Blacklisting Progressives: The Untold Story Beneath the Daschle Headlines

by: David Sirota

Tue Feb 03, 2009 at 16:46


Amid the swirling headlines about Tom Daschle withdrawing his nomination for Health and Human Service Secretary is a very dark, very foreboding story that tells us a lot more about what to expect from the Obama administration than a single nomination fight. It is a story that every single voter who supported Barack Obama because of his progressive economic platform should know about - and worry about.

As every newspaper in America has been happy to report, Daschle worked with venture capitalist Leo Hindery after he left the Senate. Hindery was a top economic adviser to John Edwards and later to Barack Obama, and many had floated his name for U.S. Trade Representative or Commerce Secretary. Now, though, that won't be happening, as anyone mentioned near the Daschle flap is being shunned by the Obama administration.

But is that really why someone as accomplished as Hindery was never seriously considered for a top economic post in the administration? The media and the Obama administration would like us to believe yes - but the answer is no. It has far less to do with the Daschle situation and far more to do with Hindery's progressive economic ideology.

Buried in a Politico dispatch, we get the real story:

Hindery did his best to carve out his own public profile, with generous contributions to a range of Democratic-leaning organizations and a 2005 book, "It Takes a CEO," decrying outsourcing, Wal-Mart, and "an ethical and aesthetic 'race to the bottom'" in the media industry.

He also hoped to land a job in the Obama administration, and he had a close Obama adviser - Daschle -- in his corner, the two Democrats said. United Steeelworkers union officials also backed him.

But while Hindery complained that he "waited for the phone to ring," a source said, Obama's aides appear never to have taken his bid seriously. One possible source of friction: Hindery had set himself up in opposition to Obama's top economic advisors, many of whom were associated with The Hamilton Project, an economic think tank that was the inheritor of former Treasury Secretary Rubin's generally pro-trade position.

In the same story, of course, we get hedge fund shark Steve Rattner - a huge Democratic fundraiser on Wall Street - bashing Hindery for backing populist Democratic candidates for local and national office.

And that's the big story here: Leo Hindery, one of the few business leaders to use his wealth to challenge deregulation, corporate trade deals and anti-worker policies was blacklisted by the Obama administration well before the Daschle flap ever happened - and he was blacklisted because he dared to clash with the same Wall Street Democrats whose corporate-backed policies destroyed the economy.

David Sirota :: Blacklisting Progressives: The Untold Story Beneath the Daschle Headlines
You can go ahead and tell yourself that this is just theory - just a single example. But that's willful ignorance, as the Hindrey scalping is only one chapter in what has been one long narrative arc whereby economic progressives have been deliberately shut out of top administration jobs. Just step back and think about it for a minute: Amid a stable of eminently qualified and well-respected progressives like James Galbraith, Joseph Stiglitz, Dean Baker, Robert Reich, Paul Krugman and Larry Mishel, Obama has chosen Rubin sycophants like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner to run the economy - the same Larry Summers who pushed the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act, the same Geithner who masterminded the kleptocratic bank bailout, the same duo whose claim to fame is their personal connections to Rubin, a disgraced Citigroup executive at the center of the current meltdown. And the list of Rubin sycophants keeps getting longer, from Peter Orszag to Jason Furman.

As the Nation's Chris Hayes shows, its the same in other key regulatory positions, as free market fundamentalists who created the problem take the helm of the regulatory agencies they tried to destroy. Indeed, the only movement progressive in a top economic position is Jared Bernstein, and he was relegated to an amorphous job in the Vice President's office.

And now we see that's not an accident. Though Obama won states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana on promises to challenge Wall Street and reform our trade policies, there has been a deliberate and calculated effort to stack the administration with the very Wall Street Democrats who created the problems he lamented, and shun those who have been fighting the good fight.


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Blacklisting Progressives (4.00 / 2)

what can we do?  This is so frustrating!  Do we have any power, as voters, at all?    

The word blacklist (0.00 / 0)
used to have meaning, and that meaning wasn't "considered but quickly rejected because of policy differences with other members of the team."

Hyperbole, anyone?


[ Parent ]
I thought today we had good news with Daschle's withdrawal (4.00 / 1)
This is just coming to light today? No one knew before of the Hindrey "scalping? A progressive venture capitalist?

All over the net--I found alot of this in about an hour--had an hour to kill (4.00 / 4)
Daschle had his fingers in every health insurance industry pie. I would hope for Dr. Howard Dean, or, hope against hope, Dennis Kucinich.

I know Daschle wouldve actually done more harm than good---the insurance industry was already licking its chops (independent.uk). But, we culd end up with worse---Gregg?? President Obama is a total mystery to me.

I'm glad I didnt vote for him.


