Sucking up to the poor mistreated bankers

Hillary Clinton

Ordinarily these masters of the universe might have groaned at the idea of a politician taking the microphone. In the contentious years since the crash of 2008, they’ve grown wearily accustomed to being called names—labeled “fat cats” by President Obama and worse by those on the left—and gotten used to being largely shunned by Tea Party Republicans for their association with the Washington establishment. And of course there are all those infuriating new rules and regulations, culminating this week with the imposition of the so-called Volcker Rule to make risky trades by big banks illegal.

But Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees, declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish. Striking a soothing note on the global financial crisis, she told the audience, in effect: We all got into this mess together, and we’re all going to have to work together to get out of it. What the bankers heard her to say was just what they would hope for from a prospective presidential candidate: Beating up the finance industry isn’t going to improve the economy—it needs to stop. And indeed Goldman’s Tim O’Neill, who heads the bank’s asset management business, introduced Clinton by saying how courageous she was for speaking at the bank. (Brave, perhaps, but also well-compensated: Clinton’s minimum fee for paid remarks is $200,000).

Certainly, Clinton offered the money men—and, yes, they are mostly men—at Goldman’s HQ a bit of a morale boost. “It was like, ‘Here’s someone who doesn’t want to vilify us but wants to get business back in the game,’” said an attendee. “Like, maybe here’s someone who can lead us out of the wilderness.”
Clinton’s remarks were hardly a sweeping absolution for the sins of Wall Street, whose leaders she courted assiduously for financial support over a decade, as a senator and a presidential candidate in 2008. But they did register as a repudiation of some of the angry anti-Wall Street rhetoric emanating from liberals rallying behind the likes of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). And perhaps even more than that, Clinton’s presence offered a glimpse to a future in which Wall Street might repair its frayed political relationships.

So Hillary’s the Bad Mommy, the one who will clutch the contrite rascals to her bosom and yell at the nasty populist Dems who are picking on her precious angels? Nah, that’s not gonna work. What planet does she live on? Mike Lux, who used to work with Hillary, points out the problem:

There is a fundamental disagreement over approaches to the Jamie Dimons and Lloyd Blankfeins of the world, and one approach, exemplified by a recent speech by Hillary Clinton’s recent speech to Goldman Sachs’ execs helped inspire (if you can call it that) the opposite approach from an organization I chair, American Family Voices. Partly inspired by one settlement after another where Jamie Dimon has sweet-talked prosecutors into no-criminal-prosecution settlements of things which were clearly criminal (the JPM settlements were by far the biggest in history money wise, which is a good thing, but so inadequate in so many ways they still are disappointing), and partly inspired by Hillary’s warm and friendly speech about Wall Street, we are putting out a parody of Rihanna’s video “Diamonds,” turning it into the story of that jewel of a guy Jamie Dimon- we think it is just the kind of hard-hitting and funny satire he and JP Morgan Chase so desperately deserve.

The thing is, the Democratic Party and American society in general are going to have to make a choice about the kind of economic and political course we are going to follow in the years to come. We’re going to have to choose between sucking up to Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein and the Wall Street masters of the universe with all their immense wealth and power on the one hand, and directly challenging the chokehold they have on our economy and our government through our policy initiatives, our political positioning, and cultural satire like this video on the other. Instead of being sympathized with, the Wall Street masters of the universe should be held accountable politically and legally for the role they played in damaging the economy and then keeping our economy from getting back on the road to recovery- and they should be mocked for their arrogance. American Family Voices doesn’t have the power to break the big banks up, or throw their executives in jail, but we can help on the mocking part and on the organizing part.

One Response to Sucking up to the poor mistreated bankers

  1. imhotep December 19, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Right wing, 1% Hillary needs the Wall Street types to fund her campaign. Soooooo………well you know the rest of te story. Senator Warren won’t run for president because she understands that she’ll have to compromise her principles and lay prostrate at the feet of the 1% hucksters in order to fund her campaign. Hillary, having no ethics or principles whatsoever, sees no problem in genuflecting before mammon’s alter so the money will flow to her like a raging river. That leaves the Left with Senator Sanders, who can’t get the Democratic nomination and Governor Jerry Brown who won’t get it, to fight a lonely, losing, uphill battle against the forces of greed and corruption. What a sorry state this country is in.

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