NOT WANTED: Enron Democrats

By Greider, William | The Nation, April 8, 2002 | Go to article overview

NOT WANTED: Enron Democrats


Greider, William, The Nation


If left-labor-liberal progressives had the cohesion and muscle of their right-wing opposites, they would be articulating a simple-to-understand litmus test for the Democratic Party--no "Enron Democrats" on the presidential ticket in 2004. That precondition would eliminate a number of presidential wannabes now mentioned by the Washington media's Great Mentioner. Scratch Senator Joe Lieberman. Forget the happy talk about Senate majority leader Tom Daschle's running for the White House. And Senator Joe Biden can stop daydreaming. These men--and perhaps some other would-be candidates--do not pass the Enron smell test.

It is not that Enron Democrats got a lot of money themselves from the now-ruined energy company, but they are implicated in more significant ways. On various matters, they helped set the stage for the scandalous behavior of Enron and other highfliers now in disgrace. They defended the degraded accounting standards that hoodwinked investors. Or they promoted financial gimmicks and deregulatory measures that opened the way for grand malpractice. Or they formed thick alliances with the very banks, auditing firms and corporations that are now running for cover--sued, investigated or defrocked as New Economy marvels.

Enron Democrats are compromised by their own past behavior, which explains why the Democratic Party's reaction to this spectacle is so muted. Much as in the S&L scandals of the late 1980s, an unspoken truce may emerge between the two parties--don't throw mud at me or I'll throw some back--since so many leading Democrats are implicated along with the Republicans. The hallmark of "Enron issues" is the ease with which Democrats desert the interests of their party's core constituencies to serve the political needs of business and banking. Some doubtless do so as a matter of conviction; some doubtless are convinced by the money.

Apostasy is a safe vote for Democrats, at least on financial issues that are obscure and complicated. Rank-and-file voters cannot connect the dots in order to recognize the betrayal; Republicans cannot attack them for their pro-banker votes. And labor-liberal groups--the valiant people who actively oppose these business-banking "reforms" in the legislative arena--will not attack either. This is because the Democrats always offer a billboard agenda at election time--a few important "people issues" like healthcare, Social Security, the environment--to draw a sharp contrast with the wicked Republicans. Other complaints are silenced, especially less familiar ones. Disappointed activists, from organized labor to consumer, civil rights and women's groups, swallow their anger and fall into line. Unlike the right, progressives feel too weak or scattered to propose their own litmus test, much less enforce it.

Enron Democrats understand this. They are masters at stroking their discontented constituencies while voting against them on bedrock economic issues. The Enron storm, among other revelations, illustrates the inconstancy of the Democratic Party or, as some say more simply, its loss of soul.

Citibank Democrats

Labor and consumer lobbyists felt a chill in early March when Senate majority leader Tom Daschle announced his intention to get "a strong bankruptcy bill out of conference and on the President's desk within four weeks, so the bill can be signed before we go home for the Easter recess." Bankruptcy "reform" is of a different order from Enron fraud or loophole bookkeeping by Arthur Andersen, but it emanates from the same political sources and is, likewise, hideously one-sided in its impact on ordinary citizens. The legislation was written by major banks and the credit-card industry, wishing to tighten the screws on debt-soaked families. No one doubts this measure will make life even more miserable for the people maxed out on their credit cards and on the brink of

Chapter 7. Daschle's statement meant the Democratic leader thinks it is now safe to enact the bankers' bill. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

NOT WANTED: Enron Democrats
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.