[ Parent ]
Thanks for the reply KDelphi (0.00 / 0)
This is a little mysterious, especially after reading Glen Greenwald's commentary on Daschle before and after he withdrew.

I did vote for Obama in the general election, to prevent McCain/Palin and I would do it again.


[ Parent ]
For which appts or policies? (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
As I said it was to prevent McCain/Palin (0.00 / 0)
I mean it would have been absolutely horrendous if that team had been elected. I had reservations about Obama but there is no way the appointments and policies of a McCain Administration would not have been worse than what we have now, possibly it would now be even worse than Bush/Cheney.

This Hindery thing is confusing but Sirota seems to be one of Hindery's few defenders/supporters on the left.


[ Parent ]
Kucinich! (4.00 / 3)
Every time somebody suggests Kucinich for a Cabinet office, maybe it becomes a little more credible, so...

Dennis Kucinich for Secretary of Commerce!

or

Dennis Kucinich for Secretary of Health and Human Services!


[ Parent ]
Disbelief. (4.00 / 4)
I'm just waiting for them to announce Tom Delay as the new nom for HHS.

Way to ignore Hindrey's biggest move (4.00 / 5)
Dude ran Osama ads against a Democrat. Fuck him.  

On twitter: @BobBrigham

Which Democrat? (0.00 / 0)


Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me-and I welcome their hatred. - FDR

[ Parent ]
on the other hand (4.00 / 2)
The article is completely lacking in any evidence -- not even a single anonymous quote! -- for this suggestion, and has pages of other problems the guy has.  I wouldn't appoint him to anything after reading the article.

Not that that excuses Larry Summers.



New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.


Geithner got a free pass? (4.00 / 1)
Why?

But more importantly; does any Obama betrayal merit abandonment/opposition from the Left? I'd say Iraq for myself; perhaps too egregious a handout to the Robber Barons.

Remember Chris Bowers's "grow liberalism"; when "liberalism" has grown sufficiently, then you may hope to reap rewards.

2006 and 2008 were merely referendums on the Worst President Ever; not positive endorsements of "liberalism" at work.


are these conspiracy theories supportable with verifiable facts. (4.00 / 2)
or rather is it just rumor and innuendo?  

Good post for the entertainment value though.

http://postpartisannews.com/  

The Post Partisan


Please read the post, troll (2.67 / 3)
Verifiable facts:

Sadly, the Hindrey scalping is only one chapter in what has been one long narrative arc whereby economic progressives have been deliberatelyy shut out of top administration jobs. Amid a stable of eminently qualified and well-respected progressives like James Galbraith, Robert Reich, Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and Larry Mishel, Obama has chosen Rubin sycophants like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner to run the economy - the same Larry Summers who pushed the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act, the same Geithner who masterminded the kleptocratic bank bailout, the same duo whose claim to fame is their personal connections to Rubin, a disgraced Citigroup executive at the center of the current meltdown. Indeed, the only movement progressive in a top economic position is Jared Bernstein, and he was relegated to an amorphous job in the Vice President's office.


[ Parent ]
Here's a fact (4.00 / 2)
Every Dean supporter would have gone apeshit if Obama gave him anything more than the middle finger he deserves.  

On twitter: @BobBrigham

[ Parent ]
I have NO idea what this means (4.00 / 2)
Care to explain?

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
sorry, was only on iphone (4.00 / 1)
Added some links. In short, saying Hindery was blackballed for his economic views is like saying Bush was hated for trading Sammy Sosa.

On twitter: @BobBrigham

[ Parent ]
When are you training your guns on Gibbs? .. (4.00 / 2)
didn't Gibbs(yes .. now Obama's Press Secretary) help run some nasty ads against Howard Dean in '04?)

[ Parent ]
Yup, Gibbs worked for Hindery (0.00 / 0)
When Obama announced him as campaign spokesman, Gibbs was bashed all over the blogs. But that wasn't the time to lead and govern, it was the time to stop Hillary.

And there is a big difference between a hired gun working for Obama and a funder of sleaze running a department.  

On twitter: @BobBrigham


[ Parent ]
do any of these facts have anything to do . . (3.00 / 4)
with your allegations about Hindrey?   I think not.  Your only "fact" about Hindrey is some Politico crib, which by its own terms contains the caveat, "one possible source of friction."  

Your style is not dissimilar to Ann Coulter's.  But, please, don't take that as an insult.  It takes a lot of balls to disseminate controversial rumors without any real support, and with a straight face.  

