Monday, January 30, 2012

Exactly who or what is the Washington Establishment?


With all of the back and forth finger pointing among the candidates accusing each other of "being the Washington Establishment," it seemed like a good time to really define and figure out who or what the establishment really is.
A few answers from the internet-
"The Washington Establishment is related to the democrat and republican party. They are highly entrenched in party politics as long as it furthers the agenda of either the democratic or republican party. The people involved in this deception are working hard to further the divide and rule mentality among the populous which if done correctly will continue to propagate the two party system. Any opposition to the two party system will be considered non-mainstream and ignored in terms of public debate. The Washington Establishment has largely been effective at maintaining political control because it seems to include the interests of the government as well as industry. However, the new Washington DC establishment has a difficult time dealing with those outside the corporate and two party system because they don't really have policy that includes these ideas. As a result they attempt to play lip service to such ideas hoping the public will accept a dumbed down version. Which often does not really protect their personal interest but in fact furthers the interests of the establishment. There can be no real substantive changes to the system unless they are in the interest of the Washington Establishment. As long as the main pillars of control are in place the Washington establishment is happy.

Regarding the "Rise of the Washington Establishment," by Morris Fiorina-
"I assume that the primary goal of the typical congressman is reelection. Over and above the [six-figure] salary plus "perks" and outside money, the office of congressman carries with it prestige, excitement, and power."
In an article about the Washington Establishment for the Huffington Post, Dan Boaz says, 
"So let's see . . . an institute founded by and bearing the name of the secretary of defense, who also served 17 years in Congress, including four years as chairman of the House Budget Committee, and as director of the Office of Management and Budget, White House chief of staff, and director of the CIA, is giving an award to his immediate predecessor, who also served as CIA director, and to a quintessentially establishment Washington journalist, and to a scholar at both Georgetown University and the Brookings Institution who in addition to her time at the Federal Reserve has served as director of the Congressional Budget Office, director of OMB, co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Task Force on Debt Reduction. That is like an entire Washington establishment at one head table."
This definition amuses me to no end because of the source, and who they have now endorsed. Conservatives4Palin call it-
"The Washington Establishment is an informal, yet well-known coalition of elite politicians (including members of Congress), lobbyists, journalists, pundits, and pressure group leaders whose common goals are 1) self-preservation; 2) to ensure that the federal government will tightly control America and all of its citizens, businesses, organizations, states and local communities. Many Republicans as well as Democrats belong to the establishment. The best- known Republican establishment types are Mitch McConnell, John McCain and Lindsey Graham."
To sum up- 
The Washington Establishment is an informal, unofficial, powerful alliance of political operatives, including elected federal government officials, appointed officials, lobbyists, journalists, and pundits, that have extensive power and influence over the political dealings at the federal level. The Establishment is made up of both Democrats and Republicans, who's main intentions are to bring further power to their individual party ideals. The Establishment has been known to turn on its own out of sheer self interest. The term is only used in a negative connotation to define the nebulous group of parties blocking the interests of the speaker.

It would be safe to say, that in spite of nearly 20 years in Congress, that Ron Paul is not the "Establishment," since he goes against the grain and does not vote party line, or even allow lobbyists into his office.
Mitt Romney has never held an elected federal office. He has never been a lobbyist. It would be a stretch to call him the Washington Establishment, but somewhat plausible since he does have considerable political power, and great wealth.

Newt Gingrich could solely be defined as the Washington Establishment. He not only served in Congress for 20 years, but for 4 years he was the Speaker of the House, essentially serving as the voice of the Establishment. He resigned from his position to become a well-known pundit, consultant, and so-called historian for federal institutions. During his time in federal office he was considered to be one of the most powerful Republicans in the party. 

Rick Santorum served at the federal level for nearly 16 years. After leaving office he lobbied on various causes, and traveled on the political speaking circuit. Perhaps it is his personality or public persona that keeps him from being labeled as the Establishment, but really, he fits the definition nicely.

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