Summer Rerun: Attack of the Blob – How Professional Democrats and Professional Republicans Ran America Into the Ground


Naked Capitalism has the book review Summer Rerun: Attack of the Blob – How Professional Democrats and Professional Republicans Ran America Into the Ground.

This is a review of the new book by former Senate staffer and super-lobbyist Jeff Connaughton, Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins. The review is written by Matt Stoller, who writes for Salon and has contributed to Politico, Alternet, Salon, The Nation and Reuters. You can reach him at stoller (at) gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller

There’s a slate of important books coming out by reformers this year on what it was like to fight, and lose, for better policy during the financial reform fight. Neil Barofsky talked about facing the administration and Wall Street in Bailout, Sheila Bair has written about her experience at the FDIC, and now former Senate chief of staff for reform Senate Ted Kaufman, Jeff Connaughton, has provided his own memoir. Connaughton is not a rube, and doesn’t pretend to be shocked by DC corruption. His whole career is an anomaly, an idealist turned corporate super-lobbyist in the 1990s turned unlikely reformer in 2009. As such, he is uniquely positioned to describe how our political leaders, and which political leaders, think and act.

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Most books on politics with a polemical edge end with some sort of uplifting narrative. The narrative goes, here’s this insurmountable terrible problem, but we can fix it, somehow, somewhere. The Payoff is not like that.
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Sometimes, circumstances and a conscience can intrude at opportune moments. It seems like that’s what happened with Connaughton and his remarkable last two years. And now, he has quit the game, with this book — and perhaps “The Blob”, which may join the vernacular – as his legacy. He tried his best for two years, and it wasn’t enough. The fight is over, and the bad guys won. It’s a sad conclusion for someone like Connaughton, and for all those who fought the good fight over the last four years. But it’s hard to argue he’s wrong.


Finally a book without the obligatory and disappointing final chapter on how to fix the problem.

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