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April 06, 2006

A Winning Democratic Strategy From People Who Hate Democrats

David Sirota points out here that the Brookings Institution has launched something called "The Hamilton Project" led by Robert Rubin.

Looking at it, you can tell right away who the Hamilton Project is for: Wall Street Democrats. Or as I like to call them, "The Party of Gay Investment Bankers and Corporate Lawyers Whose Grandfathers Worked in the Roosevelt Administration." (In fact, by my count, its advisory council includes twelve investment bankers.) They're people who should naturally be Republicans, but just can't bear having to hang out with Pat Robertson.

The funny thing is, they're apparently desperate to make this clear. Why? BECAUSE THEY'RE CALLING THEMSELVES "THE HAMILTON PROJECT."

Let's ask the Democratic Party's own website to explain the significance of this:

Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party in 1792 as a congressional caucus to fight for the Bill of Rights and against the elitist Federalist Party.

The "elitist Federalist Party," of course, was founded by Jefferson's chief rival Hamilton.

Moreover, if you only take one thing away from seventh-grade history, it's that Jefferson was the small-d democrat, while Hamilton famously exclaimed "The People!—The People is a Great Beast!" Hopefully that can be used as the title for all the Hamilton Project's proposals for free trade, balanced budgets and school vouchers:

"The People is a Great Beast!": A Plan for Economic Prosperity for 21st Century America

It's not that I don't feel for Robert Rubin & co. Times are tough for rich people who aren't completely insane. They understand the insane rich are ascendant and well on their way to destroying everything. In fact, this is probably the longest-running debate in American history:

Insane Rich: Let's kill everyone and take their money!

Non-Insane Rich: I like the way you think. I really do. But if we keep them alive and working for us, we'll make even more money in the long run.

Insane Rich: You communist!

Still, it might be nice if the Democratic party didn't get all its ideas from people who hate Democrats. But don't get your hopes up. Here's the one senator who spoke at the Hamilton Project launch:

Posted at April 6, 2006 10:40 AM | TrackBack

I hear you, man; right on.

Posted by: abb1 at April 6, 2006 11:21 AM

" might be nice if the Democratic party didn't get all its ideas from people who hate Democrats..."

Now, now. Be fair.

Democrats don't get "ALL" their ideas (or money) from those people, Jon--just the elite 'stratergic' stuff.

And those folks don't "hate" (rank and file) Democrats either--exactly. It's just that they CAN'T 'fraternize' with 'em--for 'professional' reasons, doncha know...

Posted by: Mike at April 6, 2006 11:51 AM

My guess is that they're more going after Hamilton as the first Secetary of the Treasury, founder of the National Bank, and advocate for greater Federal power and intervention in economic matters.

Posted by: Marcus at April 6, 2006 01:34 PM

Thanks for the grim reality check, Jonathan.

Posted by: Nell at April 6, 2006 02:39 PM

The wealthest person in the country is THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER. FELLOW TAXPAYERS, we own the government and therefore all it has, we own the military and all it has,and collectively we own most of the private property. We own all the TAXMONEY, we just have no control over how its collected or how its spent. Maybe THAT needs to change.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 6, 2006 05:43 PM

The clown sings, and throws up a skull:

But age, with his stealing steps,
Hath caught me in his clutch,
And hath shipped me intil the land,
As if I had never been such.


That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once: how the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it were Cain's jaw-bone, that did the first murder! This might be the pate of a politician, which this ass o'er-reaches; one that could circumvent God, might it not?

And so the Democrats must be easy prey, after God, that is.

Alas, Obama, alas, alas.

With apologies to Shakespear's ghost and to y'all.

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at April 6, 2006 08:37 PM

If the Democrats keep this up, they may turn into the "Democrats who Hate Democrats" party too...remember what Bill Hicks said of the "People who hate People" party?

