Clinton: I question the timing of the SEC action against Goldman Sachs

posted at 5:05 pm on April 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Bill Clinton also questions the merit of the SEC case against Goldman Sachs in this eye-opening clip noted by The Corner’s Daniel Foster. Coming from the previous Democratic predecessor, it undermines the argument carefully constructed by the Obama administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill that Goldman Sachs trashed the worldwide economic order out of greed and fraud. Instead, Clinton offers an alternate view that the nature of derivative trading is to blame, and provides no benefit except to those who play the game. At times, Clinton sounds almost Ron Paul-esque:

Normally, financial systems justify their existence by noting their role in allocating resources to successful entities and away from failures. This argument makes a great deal of sense, as the capital investment processes normally reward innovation, efficiency, and production. That question gets murkier when it comes to derivatives. Do winners in that market create opportunities in the real world, or do they just exist as a virtual casino for side bets that eat capital that could be put to better use? Wiser heads than mine will have to resolve that, but to the extent that it tends towards the virtual casino, better oversight needs to occur to ensure that damage only gets done to those who play the game.

Otherwise, this is rather notable for Clinton’s willingness to rebut the latest class-warfare agenda of his own party while his wife serves in Barack Obama’s Cabinet. To some extent, it’s self-serving, as he’s happy to assign himself the role of Great Equalizer, but that doesn’t explain it all. Could Clinton, ever the strategist, have some reason in mind for publicly sympathizing with Wall Street while current Democratic leadership demonizes it?


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Wow. Good for Clinton. At least he has a tiny ounce of sense. Obama has negative sense.

andy85719 on April 28, 2010 at 5:07 PM

OBAMA-Goldman Sachs you mean?

Did Bill not get his payoff on this issue yet?

PappyD61 on April 28, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Hey! Who is Chelsea working for these days?

Caper29 on April 28, 2010 at 5:08 PM

For once I agree with this skirt chasing hypocrite.

But just on this one issue.

UltimateBob on April 28, 2010 at 5:09 PM

See, the thing about Billy Jeff, as much as we loathe the power hungry little philanderer, is that he wasn’t really all that liberal.

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 28, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Did you know 4 of Goldman’s 5 in-house lobbyists are former Dem Staffers? The 5th is a Hillary donor.

Tim Carney from the Washington Examiner has been all over this story.

BUT NOBODY IS LISTENING!

tetriskid on April 28, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Clinton has always been a corporatist.

ButterflyDragon on April 28, 2010 at 5:10 PM

I think he’s probably sticking up for the work his daughter does every day.

myrenovations on April 28, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Bubba – you are both sides of every issue – every day.

jake-the-goose on April 28, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Do the leftist weenies think Goldman should have been buying the junk CDO’s insteadof selling? It would have been better if Goldman had traded stupidly?

seven on April 28, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Derivatives are NOT a “side bet” on the casino.

The purchase and selling of Farming contracts are derivatives. The contracts help the farmer reduce risk and the contract owner can sell the contracts in bulk to entities like McDonalds that might want a steady supply of tomatoes.

This was why derivatives worked for Fannie Mae. They bundled the mortgage contracts with good and bad loans to make an “equitable” mix and then sweetened the pie with “government guarantees”.

Clinton’s logic here is, as usual, purely for himself. Maybe he’s trying to pave the way for Hillary but, more likely he’s trying to paint himself as the great and noble statesman to repair his image. But Nixon he aint.

Skywise on April 28, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Translation: “Hey Barry, your check bounced. Now I want double.”

Daggett on April 28, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Could Clinton, ever the strategist, have some reason in mind for publicly sympathizing with Wall Street while current Democratic leadership demonizes it?

Still triangulating…

ninjapirate on April 28, 2010 at 5:13 PM

I think Monica’s boyfriend has some crossed wires since his little circulatory episode a couple of months back. He looked 10 years older overnight.

It would be great though, if he was setting the table for a Hillary challenge.

ontherocks on April 28, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Hey! Who is Chelsea working for these days?

Caper29 on April 28, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Funny you should ask…look what the cat drug in…

Chelsea Clinton is engaged to her longtime boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky, a spokesman for former President Clinton told ABC News.

People magazine got a hold of the couple’s email to friends and family sharing the news. They’re planning to wed next summer.

Engagement rumors were swirling earlier this year; Hillary Clinton shot them down in July.

“He’s great. He’s a great human being,” Bill Clinton said of his future son-in-law.

