And While the Rest of the World Pursues Austerity Measures

You have this:

Leverage is back on Wall Street — and this time it’s the bankers who have it.

Firms are adding jobs for the first time in two years, rebuilding businesses cut during the financial crisis and offering guaranteed payouts to lure top bankers. In New York, 6,800 financial-industry positions were added from the end of February through May, the largest three-month increase since 2008, according to the New York State Department of Labor.

Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. are among banks that are hiring to replenish their ranks, while Nomura Holdings Inc. and Jefferies Group Inc. have been recruiting talent from larger firms in a bid to increase their standing on Wall Street.

I think it is time to break out the foam fingers again, everyone! USA! USA!

And while everyone else is in the poor house, and the banksters are writing themselves fat checks, I think it is time to revisit this gem:

We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money. Whether it’s a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn’t matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. I didn’t hear America complaining when the market was roaring to 14,000 and everyone’s 401k doubled every 3 years. Just like gambling, its not a problem until you lose. I’ve never heard of anyone going to Gamblers Anonymous because they won too much in Vegas.

Well now the market crapped out, & even though it has come back somewhat, the government and the average Joes are still looking for a scapegoat. God knows there has to be one for everything. Well, here we are.

Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you’re only going to hurt yourselves. What’s going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We’re going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that.

For years teachers and other unionized labor have had us fooled. We were too busy working to notice. Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching 3rd graders and doing landscaping? We’re going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a year and whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America. Say goodbye to your overtime and double time and a half. I’ll be hitting grounders to the high school baseball team for $5k extra a summer, thank you very much.

What exactly do we have to do to make these assholes go Galt?

The added irony in all this is that financial regulation will now probably die with Robert Byrd, with an assist from Russ Feingold, who has a sad. Because the next financial regulation bill, after Democrats lose a bunch of seats in the House and Senate because the blue dogs have torpedoed all job growth bills and the public is sick of Democratic dithering, well, that will be so much more progressive.

84 replies
  1. 1
    middlewest says:

    Leverage is back on Wall Street

    Oh, boy, this sounds like it’ll be a good episode, maybe they’ll bust some bank- Oh, wait.

  2. 2
    Staging a Comeback says:

    I can’t imagine, when push comes to shove, that Russ Feingold will actually be the guy to drive his party’s car off a cliff on this one. I smell a Bart Stupak change of heart coming up.

    As for these hubristic, unrepentant assholes, all I can do is be really, really glad I am not one of them. My life has (obviously) never been tied up in the pursuit of wealth at the expense of else. Like Marge Gunderson said…there’s more to life than a little money, you know.

  3. 3
    kay says:

    The quotes are really funny.
    I, for one, am so glad investment bankers don’t have to put up with flying economy or staying at ‘cheaper properties’.
    Thank God that’s over.
    You know those oral histories that were taken after the Great Depression? We need someone to record the incredible sacrifices of these brave men and women, so we never forget.

    “Employee power is back,” Whiteing said. “Certainly in investment banking we’re in a situation where it’s an employees’ market. Making them stay at cheaper properties, fly economy when they could go business, is not going to wash. They’re just going to leave us and go to another institution”

  4. 4
    Royce says:

    Cole: “…with an assist from Russ Feingold, who has a sad.”

    Glad you managed to punch a hippie there, Mr. Cole! It would be awfully disorienting if you somehow kept the clue you keep catching, but you fumbled it nicely in the endzone.

  5. 5

    Feingold voted against the last jobs bill the Senate took up too. Sounds perfect for primarying Obama from the left.

  6. 6
    WereBear says:

    @kay: When all you have is a money clip, the whole world looks like a mall.

  7. 7
    kay says:

    Honestly, I just think Feingold’s taking a higher profile because he’s in an election. Biden was in Wisconsin campaigning for him. Feingold has to run up huge margins in certain areas to win in Wisconsin.
    I like him a lot, I almost always agree with him, but he’s not above politicking- none of them are. It’s an opportunity to remind people he’s an “outsider”.

