Tom Carper and The Third Way

Filed in Delaware, Featured, National by on November 22, 2016


Delawareans can no longer afford the risk of having Tom Carper in the United States Senate.  He is, in his own way, as dangerous as Donald Trump because he does not represent the people of this state, but rather represents those who control the lives of ordinary people through undue influence.

We have long referred to Carper’s corporatist leanings, but we perhaps haven’t spelled them out so that people truly understood the extent of them, and the extent of the damage he has caused and can cause.

Today we begin.

Tom Carper is the Honorary Vice-Chairman of The Third Way.  The Third Way is a self-described ‘centrist think tank that offers fresh thinking and modern solutions to the most challenging problems in U.S. public policy, but even that is grossly misleading.  It is actually largely a product of corporate America expressly designed to keep populism out of the rigged game of government and to promote useful idiots like Tom Carper.

For context, here’s an excellent story from the Boston Globe (read it!) describing how The Third Way went after Elizabeth Warren.

Oh, and this might as well have come out of a Tom Carper playbook:

They insist on deficit reduction and entitlement cuts as conditions for key tax hikes on the wealthy.

That is a sharp contrast from many other Democrats, including Warren, who speak about taxing the wealthy as a matter of fairness and who would support raising their tax rates as stand-alone measures.

Third Way’s insistence on linking tax hikes to a grand bargain — which has been impossible to obtain in the Obama era — has a direct bearing on the wallets of the group’s wealthy funders.

Tom Carper’s own words mirror exactly the position of the Third Way, as well as the ‘Catfood Commission’:

I favor the approach put forward in 2010 by the president’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which was co-chaired by former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) and President Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. The commission proposed reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years. I believe this “grand bargain” approach is our best chance to bring Republicans and Democrats together because it puts everything on the table: discretionary spending, defense spending, entitlement programs, and taxes.

Key donors to the Third Way include the Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and AT&T. Oh, and pretty much every wealthy financier who supports the Clintons, which, IMHO, is why Hillary virtually ignored the Democratic platform on her way to defeat. More than anything, the Third Way was founded as a way to keep Clintonian Corporate coziness at the center of the power structure. BTW, the article notes that the Third Way got $850,000 from the Clintons’ favorite, Goldman Sachs, in 2010/11.  Oh, and here’s another sleazy way that the Third Way raises money:

Buried inside the annual report for Third Way is a revelation that the group relies on a peculiar DC consulting firm to raise half a million a year: Peck, Madigan, Jones & Stewart. Peck Madigan is no ordinary nonprofit buckraiser. The group is, in fact, a corporate lobbying firm that represents Deutsche Bank, Intel, the Business Roundtable, Amgen, AT&T, the International Swaps & Derivatives Association, MasterCard, New York Life Insurance, PhRMA and the US Chamber of Commerce, among others.

The two organizations complement each other well. Peck Madigan signs as a lobbyist for the government of New Zealand on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal; Third Way aggressively promotes the deal. Peck Madigan clients push for entitlement cuts, and so does Third Way.

Notice that Humana, a major health insurance company, lists its $50,000 donation to Third Way not as a donation to a think tank but as part of its yearly budget spent on lobbying activity, up there with the Florida Chamber and other trade associations. The company views financial gifts to Third Way as part of its strategy for increasing its profit-making political influence.

Did I mention that Tom Carper is the Honorary Co-Chair of the Third Way?  Right now, Tom Carper represents an existential threat to Medicare and Social Security.  Remember when he said he cried real tears when the proposed Grand Bargain with the Obama Administration fell through?  Apparently, failing to gut Medicare and Social Security is the only thing that can cause Carper to cry. As opposed to, say, the pain and suffering this would have inflicted on real people.

Tom Carper must be stopped.  We face the strong possibility that he will be the first D legislator to help Trump to gut the social safety net more than it has already been gutted.  All of you progressives who have enjoyed sharing cocktails with this guy need a swat in the face. Which this article, the first in a series outlining why we need a progressive to run and defeat this DINOsaur, aims to accomplish.

More to come.

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  1. liberalgeek says:

    There are certainly Delaware politicians that wouldn’t be in this mold. And there are people that would consider running against Carper. And there are people that could beat Carper.

    I’m just not sure who would meet all three criteria at the moment. And as you have oft reminded us, you can’t beat something with nothing.

