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Wall Street Democrats, and the other kind

Prominent Philly-area Dems back Wall Street faction

While the Republicans are still going through their Tea Party civil war of small-business anti-government conservatives vs. a more corporate mainstream, Democrats are showing signs of a similar split between the Wall Street wing of the party and more liberal true-believers.

See, for example, this Dec. 2 attack on Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and New York mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, and their support for a plan to expand Social Security and the taxes that pay for it, waged by two staffers for the Washington group Third Way, in the Dec. 2 Wall Street Journal. Who is Third Way? Its 12 "honorary Co-Chairmen" are all Democratic U.S. Senators and congressmen, including three from the Philadelphia area -- Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Chris Coons, D-Del., along with U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa. Its Board of Trustees is dominated by men like David Coulter (ex BofA and JPMorgan) and David Heller (ex-Goldman Sachs) and other bankers and hedge fund managers -- the kind of Summers-Rubin Democrats whose deregulation helped bring us the 2008 financial crisis. The kind who push fiscal restraint over expansive public benefit programs.

In the resulting liberal backlash, Schwartz promptly backtracked -- she's the early front-runner in Pennsylvania's Democratic gubernatorial primary, and needs to polish her liberal cred, after all. Carper and Coons, by contrast, are acting in a long Delaware tradition of Democrats who support banks and financier-friendly policy as major hometown employers -- as did their predecessor, former U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, the former "Senator from MBNA," who in the mid-2000s brokered the law limiting personal bankruptcy at the request of the credit card and student lenders who remain among his home state's biggest employers.

Of course, Wall Street factions (and well-connected Delaware Democrats)  have been high in the circles of both parties for many years. Which kind of Democrat will take over a party disillusioned by lame-duck President Obama?