While media gush and fawn over the Occupy Wall Street protests wondering how President Obama can take advantage of the sentiments being expressed, they're conveniently ignoring a crucial detail.
As MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said on Tuesday's Morning Joe, "He got more money from Wall Street than any candidate in the history of U.S. politics" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, CO-HOST: So front page of the New York Times, a profile of, picture of the different people down on Wall Street. “Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement spread their month old fight against corporate greed throughout the country. This as President Obama took Republicans to task saying their alternative jobs proposal would benefit the very people protesters are rallying against."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It turns out that the Republicans have a plan, too. I want to be fair. They call, they, they, they, they, they put forth this plan last week. They called it the “Real American Jobs Act.” Turns out the Republican plan boils down to a few basic ideas. They want to gut regulations, they want to let Wall Street do whatever it wants, they want to drill more, and they want to repeal healthcare reform. That, that’s their jobs plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRZEZINSKI: New data suggests most Americans…
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Wait, wait, wait. I’m sorry. I don’t talk a lot here.
BRZEZINSKI: But you said you didn’t want to say that.
SCARBOROUGH: I’ve gone after Republicans…
BRZEZINSKI: You said you weren’t going to say it.
SCARBOROUGH: I’ve gone after Republicans, and I also said Obama was clearly not as qualified as Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden to be president. So I’m going after both sides. But here, how could this president, Mark Halperin, say that, “Oh those Republicans, they are of Wall Street. And you Occupy Wall Street.” He brought in Wall Street to run his economic team. He brought in Larry Summers. He brought in people that were there at the fire. He brought in all the cows that kicked over the lanterns that burned the city down.
MARK HALPERIN, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, and he got a lot of campaign contributions from (unintelligible).
SCARBOROUGH: And he got more money from Wall Street – you’re right – than any candidate in the history of U.S. politics.
Let's begin with Summers who many in the media - and certainly the protesters on Wall Street - conveniently forget was instrumental in the passage of the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 - which removed the final Glass Steagall regulations on banks, securities firms, and insurance companies - as well as the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 - which deregulated financial derivatives at the very heart of the crisis.
Despite this, Obama made him his Director of the National Economic Council.
When one of the demands of the protesters is the return of Glass Steagall regulations, it seems preposterous for the president to claim a kinship with these folks when one of the men responsible for removing these regulations used to be the head of his economic team.
As for campaign contributions, Obama's second largest benefactor in 2008 was Goldman Sachs. Six and seven were JPMorgan and Citigroup. The various financial services industries donated a combined $30 million to his campaign. By contrast, John McCain received $21 million.
Wall Street's financial backing of Obama continues today. As the Washington Post reported in July:
About a third of the money his top fundraisers have brought in this year has come from the financial sector, suggesting that strained relations with Wall Street have not hurt the president’s ability to attract donations there for his reelection campaign, according to data released Friday by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The numbers represent a notable increase from 2008, when bundlers in the investment and banking arena accounted for about 20 percent of the total brought in by top fundraisers for Obama.
As such, it appears Obama's on track to break 2008's record concerning political contributions from Wall Street.
Maybe Obama-loving media members besides Scarborough and Halperin should report this hypocrisy as the president offers support to protesters railing against his largest benefactors.
Or would that be too much like journalism?