Hillary’s financiers completely unfazed by her campaign trail populism

Hillary Clinton has been waxing populist lately. In the video that officially launched her campaign, she made clear that, “The deck is still staked in favor of those at the top,” and on Tuesday she said she’d support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and said that she “fully supports” President Obama’s proposal for free community college.

Her barnstorming trip in Iowa has been marked by olive branches to the left on economic inequality, which is likely to be a central theme in her campaign for the White House. On Tuesday, for instance, she put on her Elizabeth Warren hat to note that:

There’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the American worker … There’s something wrong when American workers keep getting more productive … but that productivity is not matched in their paychecks.

That sounds great. And if another Democrat had said the exact same thing (many have) I may not have any grains of salt to add. But as I noted yesterday, issue statements are only one dimension on which you can measure ideology. In Hillary Clinton’s case, it’s as if not more important to keep track of her fundraising, which over the course of her career has skewed heavily toward Wall Street.

POLITICO did just that, tracking down some of her longtime donors to ask them how they felt about Hillary Clinton’s seemingly hostile remarks.

They aren’t worried one bit. Here are some of the quotes from the article:

It’s “just politics,” said one major Democratic donor on Wall Street, explaining that some of her Wall Street supporters doubt she would push hard for closing the carried interest loophole as president, a policy she promoted when she last ran in 2008…

…“As a CEO and former Wall Street executive, I applaud Secretary Clinton’s remarks and I do not view them as populist nor far left,” said Robert Wolf, former CEO of UBS Americas and a major Democratic fundraiser who now runs his own firm.

…“She’s not saying that a hedge fund manager shouldn’t be making what they’re making. Just that someone in another job shouldn’t be making 300 times less.”

…“Basically this is a Rorschach test for how politically sophisticated people are,” said one Democrat at a top Wall Street firm. “If someone is upset by this it’s because they have no idea how populist the mood of the country still is…The fact is,” the Democrat added, “if she didn’t say this stuff now she would be open to massive attacks from the left, and would have to say even more dramatic stuff later.

To be fair, Wall Street has dealt with nominal populism from Clinton before. She talked a big game on economic inequality in her 2008 campaign, and has since come out in favor of Dodd-Frank. As Tom Nides, a vice chairman at Morgan Stanley, said, again quoted by POLITICO:

Hillary Clinton with Tim Geithner, via Creative Commons

Hillary Clinton with Tim Geithner, via Creative Commons

“She has a long history on these issues going back to 2008 and even earlier, from capital gains taxes to Dodd-Frank,” he said, referring to the bank regulation legislation. “This is not, ‘Oh my God she’s running to the left.’ This is basically who she has been. She has great relationships with people but that doesn’t mean she is always going to give those people what they want.”

Of course, during her 2008 bid she ruled out raising capital gains taxes to above 20 percent, and Dodd-Frank was written in such a way that what wasn’t carved out has been impossible to implement. This being the case, the claim that her positions on those issues constitutes not giving Wall Street what they want is arguable at best.

Hillary Clinton may be making a pitch to the left in order to try and stave off a primary challenge, but the unanimous shoulder shrug from her wealthiest donors is telling. They’re confident that once the campaign is over and the dust settles, Hillary Clinton will be their friend again.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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17 Responses to “Hillary’s financiers completely unfazed by her campaign trail populism”

  1. Bill_Perdue says:

    That’s a good description.

  2. ComradeRutherford says:

    We have the Inner Party (GOP) and the Outer Party (Dems)…

  3. Bill_Perdue says:

    They pretty much have all the rudiments of a police state in place, but they’re nowhere near the establishment of a fascist state or the creation of a mass fascist party.Yet.

  4. ComradeRutherford says:

    A long-time acquaintance once said, ‘the only real difference between the Dems and GOP is how soon to implement the fascist police state. The GOP wanted it done yesterday but the Dems want to wait to tomorrow.”

  5. ComradeRutherford says:

    “Hillary’s financiers completely unfazed by her campaign trail populism”

    Because, like all Fake Dems, their owners know they don’t mean it. They are lying to the Democratic Voting Base to get votes, and the second they win the election, they’ll go back to siding with the GOP ALL THE TIME.

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  9. 2karmanot says:

    “she made clear that, “The deck is still staked in favor of those at the top,”—-Oh, that Hillary, she’s so snarky and ironic.

  10. Bill_Perdue says:

    … Exactly

  11. Bill_Perdue says:

    Further proof, as if any was needed, that Democrats and Republicans alike are tools of the rich and the banksters.

  12. Naja pallida says:

    If you owned Congress you probably wouldn’t be very worried either.

  13. bluevistas says:

    sadly, Hillary Clinton probably is just mouthing populist rhetoric, like Obama did in his campaigns. If Wall Streeters and corporations aren’t worried, then we won’t see much change. Doubtful that she will confront her major contributors.

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  15. S1AMER says:

    Wishful thinking and bravado by Wall Street.

    On her own as President (i.e., with the GOP still running Congress), Clinton wouldn’t be able to do much more than Obama can do now, no matter how much she (or he) might want. But there’s no logical reason (i.e., something other than enmity) to think she’d try to do less.

  16. nicho says:

    OMG — people actually pay attention to the flatulence that comes out of a candidate’s mouth during a campaign. That’s so cute.

  17. Houndentenor says:

    I worked (usually briefly but not always) for quite a few Wall Street execs including a couple of CEOs. They aren’t all Republicans. If you’re thinking, “but don’t they all want the same lack of regulation and oversight for what they do?” you’d be pretty much correct but since Democrats don’t actually do much about anything that involves them they vote and donate based on the other issues they care about. Or more accurately, they’ve bought off the Democrats too. So of course they’re not worried. What int he last eight years would give them any cause for concern? Our government’s response to criminal activities that almost brought down our entire financial system? A few token gestures and a massive bailout. Now what they’re doing is even worse and they think they’re going to get another bailout. What they don’t get is that in the background of all the Tea Party bullshit is a great deal of anger about that very bailout to the extent that I don’t think either party is going to be able to do that again without most of Congress losing in their next primary. But the arrogance at that level (I say that based on first hand observation) is not to be underestimated.

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