Metropolitik: Finance’s benefactors back their paymasters

Cory Booker, left, stood with President Obama at least as far back as 2009, when the two campaigned with Sen. Loretta Weinberg and former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine — another finance bigwig, having presided over Goldman Sachs and, more recently, bankrupted MF Global.

It can be hard to tell who’s winning the Bain Capital debate that’s been roiling political circles this week. Oh sure, diehard partisans will insist their message is getting across and that their opponents are flailing, but we certainly needn’t believe them. Yet there is a winner, and that winner is us.

It started on Sunday talk show “Meet the Press” when Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, criticized an ad put out by President Obama’s re-election campaign. Booker judged the attack ad — which contrasted Mitt Romney’s touted business experience with the lives destroyed in the wake of his company’s highly profitable machinations — as “nauseating,” explaining that it made him “very uncomfortable.”

The fallout began immediately. Republicans pounced on the quotes, while Booker quickly walked them back, clarifying — and then re-clarifying — that he in fact stands with Obama 100 percent.
But the damage — or rather, opportunity — had been done. With no haste, another pair of Democrats, former Tennessee pol Harold Ford Jr. and Obama’s former “auto czar” Steve Rattner, jumped aboard the Free Private Equity bandwagon, and Team Romney spun it all as an Obama attack on freedom.

Yet it’s not too difficult to suss out what is going on here. Ford is currently a managing director for Morgan Stanley. Rattner co-founded a private equity firm and worked for Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley and others. Booker is a sitting politician whose job is directly linked to the financial sector:?Bain and other similar firms contributed hundreds of thousands to his last election.

“I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” Booker said. No, he’s not, but not due to any strong moral convictions. Booker and his compatriots have a clear conflict of interest here; in Washington as elsewhere, you don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

But nor must we eat from the hand that bites us. (Pardon the strained metaphor.) The financial industry bankrolls the entire political complex, making it practically impossible to oversee. Any time the conversation gets shifted to the real levers of power, and the arms that pull them, is a moment when we can honestly discuss the problems before us.

Is Romney gaining the upper hand? Did Obama score points? Who knows? Let’s linger on this accidental peek into the smoke-filled room.

Follow Brayden Simms on Twitter @metropolitik



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe comes out as gay

In a sit-down with well-known British interviewer Sir Michael Parkinson set to air Sunday, Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe, 31, revealed he is gay after years…

International

iPhone is a security risk, says Chinese state…

Chinese state media branded Apple Inc's iPhone a threat to national security because of the smartphone's ability to track and time-stamp user locations. A report…

National

Tracy Morgan sues Wal-mart over deadly crash

Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan has sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in a New Jersey federal court, alleging the retailer was negligent in connection with the…

National

Tommy Ramone, last original member of punk pioneers…

Tommy Ramone, the drummer and last surviving original member of punk band the Ramones, whose aggressive and fast-driving songs spearheaded the punk-rock movement, has died…

Gossip

Mariah Carey unretouched photos show the power of…

Jezebel has the "before" pictures from Mariah Carey's Wonderland magazine photo shoot with Terry Richardson — who's no stranger to photo scandals. As Jezebel astutely…

Gossip

Facebook users upset Steven Spielberg killed a dinosaur

Some Facebook users were up in arms over a photo from the set of the 1993 film "Jurassic Park" showing director Steven Spielberg smiling in…

Music

Tommy Ramone, last original member of punk pioneers…

Tommy Ramone, the drummer and last surviving original member of punk band the Ramones, whose aggressive and fast-driving songs spearheaded the punk-rock movement, has died…

Gossip

PHOTOS: Topless Cara Delevingne advocates for 'Free the…

Supermodel Cara Delevingne is never one to shy away from the gaze of social media. Yesterday, she chose to advocate for the 'Free the Nipple' campaign via Instagram, where she…

NBA

GIF: LeBron James returns to Cleveland so deal…

To anyone out there who is upset about his decision, this .GIF is for you. Enjoy.

World Cup

A game of two popes: Vatican plays down…

By Philip PullellaVATICAN CITY (Reuters) - With Argentina meeting Germany in the World Cup final, the Vatican on Friday brushed aside talk of soccer rivalry…

NFL

Which Jets player has the best odds at…

Metro New York asked Bovada.LV to rank the top three contenders for the NFL MVP on the Jets.

World Cup

Argentina prevails in penalties, advances to final

The drama never seems to subside as the World Cup finally has its final two.

Wellbeing

Fart gas might prevent cancer

You might not like the smell, but fart gas might help prevent cancer.

Tech

Mesh sheds light on top 10 dating deal…

What are New Yorkers' top 10 dating deal breakers? Find out here.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Sexual headaches can be…

Sexual headaches: an under-discussed health issue Location: U.S. Results: If getting frisky brings on a headache, you’re not alone. Headaches associated with sexual activity represent a…

Food

Head to FiDi for free Chia Pods from…

They may have been last summer's darlings, but chia seeds have definitely not gone out of style. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, they…