Leftists Not Rousing the Rabble as Before

There is a tone of panic in this recent Axios newsletter which should inspire a certain delight in every red-blooded American. It is, to be sure, inspired by a truly terrible event, the indefensible killing by Memphis police of a man named Tyre Nichols. But the true source of leftist panic is the realization that their ability to whip people (and particularly the business community) into a frenzy is waning.

Under the heading, "The shift toward silence," the newsletter's author gestures at the fact that, during the riots of the summer of 2020, which followed the death of George Floyd, nearly every major American company took a hardline position on the complex issues surrounding race and policing, many of them donating hundreds of thousands of dollars each in support of the "Defund the Police" movement among other questionable causes. But, laments Axios, their response has been more muted in the wake of Tyre Nichols' death. Here's just one of the examples:

The Business Roundtable, a coalition of CEOs from America's top companies, previously pushed for comprehensive police reform and in 2020 stated, “Corporate America cannot sit this one out." What they're saying, now: “We are disturbed by the brutality Mr. Nichols suffered and express our condolences to his family and community, and communities across the country grappling with senseless violence," a Business Roundtable spokesperson told Axios. "There's no public call to action, plan to reignite reform, and certainly no funding commitments."

Indeed, though one wonders how these would improve the situation. After all, the calls for action and reform of police training and tactics, as well as the corporate funding in the summer of 2020 didn't help Tyre Nichols escape death at the hands of five black men.

But why hasn't the corporate response been more righteously fulsome? The author (citing "experts") gives four suggestions: Power dynamics ("Companies are not facing public and internal pressure to make external statements"); Economic uncertainty ("Many tech companies have gutted their DEI departments in response to economic strains."); ESG pushback ("Recent pushback from activist investors and legislators at the state and federal levels have caused businesses to become more skittish on ESG initiatives."); and Fatigue.

Is the halo wearing off?

The first explanation merely raises the question. WHY aren't they facing pressure to use their resources to exert more pressure on others? But the other three do address the issue, though not quite for the reasons the author thinks. The economic situation really is more precarious today than in 2020, and not just in the tech sector. Consequently, businesses are having to work harder to bring in revenue, and they are more concerned about not alienating potential customers with ham-handed political statements.

Relatedly, there really has been pushback on ESG, the scheme whereby businesses heavily invest in leftist causes from environmentalism to defunding the police, and pledge to avoid doing business with other companies that don't do the same. Though it is amusing that he blames "activist investors and legislators" for it. In fact, ESG was popularized by activist investors and legislators, and the pushback has come from people simply noticing what they're doing. And then fatigue: regular people are sick of companies sticking its nose into political debates, particularly when they don't have anything to add.

Now, it would be a mistake for us on the right to assume that mega corporations are back on our side. As Tucker Carlson would say, Big Business still hates your family. And Michael Brendan Dougherty rightly points out that the occupant of the White House makes a difference. There's less pressure on business right now than in 2020, but should Trump or someone like him retake the reins, Woke Capital would come roaring back. But, let's take the time to delight in our adversaries' anxiety. Heaven knows, they'll be attacking us on solid ground again soon enough.

Manchin Slams Door on Greens at the Fed

Soaring gas prices may have claimed their first victim. Sarah Bloom Raskin -- Joe Biden's nominee for Vice Chair for Supervision at the Federal Reserve -- was forced this afternoon to withdraw herself from consideration for the position.

This is because her pre-nomination calls for environmental activism among banking regulators came to the attention of the senators considering confirming her. In the past, Raskin had argued that regulators must "leave their comfort zone" and "think more imaginatively" in considering how "their existing instruments can be used to incentivize a rapid, orderly, and just transition away from high-emission and biodiversity-destroying investments." Translation: she believes they must co-opt existing laws and procedures -- using them not as they were intended to be used -- to deny capital investment in oil and gas producers and to encourage "green" investment.

When those positions came out, senate Republicans, got spooked. After all, they know that their voters are extremely concerned about the rise in oil prices and are annoyed at the decisions of the federal government that have contributed to it. Consequently, they announced their plan to oppose Raskin, making her confirmation math very tight. Democrats argued that the Republicans were irresponsibly blocking the president's Fed's nominees at a time of soaring inflation -- essentially the central bank's raison d'etre. But the ranking Republican on the senate banking committee, Pat Toomey, countered with an offer to confirm every one of Biden's nominees but Raskin. Said Toomey, “Ms. Raskin’s repeated and forceful advocacy for having the Federal Reserve allocate capital and choke off credit to disfavored industries is alone disqualifying.”

Sensing that her dream job -- a plum ten-year political appointment with limited oversight from the people's representatives -- was slipping away, Raskin changed her tune. During her confirmation hearing last week, Raskin asserted that “it is inappropriate for the Fed to make credit decisions. Banks choose their borrowers, not the Fed.” Senator Toomey joked about her about-face, saying “this is one of the most remarkable cases of confirmation conversion I have ever seen.”

Best GOP senator, ever.

The final nail in the coffin, however, came from the other side of the aisle. After refusing to commit one way or the other, Senator Joe Manchin, the last sane Democrat, released a statement on Monday, explaining that he has "carefully reviewed Sarah Bloom Raskin’s qualifications and previous public statements" and has concluded that her "statements have failed to satisfactorily address my concerns about the critical importance of financing an all-of-the-above energy policy to meet our nation’s critical energy needs." Consequently, he would not be giving her his vote, dooming her nomination in a divided senate.

He went further, however, explaining that going forward he plans to oppose the Fed's "woke capital" drift in the hopes of restoring the bank to its intended purpose:

The Federal Reserve Board is not an institution that should politicize its critical decisions. This is a 10-year term to perhaps the most important independent body that is tasked with ensuring the stability of the American economy. At this historic moment for both the United States and the world at large, it is imperative the Federal Reserve Board preserves its independence and steers clear of any hint of partisanship. Instead, the Federal Reserve Board must remain hyper focused on ending the inflation taxes hurting working families and getting more workers off the sidelines and back into the economy. The time has come for the Federal Reserve Board to return to its defining principles and dual mandate of controlling inflation by ensuring stable prices and maximum employment. I will not support any future nominee that does not respect these critical priorities.

Hopefully some of Manchin's colleagues—even those across the aisle, on the Republican side!—recognize his good sense and similarly decide to support only nominees who understand the responsibilities, and limits, of the roles to which they're being appointed, rather than trying to hijack them on behalf of their ideological enthusiasms.