walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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Another Black Eye For Blue Wall Street

Looking at the contrast between events in the financial world these days and the efforts of the Democrats to brand themselves as born-again populists reminds me of the Hillaire Belloc poem:

The accursed power which stands on Privilege
(And goes with Women, and Champagne and Bridge)
Broke and Democracy resumed her reign:
(Which goes with Bridge, and Women and Champagne)

Remember two years ago when President Obama was vigorously campaigning in New Jersey, hoping that the Democratic Party wouldn’t face a humiliating gubernatorial defeat? Maybe he should have campaigned harder. If nothing else, it might have kept New Jersey’s Democratic governor Jon Corzine in the statehouse for another term and away from MF Global. The company’s recklessness—with clients’ money, no less—is precisely the kind of story that the Democratic Party doesn’t want as Wall Street stands occupied.  (Via Meadia hopes by the way that this was all a terrible misunderstanding and that Governor Corzine’s reputation will somehow emerge intact from the debacle, but at this point we aren’t holding our breath.)

According to the Washington Post, Corzine remained loyal to his party after reentering the private sector, and its employees were also major Democratic supporters:

The bankrupt financial company MF Global, now under federal investigation for possibly misusing clients’ money, is one of the top sources of contributions for President Obama’s reelection, complicating the campaign’s effort to turn public anger at Wall Street into a political advantage.

Employees of the company have given $108,650 to Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, according to federal records. MF Global’s chairman and chief executive, former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, has raised at least $500,000 for the campaign and the DNC as a “bundler,” or volunteer fundraiser.

Blue Wall Street is a major force in the Democratic Party; indeed, the Democrats couldn’t survive without it.  This is not just because of the campaign contributions, pleasant as those are.  It is also about ideas and policy: Blue Wall Street understands how Democratic aspirations (like mass home ownership) can be achieved through the financial markets — for a while at least.  It will be Blue Wall Street that floats the bond issues that keep debt-bedraggled cities and states functioning.  And in New York, it is Blue Wall Street that pays the taxes and provides the jobs that keep Gotham from Detroit style decay.

The Democrats can bark at Blue Wall Street, but they cannot really bite.  A few little puppy nips, perhaps, but any efforts by the Democrats to throw Wall Street under the bus will fail.  Blue Wall Street is the bus, and it refuses to roll over itself.

More champagne please, ladies, and another round of bridge.

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  • http://underbelly-buce.blogpot.com Buce

    Walter, I think you’re missing the point here. It is the craven subservience of their leadership to the potentates that drives the wave of dismay and alienation sweeping through the Democratic rank and file. The only things that keeps the whole structure from capsizing into the Republicans are (a) the insight that the Republicans are just as subservient (and perhaps a bit more brazen about it; plus (b) the intuition that Republicans are even more stubbornly unwilling to be serious about the task of governing.

  • willis

    I still don’t understand why MF Global hasn’t worked out well for Governor Corzine. As a democrat, he was always reckless with taxpayer money and that worked out great!

  • Luke Lea

    “The Democrats can bark at Blue Wall Street, but they cannot really bite. A few little puppy nips, perhaps, but any efforts by the Democrats to throw Wall Street under the bus will fail. Blue Wall Street is the bus, and it refuses to roll over itself.

    More champagne please, ladies, and another round of bridge.”

    You are such a cynic Mead!

  • wtfci

    Can we get Jon Corzine in charge of the AFL-CIO?

    His skills at running organizations into the ground are impeccable.

  • http://letsmakeobamaresign.blogspot.com Douglas Fletcher

    “It is the craven subservience of their leadership to the potentates that drives the wave of dismay and alienation sweeping through the Democratic rank and file.”

    Really? Were they any less subservient in January of 2009 when the Democratic “rank and file” thought they’d finally conquered America and would be in power for 20 years? I think what’s driving the dismay and alienation among Democrats is fear of election day in 2012, which seems more likely as time passes will be the day when the Democratic party goes into the wilderness for a good long time. Your leaders aren’t any different today than they were last week or ten years ago.

  • Pitbullll

    You gotta hand it to those Dems – always playing both sides of the field. Demonize Wall St. while taking record high WS campaign contributions. Claim to be reducing the national deficit and debt with record high spending. Claim to bring racial harmony with persistant accusations of racism. Give a woman a “choice” by taking away the “choices” of unborn innocents. And as with “MF Corzine” – claim to be a champion of the people by stealing all their money….. This is the whacky, zany Twilight Zone world of liberal insanity.

  • Bonfire of the Idiocies

    I don’t necessarily say the Republicans are all prizes but I’ve never seen a bigger bunch of hypocrites than the 21st century Democrats.

  • jarhead

    pitbull…
    you left out run against “congress” while having control of the senate for all of Obama’s term and control of the house for two years our of two and a half years. But the MSM doesn’t notice or care.

  • http://www.chicagoboyz.net Shannon Love

    It is funny to watch leftwing New Yorkers howl about the evils of Wall Street. What, exactly, do they think New York, as a city does? What do they think will happen is Wall Street just moved or shutdown.

    It’s a complete myth that either the Democrats or the Republicans can do anything significant to “control” either Wall Street or the rest of corporate America. The simple fact is that the country needs big corporations more than it needs the government. Corporations are the geese that lay the golden eggs of taxes, good jobs and progress. The more you reign in and restrict corporations, the more you restrict taxes, good jobs and progress.

    Heck, even Lenin learned that lesson when he was forced to bring back all the people who ran businesses before the revolution or risk the entire Soviet Union imploding into starvation.

    Those that DO, control. Corporations get sh*t done so they will always be collectively in the driver’s seat. The Democrats are just running a little shakedown operation, an additional tax corporations pay to Leftists elites to leave them alone.

  • andrei radulescu-banu

    Let me make sure I understand this.

    Corzine’s firm bet their own house on troubled sovereign debt and leveraged that 40 to 1. At the end of the day, after counting the losses, $600 mil seem to have vanished in thin air from the account books.

    Is that not a clear case of what is wrong with Wall Street these days? But that’s not one of WRM’s concerns. For him, this means that the game can go on. A high flying Democrat like Corzine was doing this? Then it must be a safe practice for all.

    “More champagne please, ladies, and another round of bridge.”

  • NaSa

    It is funny to watch leftwing New Yorkers howl about the evils of Wall Street. What, exactly, do they think New York, as a city does? What do they think will happen is Wall Street just moved or shutdown.

    Shannon,you are asking too many logical questions for any liberal/socialist/puppetry graduate from nyu to handle… have some pity on them will you ?

    i cannot wait for the day when these unwashed boneheads suddenly change their “movement” from “Occupy wall street” to “Drive out wall street”… now that would be interesting and fun.

    btw, is any one shocked/surprised by the corzine story? this is standard operating procedure for the hypocritical democrats…crony capitalism of the croniest order.

  • Corlyss

    Any truth to the rumor that Corzine was Obama’s pick to replace little Timmy Geithner when he decides to bail?

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