Meanwhile, Democratic Senators—led by Sen. Sherrod Brown—were concurrently organizing their support around another contender for the position, Federal Reserve Vice-Chair Janet Yellen. Unlike Larry Summers, Yellen has a record of identifying some of the impending threats related to the housing bubble and shadow banking that contributed to the 2008 financial collapse. Over 29,000 Daily Kos members signed onto the letter being circulated by the Democratic Senators to organize support for Yellen’s appointment.
As the White House learned of the opposition to their leaked appointment considerations, they implemented a full-court press on the Democratic Senators in an attempt to sway their opinions––urging the senators to support any appointment made by Pres. Obama. This internal party dissension has not fully come to a head but will play out over the coming weeks leading up to the appointment.
For the third call-to-action in this campaign, Daily Kos asked previous petitioners opposed to Summers to sign a letter of support to the 20 Democratic senators who have expressed their support for Yellen, encouraging those senators to stand firm in their support for the better candidate. More than 33,000 people signed this third petition—urging them not to cave under pressure from the White House.
On Friday, while visiting family in Ohio, I joined Daily Kos community member Beth to deliver all three petitions to Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office in Cincinnati. When asked why she was concerned about who the next Fed chair would be, Beth responded, “None of the people responsible for the collapse have been to jail.” She sees Larry Summers as more of the same––he comes from a Wall Street background and because of his support for deregulation and inability to anticipate the collapse he shouldn’t be there.
She’s right––we need more government officials and politicians willing to stand up for the middle class by going after the bad Wall Street actors.
Sen. Brown’s staff seemed genuinely concerned over the upcoming appointment for a new Fed chair and listened as we voiced our concerns over Summers, offered our support for Yellen, and provided the office with some much needed constituent support encouraging Democratic Senators to stand firm in their belief that the public deserves the best chair possible. The petitions were offered as a tool for Sen. Brown to use in his interactions with other senators who need to see that they have constituent support, even if the administration is none too pleased with their counter position.
As the appointment draws near, Daily Kos staff in Washington, DC plan to make visits with the offices of the twenty or so Democratic senators who’ve expressed support for Yellen and any who’ve expressed concern over Summers. These visits will be very similar to the visit with Sen. Brown’s office––meant to show the senators that they have constituent support and are encouraged to ensure the next Fed chair will look out for the interest of the country, not just carry water for Wall Street.