  8. 8


    Feingold’s a douchebag. I appreciate what he’s done on civil rights, but other than that he’s a self-serving preener

  9. 9
    kay says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    I just think he’s a politician, Brien. It isn’t always about “principle”, even if you’re Russ Feingold.
    All of the incumbents are going to run as “Washington outsiders” because they (apparently) lack the ability to defend or promote their own work.
    If Republicans had passed health care, they’d be portraying it as the best thing that ever happened. Democrats have to add 15 qualifiers to every endorsement, and apologize.

  10. 10


    Well call it what you want, but in the last month Feingold has taken a neo-Hooverite vote and now he’s voting with the banks. Because…ponies.

  11. 11
    El Cid says:

    Who gives a shit that this is like that pre-WW1 period when empires were on a path to a world war, and no amount of warning could deter them — because elite national interests are elite national interests, and such — and it drew upon much popular sentiment.

    If we’re going to hop on the road to a new Great Depression II: The Great Recessioning, let’s do it with a sense of verve and panache.

    And when we’re under that bridge roasting sparrows on curtain rods over barrels (praise be to that internet commenter), at least we can feel good that we chose to fight inflation when there wasn’t any.

  12. 12

    I think it’s this Too Big To Fail stuff that’s driving me crazy; given that there’s no consensus at all amongst progressive experts that it matters that much, or even that it would be a good thing to have a bunch of smaller. It’s just another pony, and it’s more infuriating that the next breath demands bringing back Glass-Steagall, which would mean fewer, bigger, banks in a more regulated cartel. They’re just ponies, and the people yelling for them the loudest have no idea what they’re talking about.

    I rather liked it when my side was supposed to be the reality based community.

  13. 13

    @El Cid:

    Who gives a shit that this is like that pre-WW1 period when empires were on a path to a world war, and no amount of warning could deter them—because elite national interests are elite national interests, and such—and it drew upon much popular sentiment.


  14. 14
    gnomedad says:

    I would love to see one of these guys try to teach 3rd-graders. When they don’t do their homework, he’ll just fire them all, I guess.

  15. 15
    Allison W. says:

    uhm remember the last bill that was supposed to die with the last senator that passed?

  16. 16
    Keith G says:

    So this fantastic *Progressive* I have heard so much about about is ready to abort banking reform until 2013, at the earliest, because he wants to strike an election year pose.

    If he follows through he is just a preening cock (with no balls). I wonder if this will generate as much sturm und drang on the progressive interwebs as the Weigel story did?

  17. 17
    kay says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    It’s baffling to me. Once they pass legislation, like health care, there’s absolutely no upside in running away from it. If I were a Democratic incumbent, particularly one who prides herself on “independent thought” I’d ignore the pundits and sell my work.

    I mean, Jesus. If the people who drafted it won’t defend it, who will? The time to express misgivings was during negotiations. If they’re going to begin every health care discussion with “I would have liked” or “it would be better if” (and most of them do) no one is listening past that first apology. Everything they say after that is a complete waste of breath. People want to like this, they want to hear what’s good about it. Democrats seem determined not to help them do that. I have no idea who Congressional Democrats think is going to step up and sell their work, if they won’t. It just reeks of cowardice, and timidity. Once it’s yours, stop apologizing for it. Republicans would never give Democrats that opening. “Here, let me point out the shortcomings in my work, so you don’t have to!”
    It’s just stupid.

  18. 18


    My basic view on it is that resolution authority is the key; as long as the government has it, size doesn’t really matter, and if they don’t have it, then everyone will be too big to fail. “Breaking up big banks” is a pony.

  19. 19
    dino says:

    Where, outside of the major leagues, can one make 5K a summer hitting grounders?

    For masters of the universe, the cluelessness is astounding.

  20. 20
    kay says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    I haven’t followed that part closely. I’m a long time fan of Elizabeth Warren, and I deal with the consumer side in my work, so that’s where my interest is. My people aren’t big investors. They get into trouble with debt, because they can’t read those contracts, and they’re intimidated and steamrolled by finance people. I looked for her endorsement of the new consumer agency, and she gave a fairly unqualified one (for her) so I was pleased with that. That’s enough for me! I’ll take it.
    She’s been hitting this for 30 years. I took a bankruptcy course as continuing education, years ago, and the instructor (a bankruptcy expert) relied a lot on her (written) commentary and explanation. She was saying what all the “new populists” are now saying on consumer debt and contracts years ago. I trust her. She doesn’t get caught up in phrases or fads. She has a deep understanding of “finance”, and how it works in people’s lives.

