Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) presented a not-even-veiled threat to American Corporations in the New York Post Sunday evening: Support the Republican Party's policies or face some sort of undescribed punishment.
Rubio doesn't say "the Republican Party's policies," of course. He insists that the GOP's goals are actually "American values." If companies resist them and instead embrace "woke politics"—of, say, Major League Baseball pulls the All-Star Game out of Georgia to protest the state's new voting law—that makes them somehow anti-American.
Rubio's commentary exhibits nostalgia for a wholly imaginary past where corporations and government were always on the same side about what is good for America—which, coincidentally, was also whatever the GOP stood for. But then, apparently, corporations greedy and stopped caring about Americans and their values:
Corporate America began to view these good jobs, families, communities and even the nation as an afterthought. American workers of all backgrounds suffered as a result. Corporate greed annihilated an entire way of life.
Then a culture shift followed. It became trendy for executives to view themselves as "citizens of the world." Love of country, free speech and traditional faith and other bedrock American ideals became unfashionable.
Tellingly, the New York Post links the words "culture shift" to a story about CEOs attending a Zoom seminar to discuss how to respond to states considering new voting laws, particularly those who propose making it harder for Americans to vote via new restrictions or identification demands. The Post notes that some of the CEOs came away saying that they'll reconsidering campaign donations and investments in states where lawmakers pass such laws.
To Rubio, this is apparently un-American. The senator is apparently under the delusion that all the previous political logrolling throughout our history was politically neutral. He also seems to think it was for the benefit of all Americans, not just a select group of connected people who had the ears of Congress.
Rubio opens the piece talking about how "What's good for GM is good for America" was a "defining adage for the last century, because it was true." Except that it wasn't, at least as far as U.S. policy-making is concerned.
It's true that when GM does well by meeting market needs efficiently, the financial windfall radiated outward and benefited large swathes of the population. Alas, that isn't all that GM did. For example, it got a bailout from President Barack Obama's administration, and taxpayers took it in the shorts. The company and the unions got paid; the rest of us got hosed.
Americans do not, in fact, all benefit from federal subsidies and other forms of largesse directed to corporations. Those should be curtailed, because they redirect our tax dollars in ways that help a small group of Americans at the expense of all the rest. That's bad whether or not corporate leaders hold positions at odds with those of Marco Rubio.
The Republican response to allegedly "woke" politics influencing corporate decision-making has the inadvertent consequence that politicians are actually saying out loud that a company's treatment by government is dependent on how these companies treat politicians.
Points for honesty, I guess. This has always been the case, right? Corporations and unions influence policies that benefit themselves and often harm potential rivals and upstarts by introducing regulatory barriers and various occupational licensing demands that punish competitors, especially overseas ones. And the politicians are rewarded with donations.
In the meantime, corporate leaders, athletes, and celebrities have the same First Amendment rights as every other American, and it's flat-out grotesque for politicians to threaten punishments because of those disagreements.
By all means, Rubio (and everybody else) should feel to critique the hypocrisy of American corporations exercising their free speech and free association rights here while acquiescing to China's totalitarian rule in order to do business there. Rubio spends several graphs criticizing Facebook and other countries who do just that.
Alas, Rubio thinks the solution is a trade war with China—and he seems to be using this attack on "woke" corporations to push that part of his policy agenda as well. Meanwhile, he's espousing ideas that would make America more like China. "America's laws should keep our nation's corporations firmly ordered to our national common good," he creepily concludes. Senator, if you're going to attack Mark Zuckerberg for cozying up to Xi Jinping, maybe you should try harder not to sound like a Chinese dictator.