The Scandal at the Heart of the Campaign

It is the existence of a ruling class, writes Thomas Frank:
They are the comfortable and well-educated mainstay of our modern Democratic party. They are also the grandees of our national media; the architects of our software; the designers of our streets; the high officials of our banking system; the authors of just about every plan to fix social security or fine-tune the Middle East with precision droning. They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves....

In one now-famous email chain, for example, the reader can watch current US trade representative Michael Froman, writing from a Citibank email address in 2008, appear to name President Obama’s cabinet even before the great hope-and-change election was decided (incidentally, an important clue to understanding why that greatest of zombie banks was never put out of its misery)....

Then there is the apparent nepotism, the dozens if not hundreds of mundane emails in which petitioners for this or that plum Washington job or high-profile academic appointment politely appeal to Podesta – the ward-heeler of the meritocratic elite – for a solicitous word whispered in the ear of a powerful crony.

This genre of Podesta email, in which people try to arrange jobs for themselves or their kids, points us toward the most fundamental thing we know about the people at the top of this class: their loyalty to one another and the way it overrides everything else. Of course Hillary Clinton staffed her state department with investment bankers and then did speaking engagements for investment banks as soon as she was done at the state department. Of course she appears to think that any kind of bank reform should “come from the industry itself”. And of course no elite bankers were ever prosecuted by the Obama administration. Read these emails and you understand, with a start, that the people at the top tier of American life all know each other. They are all engaged in promoting one another’s careers, constantly.
Emphasis added.


Gringo said...

John Podesta and his brother Tony- the gift that inadvertently keeps on giving. Panama Papers Reveal Clinton’s Kremlin Connection:John and Tony Podesta aren’t fooling anyone.
Almost lost among the many revelations is the fact that Russia’s biggest bank uses The Podesta Group as its lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Though hardly a household name, this firm is well known inside the Beltway, not least because its CEO is Tony Podesta, one of the best-connected Democratic machers in the country. He founded the firm in 1998 with his brother John, formerly chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, then counselor to President Barack Obama, Mr. Podesta is the very definition of a Democratic insider. Outsiders engage the Podestas and their well-connected lobbying firm to improve their image and get access to Democratic bigwigs.

Which is exactly what Sberbank, Russia’s biggest financial institution, did this spring. As reported at the end of March, the Podesta Group registered with the U.S. Government as a lobbyist for Sberbank, as required by law, naming three Podesta Group staffers: Tony Podesta plus Stephen Rademaker and David Adams, the last two former assistant secretaries of state. It should be noted that Tony Podesta is a big-money bundler for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign while his brother John is the chairman of that campaign, the chief architect of her plans to take the White House this November.

So much for Trump being a Russian pawn.

You may have already covered this.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

The WASP elite who once ruled us had a tradition of noblesse oblige that seems to be missing from this group. It is all grasping and getting.

Perhaps I am romanticisng the few.

David Foster said...

The problem is not the existence of elites, which must and will exist in any society. The problem is runaway educational credentialism, which attempt to create a single ladder of success, spanning all fields of life, with access tightly controlled by a small number of institutions.

Way back in 1969, Peter Drucker (Austrian, lived in Germany before moving to the US), asserted that the distinction between "schools for leaders" and "schools for followers" was holding Europe back severely, and recommended that the US not go down the same path--indeed, he did not think American would ever accept Harvard Law School as an Ecole Grand, with important positions reserved for its graduates. But today we have gone a considerable distance down that road.

Ymar Sakar said...

So much for Trump being a Russian pawn.

It means the Russians are more competent than people think they are. Which means, don't underestimate how they like to play both sides against the other.

Ymar Sakar said...

Then again, Trum was a big donor to Demoncratic Senators, so accessing him wouldn't have been hard for Russians that already leveraged the party of 70 yo Demoncrat New Yorker Trum.

If I could expend a few assets to ensure both sides of the game was rigged so I would win no matter which party was in power, that would appear like a sure fire bet.