Pete Peterson’s Long Con

Via Charlie Pierce, Kevin C. Brown at Remapping Debate outs the “Journalists in the Service of Pete Peterson“:

January 16, 2013 — Each spring since 2010, some of Washington’s A-list politicians assemble in the capital to submit to questions from some of the media’s A-list journalists on the future of the federal fiscal policy.

These interviews, though, aren’t conducted on the steps of Congress, in the Washington bureaus of the nation’s newspapers, or in the television studios of major networks, but rather at private “Fiscal Summits” convened by Peter G. Peterson, the billionaire former commerce secretary and co-founder of the Blackstone private equity group.

Peterson, however, is hardly a disinterested and dispassionate observer of such discussions. In fact, he is now beginning his fourth decade of arguing that there is no alternative to enacting “entitlement reform” (read: cut Social Security and Medicare) and “tax reform” (read: raise regressive taxes and lower progressive ones) in the name of curbing the country’s “unsustainable” debt and deficits.

An essential and successful element of the Peterson strategy is to create an environment where it is widely if not universally believed that there is no alternative to his vision. In this view, it’s “not realistic” to believe the country can afford the same programs it once did. Those who are prepared to be “adults” will look at these “hard truths” without flinching and recognize that it is time to take citizens-have-to-do-with-less medicine….

The more politically aware among us will point out that none of the Very Serious Villager names in this rogues’ gallery (Jon Meacham, Erin Burnett, Bob Schieffer, George Will) should come as a surprise. But it’s nice to have a cheat sheet with quotes from the guilty parties, as Mr. Pierce says:

The success of Pete Peterson at getting the country to come as close as he has to handing the Social Security trust fund over to him and the rest of the gamesters of Triskelion has been a wonder to behold. Not that Republicans needed a lot of convincing, but the way he’s found Democratic suckers, and romanced the more easily gulled members of the courtier press, have been his real triumphs. It’s nice to have it all laid out in a clear and simple way as various Washington elites prepare once again to shove the last untainted quatloos into the rigged casino on Wall Street. Don’t believe anything is a accident. This has been a very long con.

39 replies
  1. 1
    liberal says:

    …Bob Schieffer…

    Wasn’t he the asshat who was so worried on election night that we might have to face the prospect of a president being reelected after losing the popular vote?

  2. 2
    bjacques says:

    Yes, I believe his *concern* was there for all to see.

  3. 3

    Pete Peterson needs to be put on the list with the NRA as people and organizations who should be pushed into the same category as the Klan.

  4. 4
    redshirt says:

    “Peter Peterson” is such an Eric Son of Eric kind of name.

  5. 5
    Ruckus says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass:
    What do you mean pushed into the same category? Peterson has always been in the same category, he just wears better more expensive clothes and speaks with a slightly better, if not less evil, elocution.

  6. 6
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Erin Burnett. Again.

  7. 7
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I never knew that Pete Peterson is married to Joan Ganz Cooney. That makes me very sad.

  8. 8
    MikeJ says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: When you google Joan Ganz Cooney, does the first picture that comes up on the right panel look exactly like Laura Bush or is just all white ladies look alike?

  9. 9
  10. 10
    aangus says:


    Suffer, baby!

  11. 11
    PurpleGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: In minor defense of Joan Ganz Cooney: she is Peterson’s second wife and has been married to him since 1990. Yes, it’s a long-standing marriage now but he’s her second husband.

    She continues to make her own liberal charitable contributions.

    ETA: From my work in fund-raising, I know of a number of these odd pairings, where one partner is much more liberal than the other. (I cannot name names though; habit of working with sensitive and confidential information.)

  12. 12
    Calouste says:

    and romanced the more easily gulled members of the courtier press

    So about 99% of them then.

  13. 13
    geg6 says:

    Ezra Fucking Klein is one of their puppets. Charlie gives him a bit of a pass but I won’t. Going to the WaPo has ruined him. He’s just a Villager in training now. Maybe he and Jon Stewart can burnish their Village bona fides together. Whores.

  14. 14
    Raven says:

    Love the popups on the quotes!

  15. 15
    Raven says:

    SE Cupp just said dissing the NRA is going to leave an uneasy feeling in peoples mouths.

  16. 16
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Raven: 2 guns, 1 Cupp.

  17. 17
    JPL says:

    On there is a story about a white supremacist with a felony who was able to amass an arsenal of weapons illegally. He also had the required Hitler paraphernalia in order to prove his asshole worthiness. Since our president is now a fascist, why doesn’t this guy support him? Just curious!