Posted by: En Ming Hee at April 6, 2006 09:53 PM

Let's see...first Senator Obama speaks for Joe Lieberman at a confab in Connecticut, then he fronts for the Hamilton Project.

Two strikes and no balls, Senator?

Posted by: Jon Koppenhoefer at April 7, 2006 05:06 AM

"The Hamilton Project" is one of the worst names conceivable. I was always perplexed by the Federalist Sociey's name -- why would an ostensibly conservative group embrace the economic nationalism of Hamilton and Adams over the federalism of Jefferson? But then I started reading some history. Adams and Hamilton were philo-monarchists, nothing but contempt for the concept of democratic governance. Much of the "unitary executive" claptrap spewing from the legal right is actually debased Hamiltonism.

My favorite book (though not the most scholarly) on the topic is Richard Rosenfeld's American Aurora.

As for the actual group, Sirota is overreacting. I downloaded the 102 megabyte webcast, and am about halfway through watching it. It's actually a pretty decent effort to persuade economic elites that their long term interests are contingent on the economic plight of workers. And they're right -- current wealth and income inequalities are unsustainable, the administration's unwavering catering to the rich is quickly undermining the economic and social stability the rich need to sustain their wealth.

That's not the most morally attractive argument. I'd rather we be able to persuade economic elites that some of their gains are, in fact, attributable to the sacrifices of their fellow Americans. But in lieu of a moral revolution among the rich, I'm willing to settle on interest-convergence as a persuasion tactic.

Good luck, Mr. Rubin.

Posted by: Dave Meyer at April 7, 2006 05:16 AM

Dave Meyer is quite right, what good is money when a pound of butter costs a pound of gold, Resrve Notes are worthless and electronic wealth disappears into the ether.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 7, 2006 11:45 AM

And they're right -- current wealth and income inequalities are unsustainable...

What exactly does this mean? That we get to string the capitalists up from the lampposts soon? I am SO there.

Posted by: saurabh at April 7, 2006 03:28 PM

Just saw this over at Counterpunch: Alexander was never one to mince words, right up front and usually on the mark.

"Meanwhile, at the other end of the country in Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman faced a decidedly cool audience at a big Democratic dinner at the end of March and got bailed out by his brother senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who told the crowd to haul out their check books and make sure Lieberman gets returned for another term.

What kind of a signal is this? Here is Obama, endlessly hailed as the brightest rising star in the Democratic firmament, delivering (at a closely watched political dinner, with Lieberman's primary opponent, Ned Lamont, sitting in the crowd) a ringing endorsement to his "mentor", Lieberman, Bush's closest Democratic ally on the war in Iraq, and overall pretty much a symbol of everything that's been wrong with the Democratic Party for the past twenty years. What a slimy fellow Obama is, as befits a man symbolizing everything that will continue to be wrong with the Democratic Party for the next twenty years. Every time I look up he's doing something disgusting, like distancing himself from his fellow senator Dick Durbin for denouncing the torture center at Guantanamo, or cheerleading the nuke-Iran crowd."

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at April 8, 2006 07:37 PM

Goddamit, Jon. This is why people who tell the truth are frequently universally despised; it's so depressing. I'm not suggesting you should stop; just saying it's probably a good thing you have the distance provided by the internets through which to communicate. Cassandra should have had a blog.

Posted by: Maud at April 9, 2006 06:09 AM

This is a bit of an aside, but I'm highly amuzed by the "History or the Democratic party". There seems to be a few mssing paragraphs between 1848 and the end of the 19th century. I wonder why that could be? Couldn't possibly have anything to do with their support for slavery and segregation could it?

Posted by: Marcus at April 10, 2006 12:27 PM

Nice site...look now

Posted by: Ferrer at April 13, 2006 09:37 PM

Wow, someone should save this post (with comments) for posterity....

Posted by: Monty at November 29, 2009 11:35 PM

Well, at least all those "F the President" bumper-stickers are good for four more years.

Posted by: rickpetes at November 30, 2009 10:06 AM