In the Gritty World of Campaign Fundraising, the Power of Positive Progressivism

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In the Gritty World of Campaign Fundraising, the Power of Positive Progressivism

Huffington Post – Let's have a frank talk about an uncomfortable subject: Progressives need to raise campaign money in order to get elected and stay in office. Sometimes that money has to come from places that progressives aren't comfortable talking about. This gritty reality has too often led to the conclusion that the Left needs to bow down to Wall Street in order to succeed.

It's a Washington truism. But is it true?

Progressives in Washington have been lectured in a condescending tone countless times: You crazy hippies don't understand how hard it is to raise money and succeed in politics nowadays. Consider the House Financial Services Committee. It costs a lot to run for Congress, so it's expected that members of a committee like this one will stay friendly with the businesses they regulate. How else can they raise the cash they need for re-election? Members on both sides of the aisle are able to draw in hundreds of thousands of dollars by staying bank-friendly, even in an off-election year.

Sen. Sherrod Brown understands the need for more credit to small businesses. As he said this week, ""What I hear now is consistently about credit. It's always about credit. (Businesses) tell me they have the capacity to grow, they tell me they have new customers and the old customers are coming back. They'd like to know what we're doing on the health bill, of course, but I don't think that's stopping companies from moving forward with what they need to do if they could get credit."

Sen. Brown has introduced a bill to use $30 billion in TARP repayments to free more loans to small businesses, and another one to raise taxes on bonuses paid by companies that received TARP funding.

Sherrod Brown is on to something. These proposals aren't just smart policy – they're smart politics. They could lead to increased voter support and new sources of campaign contributions. Those who oppose these measure could face a backlash from angry voters who wonder why they're not doing a better job stewarding taxpayer money, and why they're so "anti-business" that they won't help companies get back on their feet – which would lead to more hiring.

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