Foreign Affairs

The Victimhood of Gen. McChrystal and Goldman Sachs

What do Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Goldman Sachs have in common? They both are being portrayed as victims of politicians even though they are poster children for the maxim that people get the government they deserve. 

Statements attributed to McChrystal and his staff in a recent Rolling Stone article left President Obama no choice but to fire McChrystal. While some theorize that allowing a known leftist reporter to catalog such explosive comments was McChrystal’s last desperate attempt to force the President to listen, one can’t help but wonder just what the general had expected when he voted for Barack Obama for President.

We don’t need to go through Obama’s entire vacuous pre-politics resume; in short, he’d never done anything that showed an understanding of the real world, whether in terms of national security, economics, or even the name of the baseball stadium in which his supposed favorite team plays. (Hint: It’s not “Kaminsky Park,” as Obama once asserted.)

The lack of enthusiasm for John McCain in 2008 was understandable.  But if there were any person whom one might have expected to support McCain, it would be a military commander who knew that McCain, almost alone, staked his reputation on “the surge” in Iraq. 

The surge, implemented by Gen. David Petraeus, is widely credited with turning the situation in Iraq from disaster to at-least-a-potential success.  Barack Obama, however, opposed it from the beginning, then said it wasn’t working, and then said it didn’t work—at least until the facts caused him to grudgingly change his tune. 

As Gen. McChrystal is a man who does not want to lose the war in Afghanistan, his vote for Barack Obama seems irrational and self-destructive.  Yet he supported Obama, a man whose dislike of the military was barely overshadowed by a politically motivated desire to see the Iraqi surge fail.

So, when I recently received an e-mail to join a Facebook group honoring Gen. McChrystal, I politely declined, saying that while I appreciate all he has done fighting for our country, his support of Barack Obama means that McChrystal is simply getting what he deserves.

Similarly, the kleptocrats at Goldman Sachs, who gave 75% of their political contributions in 2008 to Democratic candidates, are now whining about the damage being done to investment banks by Democrats’ financial “regulatory reform.”  Goldman, in the 2008 cycle, was the largest corporate contributor to the Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee, and Barack Obama’s campaign.  Other banks, like JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley were also large donors to the party which has hated capitalists and capitalism for generations.

But now, as Fox Business is reporting, Goldman Sachs is implementing “a moratorium on campaign contributions to politicians running for national office” as they are shocked—shocked!!—that their investment in leftist politicians hasn’t paid off:  (JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie) Dimon’s anger recently boiled over into a screaming match with (Democrat New York Sen. Kirsten) Gillibrand for what Dimon believed was her failure to adequately represent the interests of Wall Street and her constituents amid the debate over financial reform,” Fox reported.

Let’s get this straight:  Banks thought that they could give money to a candidate who famously wanted to “spread the wealth around,” running as the leader of a party which thinks that a tax system soaking the top 1% of earners for about 40% of all income-tax revenue isn’t nearly “progressive” enough, and somehow survive unscathed?

These bank CEO Masters of the Universe are learning that no matter how big they think they are, government is bigger—and the politicians know it.  Believing that a few dollars, or even a few million dollars, will bend an entire proto-Socialist political party away from decades of hating capitalism generally and bankers specifically, misapprehends the nature of progressive politicians.

Were it not simultaneously so bad for the rest of America, there would be great Schadenfreude in watching Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and their ilk get the government they deserve.

The parable of the frog and the scorpion goes something like this: A scorpion convinces a frog to give him a ride across the river on the frog’s back despite the frog’s misgivings.  Half way across, the scorpion stings the frog.  As they’re both sinking to a watery death, the frog asks “Why did you sting me, knowing it would kill us both?” The scorpion replied, just before going under for the last time, “It’s my nature.”

Investment banks’ CEOs, just like Gen. Stanley McChrystal, are the frogs in our modern parallels to the story. Actually, that’s not fair to the frog, since he was trying to do something helpful for someone else whereas the bankers were and are scheming to use the power of government to benefit themselves. 

And General McChrystal knew as well as anyone the nature of the particular scorpion he supported.  They’re all getting the government they deserve.  Unfortunately, we’re getting it right along with them in the form of lost liberty, lost opportunity, lost trillions of dollars from our retirement accounts, and perhaps lost American lives on a far-away battlefield.

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