July 28, 2016

Tales From The Wells Fargo Luxury Suites: “This Is The Bank”

There are two conventions going on right now in Philadelphia. In one, the uncouth masses scream, protest, and burn their flags. While the other features lobbyists, executives, and bankers sipping cocktails at the “vaulted marble bar of the Ritz-Carlton.” Now that the Clinton restoration has been completed, the “moneyed elites” of the Democratic Party are back in charge, “undeterred and mostly unabashed.”

As the New York Times chronicled today, Sanders’ demise has meant that Clinton and her big money supporters can now shed their “hypersensitivity” to his anti-money views:

“For many Clinton donors, particularly those from the financial sector, the convention is a time to shed what one called the ‘hypersensitivity’ that had previously surrounded their appearance at Mrs. Clinton’s fund-raisers or at her political events, during a period when Mr. Sanders repeatedly attacked Mrs. Clinton’s connections to Wall Street and her six-figure speaking fees from financial institutions.”

The loosening of any concern about the optics of massive fundraisers has also been coupled with lack of concern for any and all lobbyists connections. The result is that the “green flag” is flying high over Clinton’s convention:

“The Philadelphia convention offered other symbolic contrasts to the party’s last two gatherings, when President Obama sought, with mixed success, to restrict his party from raising money to pay for the conventions from lobbyists or political action funds. Those shackles were thrown off this year, waving a green flag to Washington’s influence industry. Lobbyists and corporate representatives flooded the city, where much of the Democratic Party’s elite — and potential senior members of a future presidential administration — had gathered.”

One perk for the high-rolling influence seeker in Philadelphia, is that with this many Democrats in one place, the convention has also been a convenient way for them to audition for future government jobs:

“Blackstone, the private equity giant, scheduled a reception at the Barnes Foundation on Thursday with its president, Hamilton E. James, one of the leading Wall Street contenders for an economic policy post in a future Clinton administration.”

If a job in the Clinton White House is not your aim, others have debated the advantages of various ambassadorial posts they hope to procure with the money they’ll raise for Clinton’s campaign:

“Inside, two stocky men could be heard debating the merits of the different ambassadorships they hoped to earn under Mrs. Clinton. Even a low-ranking posting meant having ‘ambassador’ on a child’s wedding invitation, the two agreed, and would be helpful in wrangling invitations to sit on corporate boards.”

Yet there is a downside to this unrestrained display of greed. This orgy of influence must have left an impact on the Sanders protesters who have spent four days watching it from behind a chain-link fence. Clinton might have co-opted Sanders himself, but with the garish scene in Philadelphia, Clinton has made her contempt for their concerns plain as day.