Reprinted from National Memo
For those pining for a Democratic Party that tries to represent more than the whims of the rich and powerful, these are, to say the least, confusing times.
On the presidential campaign trail, Hillary Clinton has been promoting standard pro-middle class rhetoric, yet also has been raking in speaking fees from financial firms. One of her potential primary challengers, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, has been sounding anti-Wall Street themes, but only after finishing up two terms in office that saw his state plow more public pension money into Wall Street firms, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in financial fees.
Similarly, in Washington, the anti-Wall Street fervor of those such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren sometimes seems as if it is on the ascent -- that is, until big money comes calling.
Indeed, on the very same day Reuters reported on big banks threatening to withhold campaign contributions from Democratic coffers, Democratic lawmakers abruptly coalesced around Charles Schumer as their next U.S. Senate leader. CNN captured in a blaring headline how unflinching an ally the New York senator has been to the financial elite: "Wall Street welcomes expected Chuck Schumer promotion." Notably, Democrats appeared ready to promote Schumer over Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, who once dared to publicly complain that "banks frankly own" Capitol Hill.