The Hill reports on the latest leftist spasm convulsing the Democratic Party:
President Obama’s nomination of Antonio Weiss to serve as the Treasury Department’s top domestic finance official is drawing fire from an unusual sector: his fellow Democrats.
Liberal lawmakers like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have been quick to oppose Weiss, a major investment banker with Lazard. . . . But an underlying thread to the Democratic opposition is a fatigue with filling top-ranking administration spots with officials that have spent significant time working for or on behalf of Wall Street titans. Warren penned an op-ed in The Huffington Post criticizing the administration’s approach under the headline “Enough is Enough.”
It might have been called “Enough Clintons.” Warren previously wrote, “Soon after they crashed the economy and got tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts, the biggest Wall Street banks started lobbying Congress to head off any serious financial regulation. Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics found that in 2009 alone, the financial services sector employed 1,447 former federal employees to carry out their lobbying efforts, swarming all over Congress. And who were their top lobbyists? Members of Congress — in fact, 73 former Members of Congress.”
Now you might think that Congress did precisely what Warren wanted in Dodd-Frank, specifically the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for which Warren was nominated. But apparently that did not go far enough, and she remains steamed about the influence of former Wall Street people in positions requiring finance expertise. (Go figure.)
What, then, will she have to say about the ultimate Wall Street insider, Hillary Clinton? She continues feeding at Wall Street’s speaking-fee trough. She and her husband are plainly of the pro-business wing of the Democratic Party, and the sort of people who populated Bill Clinton’s administration would make Warren’s hair stand on end. (Among his top economic appointees — Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, Roger Altman, Gene Sperling and Alan Greenspan — there was nary a left-wing populist.)
More than even her foreign policy record, which Hillary Clinton may pass off as a reflection purely of the president (there is some truth to that), her and her husband’s decades-long coziness with Wall Street and her husband’s economic moderation (NAFTA, capital-gains tax cut, balanced budget) are anathema to the Warren wing of the Democratic Party.
That leaves Hillary Clinton three choices: She can turn on a dime as she tried to do in her ham-handed remarks during the midterm campaign that corporations don’t create jobs. She can stick to her guns and make the case for her husband’s record of relative prosperity (helped, of course, by the dot-com bubble, but she probably won’t mention that part). Or she can do what she usually does — meander, duck, evade, double-talk and filibuster in lieu of a direct statement of principles or a concrete agenda. The third option may work — so long as someone like Warren, former senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Howard Dean or some other left-wing populist does not run.
Come to think of it, perhaps Warren’s fight over Weiss primarily isn’t about Weiss any more than the nomination of Janet Yellen was principally about the Federal Reserve. These are proxy fights for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. Warren earns kudos for skewering the kind of people a Hillary Clinton administration would hire in droves. Simply by raising the Wall Street overpopulation issue, Warren is reminding the base that if it wants a liberal populist president, it better look beyond Clinton.