Man Without Qualities

Monday, July 22, 2002

Democrats Get Down To Business

UPDATE: When Roger Altman, former deputy Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, starts writing articles like this for the Wall street Journal, perhaps Mr. Gephardt and other anti-business jihadists may want to take the note and re-think their current strategy.


The New York Times apparently wants to reassure us that Democrats will be able to extract money from business, notwithstanding their current jihad against corporate America:

Mr. Gephardt, of Missouri ... has been working overtime on fund-raising... "Your resources will help us win races all over the country," he told a wine-sipping audience of 100 or so ... Guests included representatives of the airline, high-tech and automotive industries, and Washington lobbyists with many corporate clients. Mr. Gephardt's office declined to provide a list of people who attended ... Earlier this month, aides said, Robert W. Pittman, the AOL-Time Warner executive who resigned on Thursday, held a fund-raiser at his Manhattan apartment for Mr. Gephardt. Advisers to Mr. Gephardt reject any suggestion that his push for new business regulations should disqualify him from raising corporate donations. They say his agenda has drawn strong support from corporate officers. "What Mr. Gephardt and Democrats are saying is not anti-business, it is anticriminal behavior," said Erik Smith, his spokesman.

It is interesting that “[a]dvisers to Mr. Gephardt reject any suggestion that his push for new business regulations should disqualify him from raising corporate donations.” Who, exactly, has been making those suggestions? The Times doesn’t say. Don’t the reporters know?

And while the Times reporters interviewed various politicians, lobbyists and congressional aides, somehow the reporters weren't able to come up with a single, actual, live businessman to confirm that Mr. Gephardt's strident, nearly hysterical broadside attacks on business "have drawn strong support from corporate officers." Indeed, Gephardt's people wouldn't even give the Times a copy of the guest list from the fundraiser. Perhaps the Gephardtians were concerned about what one of the "guests" might say in that tender 24-hour interval after being fleeced under these circumstances.

And considering what AOL-Time Warner had in mind earlier this month for Mr. Pittman at the time he held that fundraiser for Mr. Gephardt, I'm not sure the Minority Leader should take that occurrence as an entirely positive gesture, especially since Mr. Pittman is being lined up to be assigned most of the blame for some possible AOL-Time Warner accounting irregularities.

But business can't just freeze Mr.Gephardt out completely. After all, regardless of his policies, the Party-Out-Of-Power (in this case, the Democrats) do tend to gain seats in mid-term elections. So there is a good chance Mr.Gephardt will be Speaker next year, just by the historical numbers.

Perhaps he lets those business leaders know that when he asks them to pay up.

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