Corruption and corporate connections are major concerns
By Jasmine Vasquez
Residents of Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood expressed distrust yesterday about the Republican candidates for the upcoming 2012 presidential election.
The GOP primary race began in Iowa on Jan. 3rd. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are currently tied for the win, with Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul trailing behind. Media coverage of the race has been continual, but many Whiteaker locals are growing tired of the spectacle.
“I think it’s embarrassing to our country,” said Bill Mahoney. “It’s like a dog fight.”
Mahoney has owned the New Day Bakery on 5th Avenue and Blair for 22 years. Skeptical of politics to say the least, he says it’s up to younger generations to change things. His outlook for the future; however, is bleak.
“They should rework the system,” he said. “It needs to be totally changed, but there aren’t any other choices. There are no answers.”
According to this week’s CNN/ORC poll, 44 percent of Republican party members are dissatisfied with their options for president, while only 55 percent report feeling satisfied. That’s not very high, especially compared to the Democratic primary race in 2008. At that time, an NBC/WSJ poll found that 81 percent of Democratic voters were satisfied with their options for president.
“I think the Republicans don’t want the presidency,” said Jon Terry, owner of Garbanzo Grill. “It’s very obvious. They’re giving us terrible candidates that nobody, even their own party can’t like.”
William Rockow, a 26-year-old student at Lane Community College, expressed discontent with politics in general. Although he does not identify with any political ideology, he tends to support “left-wing” causes.
Much like Mahoney, Rockow has little hope for the country’s political future.
“It’s all over with,” he says. “If any Republican won, it would be symbolic that America as a nation has no future. Not that it ever should have had one.”
Terry, a self-identified liberal, predicts that Obama will win against any of the Republican candidates. Although he doesn’t represent Terry’s interests, he likes Obama as a human being — even if he is, as Terry says, “a corporate shell.”
“He is very nice,” said Terry. “But I’m not going to play the game.”
The connection between corporations and politics appears to be a common concern. In the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, it was ruled unconstitutional for the government to place spending limits on corporations and unions for political purposes. Since then public outcry against the ruling has been gaining momentum.
Rockow says that in some ways, America is on a path toward a corporate-controlled government. He argues that the economic elite have exercised a large amount of control over the country’s narrative surrounding class and what it means to be an American.
“It’s more or less a consciousness that allows companies to walk all over employees already,” he said. “There is also an emergent consciousness of, at least somewhat of a radical outlook on our current socio-economic dynamics.”
So, if a Republican does win, which candidate should it be? Rockow thinks Romney will win, even against Obama.
Mahoney refused to endorse any presidential candidate. His endorsement goes to Elizabeth Warren, running for the 2012 Senate election in Massachusetts.
“She doesn’t support the big business and corporations,” he said. “She’s for the common people.”