hold out their little hoops and make the executives from
Firestone and Ford jump through them to make it look to Mr. and Mrs.
Lazy Voter at home like Congress is doing something. Everybody
likes a good show, right?
That's all these hearings are, a show. Trouble is it's not
a very good one. The jerkoffs who call themselves our
"representatives" wouldn't dare to actually do
anything to Firestone. They raise millions of dollars for
their re-election campaigns from big businesses by promising that
they'll regulate them as little as possible. If they tried, at
this late date, to graft a spine back onto NHTSA (or any other
regulatory agency), they'd run the risk of pissing off the people
who send in those nice checks every election cycle. Can't have
that, God knows, so all you're going to see is a bunch of
Senators and Congressmen acting all apoplectic, knowing full well
that there's no second act to this show.
In my high school years, I would literally have gotten more
enjoyment out of reading the warning label on a can of Drano than
one of Shakespeare's plays. Remind me, didn't the old fart
have something to say about "storm and fury, signifying
nothing"? That's what these bullshit "hearings"
into the Firestone matter up on the Hill are: a big bunch of noise
that'll result in nothin'.
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