  21. 21
    El Cid says:

    @Brien Jackson: I don’t understand — what’s not clear? Before the World War broke out, it was obvious to many that imperial competition was leading directly in its path. Yet governing elites refused — and structurally couldn’t — change policies enough to leave such a path.

    They’re very different situations, but once again governing elites have committed themselves to a policy path which suggests looming harm, maybe even devastation, despite any amount of warning received.

  22. 22

    You know, we could use reconciliation on this money-related stuff, just as we wound up doing with health care. (Remember how we were told over and over and over again that reconciliation just couldn’t be used — that is, until Scott Brown slid into Teddy’s seat?)

    Speaking of Byrd and filibusters, he actually worked to reform how they were used — thus giving the lie to the idea that “oh we’re just totally helpless to change Senate rules”.

  23. 23
    Nick says:

    @El Cid: so what you’re saying is, our elites aren’t doing anything to stop Serbian terrorists from killing the Archduke and his wife?

  24. 24
    Honus says:

    They’re going to be schoolteachers, and not fly coach or stay at “cheaper properties?” I love the $5k a year for hitting grounders; most coaches spend 4-5 hours a day after school coaching, and their weekends traveling to games. On a bus. And the bus doesn’t have a concierge. You do get to stop on the way home at a Pizza Hut for dinner, though, and you have a couple thousand parents and staunch partisans criticizing your work at every game.
    Of course even these cushy jobs are being eliminated due to tax cuts to keep the masters of the universe in their gated mansions, so they’d better hurry up if they want to get that job teaching math and hitting grounders for $50k a year. Somebody should also explain that most middle schools don’t have courses in “financial markets” so I’m not sure what subject the traders will teach. I’m sure they all think they could teach English since they read the editorials in the WSJ.

  25. 25
    Redshirt says:

    Why don’t they just let the Repugs freaking filibuster, just once?! Why are we playing this 60 vote majority game over and over and over and over.

    Tie the failure of this bill to the Repugs necks – campaign on it throughout the country. Period.

    But no. Don’t have 60 votes, they back down, and the NY Times can gravely proclaim “Democrats fail to pass Financial Reform Bill”, and then the Repugs can campaign on that, to good effect.


  26. 26
    El Cid says:

    @Nick: Yes, that’s obviously what I’m saying, because that’s actually what caused WW1, and not in any way imperial conflict. Germany had no beefs, say, with the division of Africa in 1885, and all conflicts are due to proximate causes, and elites do not carry out policies throughout clear warnings which lead to a disaster which follows a spark.

    Hey, if you don’t like the analogy, fine. I see it. Others don’t. Big deal.

  27. 27
    Nick says:


    Why don’t they just let the Repugs freaking filibuster, just once?!

    This IS a filibuster. This is all that happens. They only stand up and talk forever if they want to.

  28. 28


    Because they can’t. Any other stupid questions?

  29. 29


    It’s not really a filibuster. There really is no filibuster anymore, which I think is what confuses people. It’s just a failed vote, because the motion requires 60 votes to pass.

  30. 30
    Redshirt says:

    @Brien Jackson: Well, Brien, why don’t you enlighten me as to why.

  31. 31


    People have been over this a thousand times. You can start here.

  32. 32
    Remember November says:

    “We eat what we kill”. Well I guess they’re cannibals.

    Team Wall Street, Fuck America!

  33. 33
    Nick says:

    @Redshirt: I’ll do it, because Lord knows I’ve been fucking repeating myself on this for like a year.

    To close debate, the Senate must vote. First, usually the Majority Leader asks for unanimous consent to end debate. If a Senator opposes unanimous consent, THAT is a filibuster.

    Then the Senate needs to invoke cloture…60 votes.

    So all the Republicans have to do is stand up and say they oppose unanimous consent to force a 60 vote cloture motion. After that, all Republicans have to do is stand up and keep objecting to unanimous consent resolutions and note the absence of quorum, over and over again until 60 votes are acheived.

