Have the Democrats lost populism?

The progressive netroots movement has always been about the populism of getting people involved with political activism. "The Rise of People-Powered Politics" was part of the subtitle of Crashing The Gate; the election wave of victories in '06 Moveon.org capped the slogan"People Powered Politics" atop the historic wave election for Democrats. However, over the past couple of months, I'm becoming convinced that the perception, to put it simply, is that the Democrats have become the party of the bankers.

The story goes that Obama, when he decided to let the Goldman Sachs/Wall St alumni run his Treasury, paid off a campaign debt to his biggest financial backers. But it wasn't just a tip of the hat, as it led to Obama & the Democrats becoming the establishment face of TARP (with that second round of bank bailout money), which is arguably the biggest miscalculation of his Presidency, and for Democrats this cycle. It might take failure to pass healthcare reform, or a reneging of his promise to pull out of Iraq in 18 months, to top that bank bailout mistake. To Big To Fail has become The Big Fail. There is even talk now that some of the TARP money will be used to paydown the deficit. That's smart because people are worried about the deficit over boosting the economy by a 2:1 margin according to recent Peter Hart polling. But you have to wonder if the damage has already been done:

In September, the Democratic pollster Peter Hart asked registered voters who they thought had benefited most from the Obama administration's economic policies. Sixty-two percent said the main beneficiary had been the "large banks." In contrast, 65 percent said the "average working person" and "small businesses" hadn't been helped. Seventy-three percent said "my family/myself" hadn't been helped.
The Republicans are jumping at the frame:
Under Obama's policies, he is reorganizing the Democratic Party into the elitist coalition, representing Big Government, big bankers, big Wall Street, big universities, big Hollywood -- all protected under the mantra of "too big to fail."

That's Craig Shirley, Elites overlook power of populists, but you have to go back to read what he wrote in April of 2006, How the GOP Lost Its Way, because he's seen this coming for a while now in the Republicans. The mix of populism with movement conservatism to create the populist conservative moment is underway. All for it is Matthew Continetti, A case for the new populism. All against it is Patrick N. Allitt, Instead of going rogue, Instead of going rogue, Republicans should cultivate leadership in ideas and solutions; and then there's Christopher Hitchens, best known for his neocon atheism, who believes that if the likes of Palin represents populism, the opposition should go all in with embracing elitism, Base Appeal (what I want to know is why it takes Democrats a couple of decades to remake the party while it only takes Republicans a couple of years).

That Democrats this year lost the opportunity for a "Barack Obama, FDR and the Hundred Days" moment is pretty clear in hindsight. To recover the momentum, we have to roll up a package of issues, vote them up or down, and if they don't pass, run on them in '10. Right now, Democrats are so afraid of failing that nothing is getting done. Yea, there's a whole progressive agenda that's been left by the wayside so far, but if Democrats don't halt this move toward becoming the party that holds the bid for JP Morgan right now, even worse will happen.

I just got my copy of "Censored 2010: The top 25 stories of 2008-09" and you know what the first one is? Its "US Congress Sells Out to Wall Street" and lays it at the feet of Democrats. Since the start of 2009, Wall Street has donated more than any other sector to DC politicians, and "58% of that has gone to Democrats, marking a change, perhaps, in political strategy. Not since the 1990 election cycle have finance, insurance, and real estate companies given more than 52% of its overall donations to Democrats, and from 1991 to 2006, finance gave the majority of its money to Republicans."

That's change, for the wrong people. Yes, this is reflective of a political strategy furthered by D politicians such as Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel. Basically, their thinking goes, since the Republicans have relied upon lobbyist, corporate, and financial funding to maintain an advantage over the past decades, undercut that, and D's will gain the financial advantage over R's.

It reminds me of the sort of thinking that went along with Bush and the Republicans willingly signing McCain-Fiengold CFR into law; and many establishment Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, thought the Democrats were committing funding suicide. I wrote just the opposite was happening-- that it would lead to the Democrats being funded by the grassroots. And that happened, no doubt surprising the Republicans that they were suddenly being outspent a few cycles later.

The upside of this topsy-turvy state of funding turmoil is that funding of Democratic institutions by populist progressives has come to a standstill, funding of conservative populists is going to rocket. Funding of Democrats by the big banks is at record levels, and funding of Republicans by those same banks is on the wane. Alongside the perception that Democrats can't pass meaningful legislation and that Obama is too passive in pushing for the promises on which he campaigned, it does add up to an electoral disaster-in-waiting in '10.

Rahm Emanual is reading the '09 tea-leaves, and now says that"reducing America’s long- term federal budget deficits is now is foremost on his mind and the mind of the economic team". This midnight conversion of Hoover/McCain thought can't be taken seriously.

Then there's the first line of Politico today: "BREAKING I: Obama administration to launch big financial fraud crackdown. A senior administration official tells POLITICO: "We will be announcing a sustained, multilevel attack on financial fraud." Sounds like another window dressing initiative.

There's does seem to be the possibility for movement/moment right now for take down of one of the architects of this disaster, Timothy Geithner.

Geithner has been Singled Out In TARP Watchdog Neil Barofsky's Scathing Report On AIG Bailout. He's game for being the scapegoat.

Update [2009-11-17 14:40:52 by Jerome Armstrong]:A bit more on this last point from Joe Costello:

SIGTARP, the Special Inspector General for TARP, who is supposedly charged to make sure your tax dollars going to the banks aren't wasted, which is funny in itself, released their first report, which is a joke in itself. The report basically says the New York Fed under Mr. Geithner was basically played by the banks in the money paid through AIG. Of course, that's not really true, AIG was simply used to funnel money into the banks, that was without a doubt always the idea. Whether you think that was criminal or in the public interest, well it was criminal. Yves Smith has a longer take down.
To quote the Epicurean Dealmaker: Tim Geithner and the Federal Reserve got royally played. And you and I, my friends, paid dearly for the privilege.

Tags: conservative, populism, progressive (all tags)



A call for the pitchforks ?

What is one supposed to do ?

by Ravi Verma 2009-11-17 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: A call for the pitchforks ?

You address economic insecurity and he hasn't done that. Economic insecurity is one those nebulous but very real concepts. Those with a job are afraid of losing their job. Those without a job remain without hope. He needs to realize that the economic model is broken for 90% of the population.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 10:19AM | 0 recs
He doesn't realize it?

Nobody has ever articulated to me what the probable economic outcome would have been from not bailing out the banks. My understanding is that there was a very real risk the global financial system could have ground to a halt.

