November 2, 2011

2008 President-Elect Barack Obama Was Going To Select NJ Gov Jon Corzine To The Economic Position Of Treasury Secretary! Corzine Is NOW Facing Possible Criminal Charges As CEO MF Global! WOW!

The Washington Examiner
written by David Freddoso
Wednesday November 2, 2011

With the sinking of MF Global, where he now serves as CEO, former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, D, could well be remembered as the man who bet on a government bailout one time too many. (Don't forget, Corzine was CEO at Goldman Sachs during the infamous bailout of Mexican bonds in 1995, engineered from within the Clinton White House by his predecessor.)

But don't just think of Corzine as a bad governor who drove a multi-billion-dollar firm to bankruptcy. The Weekly Standard's Mark Hemingway reminded me on Twitter today of this lovely November 2008 essay on Corzine as Obama's prospective Treasury Secretary, in which The Nation's John Nichols called Corzine "change we can believe in." Note also the praise at the bottom from former SEIU boss Andy Stern:
Everyone is excited about the fact that President-elect Barack Obama is talking with New York Senator Hillary Clinton about the prospect that she might serve as Secretary of State. But the big news from inside the transition process is the speculation that New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine might be selected for the essential economic position of Secretary of the Treasury....

...Corzine is not your typical Goldman-Sachs man.

After he was elected to the US Senate from New Jersey in 2000, Corzine searched out Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. The new senator from New Jersey informed the iconic liberal Democrat -- who was often at odds with his own party's leadership -- that he hoped they could work together on social and economic justice issues.

Corzine, a very wealthy former Goldman-Sachs chairman and co-CEO, might have seemed like an unlikely economic populist. But he soon made the senator from Minnesota a believer. Indeed, when we were sitting in his office one afternoon in 2001, talking about the senators who could be counted on to stand up to the new Bush-Cheney administration, Wellstone said, "Put Corzine of the list. He's going to surprise people.

During his five years in the Senate, Corzine did, indeed, side with Wellstone (until the Minnesotan's death in 2002) and with the left wing of the Democratic Senate Caucus -- sponsoring the "Start Healthy, Stay Healthy Act" to expand access to health care for children and pregnant women and a proposal to lower the marginal tax bracket from 15 percent to 10 percent for low-income wage earners. Corzine worked with Wellstone and Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy to defend Pell Grants and entitlement programs that were under attack, he criticized schemes to privatize Social Security and played a critical role in passing legislation designed to crack down on corporate malfeasance.

The senator from New Jersey promoted regulation of major industries (chemical and nuclear power, in particular) and he was one of the few senators to question blank-check giveaways to the airline industry in aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Corzine also voted against authorizing Bush to take the country to war with Iraq and got a whole lot of other issues -- not all of them, but a whole lot -- right.

It is rare that someone with Corzine's record even gets on a list of prospective Treasury officials.

Corzine may or may not be the perfect pick. But the fact that he is being considered is one more sign that a change -- maybe even a "change we can believe in" -- is coming to Washington.

After all, when was the last time that a potential nominee for the Treasury post was being talked up by the head of the Service Employees International Union. On Thursday, Andy Stern told reporters he thought the governor's strong economic credentials and government experience make Corzine an appealing prospect. Stern's right.

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