  34. 34
    Redshirt says:

    Thanks Nick.

    You’re a dick, Brien.

  35. 35


    Why don’t they just let the Repugs freaking filibuster, just once?! Why are we playing this 60 vote majority game over and over and over and over.

    I asked that question for years, myself. But here’s the answer: sure, you can make ’em actually talk talk talk after they’ve defeated a cloture vote, but they’d only need 2 or 3 people on their side, talking in shifts, to keep things going. But anytime there wasn’t a quorum, all they’d have to do is call for a quorum, and if there wasn’t a quorum (50 Senators), they could pack up and go home.

    So the Dems would need to keep 50 Senators there in order to force 2 GOP Senators to talk talk talk. Understandably, they aren’t eager to do this.

    I still think they occasionally should, over something sufficiently important, like this financial regulation bill, if that’s what it takes to get a vote. But given the ratio of who’s inconvenienced, you can see this isn’t going to happen every day.

    (Looks like Nick beat me to the punch. Thanks, Nick.)

  36. 36


    That’s nice.

    Look, if you were sincerely asking a question, I’m sorry for snapping at you, but it gets very tiresome to explain these same things over and over again in the same spaces, to what after a while you have to figure become the same people. Especially when for the most part the people who think they’re geniuses either refuse to listen or accuse you of being a DLC toady or something.

    Also, maybe apply some skepticism to yourself? I mean, if you think you’ve come up with some simple, obvious way to solve a problem that no one else has apparently considered, it’s probably a pretty good bet that things don’t work quite the way you think they do. Just saying.

  37. 37
    Derek says:

    So I read the whole “We Eat What We Kill” article, and the responses to it. Something to behold.

    I would be amazed if the guy that wrote that really would come and do my job for my pay and still have his “superior” work ethic.

    Which by the way, isn’t all that much better than mine at all.

    Although there seemed to be some valid points in the essay, the author sure comes off a d-bag. As he intended, I am sure.

  38. 38
    Svensker says:

    I’m not sure I disagree with Russ. This doesn’t seem like the HCR vote, where anything was better than nothing because anything was a toe in the door. The reaction from the Banksters and Wall Street when the Senate bill was unveiled was outright jubilation — that to me indicates that it is a very bad bill. If you pass a very bad bill that supposedly regulates the banks/Wall Street but in reality does not, and then an economic mess ensues, who/what gets blamed for the mess? Dems and regulations. In this case, I think it’s better to pass nothing and expose the corruption all around. If I thought that the Senate bill had any hopes of doing any good, I’d say pass it anyway even tho it sucks sour owl shit. Instead, all it does is put a “liebrul” label on a big gift to the banksters, while doing nothing about the underlying problems.

  39. 39


    Unless you have some idea how else you’re going to get the government resolution authority over shadow banks, I’m not really buying that.

  40. 40
    Svensker says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    Is that a good thing in the bill? I’d be happy to hear about it.

  41. 41
    John S. says:

    Glad you managed to punch a hippie there, Mr. Cole!

    When a hippie deserves to be punched, you punch them.

  42. 42


    Yeah, it gives the FDIC authority to seize and dismantle failed shadow banks the same way they currently can seize filed deposit banks. If they’d had that authority in 2008, they could have seized Lehman, managed its destruction in an orderly fashion, and we might have avoided the sort of industry wide catastrophe that required TARP.

  43. 43
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    Except we wouldn’t have in 2008, that’s the lie in all this. Bear in the early part of the year? Probably. But not Lehman or AIG.

    Unless you want the government to impose fraudulent and market-breaking accounting practices on firms outside the resolution process compared to what’s on the government books, there’s no way to deal with a 2008 style crash. If you tried to clean Lehman’s books with a specific, tightened mark-to-model or mark-to-market formula (you know, to actually KNOW what the value of your holdings were for a change), then everyone’s holdings would get devalued as well and they’d be next for resolution.

    There is no resolution process that can handle a simultaneous asset price crash after a period of systemic overvaluation. It’s the interconnectedness that matters. And these firms are just going to turn to even greater cabalistic practices to beat this far-too-feckless bill. No TBTF bank will be allowed to take on leverage the others won’t, but if they all lever in the same manner again none of them can be resolved without taking the others with them.