It's perfectly acceptable to find it distasteful. I find it very anti-populist as well. I don't buy for a second the Huff 'n Puff conspiracy theories that TARP was solely to repay favors.

Until someone can prove that our financial situation would have been better by not bailing out the banks, I have to conclude that the administration chose the lesser of two evils.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-17 11:37AM | 0 recs
Re: He doesn't realize it?

Wait a minute. When money is being doled out for a bailout, the burden is ON THE PEOPLE ADVOCATING THE BAILOUT to prove it works, not the other way around.

And what about the watchdog groups? Wasnt there a disconnect between them and the Obama administration?

And let's not even get into the fact that not a single meaningful reform was tied into the TARP bailouts. Why would you not ask for something significant in return? If you can't do reform when doling out  money, when can you?

Jerome mentioned hindsight. I actually dont think it's even hindsight. Some of us have been skeptical of Obama's bailout approach even before he became president. He and his team exhibited a fear of deviating from the Bush approach and didn't want to risk advocating their own bold solution. Geithner has been a failure from Day 1 unable to articulate what are the probable outcomes if we give our money. This vagueness helped them avoid accountability.

There was also concern way back then whether Obama was doing enough to make sure the money spent was being done in a responsible way.

by Pravin 2009-11-17 11:54AM | 0 recs
I think you've been reading too much HuffPo

She has her own axe to grind.

Nobody is asking for proof. The burden is much lower. We're asking for simple hypotheses.

The hypothesis of the Obama administration was that continuing Bush TARP would avoid collapse of the global financial system. The global financial system has not collapsed. That could be coincidence or correlation. I surely don't know. But what would have happened if Obama did not continue TARP in his first few days in office? Before bashing the program, someone, anyone has to articulate a hypothesis. What do you think would have happened?

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-17 12:15PM | 0 recs
its called capitalism

I advocated against it, strongly, both in '08 when it was Bush/Obama, and in '09, when it was Obama.

What would have happened?  A big haircut would have been given to a lot of wealth. Instead of propping up failure, it would have failed quickly, and others would have bought those with assets at good enough prices to make fortunes. Basically, what would have happened is called capitalism.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-17 01:03PM | 0 recs
Re: its called capitalism

If you need a historical example, I'd suggest you look at Cleveland's response to 1893 panic, and how that turned out.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-17 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: its called capitalism

You just nailed it. We would have cleared the system of all the bad debt and punished those who made unwise decisions. Now it looks like we are just prolonging the inevitable and will continue a long painful decline  and a possible crash if China, etc figure out there is no way we can pay back all the debt we are taking on.

by tpeichel 2009-11-17 03:21PM | 0 recs
Re: I think you've been reading too much HuffPo

Again, it is easy to say if we dont do something , then a disaster will happen, and now we avoided it. That is pretty vague. As Jerome mentioned, and as I did earlier in the year, how do we know that letting them fail would cause such a collapse? The assets remain the same before and after the bailout. If the value goes down, then they were artificially propped up and even if they werent, then new people get to make their fortunes. THe world keeps spinning. If you are going to go capitalistic, you might as well go all the way. The worst thing you can do is keep encouraging the same culture by avoiding the pain those in charge would feel. All those doomsday scenarios that were bandied about were not even in agreement among many economists. Each one had their own agenda.

by Pravin 2009-11-17 02:07PM | 0 recs
Decide on Major Initiatives, and push, push, push

Any populist movement needs to have demands that are separate from, and more fundamental to, the day to day issues we're confronting.  Progressives should come up with a list of five top demands, and repeat them over and over and over until everyone knows exactly what we're fighting for.

Here's my suggestion for what these five demands should be;

1)  Campaign finance and lobbying regulations are the major obstacle to every minor and major battle we fight.  The five Conservative Supreme Court Justices would immediately shoot down any major reform legislation that Obama and Congress passed.  The only answer is to pressure Obama to appoint two new Supreme Court Justices - His major reasoning could be that we need to take back our democracy from the rich and corporations, and we need to address the 2000 election by those five treasonous Justices who stole the election for Bush.

2)  Keep raising taxes on the super-rich among us to pay for everything that needs to be done.  In 1959, under Eisenhower, the top tax rate on the richest Americans was 91 percent.  Today it stands at under 40 percent.  It was the super-rich who made obscene amounts during the last two decades, while virtually everyone else lost money.  It's time for them to return the booty, big time.

3)  Reduce the requirement for cloture on Senate votes from 60 to 55.  During the last four years, Republican Senators have shattered previous records for filibustering Senate votes.  Leave every other issue aside and consider climate change alone, and you quickly realize that we can no longer afford Republican obstructionism.  There's no downside to lowering the requirement to 55.  The Republican Party is demographically and ideologically doomed -- They will never again gain control of the Senate.

4)  Tell people the truth about climate change.  All of the dire scenarios we heard about a few years ago had to do with 450 parts per million being the acceptable threshold number on atmospheric CO2 concentration.  As of November of last year, we know the accurate number is 350 parts per million.  Our problem is that we're already at 388 parts per million.  Climate change is many times a greater risk than we care to acknowledge.  Without knowing this truth, we will hardly have the political will to address it sufficiently.

5)  There are 29,000 children under age five that die on the planet each day.  That amounts to one out of every five daily deaths.  The amount that it would take to end the global poverty that causes those deaths is about one percent of the yearly GDP of the richest 22 countries.  Over the last 40 years, these countries have given less than half that amount, and the U.S. has by far been the stingiest of the group.

If our politics continue to be all about ourselves, then we deserve all the punishment God has in store for us from climate change and a host of other possible threats.  It's time for us to give up our nationalist selfishness and start behaving from the perspective of our common humanity.

by Georgeo57 2009-11-17 12:32PM | 0 recs
I'm not a big fan of populism

it can turn on a dime

by ND22 2009-11-17 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm not a big fan of populism

The issues being discussed have been consistent for years.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 10:46AM | 0 recs

by ND22 2009-11-17 10:48AM | 0 recs
Re: huh?

What do you not understand?

by bruh3 2009-11-17 10:52AM | 0 recs
What what your said has to do with populism

the issues might have been discussed, but only recently have they become associated with mainstream populism.

by ND22 2009-11-17 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: What what your said has to do with populism

What do you mean by only recently? Edwards was discussing it in 2007. Before, it was discussed in 2004 and 2006. The underlying issues have been discussed for most of this decade. The concerns over income inequality, the impact of trade agreements, etc for longer than that.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:10AM | 0 recs
yeah and nobody was paying attention

and the country was voting for the other party.

by ND22 2009-11-17 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: yeah and nobody was paying attention

 People were voting over fears over a recent terrorist event that happened early in the decade, or did you forget?