The Post Partisan


[ Parent ]
Again, facts (2.00 / 2)
Sadly, the Hindrey scalping is only one chapter in what has been one long narrative arc whereby economic progressives have been deliberatelyy shut out of top administration jobs. Amid a stable of eminently qualified and well-respected progressives like James Galbraith, Robert Reich, Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and Larry Mishel, Obama has chosen Rubin sycophants like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner to run the economy - the same Larry Summers who pushed the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act, the same Geithner who masterminded the kleptocratic bank bailout, the same duo whose claim to fame is their personal connections to Rubin, a disgraced Citigroup executive at the center of the current meltdown. Indeed, the only movement progressive in a top economic position is Jared Bernstein, and he was relegated to an amorphous job in the Vice President's office.


[ Parent ]
progressive? (4.00 / 4)
By progressive, do you mean like Americans for Jobs, Healthcare & Progressive Values that he funded with $100,000? That kind of progressive economically?

Dean Tarred In 'Osama' Ad
Secretive '527' Group Uses Bin Laden Image To Attack Howard Dean

In its third ad in the past two weeks, the secretive 527 group Americans for Jobs, Healthcare & Progressive Values (AJHPV) brings out its harshest attacks to date against Howard Dean.

The ad's sole visual is a slowly moving shot of a Time Magazine cover featuring Osama bin Laden. As the picture zooms in on a close-up of bin Laden's eyes, the announcer intones, "Howard Dean just cannot compete with George Bush on foreign policy." The ad concludes by asking Democrats - presumably those who currently support Dean - to "think about that ... and think about it now."

Progressive financing?

If the harsh criticism of Dean were not enough to make the ad of interest, a controversy over AJHPV's funding has drawn further attention. AJHPV has refused to disclose its financial backers and the IRS does not require 527s to file until January 31, after the first two make-or-break primaries.

As Kos noted:

Given his past actions, I have no love for Hindery. The Osama/Dean ad was the most despicable attack by a Democrat on another Democrat this past election cycle.

And Hindery is so progressive he hates the blogs for not liking him as much as the netroots have hated him for smearing Dr. Dean.

Whether Dean's rise signals a shift in Democratic power more generally is open to debate. True, as Lizza writes, big party donors like Leo Hindery can no longer drop into a DNC meeting and expect that the endorsements of people like Dick Gephardt will give them the DNC chairmanship by acclamation. (Lizza says that Hindery's aides were so thunderstruck by the blog-enduced animosity toward their man at a DNC meet-and-greet in Orlando that they sent him home before he appeared, leaving some Democratic operatives to salute him in absentia with drinks from his hotel mini-bar.)

If he was blackballed, it is most likely for being a total douchebag.

On twitter: @BobBrigham


[ Parent ]
I tend to agree (0.00 / 0)
The beatifying of this guy is a mistake. That's not to say there aren't positive things about him, but inasmuch as its a bad idea to divide political intrigue into bright-line, hard and fast absolute "good guy" and "bad guy" camps (T Boone Pickens, anyone?), its an especially bad idea to make this guy out to be a progressive/populist martyr/hero.

undercaffeinated

[ Parent ]
Speculative fiction (4.00 / 2)
is an honorable form of literature.

Re: It's almost as if... (4.00 / 1)
I've been wondering the same thing since Obama won the primary. It's very difficult to get a true picture of how much power the economic/military elites actually have. Do they sit in the rafters above the stage and just pull strings? Or do they just do a great job of mind-fu**ing the people in their orbit to get them to act within the confines of what is in large part an illusory power? Who out there doesn't wonder if the Kennedy assassination didn't have something to do with power and obedience?

Like a lot of things, I suspect the reality lies somewhere in between. Chomsky has written some really interesting stuff about academic elites and how submitting to institutional power forces them into incredible acts of self-deception. I think this insight has a fair bit to do with how generally decent people (and I get the sense that Obama is a generally decent sort, despite the ambition that must drive him), allow themselves to make some very cowardly trade-offs. I suspect that he rationalizes a lot of this with well-developed convictions about incrementalism as the most effective mode of change, etc.

It's not easy to do the right thing in politics. That's why it's so important that people continue to organize around deeply held and shared beliefs about equality and democracy. The organizing of regular citizens is, in a sense, less political (may be a reason why they call them 'social movements' and not 'political movements') and perhaps less corruptible because of that.

Anyway, just some thoughts.


[ Parent ]
It's almost as if a bunch of top Wall St. Democrats (4.00 / 1)
got together 2-3 years ago and decided that Obama was the right guy for the job, and they'd back him, just as they did Clinton, so long as he did their bidding on matters financial and economic. In exchange, he'd get to implement comparatively small-bore domestic reforms like Fair Pay and more funding for schools (but still far short of what's needed), and run the DoJ as he wished (provided that he didn't go after Wall St. types, which might explain the Holder pick given the Rich pardon). He'd also be allowed to dial down on the military aggression and hard imperialism stuff, which suited them just fine as they're more into soft power and economic imperialism (which Clinton unsurprisingly just renamed "Smart Power" because everyone knows that when you slap a new name on something, it changes everything).