  44. 44
    Nick says:

    @Phoenix Woman: Actually, we can’t. We already used reconciliation once, we can only use it once. That’s why the Democrats put student loan reform in the same reconciliation bill as healthcare.

  45. 45

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Of course, the idea of receivership is to keep things going long enough to slowly break up the firm and sell off assets, rather than having the firm flooding the market. But yes, if the market price of the assets was going to collapse anyway, then it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. Which is why I said “might have.”

    Either way, my point was that resolution authority is more important than things like Brown-Kaufman. The government can manage the break up of a large institution, but without some sort of authority to limit the damage of bank failure, even a relatively small bank can cause industry wide problems.

  46. 46


    Plus, financial industry regulations rather obviously don’t pertain directly to the budget, so they wouldn’t be eligible anyway. Just another firebagger zombie lie.

  47. 47
    OriGuy says:

    The word bankrupt comes from the Latin words banca, bench, and rupta broken. In the Middle Ages, the moneychangers counted on benches with Roman numerals on them. If the government found that moneychanger was cheating, his bench was broken.

    Time to break a few benches, methinks.

  48. 48
    Stogoe says:

    I’m not saying that Feingold shouldn’t just vote for cloture already. But why, for fuck’s sake, won’t Reid ever negotiate for Feingold’s vote the way he negotiates for Scott Brown’s vote or the Maine Sisters’ vote? No, it’s always “spread cheeks for the Center-Right”, and even then they still pull the football half a dozen times, anticipating further carve-outs. At least with Feingold you only have to give him what he wants once, and then you’ve got his vote for real.

  49. 49


    This is the final conference committee report. The motion is non-amendable, so there’s nothing to “negotiate.”

  50. 50
    tomjones says:

    @Stogoe: You’re wrong. They negotiated with Bernie Sanders on HCR; he got a lot more money for community health centers, which is a real and tangible good thing.

    The time for Feingold to sell his vote, though, was BEFORE reconciliation. They can’t very well change the bill the conference committee approved.

  51. 51
    tomjones says:

    @Brien Jackson: Also, this.

  52. 52

    Also, Brown-Kaufman got a vote in the Senate, and it failed.

  53. 53
    Sheila says:

    If you want to know what Wall Street is doing for the world, read “The Food Bubble: How Wall Street starved millions and got away with it” by Frederick Kaufman in this month’s Harper’s. Even if I had any money, I wouldn’t put it into this pile of virtual garbage. The advent of the “middleman” is one of the biggest devolutions in human culture.

  54. 54
    Nick says:


    But why, for fuck’s sake, won’t Reid ever negotiate for Feingold’s vote the way he negotiates for Scott Brown’s vote or the Maine Sisters’ vote?


    If giving Feingold want he wants gives us only 49 votes, but giving Brown, Snowe and Collins gets us 61, where would you go?

  55. 55
    Nick says:


    The reaction from the Banksters and Wall Street when the Senate bill was unveiled was outright jubilation

    which, of course, is why they’re sending lobbyists by the busloads into Scott Brown and Olympia Snowe’s offices to kill this thing and threatening to take it out on their consumers via higher fees if it passes.

    Come down to planet Earth there Sven.

  56. 56
    Nick says:


    At least with Feingold you only have to give him what he wants once, and then you’ve got his vote for real.

    a lot of good his vote will do us if we can’t reach cloture. Maybe Feingold can help us kill the filibuster…no, he opposes that.

  57. 57
    Nick says:

    Russ Feingold is one 2 points ahead of his unknown Republican opponent according to PPP. It’s likely he’ll lose reelection.

    Those of you punch-deserving hippies who complain Democrats don’t have the guts to kill the filibuster need to take note. Your hero; St. Russ of Madison, is helping to keep alive the idea that 60 votes are always needed to pass a bill in the Senate. Instead of simply voting no in final passage, he is reinforcing the Republican strategy of filibustering everything he remotely disagrees on. We won’t be able to nuke the filibuster, not because of Ben Nelson or Joe Lieberman, but also because of people like Feingold who love it. Your own allies are your enemies hippies, and you’re too blind to see it. That’s why you sometimes deserve a punch.

