How did Republicans get saddled with Wall Street? Obama just got the biggest campaign haul from Wall Street in world history, and Republicans still can’t shake the public perception that they are tied at the hip to Wall Street bankers who hate them.
It’s as if National Rifle Association members conspired with Republicans to bankrupt the country and everyone blamed the Democrats for being shills of the NRA.
Maybe if the financial capital of the nation were located in Salt Lake City, rather than Manhattan, the financial community would support Republicans. But Wall Street is a street located in New York City.
No one in the top echelons of the financial industry who has a weekend place in the Hamptons is a Republican.
No, there is one. Teddy Forstmann. He has to throw his own parties and fly guests in. Otherwise, if they want to go to any half-decent parties, bankers must be Democrats. At their income bracket, multimillionaires will trade a little extra tax money for good cocktail parties.
Even the “Republicans” on Wall Street don’t care about national defense or social issues. They just want to trade with China and hire illegal aliens.
Last September, The New York Times reported that individuals associated with the securities and investment industry had given $9.9 million to the Obama campaign, $7.4 million to the Hillary Clinton campaign and only $6.9 million to the McCain campaign. Either they’re all Democrats or some commodity named “hope” was going through the roof last year.
Employees of Lehman Bros. alone gave Obama $370,000, compared to about $117,000 to McCain. (No wonder Bush let them go under.)
According to an analysis of Federal Election Commission records by the Center for Responsive Politics, the top three corporate employers of donors to Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Rahm Emanuel were Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and JPMorgan. Six other financial giants were in the top 30 donors to the White House Dream Team: UBS AG, Lehman Bros., Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse Group.
Since 1998, the financial sector has given a total of $37.6 million to Obama, compared to $32.1 million to McCain. But Obama ran for his first national office only in 2004. So McCain got less from the financial industry in a decade that included two runs for president than Obama did in four years.
As we’ve seen in recent weeks, Wall Street gets what it pays for. Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd included language in the stimulus bill allowing executives of the bailed-out banks to collect million-dollar bonuses.
And yet the Democrats’ endless favors for their Wall Street friends never sticks to them because everyone treats Democrats’ shilling for their own contributors as if it’s a Nixon-goes-to-China moment.
On the March 23 edition of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” The Nation‘s David Corn said: “Remember — What was it? A year or two back when there was talk about taxing hedge fund managers at the rate that the rest of us pay? Who intervened in that? Chuck Schumer.”
But Corn then quickly added that this “got a lot of Democrats really mad. Here was a Democrat, you know, getting in the way of a populist issue at a time when the economy was already heading in the wrong direction.”
Which Democrats got “really mad”? Chris Dodd? George Soros? Warren Buffett? Jon Corzine? Tim Geithner? Roger Altman? Bob Rubin? Jamie Dimon? Lloyd Blankfein?
Corn’s formulation was wonderfully subtle: Admit that a Democrat preserved a sweetheart deal for hedge fund managers — but then claim that his fellow Democrats were furious with him.
People are more likely to believe something if they think they came to it themselves. Hearing a liberal muse on TV that it was an aberration for Chuck Schumer to intervene to protect hedge fund managers — risking the wrath of other Democrats — the average person thinks: So Democrats must be the party of the people. I always thought George Soros was a Democrat, but he must be a Republican.
Democrats take care of the financial industry — and the financial industry takes care of Democrats. After honing his financial skills as the bagman for Bill Clinton’s White House, Rahm Emanuel was hired by the investment bank Wasserstein Perella, where he worked for 2 1/2 years.
For that, Emanuel was paid more than $18 million. (Maybe Rahm Emanuel was the Democrat livid at Schumer for preserving a sweet tax deal for hedge fund managers!)
Democrats have a beautiful system: They’re showered with Wall Street money, but they also get to pillory Republicans for being the party of “Wall Street.” The bankers don’t care if Democrats attack them. They still get their bailout money.