Mezvinsky works at Goldman Sachs; his parents are both former members of Congress. His father pleaded guilty in 2002 to swindling dozens of investors out of $10 million after getting caught up in a Nigerian scam. Interestingly, his mother lost her seat in a conservative congressional district after one term in part because she chose to vote for President Clinton’s first budget.

right2bright on April 28, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Um, his daughter works for a hedge fund, for starters.

Also, these guys are his buds — Rubin et al. The Wall Street guys may be in Obama’s pocket, but they’re not his friends. Obama’s friends are the Jeremiah Wrights of the world.

DaydreamBeliever on April 28, 2010 at 5:15 PM

So he thinks bureaucrats should judge the “usefulness” of a transaction when they couldn’t eve catch Madoff breaking laws?

the_nile on April 28, 2010 at 5:18 PM

One of Goldman’s lobbyists was a major Hillary donor.

Gee I wonder why Bill is shilling for them?

Lets see if I connect these two dots…

tetriskid on April 28, 2010 at 5:18 PM

Even if he’s telling the truth i don’t care what he says, His 15 minutes of fame was up the day he “did not have sexual relations with that women”. Piss off billy boy.

SHARPTOOTH on April 28, 2010 at 5:18 PM

Typical Billy Boy, playing both ends against the middle.

GrannyDee on April 28, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Could Clinton, ever the strategist, have some reason in mind for publicly sympathizing with Wall Street while current Democratic leadership demonizes it?

Easy.

Goldman Sachs and their ilk were huge campaign donors for Clinton.

Goldman Sachs executives Robert Menschel and Barrie Wigmore attend a coffee on May 1 and one week later, both wrote a check for $100,000 to the DNC. (Politics Now, 1/27/97)

link

alohapundit on April 28, 2010 at 5:19 PM

right2bright on April 28, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Small world..

the_nile on April 28, 2010 at 5:19 PM

I question the timing, too, but for different reasons altogether.

Vashta.Nerada on April 28, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Questioning Obama makes Clinton just like Timothy McVeigh.

Lehosh on April 28, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Media will suddenly discover Bill Clinton is a racist in 3 … 2 … 1

darwin on April 28, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Paybacks are a beotch, Barry.

Remember South Carolina!

Brian1972 on April 28, 2010 at 5:23 PM

Instead, Clinton offers an alternate view that the nature of derivative trading is to blame, and provides no benefit except to those who play the game. At times, Clinton sounds almost Ron Paul-esque:

Yeah, typical libertarians, always blaming the free market for all their problems.

Wait, what?

Proud Rino on April 28, 2010 at 5:24 PM

this is rather notable for Clinton’s willingness to rebut the latest class-warfare agenda of his own party

except he didn’t do any of that, but hey, it makes for good blog material.

conservative blog standards in a nutshell.

sesquipedalian on April 28, 2010 at 5:24 PM

I feel your pain

ConservativePartyNow on April 28, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Clinton is trying to cover his own tracks in this.

Clinton is the one that signed the bills that led to the destruction of the lending business. One of those bills allowed for the creation of mortgage backed CDO’s!

These things did NOT just fall out of the sky without ANY regulation!

Freddy on April 28, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Billy Jeff coming out contra-Zero? Methinks I smell another Herself! WH run in the offing.

SeniorD on April 28, 2010 at 5:28 PM

To some extent, it’s self-serving, as he’s happy to assign himself the role of Great Equalizer, but that doesn’t explain it all. Could Clinton, ever the strategist, have some reason in mind for publicly sympathizing with Wall Street while current Democratic leadership demonizes it?

Plan B?

uknowmorethanme on April 28, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Clinton is trying to cover his own tracks in this.

Freddy on April 28, 2010 at 5:27 PM

no he’s not.

sesquipedalian on April 28, 2010 at 5:29 PM

sesquipedalian on April 28, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Thanks so much for sharing that.

According to Open Secrets, Goldman Sachs over the past 20 years has always given more money to the Democrats than to the Rethuglicans.

And that went haywire starting when Clinton got into trouble in 1998. Before that, GS’ donations were almost always in the range of 55% D, 45% R, but in 1998 that went out the window, with the average now in the 65% D to 35% R range.

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Yeah, typical libertarians, always blaming the free market for all their problems.

Wait, what?

Proud Rino on April 28, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Yeah, typical liberal, no bailouts and the free market would have fixed it’s own problems like it always does.

uknowmorethanme on April 28, 2010 at 5:30 PM

I find it hard to believe anything that impeached former president Clinton says.

jukin on April 28, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Could Clinton, ever the strategist, have some reason in mind for publicly sympathizing with Wall Street while current Democratic leadership demonizes it?