  2. I mentioned Matt Denn, Bryan Townsend, and Eugene Young as possibilities.

    But my purpose here is to also lay out in advance why we need such a challenger. I may be wrong, but I don’t remember the News-Journal or any other mainstream local press as laying out the relationship between Carper and the Third Way. (Nor for that matter, John Carney and the Concord Coalition.) I think people need to know.

    Oh, and it doubles as opposition research.

  3. liberalgeek says:

    I don’t disagree. I just don’t know if any of them would be willing to take up the challenge.

  4. john says:

    Here’s a project for someone Can someone go back over the last 16 years and count up how much Carper has taken from the big banks? the number would be staggering I bet …

  5. anon says:

    Check out For Carper’s entire congressional career,
    the list of totals by industry is:

    Lawyers/Law Firms – $1,035,962
    Insurance – $912,707
    Securities and Investment – $755,669
    Commercial Banks – $586,076
    Real Estate – $488,939
    Pharmaceuticals/Health Products – $480,674
    Lobbyist – $474833
    Finance/Credit Companies – $458,242
    Retired – $394,132
    Chemical and Related Manufacturing – $383,085
    Leadership PACs – $352,700
    Health Professionals – $342,675
    Business Services – $246,991
    Electric Utilities – $230,235
    Public Sector Unions – $226,910
    Transportation Unions – $213,310
    Misc Finance – $200,844
    Electronics Mfg and Equip – $197,406
    Misc Manufacturing and Distribution – $183,409
    Health Service/HMO – $173,747

  6. Jason330 says:

    When you think of the value those sectors have gotten out of Carper, he is a cheap date.

  7. puck says:

    Carper hasn’t been in a competitive campaign since his early days – the Delaware Way makes sure of that. For potential opponents D or R, the good news is that if Carper was man enough to show up for debates, he would visibly crack against an articulate and informed opponent.The bad news is that the entire establishment of Delaware including the News Journal would line up against a D opponent and turn them into Chip Flowers.

  8. The breakdown of his contributors has changed since 2010. Insurance companies, the ones who would benefit from privatizing Medicare, now top the list:

  9. Jason330 says:

    The entire establishment of Delaware isn’t what it is cracked up to be. The News Journal? please.

    That said, Denn is out as a possibility.

  10. puck says:

    The News Journal ain’t what it used to be but it still has the power to set a narrative in motion, even a false or biased narrative.

  11. JTF says:

    Poor Bryan Townsend, can you just leave that poor, bruised little boy alone. He could barely beat Sean Barney.

    Best of luck, guys! Nothing like a good old fashioned Dem circular firing squad.

  12. Why would you say Matt is out, J330? He could wrap Carper’s insurance ties around his neck.

  13. SussexAonon says:

    I hear Jack Markell is looking for a job. lol.

    Carper heavily funds the democratic party in Delaware. So good luck getting party neutrality. The Delaware Democratic Party is why I was not surprised when I heard the DNC was coordinating with Hillary.

    Oh, and as always, F— TC.

  14. Markell and Carney are every bit as much Third Way D’s as Carper. And, Sean Barney worked for both Third Way and Markell thanks to his ties with Carper. Progressives and populists need not apply.

    In fact, the only reason we have John Carney is b/c Carper forced Carney onto the ticket with Minner. Don’t forget that during the next four years.

  15. mouse says:

    Does he have town hall meetings where he is ever asked any hard questions?

  16. SussexAonon says:

    The problem with asking Tom Carper a tough question anywhere is he is gifted in the talent of “baffling them with bullshit” And never admits wrong doing.

  17. Carper’s at the point of his career where he only appears in tightly-managed situations where impromptu questions are not welcome. There’s a reason for that. Keeping him out of the public eye is his BEST chance to continue his career. Give him a turkey to hold and put him in a picture with some cops and he’s OK. Otherwise, not so much.

  18. donviti says:

    Tom Carper served in Nam, people love that shit

  19. Disappointed says:

    In Presidential election news, the no-way “change” candidate just beat the sure-thing “establishment” candidate.


  20. anonymous says:

    He’s old and therefore vulnerable. Someone can do the same thing to him that he did to Roth, but it would require running an energetic campaign, the better to contrast with the aging boy wonder.

  21. AJAX says:

    Senator four public pensions CARPER single handily stopped Single payer and this blog’s campaign contribution list shows us why. He must be defeated for crimes against humanity.