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:27AM | 0 recs
Then explain the 80's and 90's

Reagan & Gingrich...Clinton couldn't manage to get 50% of the vote.

by ND22 2009-11-17 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Then explain the 80's and 90's

Talk to the average man. They hate the bailouts. What are you talking about? What Reagan sold was a simple message of less taxes less government. But in reality most people went along with the less taxes type stuff. If the government enacted regulations to increase transparency and accountability and framed the policies in those terms, people would b ehappy.

by Pravin 2009-11-17 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Then explain the 80's and 90's

What do you want me to explain? They were different political eras in which neoliberal policies were on the rise in part because most of the people who lived through the prior experiment with free market fundamentalism, were either dead or too old to fight. I remind you that clinton was 1992. Reagan came to power as a reaction to the prior era. Clinton was the attempt by Democrats to respond to rising power of Reaganism. Ginrich was the reflection of that solidification of Reaganism. That era ended in 2008.

I think part of the problem here is that many of you do not realize Reaganism is dead.  Clinton's race was 16 years after Obama. We have had nearly 30 plus years to actually feel the effect of neoliberalism. It is no longer theorectical ideas about their impact. We see them in the form of Wall street, lose jobs, stagnant wages, health care cost, etc. You seem to have a really static view of how people, policies and politics work?

by bruh3 2009-11-17 12:00PM | 0 recs
I know Reaganism is dead

my point is Reaganism WAS populism until recently, and can be again, which is why I'm not a populist.

by ND22 2009-11-17 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: What what your said has to do with populism

by the way, I have no idea what you mean by mainstream since that's often a tactic with critics here of blogs to claim that what they are discussing are only being discussed on blogs? Is that your point? If so, that would be inaccurate regarding this economic populist issue, and as orestes points out- how exactly do you think Democrats will win by being distrustful of these sorts of processes?

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm not a big fan of populism

What is that supposed to mean?  How do you define populism?  I don't see how you get any progressive reform without populism.  How do you think we can achieve these ends without populism?

by orestes 2009-11-17 11:09AM | 0 recs
Depends on what reform you're talking about

some of it will never happen because our country is designed purposely to not allow to most progressive or regressive change to happen...at least quickly.

As far as populism, populism is simply a political ideology that represents people's wishes and needs...the reason I'm not a fan of it is that, especially in this country, people change their wishes and needs frequently ...sometimes their wishes contridict their needs. In some instances we may need to reject populism to get progressive reforms. Taxes, for example. Lower taxes are populist, it's not progressive. We're going to find ourselves running from populism when we're dealing with immigration reform.

It just so happens that at the moment populism and progressivism coincide...that's great, but I'm skeptical if it will be in a couple of years.

by ND22 2009-11-17 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Depends on what reform you're talking about

people have no changed their economic interests or issues. People may be distracted from them due to other issues like identity or more recently in this decade terrorism, but they have no forgotten then. You have a very simplistic view of voters.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:29AM | 0 recs
They haven't?

Would that explain why the American public think very differently about government involvement in the economy NOW than they did during the Reagan and Clinton years?

by ND22 2009-11-17 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: They haven't?

What is your point here? That people change over time? Thanks for  stating the obvious.

I would also agree that people's thoughts in the 1960s are not the same as they were in 1980s. I would also stipulate that their thoughts in the 1940s were not the same as they were in the 1980s or 90s.

Your original argument made it seem like these are temporary issues or ephemeral concerns rather than long gestating ones that grew out of the very policies and eras that you are saying they differ from. Neoliberalism and deregulation, etc of course would only start in the last 15 years start to clearly have a full impact and thus become issues people react to in their lives. That simply follows from the time it took for the policies to work their way down into people's lives.

My point is that they are long gestating concerns that people have been feeling and talking about that are only growing. They grew out of the policies  and eras prior to them just as Reaganism grew out of the policies and eras prior to it.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: They haven't?

Just to give a practical example- NAFTA- and the impact of trade policies- that was signed  in the 90s. So of course people would take some time to fully realize the impact. The same with CLinton deregulating the banks.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:54AM | 0 recs
Re: They haven't?
Did you miss the fact that both right wingers and left wingers like Kucinich voted no on the bailouts? It was the so called reasonable moderates that voted becaue they did not want to appear radical.
So far, I have met very few people who are opposed to linmiting bailouts and holding execs accountable. Increasing transparency and accountability in capitalism actually helps capitalism thrive. What is more populist than that?
by Pravin 2009-11-17 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Depends on what reform you're talking about

I'm not sure I understand you.  Presumably, all political activity is driven by people's wishes and needs.  Do you not belong to a political party?  And, yes, people's needs and wants change over time.  That is a simple fact of life.  Surely, that can't be the basis for rejecting anything?  (I can't love you because you may change.)  Like any movement, populism has its limitations.  Yes, sometimes it can be at odds with some of one's views, but no movement (except perhaps totalitarianism) will ever reflect your views completely.  (As a side note, I disagree that lower taxes are not progressive.  Progressive taxation, in my view, is based upon the burden being shared equally among all citizens.  Use and consumption taxes, for example, are not progressive.  A graduated tax scale is.)

Finally, you mention that this country is designed purposely not to allow progressive reform.  I believe you may have mentioned this point in another thread and I asked you to explicate.  What do you mean by this?  

by orestes 2009-11-17 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm not a big fan of populism

There is a difference between populism and socialism. I'm not a populist - I fear it and equate it to mob rule. In the US, I'm essentially a working class Democrat. I am really a Fabian Socialist but that's not a term used in the US. A gradualist reformist with a technocratic orientation. Reform comes from above, not from below.

The clearest way to look at populism is that it is a mass-based movement. It can be right wing like the Tea Parties or leftist like the Agrarian movements of the late 19th century. Mass-based movements can be co-opted by elites and it is clear that the Tea Parties are being co-opted by the Dick Armeys of the world. This is one reason I view populism with deep suspicion This often happens in populism. Peron co-opted the leftist populist movement in Argentina in the 1940s turned it into a rightwing dictatorship. Other populist movements stay true to their roots. Chávez in Venezuela which is now a leftwing authoritarian regime.

