The Democrat anti business caucus is growing
Barack Obama meets with a flock of nervous bankers at the White House tomorrow to reassure them he understands their interests. Good luck. There has always been tension between the Democratic Party and the private sector. That tension is over. With its vote in the House of Representatives to punish corporate bonus payments, the national Democratic Party has disconnected itself entirely from the private sector.I think they are trying to scapegoat to deflect blame for the mortgage debacle. The bonus tantrum was just another example of their attempt to create scapegoats for their own mismanagement of the results of the mortgage debacle. What is not clear to me is why so many business people donated to those seeking their demise. Did they really think the snakes would not bite them after they got them elected?
The public bear-baiting of AIG's Ed Liddy, and then passage of the bonus bill, gave the nation a good look at the modern Democratic Party freed of constraints.
The current version of the party has largely broken free of any understanding whatsoever of the private sector -- how it works or what it needs to function.
True socialists at least think about markets so they can criticize them. The Democratic Party's leadership doesn't stir to even that level of engagement. In the House, Senate and some corners of the Obama White House, the party is acting as if the marketplace was the world of an alien tribe, which it has to control through intimidation or demands for protective tribute (read: campaign contributions).
This is not true of the entire 90% of self-identified Democrats who voted for Barack Obama. But Democrats who work in real jobs rather than work for the mothership in Washington must recognize that the party's obsessions are becoming ever less hospitable to a functioning economy, or Mr. Geithner's labors to that goal.
This decoupling has occurred mainly in the Northeast (New England lost its last House Republican in 2008) and in California. Invulnerable seats have allowed politicians from these regions to control key committee chairs affecting the economy: Barney Frank (finance), Henry Waxman (regulation) Pete Stark (the health subcommittee of Ways and Means), Chris Dodd (Senate banking), Ted Kennedy (health), Barbara Boxer (environment).
Put it this way: Imagine any of this generation's Democratic establishment taking a job at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati as a middle-manager responsible for a division of employees and its annual profit and loss. It is wholly inconceivable. Or helping an owner of an auto-parts company manage through a real crisis. They wouldn't have a clue.
That anti-bonus bill was not unique. It is routine.
Nor can it be said that these Democrats are merely scapegoating the private sector to deflect blame for the politicians' share of the mortgage debacle. Using the private sector as the party's punching bag is also now routine. Al Gore and John Kerry ran at Big Oil, Big Pharma and Big Insurance. With mercurial suppleness, so did the current president. These "big" industries are proxies for the whole world of owners and managers, who somehow now always find themselves beyond acceptable politics as enemies of the people's interests. A Democratic Party that was always anti-Wall Street is becoming anti- Main Street.
Meanwhile, plaintiffs lawyers assault the private sector, dig cash out of it, and transfer a percentage back to Democratic re-election campaigns. Democrats in Congress then try to legislate provisions to make the private sector vulnerable to more such lawsuits. Congress has passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, with the Paycheck Fairness Act on tap.