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Barack Obama's Faux Populism

Yes, clearly, as I indicated a while back, Klein’s road trip through America, and his sympathetic account of his meeting with a Tea Party group, has managed to make him sensible. I would suspect that had he not seen America, Klein would have been among the legion of liberal journalists going wild over the OWS protestors. Now he writes that “Obama was faced with a fairly stark economic-policy choice after he was elected, and he chose wrong.” Instead of supporting reform of Wall Street, such as reinstituting Glass-Steagall, which prevented banks from the kind of derivatives gambling that led to the housing bubble, and as Klein writes, making them pay “a price for their bailouts,” Obama instead courted and worked with Wall Street, who pushed their support his way.

As Klein points out, “Obama went with the Wall Street establishment.” He chose Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary, chose Lawrence Summers as chief of the National Economic Council -- the man who, Klein notes, previously backed the “the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in 2000, which prohibited the government from regulating financial derivatives. That alone should have disqualified him from public service in a Democratic administration.”

Now, on his blog at The American Interest, Walter Russell Mead writes about how foolish it is for “the Democrats to brand themselves as born-again populists.” Taking up the scandal of former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s recklessness as CEO of MF Global---a story that the Left seems to be ignoring completely, since Corzine was one of the most leftist Governors in the country- and as Mead puts it,” is precisely the kind of story that the Democratic Party doesn’t want as Wall Street stands occupied.” Mead then presents the following paragraph that appeared in a Washington Post story about Corzine and his firm:

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.

I think that the company’s clients who seem to have suddenly lost hundreds of millions of dollars from its accounts with MF Global aren’t too happy about how the firm managed to give so much to the President’s re-election funds, while their own money has disappeared. Oh, we must acknowledge that Mitt Romney too has got some contribution from one MF Global employee -- “a $2,500 check from a company trader based in Stamford, Conn.”