Populism never won power in the US because its political program was enacted by the two major parties. Jackson is probably the last (and only) President  who can even described as a populist. So it is hard to say what might have been had say James Weaver won the 1892 election. But elsewhere in the world, populism has lead to one thing - dictatorship.

I think you are confusing populism as an ideology with popular appeal. FDR had popular appeal but he wasn't a populist.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm not a big fan of populism

Populism can be used to achieve good and bad. So far it has been used to achieve some questionable things in recent years(need to get back at the terrorists exploited to sell idiotic wars). There is also a populist aversion to higher taxes. There is also a populist aversion to handouts because Republicans are able to sell it well as a case where only lazy good for nothing losers need it.

But there is also a populist streak about everyone earning their fair share. While it may gibe with the libertarian concept encouraging the powerful to amass as much as they can as long as it is honest, it also gibes with the sentiment to improve checks and balances on the same high earning execs. A good politician will be able to tap into that populist vibe to sell a good policy framed in a populist manner.

by Pravin 2009-11-17 12:05PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm not a big fan of populism

I think of populism as a social movement, not as an appeal.  Populism fueled the union movement, women's rights movement, civil rights movement, etc.  Populism, in my view, is a congregation of people with shared views on issues of great social import who band together to use their numbers to effectuate that change.  And I believe it is a very important force for social change.  (I am personally of the view that change really only occurs under threat of violence.  No one relinquishes power willingly.)  I agree that populism has never taken a hold long enough in the US, but I think we may be reaching that point.  Neither of the political parties appear to be interested in addressing the issues that plague the working/middle class.  I also agree that the concern with populism is that it can lead to mob rule, but you have to take your chances.

by orestes 2009-11-17 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

Matthew Continetti of the Weekly Standard? Wow. I know he has a new book on Palin out and he's a fan of hers. Still hard to conceive of him as having populist convictions. I'm gonna have to check out his writings more.

Jay Cost had a great piece on the Obama vs. (Bill) Clinton (which Hillary effectively replicated) electoral coalitions last week on RCP.

Can the Clinton Coalition Survive Obama?

George W. Bush's presidency, in turn, was an upper-middle class suburbanite's nightmare. An aggressive social agenda, a fiscal trainwreck, two poorly-managed wars and a financial collapse later, these suburban voters trended even more heavily Democratic then they were in the Clinton era.  By 2008, Democrats held most of the suburban districts around major metropolitan areas, and were threatening in the exurbs. The right Democratic candidate probably could have put together a massive 2008 Presidential majority, combining minorities, liberals, Jacksonians, Catholics, and suburbanites. The mood of the country was certainly right for a 1920/1932/1952/1980 result.

But the Democrats nominated Barack Obama. The party's grip among Jacksonians had weakened since Clinton left the stage, but they abandoned Obama completely. Jay Cost and I have detailed this here. This movement is why Obama received 53% of the vote, instead of the 60% or so we might expect given the voters' attitude toward Bush's Presidency.

Obama was able to win even without this branch of the Democratic party because he generated such intensity among the remaining portions of his base. In other words, while his base wasn't as broad as Clinton's, it was deeper. Faced with vanishing 401ks and home values, and disgust with Bush's presidency, suburbanites flocked to him. Liberals were enthralled to finally elect one of their own. And minorities turned out heavily for the opportunity to elect the first black President.

Why did Obama only get 53% of the popular vote? It's a question that I can't answer without resorting to a racial explanation. Despite all this aura around him, he doesn't appeal to the Jacksonian wing of the Democratic party. Obama is the first Democrat to win the White House and lose West Virginia since 1916 . The counter-argument runs that he adds states like Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia. I'm not confident he will win VA, NC the next time out. His electoral coalition of blacks, the liberal portion of the upper middle class and the under 30 crowd to me doesn't seem sustainable.

If you look at 2008 vote by income, what pops out is that Ohio, Florida, Indiana and North Carolina voted for McCain in the critical $40,000 to $75,000 income bracket that holds most of the US population. Those states combined are 73 electoral votes. Obama would have still won the Electoral College but by a 292 to 246 margin.

And I agree with you, the Administration has largely wasted its first year because I continue to ask: Where's the vision? Where do you want to take the country? To me it seems that they are treating a cancer patient with band-aids.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

I read that piece. My biggest problem with it was that they saw Obama's 53% as not the landslide that it was-- biggest since '84. I don't buy that Clinton would have won bigger than what Obama did. Maybe, but not likely.

I also don't believe, like a lot of folks here do, that Obama has it easy-going in '12. First off, there's some EV shifts to take into account; and yea, IN, OH, not with these economic condidtions; NC, VA, yep, replicating the turnout will be difficult. FL is probably the must-hold (along with the SW) for the re-elect.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-17 10:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

My feel is that Clinton would have won more than 55% of the popular vote and thus it would have met the technical definition of a landslide, a ten point margin.

The mix of states would have likely been different. Clinton wouldn't have won IN, VA or NC but she would have carried AR, WV, MO and perhaps a TN.

I just read the Continetti piece. I'm not an advocate of populism. I fear it. I equate it with mob rule. In September, I met with a few Latin American journalists who were touring the US on a State Department tour. One of them was a friend of mine and he invited me to a lunch. We had a great conversation on populism in Latin America - the Chávez, Correa, Morales phenomenon. I noted then that populism historically had both right and left currents but that over the past 30 years in response to neo-liberal free market ideology, populism in Latin America had taken a leftist turn. I also added that in the US, the opposite was true. Populism had taken a right wing bent -Buchanan, Huckabee and now Palin. Well what do those three have in common? It's not economics because the first two are trade skeptics and I'm not sure that Palin understands the fundamentals of economics. She seems like a Reagan parrot. What those three have in common is a cultural bent based on religion. In the US, populism and a cultural  conservatism seem to be married at the hip.  

Also Nate Silver has a post on why Palin will run. Haven't read it yet, tho'.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 10:44AM | 0 recs
no way she would've won 55% +

she would have had to get out all of Obama's coalition, all of his Indys and Republicans plus whoever was on her side to even come close to that number and that wouldn't have happen.

Personally, I know far more people who voted for Obama who would've stayed home for her than I do for those who would've voted for her and didn't Obama and I live in her home state in a district she won 71% of the vote in during the primaries.

by ND22 2009-11-17 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: no way she would've won 55% +

She would have won that Jacksonian wing that you seem to think is dead.

