There’s nothing fundamentally unRepublican about class warfare. After all, the party – led by what was then called Radical Republicans – waged a very successful war against the old slave-holding aristocracy; there’s nothing to be ashamed of in that conquest. Republicans under Abraham Lincoln also pushed for greater landownership through such things as the Homestead Act, which supplied 160 acres of federal land to aspiring settlers.
No one expects the Republicans to turn socialist, but they can reap benefits from anger over the crony capitalism that has become emblematic of the Obama era. Wall Street and its more popular West Coast counterparts, the venture capital “community,” consistently game the political system and, usually, succeed. They win, but everyone else pretty much has to content themselves with keeping up with the IRS.
This is where the opportunity lies. Republican opposition to Wall Street is already evident in the rise of Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling to the chairmanship of the House Banking Committee. He and Iowa GOP Sen. Charles Grassley’s attack on “too big to fail” banks are a stark contrast to the likes of New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, the Capitol consigliere of the Wall Street oligarchs, or the prince of gentry liberals and defender of billionaires everywhere, New York City Mayor Michael “luxury city” Bloomberg.
Who’s angry and ready to raise their raise their pitchforks?