The most conspicuous example of this influence right now is the way Senate Democrats are dithering over whether to close the hedge fund tax loophole — which allows executives at private equity firms and hedge funds to pay a tax rate of only 15 percent on most of their income.
A handful of superwealthy hedge fund managers versus millions of middle-class Americans — it sounds like a no-brainer.
“Key votes have been delayed and time bought after the investment industry hired some of Washington’s most prominent lobbyists to influence lawmakers and spread largesse through campaign donations.” It goes on to describe how Harry Reid, the enate majority leader, was “toasted by industry lobbyists” (and serenaded by Barry Manilow) at a money-raising party for his special fund to help Democrats get elected next year.
One of the saddest stories I tell in my book is that of Al Smith, the great reformist governor of New York, who gradually turned into a narrow-minded economic conservative and bitter critic of F.D.R. H. L. Mencken explained it thusly: “His association with the rich has apparently wobbled him and changed him. He has become a golf player.”
So, how wobbled are today’s Democrats? I guess we’ll find out.
Memo for the golf playing Harry Reid with all the sweetheart land deals, the peasants it seems are rising from their self-imposed serfdom to wrest control away from those who are corrupted by power. - insert image of that peasant from Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail screaming about being oppressed. Krugman also talks about distrust in the Democratic base over Hillary Rodham Clinton and her motives.
A very troubling piece once you parse it that Democrats may want to heed. Of course the ones most agitated it seems are the ones to the left of Hillary Clinton and any move in that direction would probably alienate more centrist voters from going with Hillary in 2008. So Democrat candidates now find themselves in a quandary far more dangerous than Guiliani found dealing with Dobson's coalition, pander to the very doctrinaire true believer types who demand the Democrat running for office hew to their party line or moderate their tone for the centrist vote but lose what might be a key swing block of votes. Scylla and Charybdis come to mind.