She had a FDR-LBJ coalition going. Turnout might have been lower because I suspect fewer African-Americans would have turned out but again is the popular vote is measured as a percentage of those who turn out to vote.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 10:55AM | 0 recs
But they turned out for Obama

whoever was left of the Jacksonian wing, they voted for Obama, only a small percentage of them didn't. Obama only lost 10% of Democrats...only Clinton in 1996 did better.

The reason why Obama didn't hit 60% of the vote is because there were millions who disapproved of Bush but still voted for McCain, for whatever reason.

by ND22 2009-11-17 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: But they turned out for Obama

Your earlier comment had one thing right. The GOP has increasingly captured the Jacksonian wing of the Democratic party.

They voted for McCain in greater numbers. Hence he won WV. Clinton would have carried WV.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 11:38AM | 0 recs
WV is lost in the long run anyway

by ND22 2009-11-17 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: WV is lost in the long run anyway

It's not if the Democratic Party returns to its roots .

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: no way she would've won 55% +

I think you overestimate her ability. I think Obama won the most of  what any Democrat was going to win last year.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: no way she would've won 55% +

Sorry. Race was a factor. Too many Americans will never vote for Obama because he is black. He won on an increased turnout of AAs, that's true. And he energized the under 30 segment.

But you measure popular vote percentage based on the number of people who actually turn out. Clinton would have had a lower turnout but would have won a greater percentage of those who did turn out.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 11:42AM | 0 recs
Well if we lost votes because of racism

I say we're better off not having those people in the party.

What you're saying is Obama didn't get higher numbers because non-progressive Democrats didn't vote for him.


by ND22 2009-11-17 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Well if we lost votes because of racism

No. I disagree.

They are not progressives on social issues but these are folks ripe for issues like EFCA.  I put more emphasis on economic issues. Gay marriage for me isn't a priority. Ultimately, it is a state by state issue. However economic issues are national in character. So I want these people in my big tent party.

It is important to note that the US political system encourages party flexibility in building a wide electoral coalition. There is an ideological dissonance in this but given our first past the post plurality multi-district electoral system, there is really no choice. You have to win 218 very different electoral districts to form a majority in the House. You can only do that with a catch-all party.

Progressives will never a majority of Democrats in our lifetime. Accept that and move to build a more durable electoral coalition that will allow some of our better ideas to float to the top.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 12:09PM | 0 recs
She couldn't find her way out of the primary

And at times, it seems like she couldn't politically find her way out of a paper bag, until it was too late.

We can hypothesize all we want about how much Hillary would have won. It is a worthy mental exercise, although I feel it tends to open up old primary wounds.

But she didn't win.

Personally, I'm more interested in bringing young and minorities to the party than the old. These are your fastest growing portions of the population.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-17 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: She couldn't find her way out of the primary

The GOP isn't going to appeal to minorities. Even Rubio down in Florida is trailing Crist among Hispanics.

The young are fickle to begin with. They didn't turn out in Virginia for Deeds so it is possible that Obama won them but he didn't convert them. And he disappoints them, he can turn them off forever.

Last night doing my research on Mitch Daniels, I was surprised to learn that in Indiana he won the under 24 vote by 38 points.

While more people voted in 2008  than in 2004, no one age group turned out at a much higher rate than they had done so in the past.

The purported "surge" of younger voters did happen, but it occurred at the same time as the number of voters of other ages also increased. In short, proportionally in terms of demographics things remained the same.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 12:20PM | 0 recs
The Jacksonian wing of the party is dead

They've either all become Republicans, died off, or are about to.

by ND22 2009-11-17 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: The Jacksonian wing of the party is dead

I agree with this, the Jacksonians voted heavily for GW Bush and Reagan. The only reason Clinton (Bill) won Jacksonian territories is because Perot split the vote.

Obamas winning coalition is a lot like Kennedy's coalition - Liberals, minorities and the young.

by vecky 2009-11-17 11:06AM | 0 recs
The last two of which

Are growing. Party ID can last a lifetime.

I'm often left wondering if there will be anyone left to vote republican?

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-17 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: The last two of which

The statistical evidence is not there for that. The youth vote did increase but so did every other segment so in portion the age breakdown was not much different from 2004.

Minorities however did increase as a share of the vote. I'd put more weight on attracting and keeping minorities than investing in the young.

The young were attracted to Obama, not sure if that has yet translated into a permanent Democratic advantage. I hope so but they didn't turnout in Virginia.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: The Jacksonian wing of the party is dead

The Jacksonian are still there. It's that we are not appealing to them.

Think in terms of  dislocation. In the US we are seeing both social and economic dislocation. This Tea Party set see their way of life under threat. You can't discount their feelings. They are real. They wholly misjudge the causes of their discontent but that's another story. You look at these people and you ask well what's driving them. Part of it is social. They are Christians, increasingly evangelical, and they are opposed to a slew of liberal policies on abortion, gay marriage, school prayer. But they are also facing economic dislocation because their manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas. In both realms, they have a profoundly anti-statist views. They mistrust government. And the GOP plays on their fears even though it was GOP policies that caused their economic dislocation. But when you have a Democratic Party that isn't true anymore to its working class roots and is bailing out Wall Street banks then that too gives credence to their fears.

We can win them back on economic issues by being true to our roots as being a working class party that built the middle class. The social divide won't go away but it can be minimized if we return to being the party of FDR and not Reagan-lite.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

Populists are all about fighting for what's good for the people... problem is, they're not always right in their assessment about what that is... the question here is not did the bankers do well for themselves, the question is how intertwined are Main Street and Wall Street. Maybe the Wall bailout WAS the Main bailout. That's certainly true of the auto industry, given how much of their geographic region's population they employ...

The bailouts will still sting Obama and the Democrats in '10, but between the jobs bill Hoyer wants on the floor this year, new financial regulations in the winter, and several years to turn things around and use new rhetoric, this could all be a thing of the past by 2012 - a slow start rather than an image problem.

by Nathan Empsall 2009-11-17 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

The Wall Street bailout had very little to do with main street. Credit did not return to main street businesses, and, in fact, what has happened is that the money was hoarded to make the banks appear to be solvent during the so called stress tests rather than address the freeze.

You also conflate what happened with the auto industry with the banks. Those were unrelated, and the treatment , if you look at the unions for example, was completely different. The banks had no strings attacked, and the auto industry were required to go into bankruptcy. The later move I agreed with. The former I did not.

It was not spending money as you imply that burned President Obama, and more importantly, the party. It was his choice of focus. I am at lost to understand your views at all.

What  if Obama had come into office and announced a FDR style policy of regulating the banks and promising Americans that what just happened would never happen again, that he understand their anger and feels same- so his policies will reflect their feelings and their lives?

