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Weird…and probably misleading

I read this WaPo article, following a link from Atrios.  It’s about when Tim Geithner considered leaving and he recommended Hillary take his place as Secretary of the Treasury.  So, the summary goes like this: Geithner was ready to leave a couple of years ago and when they asked him who would be a good replacement, he suggested Hillary.  Here’s the run down of how that played out including the part that Atrios finds weird in bold:

Geithner had submitted a list of names to the White House. Chief of Staff William Daley appeared to “slow-walk” and rob the Clinton suggestion of any momentum, according to one of the administration officials. But actually, Daley was conducting his own vetting process, another official said.

He broached the idea with Clinton. An administration official familiar with the exchanges characterized her response as “cautious interest.” A person close to Clinton had a different take: “She listened respectfully and politely.”

Daley called a few trusted eminences on Wall Street, sounding them out on the personnel switch. Their response was resoundingly positive, both officials said. She had never been a banker, but as a senator from New York, Clinton had cultivated many relationships within the financial sector. Some of them had been longing for the kind of attention they had received from her and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, but rarely got from Obama.

And unlike Geithner, who disdained high jinks on Capitol Hill, Clinton had an intuition for political risk. She knew committee chairs. As the debt crisis worsened in the United States and Europe, Clinton’s popularity abroad would have also allowed her to talk sense to other leaders.

Weird indeed, considering that these were the very same bankers who rejected Clinton for Obama in 2008.  Back then, I suspect that Hillary looked a little too much like rehab so they threw their weight behind the guy who might like to party with them later.  That didn’t work out so well for any of them, or us, for that matter.

It doesn’t surprise me that the Clintons cultivated the bankers.  They’re politicians.  It’s what they do. Of course, there’s a difference between cultivating and prostitution. But as Karen Ho’s book, Liquidated, explained, bankers distrust Yale graduates as being too liberal.  I know that sounds facile on the surface but conditioning and tribalism are not easy things to overcome, even for the banker crowd.

In any case, by the time Geithner was ready to retire from Treasury, the damage was already done.  The article reports that sources close to Clinton says she listened “politely and respectfully” to the suggestion but it doesn’t sound like she was interested.  She’s not stupid, which is probably why only a national emergency will ever persuade her to take the VP position and maybe not even then.  Why the f^&* would she want to do clean up after Geithner?  They didn’t get along almost from the beginning when he wanted to move into her territory at State.  At State, she’s not sullied by all of the domestic crap.  If Obama and Geithner made a royal mess of things and didn’t support the homeowners drowning in their mortgages, they couldn’t pin it on Hillary.  Her political reputation doesn’t take any hits.  Dragging her into Treasury would definitely do her in.

I think it says a lot about Clinton’s professionalism and capabilities that Geithner even suggested such a thing.  It’s like saying she’s the best that Obama has in his cabinet.  She can do practically anything.

But note who “slow walked” it around the White House.  It was Chief of Staff William Daley.  There is a political component of this that the Chicago boys don’t like.  Were they afraid she’d get more face time?  Get in to the office and find that there were things she actually could do after all?  Make Obama look even worse than he already does?

I don’t know.  There’s not enough information for me to go on, although I’m sure it is more meaningful to the people in the immediate vicinity of Washington.

What this article *does* do is associate Clinton’s name with Wall Street’s in a potentially negative way, implying that she would be friendlier to them than Obama has been (hard to imagine that, to be honest).  We’ve seen this kind of thing before whenever the voting public starts getting wistful about Hillary.  Suddenly, there are articles about “Hillaryland!” at State and how she doesn’t run State like a man would, like that’s a bad thing.  But it’s all rumors and innuendos, intended to put you off your kibble if you’re a Democrat constructing all of the possible 2012 election scenarios.

Nevertheless, we can’t deny that the bankers took a good look at both candidates in 2008 and decided to pass on Hillary, despite the “attention” she gave them as their senator from New York.  They threw all of their weight behind Obama in a major way.  Let’s not pretend that the bankers had nothing to do with Obama getting the nomination. It has always been my suspicion that the Clintons weren’t overwhelmed by the “complexity” of the financial industry, after their experience and time to reflect where things went wrong.  The fact that the bankers seemed receptive to the idea of Hillary going to Treasury indicates that they thought they didn’t have much to fear from her after they’d already rewritten the rules in their favor and endorsed the blank checks in 2008-2009.

