Bill Black & Norman Solomon: Clinton's Transition Team Foretells a Corporate Presidency
Economist William Black discusses the Clinton transition team with The Real News. Continue playing after my programmed stopping point to hear Black discuss Trump's transition team.
by Gaius Publius
There is no question that if Donald Trump becomes president, corporations will have the run of the place. Trump is not a populist; he just plays one on TV. There are other negatives to a Trump presidency as well — rampant nativism, religious intolerance and bigotry, and the full Pandora's list of right-wing evils, coupled with the right-wing's eager willingness to go full-speed in the wrong direction every time they have real power.
That doesn't mean a Clinton presidency will be peaches and roses. Analyzing Clinton's recently announced transition team, it looks like corporate rule will be a feature of her regime as well, at least as a number of writers see it — for example, progressive Norman Solomon (below) and economist and professor Bill Black (quoted below and in the video above).
I write this (a) in the full expectation that a Clinton presidency is fully in our future (assuming none of the remaining black swans land), and (b) that the Becky Bond Rule — which requires anti-Sanders Clinton activists to be first in line to fix what she breaks — is still in place.
So, what might be broken if the next four years are Clinton-controlled? No one can know for sure, of course, and the candidate is still on the stump, so we won't hear wicked plans even if there are some, which if we're lucky there won't be.
But a candidate's transition team is a strong indicator of future policy, since the transition team basically stocks a new administration with people, or at least, strongly suggests candidates — a lot of them. With that in mind, here's Norman Solomon, writing at the Huffington Post, on the recently announced Clinton transition team. Solomon quotes economist and professor Bill Black, from the video above, and offers his own analysis (my emphasis throughout):
Clinton's Transition Team: A Corporate Presidency ForetoldWhat are the politics of this group, according to Black?
... Clinton is showing her solidarity with the nemesis of the Sanders campaign -- Wall Street. The trend continued last week with the announcement that Clinton has tapped former senator and Interior secretary Ken Salazar to chair her transition team.
After many months of asserting that her support for the "gold standard" Trans-Pacific Partnership was a thing of the past -- and after declaring that she wants restrictions on fracking so stringent that it could scarcely continue -- Clinton has now selected a vehement advocate for the TPP and for fracking, to coordinate the process of staffing the top of her administration.
But wait, there's more -- much more than Salazar's record -- to tell us where the planning for the Hillary Clinton presidency is headed.
On the surface, it might seem like mere inside baseball to read about the transition team's four co-chairs, described by Politico as "veteran Clinton aides Maggie Williams and Neera Tanden" along with "former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm." But the leaders of the transition team -- including Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, who is also president of the Clinton-Kaine Transition Project -- will wield enormous power.
"The transition team is one of the absolute most important things in the world for a new administration," says William K. Black, who has held key positions at several major regulatory agencies such as the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. Along with "deciding what are we actually going to make our policy priorities," the transition team will handle key questions: "Who will the top people be? Who are we going to vet, to hold all of the cabinet positions, and many non-cabinet positions, as well? The whole staffing of the senior leadership of the White House."
Black's assessment of Salazar, Podesta and the transition team's four co-chairs is withering. "These aren't just DNC regulars, Democratic National Committee regulars," he said in an interview with The Real News Network [video above]. "What you're seeing is complete domination by what used to be the Democratic Leadership Council."
[Black:] "So this was a group we talked about in the past. Very, very, very right-wing on foreign policy, what they called a muscular foreign policy, which was a euphemism for invading places. And very, very tough on crime..."Another writer looking at the same subject (and quoting the same Bill Black interview), Paul Street, offers this about other members of Clinton's transition team:
Black added: "And on the economic side, they were all in favor of austerity. All in favor of privatization. Tried to do a deal with Newt Gingrich to privatize Social Security. And of course, were all in favor of [trade agreements] like NAFTA."
It Takes a Ruling-Class Village to Staff the White HouseI don't want to turn this into an essay. I just want to give the short strokes and list some names to watch — Tom Donilan, Neera Tanden, Maggie Williams, Jennifer Granholm — along with the truly terrible, pro-TPP, pro-fracking Ken Salazar. We'll have more about these fine people in due time, I'm sure. (About Neera Tanden, we've already written a little bit.)
... Also on Clinton’s transition leadership team is [Tom] Donilon, a member of the Bilderberg Group’s steering committee. After serving as Obama’s national security adviser from late 2010 through the spring of 2013, he became a distinguished fellow at the CFR [Council on Foreign Relations] and resumed his prior longstanding position as a partner in the leading multinational corporate law firm O’Melveny & Myers.
Other senior Clinton transition officials are longstanding, Democratic Leadership Council-style operatives Neera Tanden (a Yale Law graduate and president of the CAP), Maggie Williams (partner in a leading Washington, D.C., management consulting firm and former director of a top mortgage lending firm that collapsed in late 2007) and Harvard Law graduate Jennifer Granholm (whose pro-Big Business record as a two-term Michigan governor helped score her lucrative positions on the boards of Universal Forest Products Inc. and Dow Chemical).
Hillary Clinton may turn out to be a progressive's dream as president. That's certainly the claim, and perhaps the belief, of her most ardent activist supporters. If that turns out to be true, we'll all celebrate together.
But if it doesn't, remember the Becky Bond Rule — those who broke it (the campaign of the genuinely progressive Bernie Sanders) have the first obligation to fix what their own choice does wrong. Looking at the transition team, the odds that Clinton-supporting anti-Sanders progressives (and "progressives") will have their work cut out for them.