What if he had focused on returning credit to main street rather than to wall street? For example, sending the bad banks into receivership, and selling off the profitable assets for new, healthy public-private banks that were heavily regulated and heavily focused on American financing.

What if he had said, I am going to push through an industrial policy that may take years to fully implement, but at the end you will have jobs for Americans. I will rethink trade agreements to protect your interest. I will fully fight for a public option even if it means veto. Etc.

What if he were to focus on wage inequality and stagnation with policy with teeth?

The implication that President Obama is a victim of his circumstances beyond his control seems like the common approach when one points out that he made these choices. They were his decision. He choose Geithner. He choose Rahm. The Democratic leadership in Congress choose lobby interest over main street interest. He could have acted differently. So could they.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

Most of the bank and AIG bailouts happened under TARP and under Bush. Since taking office Obama has spent very little TARP money on the banks - most of what was spent was for the autos and homeloan programs. The fund still has several hundred billion dollars in it.

Obama has focused on many of the things you say - regulation, new industrial policy, credit - but change doesn't come overnight. Health Care is running 3-4 months behind schedule, but that is not Oabams fault.

by vecky 2009-11-17 11:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

YOu can not be serious with this given the report that just came out regarding Geithner.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

Let me add: My advice is to read some of the financial and economic resources available out there rather than simply trusting that what a politician says is the case is actually the case.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

You are deflecting bruh's point.  The time to take a stand against the banks was when they had their hand out.  You can argue that the bailout was Bush's doing, but that will not stick with the American public.  The problem is that a Democratic president came in and tried to convince the American public that the banks had to be saved, but then did not apply any restrictions on them.  And the projected record bonuses this year for Wall Street are just going to drive that thought home.  

by orestes 2009-11-17 11:21AM | 0 recs
you have to believe

that letting the banks fail would have a positive effect on the middle class, which it clearly wouldn't have.

Then the populist message would have been "save the banks! please!"

by ND22 2009-11-17 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: you have to believe

Okay, you are  officially a bad faith actor. Setting up false choices is one of the clear signs.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:30AM | 0 recs

Do I get awarded a special medal or award or something that reads "Bruh proclaims you a bad faith actor"

whatever that means.

by ND22 2009-11-17 11:32AM | 0 recs

2 other posters pointed out you set up false choices. Why did you choose to only respond to my post? This is why I said there is some bad faith here. You set up false choices. I assume you are smart enough to know you are setting up false choices rather than assume that you do not realize that there were other options. Perhaps the problem is I give you too much credit.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: you have to believe

Why must I believe that letting banks fail would have a positive effect on the middle class?  I said nothing about saving the banks or letting them fail.  I mentioned the failure to reform the industry to ensure that our capital investment is used effectively and to ensure that this situation never occurs again.  I don't know where you're coming from, but it certainly has nothing to do with my comment.  

I would advise trying to think of these issues in more nuanced ways.  A complaint about how the banks were bailed out does not equate to a belief that they should not have been bailed out.  

by orestes 2009-11-17 11:56AM | 0 recs
You have setup a false choice...

the options, as you describe it, were to give the banks a lot of money, or to let them fail.

There was a 3rd option, which was government takeover of the banks, thereby wiping out the, then, existing bondholder and stockholders.  This is what the FDIC does to failing banks on most Fridays.  This was the only option that made any sense, even at the time.  This was the option loudly advocated by the likes of Krugman.

Except, this was quickly ruled out as an option.. for cultural reasons...by the POTUS himself.

by Ravi Verma 2009-11-17 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: You have setup a false choice...

"Except, this was quickly ruled out as an option.. for cultural reasons...by the POTUS himself."

Which sums up the reason why that option was not mentioned.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: You have setup a false choice...

Excellent point. I would have supported this route over either of the other choices had I seriously considered it had a chance of happening. Given the choice of 100% bailout of bad investments or 100% failure of bad investments, I'd choose the latter for economic sanity and for the future-- no matter how hard the initial crash would be it would recover more quickly in the long-run.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-17 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

I'm not conflating the banks with the auto industry, but modern "populists" do. To many, a bailout is a bailout, so for discussions of politics and elections, a little conflation makes sense, until we can change that perception.

by Nathan Empsall 2009-11-17 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

Your description misses the point. What they conflate is that the action is not done for the American worker interest because they rarely feel the positive impact of policies. They are the ones asked to sacrifice.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

For example- under the bailout with auto industry- the first instinct was to tell the unions to eat cake by the administration. People are not as stupid as you think. WHen they see that they are being told to eat cake while Wall Street are treated like kings- they ask why the difference of treatment? They also notice that their economic ability is in decline. They may not precisely put their finger on it. They may not be able to say it is a result of this or that policy but they can feel the outcome of the policy even if they are not able to economically describe it like someone versed in economic analysis can. For example, they can tell their wages are stagnant because their ability to keep up is declining.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

I was unaware that I thought people were stupid. Thanks for letting me know, though.

"they can feel the outcome of the policy"

How do they - or you - know that things wouldn't be even worse without the policy?

by Nathan Empsall 2009-11-17 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

a) They may not know whether a particular policy is good or not, but they can feel from their own quality of life what is happening with existing policies.

We know- even if they do not- what those policies are and how they impact their lives. This is just the reality of expertise. People are not all trained at the same levels to have a sophisticated view, but they can still have a view that is accurate even if they do not have the ability to discern why.

They do not need to know the specifics of the policies. The part where you treat them as stupid is where you look down on them for not knowing the specifics of policies.

BUt in my view, when they are given two choices both of which are based on neoliberalism, it is not surprising that they have no outcomes that tell them why they should choose Brand X over Brand Y.

I view populism as merely the emotional response to bad policies that one can not quite put one's finger on. That's why there can be a right wing populism.

People don't know what is causing their rage over their economic plight, and thus, it allows for either side to define it. It is our fault that we have not defined it in a left ward manner rather than theirs for not being economic experts.  Or, more precisely it is the fault of President Obama and the Democratic leadership. Politics is about define or be defined.

c) I happen to have enough background to be able to discern what those issues are, but also I listen to experts on the subject who are not the architects of the prior failed economic approach like Geithner.  When you say "how can we know" it requires viewing the world from a tableau rasa perspective in which we know nothing of the actors, the policies, etc.

