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Ed Rendell, Bill Burton: Democrats vs. progressives

How do you define the term "liberal?" And how big do you think the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is these days? If you happened to flip on MSNBC on Friday, these questions may have bubbled through your mind during a powerfully revealing exchange over President Obama's nomination of Jack Lew to head the Treasury Department.

To appreciate exactly what was revealed, it's worth first reviewing the key parts of Lew's recent past.

As the Washington Post reports, from 2006 to 2008 the former corporate lobbyist and Clinton budget official "worked at Citigroup in two major roles, a notable line in his résumé given that as Treasury secretary, he would be charged with implementing new rules regulating Wall Street." Notable, indeed, as the Post notes "Lew did not have just any position at the bank" -- he was "a top executive in the Citigroup unit that housed many of the bank’s riskiest operations" that ultimately "helped drive Citigroup into the arms of the federal government's" $45 billion bailout (some of which was used to pay Lew's own eye-popping Citigroup bonus).

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