The Democrats clawed their way back to the presidency in 1992 thanks to a revolution in Democratic affairs: No longer would his party be captured by its client groups, Bill Clinton promised. The Democrats would not merely be a tool of the unions and the New Class of “helping professions” that rely on government spending for sustenance. Democrats would be pro-business, pro-Wall Street even. Freed from a Democratic Congress after the 1994 elections, Clinton was able to make good on this pledge and restrain spending, reform welfare, cut capital gains taxes, and enjoy an economic boom. His party grew close to Wall Street. It accumulated so much goodwill there and in boardrooms across the country that in 2008 even a former community organizer with roots in the left was able to pull the wool over the eyes of some of America’s most powerful financiers.
What resulted—the stimulus, Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, the relentless pursuit of higher taxes on wealth, the bashing of hedge funds and private equity—has turned much of high finance against the Obama administration and even the Democratic Party at large. Cory Booker was performing triage. He was trying to sustain the dying embers of a Clintonite, pro-business Democratic Party. He understood that Obama and his Keystone Kops are turning the New Democrat dream into ashes. And Booker, like other Democrats, is terrified by the answer to the following question: Who else will Obama bring down with him?