So, even if the economic populist can not tell you why their quality of life is in decline, they can tell you that policies currently being created are not making their lives better. It is up to you to provide definitions, policies, emotional incentives for people to support you.

c) finally we know that things would not be worse because we have other world examples of economic strategies just to name one example, but again, even if I can not "prove it" as you would want me to. I should not have to. You don't leave the guy who just nearly killed the patient in charge of the operation. So, in that context, your statement to me is just deflection since Geithner and Summers are indeed the doctors who just nearly killed the patient.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

One of the issues was that President Obama identifies more with the economic elites than with those who are economically suffering.

In learning his biographical background, many identified with his upbringing and community work thinking that it meant he was one of them. But, to me, what was clear from listening to a documentary done at the time on him about his time at Harvard, etc, was that he met the elite and felt "they are nice people and not at all monsters."

He only learned to use the language economic populism, much less the policies, of economic populism when the race was close last year between him and McCain. In his heart, he was like Clinton I, a centrist, but in new clothing. This is why I refer to him as Clinton II.

People were fooled by the new clothing. So, yes, we have lost economic populism unless the Democrats get off their butts, bu this is not a surprise because centrism is not about what the public wants. It is about what DC wants.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

Yea, he does. It's telling that he has JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon out there with his talking points. I think it was pretty easy to look at his Senate voting record and come to the same conclusion... but I don't like to takeaway from the masterful manipulation done by his campaign to remake his persona. I saw through it completely when I started looking at the "message" of his campaign, which all sounded just too perfect to be true.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-17 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

If we're talking politics, as opposed to policy, I think we tend to seriously overestimate the power of populism.  First of alll, it's often very phony, and people see through that stuff more often than you'd like.  Second, don't forget that William Jennings Bryan lost.  Three times.

Sure, the Republicans are having a grand old time pretending like Democrats are now the party of big business and Republicans are just plain regular folks.  But you might notice that the GOP hasn't improved its favorable ratings one iota as a result of this populist branding.  They haven't abandoned a sliver of their pro-corporate philosophy, as you can see every time someone brings up the idea of new taxes or regulations on business.

And more to the point, Republicans will never be able to put forward solutions that match their message as long as they remain nothing but corporatists in populist clothing.  The fact that they're in the opposition makes it easy for them to cast stones; they get to criticize something like the bank bailout for free without the country ever getting to see how things would work out if we didn't have bailouts.  But the lack of anything positive to say will hamper them, and I think it's already reflected in the fact that they can't seem to improve their numbers.  The thing about populist rage is that it's simply not constructive.

The core problem for the Democrats is policy, not just message.  They've been predictably timid, they've tinkered around the edges and stuck to standard trickle-down neoliberal solutions, and the economy continues to suffer as a result.  The Democrats absolutely need policy solutions that make a difference to the little guy and are framed in a way that he can understand, the way FDR did with the New Deal.  But it's a mistake to focus on the populism as if message itself is what's lacking.  At the end of the day, if the country functions properly on your watch then people will reward you for it.

by Steve M 2009-11-17 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

I agree with most of what you say.  However, although populist rage may not be constructive, it is certainly frightening to the powers that be.  It reminds them of their vulnerability (at every level).  And in that sense it serves a very useful purpose.  Of course, the concern is that it could get out of control.  But some pitchforks in numbers might just get us some of the reform we want.  I'm certainly not opposed to trying.  

by orestes 2009-11-17 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

WJB didn't have the internet. In fact, he was outspent something on the order of 100:1 on media by McKinley & the Republicans iirc.

But yea, I agree that Republicans are not well positioned at all to take advantage of the situation, and its a lot of phony populism. But I think they will get a lot more money than we thought they could, look at Joe Wilson for example.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-17 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

There is even talk now that some of the TARP money will be used to paydown the deficit. That's smart because people are worried about the deficit over boosting the economy by a 2:1 margin according to recent Peter Hart polling.

Rahm Emanual is reading the '09 tea-leaves, and now says that "reducing America's long- term federal budget deficits is now is foremost on his mind and the mind of the economic team". This midnight conversion of Hoover/McCain thought can't be taken seriously.

In my view, it's neither smart politics nor anti-elitist populism to prioritize deficit reduction over job creation.

Elite propaganda has convinced the broad public that the best response to economic bad times is to balance the budget. But this slows growth, weakens labor markets, and benefits elites at the expense of the people at large.

Despite what they say, people don't vote based on the budget deficit. They don't track it, and their notions about its level aren't fact-based.

Their experience of the economy is mediated by the labor market -- their own situation in it, and that of family and friends; that's what drives whether and how they'll cast their ballots.

You've spoken in the past about Perotism as an expression of populism, which also emphasized deficit reduction in the midst of recession.

This focus on the deficit strikes me as a contradictory and problematic element of populist politics. Given the Hooveristic real-world effects of deficit hawkery, and the relative costs and benefits accruing to elites and to the broader people, it's hard to imagine a populist movement worthy of the name that would support such a policy.

Put another way, doesn't the obsession with balanced budgets give rise to tight-money policies of the kind Bryan decried in the Cross of Gold speech?

by social democrat 2009-11-17 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

Yea, it does, to answer your last question. Bryan wanted more credit, which was the whole idea of monetizing silver. I think the economic populism that reflected in the the polling results about the deficit priority, especially over the economy is something new.

When I hear/read ordinary people talk about deficits, it often comes from a sense of their having to tighten their belt personally, and the frustration at seeing rising deficits from the gov't while they are doing so-- it mocks their sensibility. It also relates very much to the other Hart numbers I referred to in the post about who is getting the money. Deficit concern comes about during economic recessions and disappears.

The other possible factor at work with the deficit numbers is that they relate to a debt-factor reflective of their collective future. The staggering numbers lead to a sense that the nation is heading downward into debt, and a sense of doom.

I would categorize Perotism is an expression of economic populism; both in its organizing sense of random people meeting at Denny's to get involved politically together, and in its collective sense of feeling like the debt is taking something away from the nations future.

I don't necessarily agree that elite propaganda convincing goes one-way on deficit spending. Certainly, it was easy to predict that, when Democrats began focusing on healthcare reform, that deficit talk would begin on cue. But we rarely heard deficit obsession from the elites when it dealt with the matters of bailing out the banks or military spending earlier this year-- this is part of the phony conservative economic populism about deficits.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-17 12:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

This is great time for anecdotes. Simply put, the Washington insiders and their cheerleaders in the media tend to overlook the anger in the streets by pointing at elections in obscure counties as a validation of their administration. But the anger is real.