It was the White House that blinked.

Also, Atrios has an Asshole Test about children of illegal immigrants.  Cut out and carry with you.  This is useful.

More of this please.  It could be a series.


BTW, this is what Hillary said in September 2008 and gives a pretty good indication why she didn’t get the nomination.  She put too damn much emphasis on bailing out people with bad mortgages.  Her priorities were all wrong even it turns out she was prematurely right.  Hmmm, if we’d elected her, we might actually be on our way to recovery right now and looking forward to a second Clinton term instead of dreading the future:

20 Responses

  1. Well, the day started off gorgeous but I see the clouds rolling in again.
    I have a bit of painting to do outside, dare I risk it?

  2. Sign that you’ve fallen out of the middle class: Apple is updating the OS on the newer iPads but you’ll be stuck driving the old jalopy you bought two years ago until it dies forever.
    Also, you really, really, really need a new macpro laptop with retina display for the potential modeling graphics but that too is out of the question for the indefinite, foreseeable future.
    Gadget addicts are screwed in unemploymentland.

  3. Agree This smells like something floated to stink Clinton up a little bit.

    • OR looking at it differently; every time the WH in trouble they shout get a Clinton.

      RD The other day I was Listening to Dawinks in TED and I was tempted to write some to you

  4. I never saw this speech/talk. By 2008 I had no TV cable anymore for reasons of personal inertial disorder.
    But I was reading a few proggieblogs at the time within the time limits imposed by not having my own computer. I don’t remember any of these proggieblogs (Digby or any other) ever once saying anything about Clinton’s versus Obama’s positions on Mortgage Relief or any other potatos-and-cabbage matter of concern to ordinary people. So should I really fault myself for not knowing this stuff at the time? (If other people jump up and say . . yes you should, I will get stubborn and say . . . well, I don’t.)
    It sounds to me like Obama works for the same people that the DemParty works for, and if HRClinton is considered insufficiently servile towards those people, then HRClinton will never ever be swapped into Obama’s vacated place on the 2012 ticket. In which case the focus should indeed be on exterminating the Democratic Party from existence and wiping the Democratic Party off the face of the earth . . . beginning with Obama and his Simpson-Bowles Daly-Rubinite Obamacrats. By the way, didn’t Daly work for JPMorgan? That seems more significant to me than his being “from Chicago”.

    • Don’t beat yourself up about it. There were many Obama supporters in 2008 who were aware of the differences between Hillary and Obama on topics such as the telecomm immunity bill, Hillary’s support for a public option and her proposals to rescue the banks by rescuing the homeowners as well as providing a bailout with careful monitoring and all kinds of strings attached. It didn’t make any difference to them. I think half of the party experienced a psychogenic fugue state in 2008 that was further exacerbated and fueled by some very clever marketing techniques and psychological manipulation of group dynamics. Everyone is vulnerable to this kind of manipulation. There are no exceptions. We all have buttons, vulnerabilities and morals that can be twisted against us. I don’t have a problem with the people who realize they’ve been had. I have a problem with people who realize they’ve been had but refuse to admit it. The first group are better people for it in the end. The second group just makes the problem worse.
      At some point in the next two months, the party might reach that area between a rock and a hard place. They might be rotten bastards but they’re not completely stupid. They can count. They’ll know whether the numbers are there for them this year, especially in the swing states where Hillary whipped obama’s skinny ass.
      In any other election year, they’d just have to deal with it. But this time around, there is a perfectly suitable alternative. I think it will be up to the superdelegates. If they think there’s a rout coming and their own political futures are on the line, it may not make difference what Bill Daley wants.
      Obama will be eased out if the numbers look bad enough. There will be no good excuse not to.

      • People are a funny animal. Those of us who get to say “I told you so” love to do that. Those of us who get “told so” hate being told so and often re-entrench themselves twice as hard in their prior positions out of stubborn pride. So perhaps the pragmatic trick becomes . . . how to find and leverage the people who have wised up or who are ready to wise up with the right welcoming encouragement . . . without hitting their stubborn pride button by “telling them so”. For example . . . is there a way to leverage and weaponise Matt Stoller’s rage and hatred over being so foully betrayed . . . without “telling him so”? (Oh . . . and if any Nadervoter RepubliGreens are reading this . . . We Told You So. And . . . don’t blame me, I voted for Gore. ahh ha ha ha . . . there , I just demonstrated how deeply rooted the I Told You So reflex really is.)

