Who loves Wall Street best?

The GOP is sucking up to banks. But Democrats in glass houses shouldn't throw stones


Andrew Leonard
February 4, 2010 10:20PM (UTC)

In an e-mail blast sent out Thursday morning, Brad Woodhouse, Communications Director of the Democratic National Committee, promoted a new Wall Street Journal article, "GOP Chases Wall Street Donors," with some self-serving commentary:

The GOP is in bed with Wall Street, Bankers and Their Lobbyists -- In December they met with 100 Banking Lobbyists to stop financial regulatory reform and now they are shaking them down for cash. Next time you hear a Republican talk about sticking up for small businesses and middle class families -- hand them this article.

Really? Granted, the article does a good job of documenting how Republicans are trying to woo Wall Street cash by "striving to make the case that they are banks' best hope of preventing President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats from cracking down on Wall Street." And sure, that seems a remarkable misreading of public sentiment at the current time. Is the GOP really so eager to be seen as standing up to "Mr. Obama's efforts to curb pay and impose new regulations?"

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But just as damning are the details on how the Democrats have been feeding off the Wall Street trough for decades. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama, reports the Journal, raised "$15 million in donations from people who worked in the securities and investment industry" -- almost double McCain's take. He took in nearly $1 million from Goldman Sachs alone.

And let's not forget such stout friends of the banking industry as Senate Banking Committee chairman Chris Dodd, a lifelong beneficiary of Wall Street largesse. Or the pack of Blue Dog Dems raking in cash while sitting on the House Financial Services Committee, where good regulations go to die.

To a hefty proportion of the electorate, Wall Street has already gotten good value in return for their donations to Democrats. Far from being the scourge of the financial sector, the White House and Congress have kept it afloat, while hardly bothering to punsh it with even a slap on the wrist. If the DNC wants voters to think that Democrats are tough on Wall Street, it's going to have to work a lot harder.


Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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