Yes. It’s called doing a little spade-work (shovel ready?) for Hillary eventual primary challenge to Obama.

irishspy on April 28, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Also missing from this is Clinton’s non-discussion to the ratings agencies that are square in the middle of this!

Never forget to mention in any discussion, that it was the DEMOCRATS, like Frank, Dodd, Obama, Waters, etc…, that badgered and attacked the rating agencies as well as the regulators!

I wonder how loud the Democrats screams of RACISM would have been towards GS if they had NOT engineered deals for those sub-prime loans?

Freddy on April 28, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2010 at 5:29 PM

I know, I love listening to Hannity talk about this stuff, he keeps vacillating between Obama “declaring war on Wall Street” and “being in the pocket of Goldman Sachs.” I wonder if he ever thinks about that contradiction, and if it ever bothers him that he can be so dishonest, and then I remember that he’s an idiot.

Proud Rino on April 28, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2010 at 5:29 PM

very interesting.

sesquipedalian on April 28, 2010 at 5:36 PM

The Derivatives in the Mortgage Market(Credit Default Swaps) were the only part of this whole mess that was entirely Unregulated.

That said, the big story is Dem/Lib Social Policy starting with the CRA and re-vamped by Clinton along with Fannie and Freddie, led by CLinton Cronies who got filthy rich in this whole scam. He can’t go there obviously and nobody has the balls to ask him about it.

If that had never been fostered by the Dems in the first place, the damage from the Derivatives(CDS) would’ve been null

Plus don’t forget what we learned over Christmas about how Fannie/Freddie were LYING about the Ratings of the Mortgages. The Derivatives were being created on the basis of thinking they were underwriting good mortgages when they were actually bad ratings, all because Fannie/Freddie lied to the investment banks.

jp on April 28, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Proud Rino, try this thought on for size: That Obama is in the pocket of Goldman Sachs and he is at war with wall street are not two mutually exclusive ideas.

Some speculate that only large firms like a GS could possibly comply with more regulation thereby eliminating competition.

The bailout of GS also is shady.

Obama wants populist street cred by bashing wall street.

joeindc44 on April 28, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Translation: “Hey Barry, your check bounced. Now I want double.”

Daggett on April 28, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Ding Ding Ding.

Winner,Winner. Chicken Dinner.

portlandon on April 28, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Bubba making sense.

Something deeply sinister is afoot.

notagool on April 28, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Could Clinton, ever the strategist, have some reason in mind for publicly sympathizing with Wall Street while current Democratic leadership demonizes it?

Hillary would have to flop on Israel first.

Jorge Bonilla on April 28, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Could Clinton, ever the strategist, have some reason in mind for publicly sympathizing with Wall Street while current Democratic leadership demonizes it?

Bill Clinton has a reason for everything he does.

Terrye on April 28, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Uncle Bill also recently made fun of St. Gore.

joeindc44 on April 28, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Nice brick for the wall between the Clinton wing and the Obama wing.

Jason Coleman on April 28, 2010 at 5:57 PM

Proud Rino on April 28, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Can someone translate this into English for me?

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Why aren’t we blaming everyone who lied about their income to get a Loan the Dems via Fannie/Freddie so wanted to force them to have?

jp on April 28, 2010 at 6:00 PM

What happened Bubba ?
A Nigerian prince finally mailed checks to Chelsea ?
Or
you got a call from a relative ?
Or
Some muzzie money suddenly found its way to your *ahem* library ?
and you don’t need ObamaMoney anymore ?

macncheez on April 28, 2010 at 6:02 PM

very interesting.

sesquipedalian on April 28, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Thanks for proving me correct! From your link

Few companies have been more reliable supporters of the Democratic Party than Goldman Sachs. Since 1989, there has never been an election in which Goldman gave more to Republicans than Democrats, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. In fact, employees of Goldman were the No. 2 source of campaign cash for President Barack Obama, giving his 2008 presidential campaign nearly $1 million.

I’m talking about a 20 year history of GS giving more to Democrats than Republicans.

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=d000000085

You, on the other hand, are crowing about a 3 month period when GS fave more to Republicans than to Democrats.

You can do batter than that. I think.

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2010 at 6:04 PM

You, on the other hand, are crowing about a 3 month period when GS fave more to Republicans than to Democrats.

