Occupying a place roughly equidistant between the Blue Dogs and the Progressives, but slightly to the right of the House Democratic caucus as a whole, the New Democrats are an often overlooked third (and now fourth) ideological group within the House Democratic caucus as a whole. Ideologically speaking, the New Democrats are closely aligned with 1990's Clintonian policies, and the Democratic Leadership Council. Generally speaking, it is a corporatist group that is left-wing on cultural issues. Of any ideological group in either major political party, the New Democrats were consistently the staunchest supporters of the Wall Street bailout, for example.
The New Democrat Coalition, comprising 60-plus centrist Democrats, are planning a news conference early next week to unveil its principles for revamping financial market regulation, Politico has learned.
The group is working with the White House on the issue and has already met with former New Dem Rahm Emanuel, the former Illinois congressman who's now Obama's chief of staff. The New Dems are also planning a meeting with the president himself.
Already, key coalition members have met recently with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the powerful chairman of the House Financial Services Committee who'll lead the financial regulatory reform effort in the House.
This sounds all well and good in practice, as they are talking with the real leaders on the effort, Chairman Barney Frank and the Obama administration. However, financial industry lobbyist megaphone Melissa Bean (IL-08) reveals their real agenda--keep the regulations to a minimum:
Their regulatory principles focus on putting robust consumer protections in place, but also ensuring the new rules support overall economic growth, "which is critical to getting our economy back on the foundation that it needs for the future," Bean explained in an interview.
"Congress can be very well intentioned," she said, "but in its best intentions sometimes so overreacts or overcompensates that it can create other unintended consequences that are problematic and stifling to our economy."
The New Democrats see themselves as helping counteract such overreaching and overreaction, she said.
In our current economic climate, it takes an extraordinary level of deference to the financial sector to argue that the real problem with the federal government's relationship with that industry is that it often over-regulates. And yet, even as our economy has collapsed largely because of lax regulations, Melissa Bean tells the Politico, with a straight face, that Congress is well intentioned but often over-regulates.
With spokespeople like this, its no wonder the New Democrats have seen their influence decline over the past few years.