        I imagine many second-tier-and-below Democratic Operatives may well end up making the calculation you suggest. But the Inner Party leader-plotters may well be basing all their calculations on what is best for the OverClass? If indeed HRClinton is much less good for the OverClass than either Obama or Romney would be, then Hamilton Project Rubinite embeds like Daley will work overtime to keep Obama as the nominee to make sure the next President is “Wall Street all the way” one way or the other. Daley is perfectly ready to sacrifice the Democratic Party to advance Wall Street. He and his kind view the Democratic Party as a “launch vehicle” and Wall Street/OverClass Domination as the “payload”. They will jettison the “launch vehicle” to deliver the “payload”.

        So the question becomes whether the DemSenators are Daleyite warriors for the OverClass or whether they are DemParty politicians?
        If the second, can they beat down the Daley-ite HamiltonProject Rubinites? If not, would they pretend to obstruct the OverClass agenda coming from a President Romney where they would absolutely co-conspire in that agenda coming from a Term Two Obama?

        • You know, I understand that people don’t like to be told “I told you so”. If you’re doing it just to get even, then, yeah, that is kind of irritating.
          But where we are right now? With how serious this situation is? People who are stubbornly clinging to their pride need to snap out of it. It’s like warning people on the beach that when the tide goes out suddenly that there is a tsunami coming. There will always be people who won’t believe it until they see that big wave on the horizon rushing towards them and we’ll be swinging from the highest trees screaming at them, “I told you so!” Those people on the beach can get mad and stubborn and feel like their intelligence has been insulted but the wave is still bearing down on them. Are they just going to stand there and let themselves be swallowed up out of sheer stubbornness and pride or are they going to run like hell?
          From where I am perched, it looks like they are digging their heels in the sand. I have no idea what the f^&* they’re hoping is going to happen. They could save themselves and let the party get washed away. But they don’t. It’s like they’re paralyzed with fear and indecision. At this point, we’re not saying, “I told you so” anymore. We’re screaming at them to run as fast they can.

          • Well, that’s true. At some point, people take their Darwin Exams and they either pass them or they flunk them. And there will be a whole lotta flunkin’ goin’ on over the next few years.

    • I might add that Bill Clinton has been campaigning for democrats but he’s being very selective. The ones he’s gone out for have won their primaries. Barrett was the exception.
      The last winner was right here in NJ. We lost a seat and two democratic incumbents were forced to run against each other. One congressman was an early supporter of Obama’s in 2008. Clinton campaigned for the other guy. I think his name is Pascrell, and he won the district primary.
      All this nicey, nicey stuff we hear between the Clinton and Obama camps? I don’t believe it for a minute. Oh, they might act all cordial in public but I think there is genuine dislike seething beneath the surface. Clinton is helping his own. I have no idea if this is a strategy to get more Clintonistas in office who share his worldview or whether it’s revenge, but I do find it interesting that these Democrats are choosing to run on his coattails and not obama’s.
      That right there tells you that the fault line in the party is significant.

      • I would imagine it is revenge. If is also world view, and if Clinton’s worldview continues to favor the concept of Free Trade, then there will become a Three Way split in the party unless/until the Obamistas are defeated or expelled . . . and then it will become a renewal of the Two Way Crack which emerged during the Free Trade Agreement fights,
        a crack which the Nader RepubliGreens worked their hardest to widen and divert.

        • IS Clinton really a free trade fanatic like people make him out to be? I’m not so sure.

          • Well, people can change and sometimes have. An interesting test would be: what does WJClinton have to say about the features in the
            Pacific Rim FTA (whose official name I forget) that was mentioned in the HuffPost and elsewhere just lately? You would have to be pretty fanatical for Free Trade to support those features. If someone were to ask Mr. Clinton what he thought about that, and if he were to answer, it would be interesting to see what that answer would be.

            I know he worked very hard to attain every FTA under consideration during his Administration. There is one-in-particular which I will not discuss unless I do indeed dig up some real numbers to bring them back here. That won’t happen at least until I have my very own computer which should be any year now.

