Since at least the 1950s, Republicans could reliably be counted on to agree with pro-corporate statements like “what’s good for General Motors is good for the USA.”
Nowadays, the GOP is not so sure.
Since many corporations decided that listening to the concerns of the people who buy their products and services is likely more profitable than supporting Republicans’ efforts to restrict voting rights, the GOP has turned on the companies that fund its campaigns with the vengeance of a spurned lover.
The latest evidence of this sudden reversal in attitudes towards the business world by their traditionally strongest supporters comes in the form of a scathing op-ed from Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid, The New York Post entitled “Corporations that undermine American values don’t deserve GOP support.”
The title alone begins the series of false assumptions and laments over the effects of the accountability labeled “Cancel Culture” by those shirking responsibility for their heinous actions that Rubio includes in his essay.
By using his own definition of “American values,” Rubio is basically saying that any company that disagrees with him should be canceled.
Rubio begins his op-ed by acknowledging the role that corporations have played in the development of the American economy and the role that the GOP played in making them the powerful arbiters of our society that they have come to dominate by enacting “business-friendly policies” that slashed corporate tax rates and regulations, as well as limiting the reach of labor unions.
The Florida senator sounds like a born-again socialist as he describes a scenario that one would more likely expect someone like his colleague Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to utter.
“But somewhere along the line, corporations began prioritizing short-term financial windfalls and ruthless offshoring,” Rubio writes. “Corporate greed annihilated an entire way of life. Then a culture shift followed. It became trendy for executives to view themselves as “citizens of the world.” Love of country, free speech and traditional faith and other bedrock American ideals became unfashionable.”
That’s quite a turnaround from a member of a party that threw our nation into massive debt to fund unwarranted tax cuts for corporations and their billionaire owners just four short years ago.
The transactional relationship between politicians and corporations is fully revealed when Rubio finally gets to the main point of his op-ed.
“Today, corporate America routinely flexes its power to humiliate politicians if they dare support traditional values at all.” he writes.
Apparently, it’s the humiliation and the flexing of corporate muscle in favor of voting rights that most angers the vulnerable Florida senator who is up for re-election next year.
“Multinational firms threaten boycotts over pro-life legislation. Cowardly sports leagues pull events out of states that dare pass legislation they don’t like. Firms like Delta parrot woke talking points, even as they cut deals with China, lending Beijing legitimacy and funding as it commits genocide in Xinjiang,” Rubio continues.
“These hypocrites want to have it both ways: to coast off everything that makes America the most business-friendly country in the world, while moving good jobs out of our nation and waging a merciless war against traditional values.”
Oddly, Republicans are now complaining about the logical effects of the very business-friendly policies that they have shoved down America’s throats since the Reagan era, all because some companies have decided that modern values like equality and diversity are preferable to so-called traditional values like systemic racism and the voter suppression used to enable it.
Rubio continues his attack on “woke” corporations with an example that completely misrepresents the actual behavior of the GOP when it comes to environmental issues.
“No policymaker would allow a company to dump toxic waste into a river upstream of a thriving town he is charged with governing. Yet corporate America eagerly dumps woke, toxic nonsense into our culture, and it’s only gotten more destructive with time. These campaigns will be met with the same strength that any other polluter should expect,” he writes.
Actually, the entire environmental policy of the prior Trump administration was predicated on removing exactly the type of regulations that could prevent companies from dumping toxic waste into rivers and eliminating any financial and criminal penalties involved with their destruction of common public resources.
Rubio’s manifesto is essentially a declaration of war by the GOP on public companies that dare to reflect the values of their customers in their political pronouncements.
It is a battle of the wills that Republicans like Rubio aren’t likely to win given that they are now out of power in both Houses of Congress and in the White House and can’t use that power to bully companies into compliance with their anti-democratic agenda.
As Rubio’s op-ed demonstrates, that won’t stop them from trying.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.