Magazine article The Spectator

Movers and Shakers

Magazine article The Spectator

Movers and Shakers

Article excerpt

New York

A recent profile in a glossy described him as a member of the Wall Street aristocracy, a man to whose parties the rich and powerful trip over themselves to attend, a networker nonpareil - in short, the greatest big hitter who has ever graced this poor earth of ours. Leave it to an American glossy to out-Tatler Tatler, and get it just as wrong. His name is Steve Rattner, and he looks like a rodent, except that he wears glasses. He is a shifty-looking little balding man, who is to Wall Street aristocracy what Paris Hilton is to discretion. He is Obama's chief adviser in dealing with Detroit, the car tsar, in fact.

It was at a dinner and I was seated at the same table as the Rat and Mrs Rat, a woman who calls herself Maureen White, socialite.

It was the first and last time I set eyes on them. Madame Rat was quite unpleasant, making it obvious that my wife and I were below her standards. The Rat was just as hostile, but kept his opinions to himself.

The Rattners made their names by getting on every Big Bagel committee imaginable. It is the quickest way up cafe society, and they took full advantage of it. The Rat comes from a modest background but learned early on to hook up with movers and shakers, as people who buy influence are known in this town. His top catch was Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times, the paper Rattner went to work for but eventually left for the greener pastures of banking. He remained tight with Sulzberger, a man who inherited a great fortune and is about to turn it into a very small one, and this friendship led to people like Michael Bloomberg, Mort Zuckerman, Richard Holbrooke, the Clintons and others too fishy to name in this here column.

The reason I'm writing about this social climber is because of his involvement in a scandal of gigantic proportions, yet as recently as last Friday a White House spokesman said President Obama had full confidence in the Rat. I find this very strange. I know a man is innocent until proved guilty, but I also know about Caesar's wife. A new administration that is printing trillions of dollars and taxing everyone to the limit cannot afford types like Steve Rattner cutting corners. After leaving journalism, the Rat joined Lazard Freres and became Felix (the Fixer) Rohatyn's minion. …

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