    Raven, Glad you listen to Morning Joe so we don’t have to. Thanks for keeping us aware of the whackos.

  18. 18
    Raven says:

    @JPL: David Gregory is all over entitlement reform!

  19. 19
    Raven says:

    And next up, John Mackey!

  20. 20
    Raven says:

    @Raven: He skipped the apology when asked about his fascism remark noting that “it’s a free country”.

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Raven: That doesn’t make any sense. I would ask if you are sure you got the statement right, but it’s S. E. Cupp so expecting her to make sense would be silly on my part.

  22. 22
    raven says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Seeing how we refrain from sexual jokes I got nuttin else!

  23. 23
    Baud says:


    Raven is the official Balloon Juice war correspondent.

  24. 24
    Quincy says:

    @geg6: That’s not entirely fair. Read the excerpted Klein piece. He’s pointing out to the panel of villagers he’s moderating that what they want has no connection to what the majority of the public wants. He was pushing back in the Peterson meme a bit.

  25. 25
    JPL says:

    @Baud: That is so true.

  26. 26
    Raven says:

    @Baud: I’m a regular Sean Flynn.

  27. 27
    Raven says:

    BTW, today is Boortz’s last day.

  28. 28
    the Conster says:


    On earth, hopefully.

  29. 29
    Raven says:

    @the Conster: Good one!

  30. 30
    Tone in DC says:

    Thank God it’s Friday. And also for Charles Pierce.

    As for the aforementioned Ms. Cupp… the less she and Ms. Burnett say to anyone about pretty much anything, the better off everyone will be. There are actual journalists, with actual experience, savvy and intelligence out there. Many of them women, I am told!

    And two major news networks hire these Spice Girl rejects.

  31. 31
    quannlace says:

    There are A-list journalists?

  32. 32
    geg6 says:


    He was pushing back in the Peterson meme a bit.

    Yeah, he really stuck it to the man when he cashed that check written by Pete Peterson. Fight the power, Ezra!

  33. 33
    handsmile says:

    Anne Laurie:

    So glad you regularly monitor the brilliant Charles Pierce, because that Remapping Debate article is one I would not want to have missed. What a damning bill of indictment of the Village media (and I’m still fuming over its buffoonery during Monday’s presidential press conference). Really, are there enough tumbrels?

    ETA: Substituting today for the usual blowhard host on the “Morning Joe” frat party, disgraced former Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle introduced, in his words, “the Great, GREAT, GREAT! Maureen Dowd.” This is what we’re up against, folks.

  34. 34
    Anna in PDX says:

    The Remapping Debate idea is a very good one. This sort of analysis that he did on their individual interviews showing the pattern of their bias is something that has been needing to be done for a very long time. Thanks for linking it.

  35. 35
    Ohmmade says:

    Why did you leave Ezra out of this?

  36. 36
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I would leave GWill out of the list because unlike most of the others, he doesn’t pretend to be an objective journamalist. He’s an opinion writer, an avowed paleo-con, and opposed the New Deal since he could spell it out with blocks.

    On the other hand, Harold Ford is on my TeeVee on eventheliberal MSNBC, dominating the conversation, ID’d as a Democrat and doing his stunning un-self-aware act as a self-parody of A Very Serious Person.

  37. 37
    aimai says:

    While reading that article I really thought, for the first time, “40 years spent trying to put old people back on catfood? What a fucking waste of a human life.” I know life happens while you are doing other things and perhaps Pete Peterson is so wealthy that he had other people to do his enjoying of life (two wives, five children) for him but if someone told me at age, say 30 that I would spend the bulk of my life trying to destroy the happiness and security of millions of people I like to think I’d shoot myself first. It sounds like a twilight zone episode, you know? We could call it “the choice”

    Someone comes from the future and explains to a young Pete Peterson that he could spend 40 years and billions of his own money curing cancer, building a children’s health center, creating a magnificent public park, or even just living under a bridge as free as the birds in the air or….he could spend it destroying social security. And this is what he chooses? Fuck him.

  38. 38
    Ruckus says:

    Could not have said it better. Especially the last 2 words.

  39. 39
    Ted & Hellen says:


    Ezra Fucking Klein is one of their puppets. Charlie gives him a bit of a pass but I won’t. Going to the WaPo has ruined him. He’s just a Villager in training now. Maybe he and Jon Stewart can burnish their Village bona fides together. Whores.


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