An 18-minute recording obtained by The Daily Beast finds President Obama on a conference call urging donors to “max out” campaign contributions to battle the GOP super PAC juggernauts.
“I’m asking you to meet or exceed what you did in 2008,” said Obama. “Because we’re going to have to deal with these super PACs in a serious way.
“And if we don’t, frankly I think the political (scene) is going to be changed permanently,” he added. “Because the special interests that are financing my opponent’s campaign are just going to consolidate themselves. They’re gonna run Congress and the White House.”
Obama noted that while people had a vision of immediate change in ’08, many have since learned that “change is hard, especially when you’ve got an obstructionist Republican Congress.” But Obama added, “Nevertheless, we’ve gotten more done in the last three years than most presidents do in eight years … I just hope you guys haven’t become disillusioned. I hope all of you still understand what’s at stake and why this is so important … I still believe in you guys, and I hope you still believe in me and the possibilities of this campaign.”
It’s almost enough to make the skeptic long for the days of Obama’s early promise. For many on the Left, however, Obama stumbled immediately when he caved to American banking and business interests by failing to bring those who tanked the economy in 2007 and 2008 to justice. Not one of the prime movers behind the sub-prime mortgage and credit-default swap crisis has been brought to trial.
Instead, Obama held up JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon as a model of a good bank CEO—the same man who lobbied against the Volcker Rule, which would have banned credit-default swaps. Ironically, JPMorgan’s London branch made risky trades with credit-default swaps and suffered $2 billion in trading losses (though the figure might reach as high as $9 billion), triggering memories of 2007′s real estate madness.
That is not the change expected of Obama, but the cold, hard reality of political compromise—especially compromise with an increasingly right-wing, obstructionist GOP which is more intent on defeating Obama than actually getting something done.
Obama’s problem is that he has tried to satisfy everyone. He has tried to be a populist and progressive, while reassuring big business that he supports American finance, investment and innovation. It is an incredibly difficult path to strike as evidenced by disaffected voters on the Left and GOP, corporations and billionaires on the Right.
But Obama is right about one thing: “a few billionaires can’t drown out millions of voices.” And that is exactly what they are trying to do. They want to craft a message to deceive average Americans, or distort the counter-argument, as well as bribe politicians with dreams of election or re-election.