The Vampire Squid Tells Us How to Vote
It’s an important detail. Geithner’s instinct for figuring out how to deal with ordinary people was not to go talk to any, but instead to talk to someone who’d had success marketing himself to them.
This squares with accounts I heard after 2008, about the Treasury Department in the Geithner years. In one story I remember, it took a presentation from a major retail company about expected lower holiday spending levels to enlighten Geithner’s staff as to the level of economic pain in the population. Until they saw the graphs from executives, they had no clue.
Anyway, according to his book, Geithner got good advice from Clinton. The former president advised him to press for tax hikes on the rich, but to “make sure I didn’t look like I was happy about it.” Then Clinton added that Timmy shouldn’t take the public-anger thing too hard:
“You could take Lloyd Blankfein in an alley and slit his throat, and it would satisfy them for about two days,” Clinton said. “Then the blood lust would rise again.”
Ordinary people aren’t just overemotional and dumb, they’re also zombies! They don’t have grievances, just blood lusts.
The attitude shared by Lloyd and Geithner and Bill Clinton is that the mindless quality of public discontent means that there’s no point in worrying about it, or negotiating with it. This is funny because Blankfein is the one complaining that people like Sanders and his followers don’t want to compromise with him.
Lloyd apparently thinks politicians should naturally reside in a state of more or less constant accommodation with Wall Street. Thomas Jefferson would have compromised with us, he says!
One can assume that his model of a “compromising” politician is Hillary Clinton, who took $675,000 to give three speeches to his company. “Look, I make speeches to lots of groups,” Hillary explained. “I told them what I thought.”
Asked by Anderson Cooper if she needed to take $675,000 to tell Goldman what she “thought,” Hillary shrugged. “I don’t know,” she said. “That’s what they were offering.”
Even more significant than the $675,000 Hillary took from Goldman, or the $30 million in speaking income she and her husband received combined in the last 16 months, is the account of what Hillary apparently told Goldman she “thought” during those speeches.
According to Politico, who spoke to several attendees, Hillary used the opportunity to tell the bankers in attendance that the “banker-bashing so popular within both parties was unproductive and indeed foolish.”
She added that the proper attitude should be, “We all got into this mess together, and we’re all going to have to work together to get out of it.”
This squares with Geithner’s account of what Bill Clinton said. The former president told Geithner that slitting Lloyd’s throat would only satisfy “them” for about two days. Them was all those pissed-off regular people, and the we or us were politicians like himself and Geithner.
In her speech, Hillary’s we included the executives in her audience. Her message was basically that It Takes a Village to create a financial crisis. This was the Robin Williams breakthrough scene in Good Will Hunting, with Hillary putting a hand on the Goldmanites’ shoulders, telling them, “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.”