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2010 at 6:04 PM

wall street prefers the party that’s better for the economy and the stock market.

with congress finally ready to enact meaningful regulation, they swing to the GOP.

sesquipedalian on April 28, 2010 at 6:31 PM

Big Dawg democratized the markets, Obama is trying to close them up and turn Main St off investing…

ginaswo on April 28, 2010 at 6:36 PM

At times, Clinton sounds almost Ron Paul-esque:

Only at times. Ron Paul would never defend U.S. going off the gold standard (either in the 30s or 70s, depending on how you look at it) as Clinton does in the offhand remark here.

novakyu on April 28, 2010 at 6:52 PM

Good for Clinton. Senior executives at GS suffer from the same moral confusion (or simply: lack of morals with no lack of moralizing) as senior members of the Obama administration.

There was a time when senior managers of major funds were ever so mindful of the possibility they they held a sacred trust for real-world widows and orphans. No more – today’s players see it as a game to get rich and damn the client.

I know the guy who did the first ‘derivative’ structured as an ‘interest rate swap’ in the 80s when he was a banker at Morgain Stanley in London. Back then, I used to joke that these were instruments that investment bankers used to rape each other which is pretty close to the truth.

Nowadays, it would be fair to say that they are commonly used as hedges against other activities that may result in a loss – the caveat being that the hedge does not protect a group of clients, but the institution itself. It is very nearly tantamount to gambling, especially as the young hotshots who structure them are so poorly educated – another issue we discuss in these spaces.

ElRonaldo on April 28, 2010 at 7:30 PM

sesquipedalian on April 28, 2010 at 6:31 PM

LOL! I thought you could do better. Obviously, I was in error.

I provided actual stats of how much $ Goldman Sachs has donated to the Dems over the past 20 years. Your “response”? 2 opinion pieces from a Leftist mouthpiece, SLATE. One of which is 2 years old, the other 8 years old.

1. Michael Kinsley? Oh, please. I howled with laughter at this comedy bit:

The figures below are all from the annual Economic Report of the President, and the analysis is primitive. Nevertheless, what these numbers show almost beyond doubt is that Democrats are better at virtually every economic task that is important to Republicans.

2. Who the getalife is Carol Vinzant? She wrote for SLATE 8 years ago, but she now writes a blog on where to go see animals. What are her Wall Street creds?

F-

Del Dolemonte on April 28, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Note also that Clinton doesn’t count health insurance paid by employers for their employees counts as “wages” when discussing how much the “lower 20%” makes vs. the “upper 20%”.

This is part of the great lie of “someone else’s money”. Only part of the costs paid by an employer for having someone work make it into the pocket of the employee. From the employer’s perspective, the entire amount is the cost of that employee, whether it’s “benefits” like health insurance, unemployment, workers’ comp, or the “matching half” of SS/Medicare.

The Monster on April 28, 2010 at 7:51 PM

That man doesn’t take a dump unless there’s some political or financial advantage in it.

BobMbx on April 28, 2010 at 7:59 PM

This is a must watch CSPAN video that explains what and who (Democrats) caused the housing bubble and eventual collapse. The real money quote is at the end when Clinton explains that if the Democrats had taken his and the Republicans advice about regulating fannie/freddie, the bottom wouldn’t have fallen out.

OFAEL (sp?) was the auditor who found “irregularities” at Fan/Fred and was being questioned by Congress on their findings. It features Waters, Frank, Raines, et al, the whole corrupt cabal – In Their Own Words!

I really hope you take time to watch it, then forward to everyone in your address book. It’s damning evidence.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs

SoldiersMom on April 28, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Isn’t it just a wee bit odd that a Black street organizer/President from Chicago is going after the one large NYC bank that has the most Jewish roots?
It is a fact that there is a robust anti-Jewish segment of the Black population, and I’m sure this group is really thrilled that Obama is taking on Goldman Sachs, of all banks.
I’m sure this is all one giant coincidence and I’m just sitting here with my tin foil beany on.

OxyCon on April 28, 2010 at 8:41 PM

Proud Rino, try this thought on for size: That Obama is in the pocket of Goldman Sachs and he is at war with wall street are not two mutually exclusive ideas.

Thus making Proud Rino a proud idiot instead. Not that that was ever in doubt.

xblade on April 28, 2010 at 10:45 PM

After the carnage come this November I believe ole Dollar Bill, who has good political instincts, will see his dear wife run against the totally disgraced Obama in the 2012 primary. It shouldn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out who Goldman Sachs and the rest of Wall Street will be supporting.

Texas Mike on April 29, 2010 at 1:46 AM