During a segment last Friday on Hollywood’s support for Obama, with actor and director Rob Reiner, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews said that when Wall Street backs a Republican candidate they are doing it because it is in their financial interest. When Hollywood celebrities back a candidate, however, they are doing it because they share cultural values.
Matthews: It seems to me that the people at Wall Street—let’s put it to the Republican side, I’m going to stick it there. When they invest in a Republican candidate, they’re investing in their businesses. They want a better tax break, they want less regulation, I mean, dammit, in a certain weird, perverted way they should get a tax write-off because what they’re doing is for the money.
And you guys are doing it for cultural reasons because you share values with the president. Now maybe gay people, especially gay people, are concerned. And they do get a value out of this and interest in terms of rights, but that’s what they have a right to anyway, I would argue. But this is interesting. You guys out on the coast out there do it because you agree with the president. People in Wall Street and the business world and Texas around there, they give money because they make money off Republican politics.
Reiner: That’s exactly right and it’s interesting but the Hollywood community is the only donor base, as you call it, that has no quid pro quo. We don’t support a candidate because he might be able to do something for us. When you see the Koch brothers throwing what’ll be twenty to hundreds of millions of dollars into a PAC, they’re looking for a payback. They want—and they’ll get it, too, if that man gets in the White House, they will get with—
Matthews: Oil money, oil breaks—
Reiner: Money, regulations that are reduced to allow them to pollute and do all the things that they want to do. We’re the only group of donors that doesn’t ask for something in return. We support somebody because, like you said, they share our values, whether it comes to education, healthcare, the environment, the economy, social issues. They’re in line with how we feel about things and we look at the totality of a candidate, not just at a very narrow, specific financial interest.
Matthews makes it seem like Wall Street money only backs Republicans, but he knows that isn’t true. According to the Sunlight Foundation, in 2008 Obama received more money from Wall Street than any politician in the last 20 years, including former President George W. Bush. Obama took in $15.8 million from Wall Street.
Funny, I don’t recall Matthews complaining about Wall Street money supporting Obama four years ago.
Obama is going to face a tougher time this year with Wall Street, as Romney has closer ties to business, and is promising to turn the economy around, compared to Obama’s policies, which are viewed by much of the business community as anti-business.
Matthews knows that, so he has gone back to the old liberal tactic of demonizing Wall Street support for the GOP in an effort to downplay their lack of enthusiasm for Obama.
What a difference four years makes.