So far, everything appears to be going according to plan for them, so I'm thinking that this is precisely what happened, and why Obama won. Obviously, they weren't going to let another Repub get in the White House for a while, especially an idiot like McCain and his sidekicks Sarah and Joe. And Obama was the most malleable and competent of the likely Dems, Edwards being unreliable and a bit of a lightweight, Clinton having her own power base at this point and thus hard to control, and the rest just not presidential material, electorally.

Someone please convince me that I'm wrong. I so want to believe that I am.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


Possible. (0.00 / 0)
Obama campaigned on health care and on rolling back the Bush tax cuts, and on ending the war in Iraq.  With those positions, he took on Insurance/Pharmaceutical, the wealthy generally, and the Military-Industrial Complex.  He wasn't dealing a death blow to any of these three, but he was doing some damage to their interests, and he said so.

He didn't ever campaign against Wall Street or even free trade in any meaningful way though.  And he openly took shitloads of Wall Street money.  Hillary took shitloads of insurance co money, and McCain of course has an entirely different constituency.  But Obama never really said anything against how finance was done in this country, and not a whole lot against how trade was done, though I confess I wasn't listening too intelligently to the trade stuff.  

So it's quite reasonable to think that he did just flat-out tell the Wall Street people that he had no plans to mess with their business model.  Excepting some parts of the tax code, he didn't articulate any such plans.

Now, the contrast with Clinton, in which Wall St prefers Obama because Clinton is too powerful and independent already; I don't buy that at all.  There's no reason to think Clinton (either of em) would be doing anything any different right now.  I mean, the Clintons were the ones who originally built the New Democrats around Rubinomics.  Rubin and Summers are with us because of Clinton, Bill.  I don't think Clinton, Hillary would have done anything more economically leftist than Obama is doing now.

The rest of your vision I think is correct.  We did not elect a man who was running against Wall St.  We had no reason to think we were or had, either.


[ Parent ]
Obama campaigned on health care?! OH yeah (4.00 / 3)
You mean by running Harry & Louise style ads against Hillary in Ohio?  As Krugman said at the time: "Poisoning the well."

Oh, and Obama whipping TARP would fit in very well with the Wall Street Democrats idea. Nice theory.

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  


[ Parent ]
Re the Clintons (0.00 / 0)
My point wasn't that they were any less close to Wall St., just that, being more established political entities with established power bases than Obama, they'd probably be less malleable than Obama in terms of policy directions. Obama's was the new guy, open to ideas and still not having decided firmly on what to do, whereas I think the Clintons knew exactly what they wanted to do. I think it was a matter of preferring to deal with the new guy, not policy or ideology.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
The $1 Million Question is How to Justify the $1 Million (0.00 / 0)
Can someone (or is someone) justify Hindrey's $1 million plus driver perks to Daschle?  That's great Hindrey might have progressive values, but these people should know better about these types of arrangements.

Give me a break.



I know Daschel's history (0.00 / 0)
as a credit card lobbyist.  I am not as enthused about him.

My blog  

Hindery & TCI (4.00 / 1)
David: Not sure how long you've been on the Colorado Front Range, but some of us remember Mr. Hindery very well. He was the president of TCI, the notorious cable TV company w/ a horrible customer-service track record. Hindery masterfully cobbled together many cable systems here and elsewhere and sold the whole rotting, fraying mess to AT&T in one of the most grand 'lipstick on a pig' sales in history, netting millions. Engineers laugh about that to this day ... How he kept a straight face during those days is unknown. Ask his bud John Malone.

It's not a stretch to say he was a telecom Robber Baron, building tons of market cap by dazzling Wall St. at the expense of cust. service & AT&T shareholders. I always thought his conversion & advocacy on Huff Post was his way of doing penance -- anyways, there are better 'progressives' to hang your hat on -- Robert Reich, maybe? Check out his latest on populism at http://robertreich.blogspot.com/


Hindrey was also involved with .. (4.00 / 1)
Global Crossing ... so he does have a very checkered record indeed

[ Parent ]
Hindery and TCI (0.00 / 0)
I was also living in the front range when TCI was jerking around it's subscribers with poor service.

I agree that TCI became one of the pathetic jokes in the Front Range of CO.  


[ Parent ]
U.S. under imminent threat! (0.00 / 0)
Obama is the "messiah" who will bring the economic shock doctrine to the United States: Extreme free market capitalism that will devastate ordinary people and concentrate wealth in an increasingly fewer and fewer hands.

MUST READ: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein

Analysis of Obama:
   * http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
   * http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
   * http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

http://MostCrucial.Info


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