Now that it’s clear Pete Buttigieg is a serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, with a real chance of winning the Iowa caucuses, his rivals are attacking him for working as a consultant at McKinsey & Co.for three years. McKinsey helps businesses (as well as governmental bodies and entities) solve problems.
Buttigieg, for his part, has attacked Elizabeth Warren for consulting work she did many years ago for various companies. Her work was as a lawyer in the context of litigation.
But there’s nothing wrong with helping corporations, whether in the capacity of a business consultant or an attorney. Nothing wrong, that is, unless you dislike capitalism.
Unfortunately for Buttigieg and Warren, a significant chunk of the Democratic Party dislikes capitalism. (These days, some conservatives seem to dislike it too, but that’s another story). Thus, pointing to the consulting work of Buttigieg and Warren is a good way to bring them down a peg.
To inflict a true body blow, however, it’s necessary to identify specific clients that the left holds in special contempt or to point to specific assistance rendered by candidates that can be deemed reactionary, or at least insufficiently woke. Buttigieg’s opponents have been unable to do this until now because he was not permitted to disclose his work for McKinsey without that firm’s consent.
But now, McKinsey has granted consent to Buttigieg to disclose his clients. It did so after receiving consent from the clients. Naturally, though, Buttigieg does not have permission to discuss the work he did for the clients or any recommendations he might have made.
Buttigieg has already said that, to the best of his recollection, his clients were a nonprofit health insurance provider in Michigan, a grocery and retail chain in Toronto, a consumer goods retail chain in Chicago, a project on energy efficiency and climate change in Connecticut, and an environmental nonprofit in California. Even after he names these entities, and perhaps others, I doubt that his adversaries will hit pay dirt picking through those bones.
In Warren’s case, the disclosure sought wasn’t a client list, which she had already provided, but rather the amount of compensation she received. Warren finally provided this information over the weekend, though in some cases the campaign said the amount of remuneration cannot be retrieved.
The disclosure revealed that Warren made nearly $2 million for her work. Good for her.
Warren’s work might prove to be a bigger headache for her than Buttigieg’s will be for him. In one of her cases, she represented a large development company that was trying to avoid having to clean up a toxic waste site.
Warren also provided services to Dow Chemical as it tried to ward off liability after a subsidiary company’s silicone breast implants began to rupture. In addition, she worked for LTV Steel as it tried to avoid paying millions of dollars for retired coal miners’ health care.
In the end, I don’t think many voters will hold the corporate consulting work of Warren or Buttigieg against either one. However, as the Democrats march leftward, we may soon reach the point when this sort of work is viewed as highly adverse, if not disqualifying, to a presidential candidate from that Party. In this world, the advantage will go to career politicians and ex-bartenders.