is in this Washington Post (print version) headline about Mitt Romney and Rick Perry:
Two GOP rivals are worlds apart
The Post story tells how Romney and Perry are "two men just three years apart in age, but who otherwise are about as different as possible." It is chock-full of family anecdotes and personality clashes and styles of politics: Perry's childhood home without indoor plumbing, Romney's cushy tutelage in his dad's car factory, Perry's preacherly redneck appeal (those aren't the Post's words but that is their meaning), Romney's staid Harvard-trained policy prescriptions. And so on.
To which I say, So what? These are two men competing to shamelessly favor the rich, to demonize government, to slash corporate and millionaire taxes, to cripple environmental regulation, and to act as if they care about ordinary people while sneaking in policies that will leave their bamboozled grassroots supporters poorer and sicker. To anyone who can see even a few inches beyond the corporate script of what America ought to look like, Romney and Perry are together on every issue that matters to the monied.
But in the tiny world of Post reporter Philip Rucker, the two men couldn't possibly be more different. After all, when you take the corporate-dominated model of American governance for granted, as Rucker and most journalists here do, what distinctions are left to talk about? Perry shouts and Romney lectures! Perry sweats and Romney chills! Perry is for a passionately demagogic form of corporate dominance and Romney is for a quieter, calmer form of corporate dominance! Wow, what differences! The two men are galaxies apart!
This is what happens -- and this is true of any regime in the world -- when those anointed as officially-recognized reporters of the state of the nation cannot see beyond the assumptions underlying that current state. Post reporter Rucker, I'll wager, cannot even conceive of an America where corporations would have no more power than ordinary citizens, where money would be forcibly removed from politics, and where the nation's very power structure itself could be overthrown via public uprising and replaced with (gasp) another. These kinds of seismic changes happen all the time in the world. And they will, ultimately, happen here. But such a possibility is not even on Rucker's map. It is not in the realm of his wildest imaginings.
And so the purported contest is Cola versus Ginger Ale: they're so different from each other! So unpredictable in their appeal! Dark and sultry versus golden and spicy!
What gets lost in this script is that both are full of refined sugar, carbonated, artificially flavored and colored, and bad for every part of you from your teeth to your colon. What gets lost is that there is a world full of other things to drink, any number of which could and perhaps should become the newly dominant national beverages.
In my previous post, I (rightly I believe) praised a recent Post story about how both Democrats and Republicans have consistently favored the rich with capital gains tax cuts. But we need to remember that on any given day most corporate journalists are not the questioners of the corporate state. They are its stenographers.