Thursday, April 02, 2009

Post-Wall Street Politicians

If Scott Murphy ekes out a win for Kirsten Gillibrand's seat, it will be less a referendum on Obama than the small sign of another trend--a brainy generation migrating from Wall Street to Washington.

Tuesday's results are still in doubt, but Murphy's morphing from former venture capitalist to almost-elected Congressman is part of the story of young achievers leaving high finance for national politics--from doing well for themselves to trying to do good for their fellow citizens or, from a more cynical viewpoint, following the big money as it moves from banking to government.

Gillibrand herself, now in the Senate, is a fortyish former Wall Street lawyer and, if Murphy wins, he will enter the House to join Jim Himes, a former Goldman Sachs banker, who defeated ten-term Congressman Chris Shays in neighboring Connecticut last November.

In the Senate, Michael Bennett, appointed to replace Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, went from buying distressed businesses and turning them around to Denver Superintendent of Schools and from there to Washington.

Judging from Congress' performance so far this year, any infusion of brains, youth and energy, no matter what the source, is welcome.

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