  58. 58
    Cain says:

    So why are democrats treating their constitutes like they are center right? I really don’t understand it… Jeez.. I find myself going more and more left in reaction to all this abuse by corporations and businesses. I mean really, what the fuck is going on here that even progressives have to do these things. I really HATE congresss… goddam weasels.


  59. 59
    Mumphrey says:

    I wonder if we’d be better off if we had, what I’m going to call for lack of a better word, a worse Democrat in Feingold’s seat.

    I mean, yeah, I’m impressed that he cares so much about what’s right that he’ll shoot down his own party’s best chance at reform this year. That’s great. Because, well, I guess because, uh, well, they’ll be sorry, damn it, they’ll be sorry if they get nothing, damned right they will! That’ll show ’em!

    What’s the deal here? I know it would be fun to live in a world where everybody who doesn’t think the way I do is just an asshole who’s a corporate whore and I’m clean as the driven snow, and if you see things even the least little bit differently from me, it’s because you’re just corrupt, and I can shame you into switching by threatening to shoot the whole thing down, and on and on, but we don’t live in that world, we live in the world we live in,flawed as it is.

    This is 13 year old martyr fantasy stuff. Feingold isn’t going to make Ben Nelson become a liberal by threatening to shoot this down. Blanche Lincoln isn’t going to see Feingold’s steely resolve and suddenly come to the light.

    I tought we’d seen enough of this “If only we’d hold our breath and demand things of people who have no reason to give in to us, we’ll get our way,” bullshit with health care reform. I guess Feingold thinks that was soooo awesome and super that he wants another helping. I wish he’d just go away.

  60. 60
    Socraticsilence says:

    Feingold’s a blowhard- I used to respect him for some of his stands and still like his CFR stuff- but he’s a Sunday Morning Civil Liberties guy- never forget he voted against closing Gitmo.

  61. 61
    Martin says:

    What exactly do we have to do to make these assholes go Galt?

    I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  62. 62
    danimal says:

    Hippies don’t punch themselves, someone’s gotta do it.

    Wait, my premise is wrong. Hippies punch themselves all the time. What else explains Senator Feingold’s behavior? Given the opportunity for Dems to crush the GOP with a real political winner, the Financial Regulation bill, Senator Feingold would rather pout and wish there was a larger stable of ponies in the bill. Hell, even he says the bill will do good things, just not enough for his discriminating palate.

    Because I’m sure that better bills will be attainable when Rep Boehner is the Speaker of the f’ing House. Then we’ll really crack down on Wall Street.

  63. 63
    Bob Loblaw says:


    which, of course, is why they’re sending lobbyists by the busloads into Scott Brown and Olympia Snowe’s offices to kill this thing and threatening to take it out on their consumers via higher fees if it passes.

    Because they can, not because they have to. There’s a difference…

  64. 64
    kay says:


    Russ Feingold is one 2 points ahead of his unknown Republican opponent according to PPP. It’s likely he’ll lose reelection.

    Hah! Good point. I don’t think he will, but why are liberals always exempt from any suspicion of being self-serving? Feingold is in a little trouble, and he’s campaigning as an outsider here, I suspect. Or, I wouldn’t be shocked and amazed if this is political.
    I felt the same about Saint Dennis of Ohio during the health care debate. His district is older, and most of his reliable voters have health care coverage, a public option, no less. I thought he was grandstanding. He got a big, high profile trip with the President out of it, anyway.
    It’s not unimaginable, right?
    The VP was just out campaigning for Feingold. I noticed that. Are we sure this is about principle, or is about leverage of a different kind?

  65. 65
    danimal says:

    There is a difference between opposing a bill and supporting a GOP filibuster. Just sayin’.

    If it’s politics, he can vote to end cloture (up or down vote….) and then vote against the bill.

  66. 66
  67. 67
    Glen Tomkins says:

    Democratic dithering…

    Is what it is. Do you expect Feingold and the left, and only the left, to always take the fall, and always give in so that the party can always finally resolve the dither to its extreme right? If there is no party discipline enforced on the Blue Dogs, why should the left enforce a one-way discipline only on itself?

