The idea that corporate interests, banking elites, and politicians conspire to set US policy is at once obvious and beyond the pale. Everyone knows that the military-industrial complex is fat and corrupt, that presidents bestow money and privilege on their donors and favored businesses, that a revolving door connects Wall Street and the White House, and that economic motivations lurk behind America's wars. But to make too fine a point of this is typically dismissed as unserious conspiracy theorizing, unworthy of mainstream consideration.
We have seen this paradox at work in the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse. The left-liberals blame Wall Street and Big Finance for betraying the masses out of predatory greed and for being rewarded for their irresponsibility by Washington's bailouts. At the same time, the Left appears reluctant to oppose these bailouts outright, seeing the spending as a necessary evil to return the global economy to stability, however inequitably. What's more, left-liberals fail to call out President Obama and Democratic leaders for their undeniable hand in all this. They blame Goldman Sachs but see their president, who got more campaign money from the firm than from almost any other source, as a helpless victim of circumstance, rather than an energetic conspirator in corporate malfeasance on top of being the enthusiastic heir and expansionist of George W. Bush's aggressive foreign policy.