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
National

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…

Local

G train riders brace for five-week shutdown

G train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Queens between Friday, July 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

International

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

Local

Family, supporters gather in Brooklyn for Eric Garner…

Family members gathered on Wednesday for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him.

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

Movies

Dakota Fanning's indie growing pains on 'Very Good…

Dakota Fanning on her latest "Very Good Girls."

Entertainment

Britney Spears launches new lingerie line and fans…

Women everywhere can say that they are not that innocent when Britney Spears launches her new lingerie and loungewear line. “Every woman should feel confident…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…