Blagojevich’s only mistake…
Monday, December 15th, 2008
…was to forget a few code words?
Let’s pause this morning to wallow in the irony of the juxtaposition of articles on the front page of Saturday’s New York Times (I’m going to miss her!) excoriating Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich for attempting to trade the Obama Senatorial seat for campaign contributions versus an article about how much campaign cash New York Senator Chuck Schumer raises from the businesses he helps to regulate.
The next day, Mr. Schumer appeared at a breakfast fund-raiser in Midtown Manhattan for Senate Democrats. Addressing Henry R. Kravis, the buyout billionaire, and about 20 other finance industry executives, he warned that a bailout would be a hard sell on Capitol Hill. Then he offered some reassurance: The businessmen could count on the Democrats to help steer the nation through the financial turmoil.
“We are not going to be a bunch of crazy, anti-business liberals,” one executive said, summarizing Mr. Schumer’s remarks. “We are going to be effective, moderate advocates for sound economic policies, good responsible stewards you can trust.”
The message clearly resonated. The next week, executives at firms represented at the breakfast sent in more than $135,000 in campaign donations.
The article went on to detail the millions that Schumer has raised from Wall Street and included a useful table of Schumer’s influence on regulation relating to Wall Street. Schumer sure looks “bought” by security industry interests.
Blagojevich’s chief mistake was to articulate the quid pro quo to urgently and loudly, rather than letting politics take its natural course.
Arguably, Schumer’s campaign-cash-smudged vision has cost the American people far more than any Senate seat Blogojevich wanted to peddle.
“He is serving the parochial interest of a very small group of financial people, bankers, investment bankers, fund managers, private equity firms, rather than serving the general public,” said John C. Bogle, the founder and former chairman of the Vanguard Group, the giant mutual fund house. “It has hurt the American investor first and the average American taxpayer.”
Has anyone considered taping Schumer’s phone? I guess we don’t need to bother, when it’s on the front page of the New York Times.