[Marxism] Corporate Kerry

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jul 1 05:33:49 MDT 2004


LA Weekly, July 2-8, 2004
Corporate Kerry
The senator comes to California for the rich person’s vote and dollars
by Howard Blume

The battle for the White House looks a lot like class war when union 
leaders call Bush an SOB, and the Bush administration lets corporate 
lobbyists rewrite the laws governing U.S.-style capitalism. But in an 
infrequent swing through California last week, impending Democratic 
nominee John F. Kerry called a truce — not with Bush, but with the 
business class.

In San Jose, Kerry literally embraced Lee Iacocca, that old warhorse of 
capitalism, while also insisting to Silicon Valley execs that he’s their 
candidate, too. The goal was partly to use California as a campaign ATM. 
Kerry succeeded richly in that — a Disney Hall concert by Barbra 
Streisand and friends contributed to a haul of more than $8 million. But 
then, President Bush also hits pay dirt, with a different crowd, when he 
goes California prospecting.

Between check-writing events, Kerry made a different pitch, namely that 
he’d be good for business — better than Bush. And that he shouldn’t be 
confused with the Senator John F. Kerry who thundered anti-corporate 
themes to unions both before and after the Silicon Valley appearances.

But what about that other John Kerry, the anti-business replicant?

Later in the day, that Senator Kerry told amped-up union-eers in Anaheim 
that he’d make it easier to form unions and that he’d fight the 
corporate greed of Big Pharma by allowing Americans to import drugs from 
Canada. And “I will fight for a prescription-drug benefit that puts 
seniors ahead of big drug companies in America,” Kerry thundered to 
national delegates of the American Federation of State, County, and 
Municipal Employees (AFSCME). He also pledged to end corporate tax 
breaks for the likes of Enron, Exxon and Halliburton.

But apparently not all magnates are created evil. In their joint 
appearance at San Jose State, Kerry called former Chrysler CEO Iacocca 
“an American icon, one of the great business leaders of the United 
States, one of the great innovators.” It isn’t clear which sobriquets 
would apply had Iacocca endorsed Bush instead. Iacocca had endorsed Bush 
in the 2000 campaign, even cutting commercials on his behalf. And 
Iacocca campaigned for Ronald Reagan in both 1980 and 1984.

Iacocca never said in his speech why he soured on Bush, who, give the 
man credit, has been all about giving the wealthy and mega-corporations 
what they want. Bush cut taxes for the richest Americans. He eased 
clean-air restrictions that could have cost factory owners billions. He 
advocated expanded drilling for oil companies. And don’t forget that the 
Iraq war has moved billions of taxpayer dollars into corporate coffers 
through government contracts — a boon for defense contractors, and 
security services as well as other private contractors and individual 
entrepreneurs, if they have no fear of death. More new jobs there, too.

Iacocca explained his disenchantment in a brief one-on-one after the 
Kerry event. “I was so against the Iraq war, so mad about the war, I 
couldn’t see straight,” said Iacocca. “And I don’t need a tax cut. I’m a 
wealthy man. And budget deficits do matter. I wrote a book on that. I 
don’t see how Bush can cut taxes like that without the revenue coming 
in. I mean, what’s he going to cut? I mean, you could decide not to go 
to Mars, but other than that . . . I’m also concerned about health care.”

Iacocca looked convincing as elder statesman. “I have two great causes 
left in my life,” he said in his public remarks. “One is to find a cure 
for diabetes. I’ve been working on it for about 21 years now, and 
believe it or not, we’ve had a couple of breakthroughs. We’re getting 
closer, really. The other is to change the direction of my country.” 
Which meant, he said, endorsing Kerry.

full: http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/32/news-blume.php

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