The Frog and the Scorpion – Part II

When I was a young lawyer first starting out in private practice, my firm represented many of the business associations in the state of Montana and as a result a part of our practice was to assist in the lobbying efforts every two years. There is a lot of time at the beginning of a session when the lobbyists and legislators simply stand around and shoot the bull in an effort to get to know each other. In one instance there were several lobbyists talking with members of the Butte and Anaconda delegations – Democrats all. As the conversation went on the Butte delegation became more and more boisterous about their view of politics’ culminating in one of the members saying something to the effect about the business lobbyists:

“Yea, we eat their food, drink their whiskey and sleep with their women. And in the morning we vote against them.”

We all laughed uproariously. But in short order you learned that was precisely what they did. They were always the first hog to the trough whether it was for a free lunch, a round of drinks or a campaign contribution. They were great company but they would vote against you at the drop of a hat. And the business community learned little from that anecdote. They continued to pour money into Butte/Anaconda Democrats and were routinely rewarded with bupkes.

When I came back to Oregon in the 90’s a different form of “business interest derangement” was played out by the Democrats. The Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown (D-Portland) (now Governor) led a charm offensive with personal visits to the business leaders in Oregon – primarily in Portland. Her message was that the business leaders shouldn’t believe that Democrats were anti-business and that they really had the same priorities as the local business community – better schools, a robust workforce, efficient government, etc. – and they wanted to do all of that within the existing revenue structure. (What those words really meant were that the Democrats wanted higher salaries for the teachers unions, an increased number of public employees, more money to fund PERS and government that put itself before its constituents.) Ms. Brown, despite a reputation for vindictiveness, can be quite charming in a casual meeting and she was able to convince any number of the leaders of the business community to donate to the Democrat senate campaign committees. (Of course, it wasn’t that big a job given the history of the Portland based business associations who annually gathered to determine their legislative agenda which somehow always managed to be precisely the Democrat governors’ legislative agenda.) And the reward was one tax increase after another; one regulation after another, one carbon tax after another, one resistance to growth after another led by the Democrats. And yet they continue in the vain hope that something will change – and it never does.

So it wasn’t a surprise to read the March 9th edition of the Wall Street Journal and find an article about the United States Senate’s resident scold, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), declaring that if she is elected president that she will seek to break up the technology sectors major players – Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. There she was in her pastel linen jacket, bent forward, finger wagging, lecturing those attending that someone was too big, or too rich, or too successful and, therefore, evil. The Journal quoted her as saying:

“’Today’s big tech companies have too much power- too much power over our economy, our society and our democracy,’ Ms. Warren said in an online post. ‘They’ve bulldozed the competition, used our private information for profit and tilted the playing field against everyone else.’”

But where was Ms. Warren when these companies were growing, absorbing competitors, capturing every last bit of information both from their users and the purchase of similar information from third parties, and papering Democrats in Congress with millions of dollars in campaign contributions? Well, that’s a good question. Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and the Silicon banditry are all reliable Democrats – not just Democrats but exclusionary liberal/progressives. These companies, primarily through their executives and employees have dumped millions of dollars in reportable campaign contributions to Democrats near and far. And they have provided forums for Democrats, lent expertise to candidates to provide them access to social media. And did we hear a peep out of Ms. Warren then? Nope. Her new found outrage is as contrived as her claim of Native American ancestry or her opening and drinking a beer in pre-campaign video. The Journal noted:

“Ms. Warren’s proposal also marked a shot across the bow at another Democrat vying for the 2020 nomination, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, home to the powerful Bay Area tech companies.”

And don’t forget that one of the most consistent Democrat contributors, Howard Schultz or Starbucks fame, gave generously to even Ms. Warren only to be vilified by the Democrats for the temerity of considering running for president. (You just cannot take anything these politicians say at face value. You have to expect that it has more to do with the election and less to do with any serious concern for the citizenry – particularly when you are dealing with a world class phony like Ms. Warren.)

But be that as it may, these instances described above are repeated time and time again on a state and national basis by the governing elite of the Democrat Party. (Laying this on the backs of the working class Democrats is a bit unfair given that most of them are searching for a party that represents their interests as much as conservatives like me are searching for one that represents our interests– this could become a kumbaya movement.) It is a constant reminder of the tale of the Frog and the Scorpion. And if you are a businessperson contributing to these scorpions, rest assured your time is coming – like the scorpions, it’s just what they do.