Today's NYT offers abundant evidence--if you needed any--that "change we can believe in" may be more elusive than we might have hoped.
For starters, we have the accountant headed "Financial Industry Paid Millions to Obama Aide," including the datum that Obama's economy superchief Larry Summers got $135,000 for a single speech--that to Goldman Sachs, who can certainly afford it. The article itself is Times-like anodyne, but if you need help connecting the dots, go here and here.
To my mind, however, there is at least as much meat in two other stories. One is an account of Rep. Peter J. Visclosky, D-Ind, and his relationship with the uberlobbyist PMA. Generously, the Times reminds us of Visclosky's "reputation for unblemished integrity," in a district "long notorious for political corruption scandals." That may be true enough, but beside the point. Visklosky's real skill (at least on his record) may be his knack for working in the white space around the letter of the law to bring the swag to the home folks: Visclosky long ago established himself as a point man in the campaign for protective steel tarrifs (cf. link).
As a pendant to the Visclosky, we can read the front-page account of how "Obama Plan to Slash Farm Subsidies Falls Short," featuring Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota. Conrad has established himself as perhaps President Obama's most prominent Democratic critic on budget issues, but his hard-fistedness does not extend to, e.g., the eight North Dakota "farm" entities that received more than $250,000 each in agricultural subsidies in 2006.
Okay, there is nothing really new here. It is just a reminder that politics remains what it has been: not so much an exercise in Platonic justice as a face-ripping brawl over Who Gets How Much.
Elsewhere in the NYT, I see that the chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland thinks that the current hostility to bankers counts as a "public flogging." If he thinks that he, secure behind his million-dollar pension, has sustained "public flogging," then I think he needs to get out more.