    The consequence proposed for this dithering is that a lot of Blue Dogs will lose their seats in November. Somehow I’ve lost my sad.

    Maybe they’ll learn something from the experience about party discipline. That, or they won’t be around to cause any problems in the future. And yes, that outcome does involve the risk of the party no longer having the majority. But, you know, having the majority, if we always have to give in to the DINO wing of the party, and therefore can’t exercise power in any useful direction, hasn’t proven terribly rewarding.

    Every now and then you have to take a bath if you want to stay clean.

  68. 68

    @Glen Tomkins:

    THis would make sense, if Feingold weren’t claiming that there were good things in the bill.

  69. 69
    Nick says:

    @Bob Loblaw: I always said the banks aren’t the problem, the industry is the problem.

    In most industries, when one company fails, the others succeed in bringing in the costumers of the failing competitor. It works out. When one store closes, the others nearby make more money and get more business. That’s how capitalism should work.

    But in the financial industry, it doesn’t work that way. If Citigroup goes under, Bank of America doesn’t reap the benefits, it goes under too.

  70. 70
    Nick says:

    @Glen Tomkins:

    The consequence proposed for this dithering is that a lot of Blue Dogs will lose their seats in November. Somehow I’ve lost my sad.

    No Glen, Russ Feingold will lose his seat in November, the Blue Dogs will survive. They’re polling much better than progressives in swing districts.

  71. 71
    Jay in Oregon says:

    What exactly do we have to do to make these assholes go Galt?

    Torches and pitchforks, methinks…

  72. 72
    Steve R. says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Precisely. They’ll try to kill the bill because they have the power and that is what power is for, but if something has to pass, from Wall Street’s perspective this will do very well. If this is the worst they have to fear from a Democratic president and a Democratic majority in Congress in the wake of a crisis that nearly brought the world to economic Armageddon, it looks even better.

  73. 73

    @Steve R.:

    Ok, but even accepting that, what then is the point of killing this and doing nothing?

  74. 74
    Mike G says:

    We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension.

    Right, let’s see if you work that hard for $50k a year and the crapload of dignity-shredding abuse and manipulation the average corporate employee has to eat, and no free car service, no chef-catered in-house dining and all the rest.

  75. 75

    This is a good point as well:

    Indeed, Feingold is well within his rights to vote against the bill, but his obstruction also hurts procedural reform in the Senate. The Senate should need to return to a norm where a filibuster is used to actually extend debate and provide for amendments — but many of Feingold’s favored reforms, though not all, did receive votes, and were rejected. At this point, extending debate is simply an effort to kill a bill that the Wisconsin Senator knows would otherwise pass a majority vote. Buying into the the idea that any major bill should require a super-majority is a recipe for a dysfunctional senate for years to come.

  76. 76
    patrick says:

    dumb question, but the posturing of Russ, is he saying he’ll vote no on the FINAL VOTE (where you need 50 voted to pass), or no on CLOTURE to get to a final vote (where the threshold is 60 votes)? I can’t see him torpedoing it on a procedural vote (Cloture), even if he doesn’t want to vote for the final package…I haven’t seen any distinction in the article’s I’ve read on Russ’ position on the financial reform package…

  77. 77
    Glen Tomkins says:


    I’m not sure I understrand the sweeping statement about the Blue Dogs’ polling prospects enough to disagree with it. Is it really true that the Dogs, who mostly come from swing districts, districts that perform only slightly D, or maybe even a little R, are doing well, not in danger, and that instead it’s left Ds, who are mostly (with exceptions like Grayson) in safely D-performing districts, are the ones with dubious poll numbers?

    The underlying structural concern for our side this year is that so many of these marginal districts went D in 2008 on the back of the Obama turnout and the Obama appeal, that even if Obama and his policies were just as popular today as in 2008, the lower turnout we are going to see in this midterm election, would mean that the Ds would lose many of their marginal gains from 2008. It’s the combinbation of that stuructural effect, added to the lagging jobs picture, that has people concerned over really big losses this year.