      • Given the evidence, I would tend to trust Bill Clinton for leadership and a global view that was based in equality. I’ll take it.

        And seeing Hillary in that interview made me mourn for what might have been. She is very thoughtful and prepared. She the smartest one in the room.

        Thank Dog Hillary is global president SOS. It could not be in better hands.

      • Given what the jackals on Team Obama did to his wife I’d say Bill is a saint for going out on the campaign trail when called by any Democrat.

        Wall Street may not like Bill and Hillary but they respect them because they know where they stand and that the Clinton’s wouldn’t be all over the map to appease some of the voters. I think that is one of the reasons the economy did well during the Clinton administration, they knew there were adults in charge and the tax rates wouldn’t be jerked up and down like under Reagan and Bush the Smarter.

        I say that if he is re-elected Obama will sell us all out to Wall Street for a cushy consulting job in 2017.

        • Well that is his plan and his goal. Grand Catfood Bargain and all that. And the DemSenators are desperately eager to help him do it.
          Would they be so eager to conspire against Social Security and Medicare under a Republican President? I remember that under President Shrubya they pretended very credibly to defend Social Security . . . after some sharp prodding from Joshua Micah Marshall.
          Who by the way has not bothered to raise the slightest objection to Obama’s salami-tactics conspiracy against Social Security. Which raises questions about whether he ever cared about Social Security at all . . . or whether he is an obedient DemParty Leader supporter, or just what.

      • “…they might act all cordial in public but I think there is genuine dislike seething beneath the surface.”

        Heh! Neither man will include the other in his evening prayers, that’s for sure.

        And there’s so much to be learned from just watching Obama’s body-language. His zipped-on/zipped-off-in-a-split-second grin, his condescending back-slapping, shoulder-patting, upper-arm-grabbing, his automatic, halfhearted ‘hugs’ (how I yearn for the days when you didn’t embrace all and everyone! When looking into each other’s eyes and a firm handshake would do!), his disrespectful, often premature, turning away from people, his fake ‘speaking sternly’ while at the same time obviously having a hard time hiding his (self admiring) snigger, his childlike, nonplussed look when he’s occasionally heckled … on and on. He really doesn’t hide his true feelings all that well. All you have to do is watch him.

        And – by just watching him – I’ve repeatedly noticed that for all the media’s praise of how he has found a new ally in Françoise Hollande, Obama sure doesn’t exhibit anything close to positive feelings for Hollande – who for his part doesn’t show any sign of submissive ‘bowing down’ to Obama, so maybe that’s the reason?

        • Lol! This time I have absolutely no idea why I landed in moderation. The ‘Mod’ sure does work in mysterious ways. 😯 😆

  5. Totally OTB . . . . Al Giordano has recently posted an article about upcoming and ongoing student demonstrations in Mexico, especially Mexico City. He views them as more disciplined, more pre-thought-through-in-advance than OWS, and with a more hopeful outcome, and he says why. Here is a little teaser cutpaste from the organizing rules
    written in advance by the student leadership involved.

    “• Expose vandals and people who occur in acts of violence. If this occurs we suggest stopping the march and sitting down with arms crossed around the violent person, filming and taking photographs. This is how we will expose the aggressor.
    • Deliver any person who conducts acts of vandalism or violence to the authorities.”
    That is just to show that the march organizers have been thinking about vandalism-prevention, among many other things. He contrasts and compares this Mexico (and other) student organizing actions with
    OWS, the Seattle anti-FreeTrade/WTO protests, etc. It may well be worth reading.http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield

    • ( Of course he doesn’t speculate on how these upcoming Mexican protests would/will do if they encounter the sort of centrally planned police-breakup action that the American OWS marches encountered.
      That might actually be an interesting experiment, if it gets run. How will the Mexican students respond, and how will the Mexican public respond to the Mexican students’ response?

      Then too, where Giordano finds fault with OWS breaking up into many tiny subgroups; I would be interested to see where these tiny subgroups go. If they become knowledge dumps and information bases . . . and become nodes of Survivalism practice and training and
      economic obstruction/ rebellion against the OverClass . . . then they will show promise even if
      Giordano is pre-programmed not to see it.)

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