What’s blocked President Biden from becoming “the next FDR” is a gaggle of pro-Wall Street Democrats, whose cynicism may sink the party in 2022.

By Will Bunch, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Long ago, in a United States that now seems far, far away, the coming-to-America story of Saule Omarova would be hailed as a stirring endorsement of our nation as a beacon for democracy seekers. Born in 1966 under the Communist dictatorship of the USSR, and raised under her Kazakh grandmother who’d lost the rest of her family to Stalinist purges, she grew up with a passion for Pink Floyd and political dissent that caused her to stay here in the U.S. after the Soviet regime collapsed while she was a grad student in Wisconsin.

Not surprisingly, Omarova’s work as an American academic hasn’t focused on overthrowing capitalism but making it work better for everyday citizens. Inspired by the 2008 economic meltdown, she’s most recently proposed a scheme that would allow the Federal Reserve to take on the big banks’ monopoly on private deposits that caused a credit crunch in the Great Recession. Her research and resumé — she even worked for a time in the administration of George W. Bush — made Omarova seemingly an inspiring pick for President Biden, who tapped her to become the first woman and first nonwhite to oversee banking as comptroller of the currency.

Josh Gottheimer in front of the Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan logos

But Omarova’s feel-good saga was lost in translation when she hit the Senate for her confirmation process. Instead, the hearing became a public demonstration of everything that’s wrong with American politics in 2021 — beginning with Republicans who hid their unbridled support for the monopolistic power for Big Banking behind completely twisting Omarova’s life story in the worst display of Red-baiting on Capitol Hill since Joe McCarthy’s liver failed. It started with Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey — Wall Street’s man in the Senate — demanding a paper on Marxism required by her Moscow State University professors “in the original Russian language,” to kick off efforts to portray Omarova as some kind of Manchurian candidate for the job. It devolved into Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy telling the nominee, “I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade” — a no-sense-of-decency moment even for today’s Republicans, at long last.

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