Sunday, January 25, 2015

The True Face Of The Democratic Party

In an adjective heavy column, Matthew Continetti reveals his wish that Tom Steyer runs for the soon to be contested California Senate seat currently held by Barbara Boxer.

What better face for the Democratic party than a straight, white, gender-conforming male worth $1.6 billion who gave up finance capitalism for cronyism? This billionaire’s political career is a study in what money can buy: His support for Obama bought him a speaking gig at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and the $74 million he spent in the 2014 election cycle got him White House access, Democratic votes against the Keystone Pipeline, and a presidential veto threat. I cannot be the sole political junkie who is curious as to how much an endorsement by Hillary Clinton actually costs: $10 million, $20 million? If Steyer were to run, we would find out.

How ironic would it be, how sweetly delicious, if the first billionaire senator of the twenty-first century was not a Republican but a Democrat who stood against consumers, unions, Canada, and impoverished Third World nations; whose hobbyhorse is at the bottom of public priorities; whose inspiration is the fringe author and cross-country skier Bill McKibben; who owns, among a gazillion other things, an 1,800-acre coastal property in California known as the “TomKat Ranch” that includes “a long waist-high granite pool filled with Koi, the remains of an unsuccessful attempt at sustainable fish farming that now doubles as a huge outdoor dining table”; whose decades in finance involved such questionable investments and dodgy moves as an attempt to manipulate the Russian economy, ties to a $67 million dollar Ponzi scheme, coal plants that the New York Times says “will generate tens of millions of tons of carbon pollution for years, if not decades, to come,” and a plot to steal water from Colorado ranchers worthy of Daniel Plainview; whose behavior was so rapacious and so ethically suspect that a divestment campaign was organized to combat it; who donated to politicians and think tanks that advocated for subsidies to green energy companies while he and his hedge fund profited from those very policies; who admits that environmental radicalism is an “opportunity to make a lot of money”; whose separation from his fund, announced in December 2012, was "ongoing" as of June, 2014; who so well represents the new liberalism, its hypocrisies and aristocratic bearing, its moral sanctimony and group-think and apocalyptic fever, its almost awe-inspiring capacity to delude the affluent, entitled, privileged, conformist, and banal into thinking that they are the confederates of the poor, the boosters of the downtrodden, intellectual rebels and oh so quirky and special.


Rare is the candidacy that would have something for everyone. I myself cannot wait for one moment in particular. If we are able to persuade Tom Steyer to change his mind, there will come a day when the lady from Goldman Sachs, Hillary “We were dead broke” Clinton, jets to the Golden State to rally behind him, to warn the nation of the climate-change peril and lend her support not only to Steyer’s candidacy but also to his agenda of taxes, subsidies, high density, and low growth. On the stage, surrounded by a worshipful crowd and armed guards, Clinton and Steyer will smile foolishly, will wave and laugh and beam. Then they will embrace.

And for that brief moment, no more than a few seconds, the world will see what liberalism looks like: a pair of insanely rich and connected white grandparents, a billionaire and a former first lady, two wooden geriatrics congratulating themselves for imposing costs on their social inferiors to address a questionable problem no one cares about. Aging, powerful, insular, bejeweled, removed, self-important, self-obsessed, daft, and lily-lily-white — ladies and gentlemen and two-spirits, I present to you the face of the Democratic party!

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