News & Politics

Follow the money: Why this supposedly 'bipartisan' caucus is actually a devious cover for big corporate interests

They'd just as soon you forget this.

No Labels 2017 Problem Solvers Conference
Photo Credit: No Labels

The latest rebellion that House Speaker-Designate Nancy Pelosi has had to contend with comes from the so-called "Problem Solvers" caucus, a bipartisan group which has presumably solved only one problem: deciding which members of Congress are most deserving of being pantsed in public. (It might be a tie with the Freedom Caucus. Maybe.) That the Problem Solvers are the brain child of No Labels, a creation of Nancy Jacobsen with an apparent assist from her husband Mark Penn, tells you a lot.

What tells you everything is where the money for the whole thing comes from. The Daily Beast has done the digging, and finds that the group has "encouraged financiers known for backing hyperpartisan causes to back its own super PACs." Those hyperpartisans are also the huge money behind the Republican Party, "including David Koch, former AIG head Hank Greenberg, and billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Singer; as well as top supporters of President Donald Trump, including PayPal founder Peter Thiel, businessman Foster Friess, and Home Depot founder Ken Langone."

No wonder Trump was named one of the Problem Solvers during the presidential primaries. To be fair, they've also tried to recruit one of George Soros' political advisers, Michael Vachon, and investor Reid Hoffman, who hates Trump. Beyond them there are people like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, huge egos looking for any political movement from anywhere to give them the credibility to keep talking about them as potential presidential candidates. But they've had their real luck with the big corporate guys, the ones who really prefer Republicans to win, but will look for a few pet Democrats to give them bipartisan cover.

In the 2018 cycle, six Super PACs that are affiliated to No Labels raised more than $11 million from just 53 individuals, with an average contribution of around $124,000. So, yeah, not a particularly grassroots kind of venture there. It's not like they're trying that hard to appear bipartisan, either. Here's where Jacobsen (who also was there at the founding of Third Way, which Third Way really doesn't want you to remember) comes in. At one point in the Trumpcare fight, she turned the group's Twitter over to Penn for this gem in two parts: "The freedom caucus may overplay its hand and wind up empty handed. Perhaps their intransigence will force a bipartisan approach. The Democrats missed their chance to shape healthcare and let the Freedom Caucus be the key swing actor. Time to get off the sidelines."

Yep, there's No Labels telling Democrat they "missed their chance" when the Democratic Affordable Care Act is the thing Republicans are trying to destroy. Being the "key swing actor" in this case means playing nice with Republicans while they tear down Obamacare. All in the name of bipartisanship, of course. After that, backlash caused Jacobsen to take the Twitter keys away from Penn, but the damage was done. It didn't help matters that Jacobsen lobbied to make Pelosi the villain of the 2018 cycleand "flirted with supporting a general-election challenger to Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) after he said something regarded as offensive about the No Labels-affiliated Problem Solvers' caucus."

There's nothing even remotely approaching principles behind Jacobsen and No Labels. It's all about raising money from big corporate interests in order to advance big corporate interests in order to somehow remain politically relevant. To that end, they're now trying to court newly-elected Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. Sounds like it's right up his alley.

But that there are Democrats currently serving in Congress (while Problem Solver Trump is in the Oval Office) who are falling for this bullshit and even willing to pick public fights with Pelosi over it is remarkable. It does however solve one more problem besides who to pants: who to primary in 2020.

 

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