Just this weekend I went to Chapel Hill to visit some old friends. Chapel Hill is by all definitions a very liberal town, the home of Obama's NC campaign hq. This time around I met some of the same people who supported Obama from the primary. One of them is now channeling Peter Schiff and Ron Paul's populist message. He is mad that the administration is letting the big companies still operate on tax payer dollars when they should have failed (Citi, Goldman, AIG, BofA etc.), that the tax payer is getting no relief with interest hikes, property tax hikes and other taxes when the culprits are coasting away. I asked my friend if he still supports Obama? He replied that he is unsure of his support. When the democrats lose this constituency they will be in big big trouble and blaming Bush will not help them this time.

The job of president sometime is to step on a few toes, make some tough decisions but till now all the decisions that this administration has made has been with a eye towards securing corporate donors while passing on the burden of the economy to the hapless tax payer. Maybe this president will eke out a reelection but it will be due to a fragmented opposition rather than overwhelming support for his policies, which as of now is failing the man on the street.

by tarheel74 2009-11-17 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?

As a follow-up I have to add that the Neil Barofsky report is to Geithner what the 9/11 commission report was to Rumsfeld. End of the day one cannot help but wonder why does this man who bungled his job and hooked the tax payer for trillions of dollars still have a job? What would we as Democrats have done if this were the Bushies in power?

by tarheel74 2009-11-17 11:19AM | 0 recs
He did his job...

the point of the "bungling" was to give out lots of taxpayer dollars to the banks, and he achieved that.  

If you rule out wiping out bondholders and shareholders (which the POTUS did), then the only available option to rescue the bank is to give them lots of money (for free)... and that was the point.

by Ravi Verma 2009-11-17 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: He did his job...

Especially, since as you correctly point out above, receivership is something that the FDIC does on a regular basis, but they pretended it was some kind of culturally impossible act.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 12:24PM | 0 recs



Total Committed:
$488 billion

Total Actually Invested or Loaned:
$417 billion

TARP Back In


Total Returned:
$72 billion

Total Warrants:
$2.9 billion

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-17 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Trillions?

my guess: trillions regarding lost economic value, not merely the tax dollars, but economic activity.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 12:25PM | 0 recs
Lost from what?

From this economic collapse? Of course. But that's not what the OP is talking about. They are talking about the TARP program.

There's a fixed dollar amount of TARP loans. And it's not trillions.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-17 01:46PM | 0 recs
I think it was 3 trillions, in fact...

when you include the loan guarantees from the Feds, Treasury and FDIC!!

But then again, my memory is a bit hazy after the first trillion or two.

by Ravi Verma 2009-11-17 12:37PM | 0 recs
And it would probably need to be around 4T...i

if you want to make the banks healthy again.  Because that is how much value was wiped out!!

by Ravi Verma 2009-11-17 12:38PM | 0 recs
find the actual numbers

Until then, we're just making stuff up. As noted above, the OP is talking about TARP. And it's not trillions (or even half a trillion).

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-17 01:47PM | 0 recs

My memory may be hazy, but I do know how to read and right =)

From one of my favorite blogs
Here is a partial sampling:
Treasury Programs:

       TARP1 : $700B
        GSE Conservatorships: $400B
Fed Reserve Programs
        TAF: $900B
        TALF: $1000B
FDIC programs
        TLGP: $900B

You should see the entire list, of course.  The list adds upto $13T total max govt support.  $13T!

Coincidentally, that adds up to the US GDP (not a coincidence, I am sure).  Not all of the moneys were allocated, but they wanted to be able to spend that much just in case....  And most of it was not authorized by congress (such as the TLGP program out of the FDIC).

And as to the distinction between TARP and the other programs, the line is very fuzzy.  Congress authorized TARP.  But the moneys authorized by that legislation was also used to expand TLGP, for instance (TLGP was created back in Oct 2008 under Bush).

by Ravi Verma 2009-11-17 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: find the actual numbers

Yea, the whole thing. POMO too- which is just throwing our money down the drain.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-17 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Trillions?
Here's a good site for you to find some research:
by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-17 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Trillions?

So you are Tyler Durden fan?

He certainly has an irreverent take on things.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Trillions?

yea, have been since he was on blogspot, great site.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-11-17 05:38PM | 0 recs
Those numbers above are wrong?

Please point out where.

As noted above, I am no defender of TARP. But it is foolish to make billions into trillions. And it's even more foolish to lambast it without articulating the consequences from an alternative course of action.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-17 01:49PM | 0 recs

I see above where you did provide your hypothesis of the probable outcome from an alternative course of action.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-17 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Trillions?

I know it is not fashionable to question the administration in some circles but rather regurgitate the numbers being fed to us by Geithner and company but here is a link:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=2 0601087&sid=aY0tX8UysIaM

by tarheel74 2009-11-17 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Have the Democrats lost populism?
Obama is looking like a Jimmy Carter Clone. Sorry folks but even Prez Carter had more command of events that does Obama. Its seems that everything here is out of control and he is off touring another country. Does he know something that we don't? Let's review his progress to date:
1. Elected by campaigning on a platform of change-
RESULT: he then recruits a bunch of ex-Clinton greybeards to run the government from top to bottom. Didn't he have anyone in mind of his own?
2. When Obama campaigned in 2008 he continually reminds us that his support comes from "the little guy donating $5.00 to him". If you check this out you find that much of that is true but what happens to the "little guys" -- they are the first to get dumped by Obama....
RESULT:  The first groups he goes out to help are die-hard Republican constituents i.e. Bankers and Car Dealers & Auto Company executives--these guys NEVER EVER would vote for him come hell or high water. They really do hate him still after he saved their butts. They are pouring money into Congressional money to defeat any chance of regulation of financial markets.
3. Obama is one of the greatest campaigners but inept politician's that I have ever witnessed. Consider the HEALTHCARE REFORM fiasco that he is now embroiled in---it could very well doom any chance ever of having a Universal Healthcare System in the United States. That is totally Obama's fault.
RESULT: Why didn't Obama ask Hilliary for advice on the healthcare law--she is the most experienced person in the world to fight the Republicans on healthcare--she is smart enough to know how to beat them in 2009 after they beat her in 1994 on the issue. But now its totally screwed up. Obama is a very dumb politican --- a smart politican would have NEVER taken on an entrenched industry like the Healthcare Insurance companies who have millions to spend on members of Congress and lobbyists.
RESULT: Obama almost acts like he doesn't care if the healthcare bill fails now.
by hddun2008 2009-11-17 06:23PM | 0 recs


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