President Obama headlined three separate fundraisers in Manhattan on Wednesday. Despite his wailing about Wall Street, it is impossible to imagine that his $2.4 million haul did not include Wall Street cash — yet again.
Wall Street’s “fat-cat bankers,” as he calls them, are among those whom Obama loves to hate. And yet he has pocketed their supposedly tainted funds for years.
For people he evidently disrespects (“These executives are out there giving themselves huge bonuses”), Obama sure knows how to host a financier-laden crowd of New Yorkers. Wednesday night’s event at the East Village’s posh Gotham Bar and Grill, for instance, featured dry-aged Niman Ranch steak with Bordelaise sauce, marrow mustard custard, baby carrots, and Vidalia onion rings, followed by Migliorelli Farm Honey Crisp apple strudel, chocolate pecan pie, and cinnamon ice cream. Cost: $38,500 per person.
According to OpenSecrets.org, the Center for Responsive Politics’ indispensable campaign-finance database (which aggregates Federal Election Commission figures), Obama has collected $4,164,417 in donations for the 2012 election from individuals in the finance, insurance, and real-estate sectors. Through November 14, this included $1,778,628 from the securities and investment industry (his fifth-largest donation source), $584,384 from miscellaneous finance sources, and $251,324 from commercial banks. Goldman Sachs employees, for example, have coughed up $50,124 for Obama, while those at Bank of America have given $26,562.
These windfall profits from the money-changing elite did not prevent Obama from endorsing Occupy Wall Street. Obama told journalists on October 6 that the occupiers at Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park were “giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.” Five days later, Obama complained that “not everybody’s been following the rules.” He added: “Wall Street is an example of that.”
OWS’s early idealism soon grew ugly. Sexual molestation of women at Zuccotti Park prompted organizers to open a women-only tent, where female protesters could sleep without getting groped by men.
Anti-Semitism soon raised its head. “I think the Zionist Jews who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve . . . need to be run out of this country,” declared one Los Angeles occupier. “Jewish money controls American politics,” a New York occupier complained. Still others hollered: “Jews control Wall Street!”
“Shut down Burger King!,” Occupy Oakland protesters screamed while sabotaging an establishment that feeds “the 99 percent.” They soon set fires in downtown Oakland and defaced buildings with graffiti. Then they blockaded the Port of Oakland on November 2, irritating unionized longshoremen.
On November 4, thuggish occupiers forcibly disrupted the pro-free-market Defending the American Dream Summit in Washington, D.C.
“I’m a Communist,” one L.A. occupier admitted November 7 on Fox News. He concluded: “Nothing positive can come about unless you get rid of America.”
After all of this, when occupiers heckled Obama in New Hampshire, he re-embraced them. As he said on November 22, “Young people like the ones here today — including the ones who were just chanting at me — you’re the reason that I ran for office in the first place.”
Then again, Wall Street’s money never has been too dirty for Obama’s campaigns, his derision notwithstanding.
For his 2008 presidential bid, donors in the securities and investment business were Obama’s No. 4 source of campaign loot, just behind the education industry. Wall Street, broadly defined, poured $15,798,904 into Obama’s treasure chest. Overall, contributors in the finance, insurance, and real-estate sectors pumped $42,047,073 into Obama’s quest for “hope and change.” His top contributors in that contest included those at his No. 2 campaign spigot, Goldman Sachs ($1,013,091). Other leading donors included staffers at JPMorgan Chase ($808,799), Citigroup ($736,771), UBS ($532, 674), and Morgan Stanley ($512,232).
Even for Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate race, the securities and investment industry’s PACs furnished $61,500. Individuals wrote checks for $1,490,697. Total: $1,552,197.
Nevertheless, Obama still denounced his own financial supporters last April 10 as people who will “take whatever you can get, however you can get it.” In December 2009, Obama announced on CBS’s 60 Minutes: “The people on Wall Street still don’t get it. They don’t get it.”
If Wall Street and its denizens really are as repulsive as Obama insists, he easily can purify himself of this supposed infection: He eagerly should refund their nasty money and refuse any more of it.
If Barack H. Obama fails to do this, Americans should conclude that the H does not mean Hussein. It stands for Hypocrite.
— New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.