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.