    If what you say contrary to this conventional wisdom is true, that it’s not Blue Dogs in those marginal districts we picked off in 2008 who are endangered, and its our left wing that is endangered, then we have such a fundamental move of the whole country to the right that nothing will help us. If you really think that the voters are going to turn out Feingold as some hopelessly radical leftist because he wants a few anti-bankster provisions in the finance reform bill, while not minding at all the Republicans’ take-over by tea-baggers, and their questioning of Brown v Board of Education, then the country has moved so far to the right that it’s time for the right to take responsibility for governing for a while. Sure, the country will then be afflicted with a season of the consequences of teabagger policy choices. But if the country really has turned that far right, it’s ungovernable by our side anyway, and needs a refresher course in the consequences of rightwing governance. The best strategy for us is to take that bath, to let the right have its turn and show what it can do. The worst thing we could do is to try to avoid the drubbing we’re in for anyway by trying to enact teabagger policy. That will just confuse the lines of responsibility for the stupid. It makes no sense whatever for us to become also-ran teabaggers.

  78. 78


    He’s voting against cloture.

  79. 79

    @Glen Tomkins:

    Of course, it’s Feingold who’s siding with the Republicans and teabaggers, but don’t let that stand in the way of an obviously well thought out rationalization.

  80. 80
    Nick says:

    @Glen Tomkins: There are plenty of progressives in swing districts (Pereiello, Shea-Porter, Schauer, John Hall, Tim Bishop, Grayson) who are in trouble, while many Blue Dogs (Minnick, Bright, Kissell, Ross, Boren, Spratt) who are not.

    The ones in the swing districts and swing states who are going to lose are the progressives, not the Blue Dogs. That was my point.

  81. 81
    Nick says:


    I can’t see him torpedoing it on a procedural vote (Cloture), even if he doesn’t want to vote for the final package…I haven’t seen any distinction in the article’s I’ve read on Russ’ position on the financial reform package…

    No, he’s voting against cloture. If this was on final passage, it wouldn’t matter. The bill already has 56 votes without Feingold, Cantwell or Byrd.

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:


    The time for Feingold to sell his vote, though, was BEFORE reconciliation. They can’t very well change the bill the conference committee approved.

    Ding ding ding. Feingold’s not trying to change a thing, because at this point, he can’t change anything unless both the House and the Senate are willing to go through the whole damn reconciliation process again.

    Feingold is trying to kill financial reform by siding with the Republicans to demand a supermajority before it can even come to the floor for a vote. What, exactly, is progressive about that?

  83. 83
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    We are ICU. Whether you like it or not, if you enter our domain, you wlll most likely be on Propofol, a ventilator, and have a catheter jammed up your urethra–and it will be all your fault. Because all of you out there who think you can eat all the burgers, tots and Dr. Peppers with Cherry Added you want, do absolutely no exercise, and refuse to take your diabetes medications are our bitches. Gluttony is not a problem until you lose, losers.

    So go ahead, blame us for the misery of the discomfort of fixing your disease, but really, it will be your Wall Street “Sell! Sell! Sell!” adrenaline pumping freak-outs and take-out deep fried lunches that bring you down.

    Guess what? You think you’re some kinda second coming performing great acts of human deprivation? Well, we don’t EVER pee once in a 13 hour shift. We’re used to not EATING SITTING DOWN. We can actually perform math calculations while doing three other things at the same time, and take a phone call from the boss about why we haven’t signed up for the Blood Drive yet. And we tell all kinds of important people like Harvard cardiologists what the fuck they should be doing all day long.

    So you really think we are incapable of buying and dumping worthless derivatives? We’re reaching retirement age, folks. Our feet hurt. We are intimately acquainted with adult diapers. We’re coming to take your jobs because we can totally outlast and out-think you, all of you. So there.

  84. 84

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    FTFMW!. Yeah, I’d love to see one of those Wall Street fucks pull a night shift as a nurse at a level one trauma center. Four hours in and those punks would be lying in a fetal position in a puddle of their own piss whimpering and crying, assuming of course that any of them was smart enough to get through nursing school, which I doubt they would, because from my experience most business majors are appallingly stupid.

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