Once again, Doug Schoen — former senior advisor to Bill Clinton— has taken to the New York Times to scold Democrats for not being quite Republican enough for his liking.
I almost didn’t read “Why Democrats Need Wall Street.” Why waste the time reading the blithering nonsense of a hack like Schoen, who occasionally emerges from some time machine or swamp in a pathetic attempt to stay relevant? He takes a break from some corporate gig just long enough to urge a return to the halcyon days of the 1990s, when he and his partner, Mark Penn, moved the political center several giant steps to the right.
But I digress.
I’m glad I did read on. Because if I hadn’t, I would have missed some of the most preposterous political puffery I’ve seen since “Mission Accomplished.” And I’ll just say that in the age of Trump, that’s an exceptionally high bar.
Schoen’s principal argument is that Democrats should embrace Wall Street because that’s where the campaign cash comes from.
Are you fucking kidding me??
To be clear, this isn’t just a load of malarkey, as Joe Biden would say. It’s immoral and, if his position is that officeholders and candidates should promise more favorable legislation in return for contributions – which is actually what it sounded like he was saying – it’s illegal. Literally nobody thinks we need more money in politics. Except, it seems, Doug Schoen. I suppose somebody has to look out for the plight of the wealthy and powerful in this country. Poor things.
But he didn’t stop there! If you thought the “we need more money in politics” argument was bad, wait until you see what comes next.
“If voters really hated ties to Wall Street and financial elites,” the supposed Democratic “strategist” continued, “Republicans would not enjoy such a commanding electoral position — or have elected a New York plutocrat president.”
Exactly what was Doug smoking during the 2016 election cycle?
Disingenuous as it was, the Trump campaign blasted Wall Street at every turn. Trump adopted Bernie Sanders’ critiques of Hillary Clinton for her ties to the financial industry. He demanded to see the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs. While it’s true that Trump could have just asked anyone who ended up in his cabinet what she said—after all, they were probably in the audience—he scored points with voters by running against financial elites.
Doug also seems to have forgotten the 13.6 million Americans who voted for Bernie “Break up the Banks” Sanders in the presidential primaries.
A Harvard-Harris Poll from August showed Sanders to be the most popular politician in America, with a 54% approval rating. Now I’m not a highly paid pollster like Doug, but even I know 54% is a majority and there definitely is math on this exam.
Here’s what Doug wants us to believe:
A January Gallup poll found that moderates and conservatives make up almost 70 percent of the country, while only 25 percent of voters identify as liberal.
The Times was gracious enough to link to that poll, and what does it show?
Yes. 70% of the country does identify as either “conservative” or “moderate.” But the “moderate” group makes up nearly half of that number, so we could just as easily add that half to the 25 % who do identify as liberal. He could have said “59% of the country identify as liberal or moderate, showing a solid center-left majority. But he chose a different path. He also conveniently forgets to mention that, while conservatives and moderates are declining in number the number of people identifying as “liberal” has increased 50% since the Schoen/Clinton heyday.
If you want to win elections, you align yourself with the growing portion of the electorate, not the parts that have spent 25 years in steady decline.
“Here’s what the Democrats need to do,” says the man who by this point has spent 650 words (and several years) advising Democrats to abandon their principles.
I’m not going to repeat his whole plan here. It’s not worth the pixels. But let me sum it up like this: Doug thinks we should stop fighting for higher wages and better jobs and embrace the kinds of policies that led to the 2008 financial collapse.
In other words… as I suspected from the start, he thinks Democrats should just be… Republicans.
So respectfully, Doug, I’m going to reject your advice to deliver a warm, wet one to Wall Street and I’m going to urge my fellow Democrats to do the same. Instead, the Dems should take the wisdom from an old country music song, look Wall Street right in the eye and say: Get your tongue out of my mouth, I’m kissin’ you good bye.