Meanwhile, It’s Business As Usual For The New Democrats

While Sanders isn’t out, it seems like a very long shot. But I’m not looking forward to at least four years of this being the best option (boldface mine):

Payday lenders have been gunning for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since the day President Barack Obama tapped Elizabeth Warren to set up the new agency. They’ve had plenty of help from congressional Republicans — longtime recipients of campaign contributions from the payday loan industry….

But the industry has cultivated a powerful new ally in recent weeks: Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).

Wasserman Schultz is co-sponsoring a new bill that would gut the CFPB’s forthcoming payday loan regulations. She’s also attempting to gin up Democratic support for the legislation on Capitol Hill, according to a memo obtained by The Huffington Post.

The DNC chair isn’t the first Democrat to defend payday lenders. A handful of House Financial Services Committee members consistently join the GOP’s payday loan boosterism. But support from such backbenchers has been politically impotent. Wasserman Schultz, by contrast, is the nominal head of the Democratic Party. Her support undercuts efforts by liberals in Congress to draw contrasts with Republicans on economic issues.

Wasserman Schultz is widely perceived as a Clinton ally, so this goes beyond tone deaf. Why would she want to damage an ally and ideological co-traveller? This is pathological, though it’s par for the course when it comes to New Democrats.

Meanwhile, you know how Clinton has made a big deal about opposing the NRA? Well, NRA lobbyists, not so much:

But in mid-March, a Clinton campaign fundraiser will be co-hosted by a lobbyist whose clients have included the National Rifle Association (NRA)….

Forbes has represented the NRA since 2009 and as of the last quarter of 2015 was still registered to lobby for the organization. [starting 2016, he no longer lobbies for the NRA] On his lobbying disclosure, Forbes wrote that he was signed up to lobby for “Issues related to 2nd Amendment rights, regulation and gun control, and tax and appropriations related to same; issues related to corporate tax reform.”

…During the 2013 push for universal background checks, Forbes was one of a phalanx of Democratic Party lobbyists employed by the NRA to kill that legislation.

Forbes is an alumnus of the Bill Clinton administration and later worked as chief of staff to former Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus.

This is who the New Democrats/DLC-ers are. They don’t change, just alter the flimflam rhetoric.

Hell, they’re not even waiting for the nomination before they start pulling away the football. Clinton has lots of links with people who are expecting some sort of payback–and it’s payback you won’t like.

That said, Sanders is wrong–this isn’t corruption, but clientelism (boldface mine):

“Clientelism” is a bit different because it is a system whereby patrons and clients act in ways that are mutually beneficial to both–without the explicit quid pro quo, without the smudged brown envelope of sweaty cash. The big difference between corruption and clientelism is the explicit demand for a political act from the person or entity who wants to influence government. In “corruption” you are paid and then you do what you are asked. In clientism, the politician acts in favor of a powerful interest or entity and then, subsequently, is rewarded….

The Sanders campaign is pushing a narrative that Clinton represents and speaks for a system of political corruption, the evidence of which are the enormous and numerous speaking fees she has been paid by firms with vested interest in limiting or ending altogether government regulation (“Wall St.”). In response to this argument, the Clinton campaign has said that there is “no evidence” of any crime–no evidence that any quid pro quo exists. And this has been used to argue that Clinton, despite the huge pile of quarter million dollar checks she’s received from vested interests, is in fact deeply committed to limiting the power and influence of those firms who have cut her these huge speaking fees checks.

And here’s the point I want to introduce to the discussion:

While not guilty of corruption in the explicit sense of quid pro quo, Clinton not only participates in, but actively cultivates patron-client relationships with Wall Street. In the clientelism that Clinton embraces and defends, she claims the American public to be the sole beneficiary via her representation, but she refuses to acknowledge how Wall St. benefits. And yet, in a patron-client system, both the patron and the client always benefit. Always. That is how it works. In this case: Clinton gets resources to run for office, while Wall Street gets the guarantee that the candidate they gave so much money in one place (e.g., a speech) will tacitly if not explicitly support their views of economic reality in another place (e.g., The White House). It is a long term strategy for both.

Secretary Clinton, for all the good work that she has done, has built a career on the belief that she can control these patron-client relationships to benefit the powerless. Yet, she has done so by entering into reciprocal relationships with the powerful–who gain no advantage by legislation that helps the powerless…

But the problem that must be overcome in the Democratic Party for progressive goals to advance is clientelism–a patron-client system whereby elected Democrats and big money cultivate each other for mutual benefit.

And if ever there was a Presidential candidate who represented that system of clientism–it’s the current front runner of the Democratic Party. As hard as it is to see and to name this, whatever good she has achieved on various fronts–and she has achieved a great deal–it is all tainted at this point by her investment for so long in big money clientelism.

I hope I’m wrong, but watching New Democrats for a few decades doesn’t fill me with a lot of hope here. There’s a reason the ‘economic left’ is never invited to the Democratic Party high table, and, at best, receives scraps. It’s obviously not just Clinton–there’s a whole mess of Democrats who do this crap (though usually not as clumsily as Wasserman Schultz). But the next four years are probably going to require opposing the Democrats as much as the Republicans.

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1 Response to Meanwhile, It’s Business As Usual For The New Democrats

  1. mal says:

    The quintessential ‘New Democrat’ from Wisconsin is U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse, Dist. 3). Kind drew a primary challenge last week from a progressive, Myron Buchholz of Eau Claire, a retired teacher with a large group of friends in the district after a lifetime of working in social justice and community groups. So what the does Wisconsin Dem Party (DPW) Chair do? Freezes Buchholz out, denying his campaign voting lists and so forth in violation of Party bylaws. Rep. Kind by the way is a champion of TPP. This is why Scott Walker and his the Republicans have wiped the floors with Wisconsin Democrats the last five years. Here’s one link to what is going on: Business as usual in for Wisconsin Democrats means losing, if the DPW gets its way. Wish I had better news to report.

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