The New York Times writer Nick Confessore's big Sunday read, "Obama's Not-So-Hot Date With Wall Street," hit the web Wednesday, and gives a very good depiction of the serio-comic lengths the Obama campaign is going to in order to retain any support from Wall Street's executive class. Things are not going well, apparently!
See, as you may have heard, Team Obama Re-Elect has been having a difficult time courting big Wall Street donors this election cycle, mainly because President Barack Obama has, at times, intimated that the wreck of the global economy may have had something to do with some sort of widespread misrule among members of the financial industry. (There are any number of good books on this subject that make this case, if you still need to read a book to be convinced, which isn't terribly likely.)
And, of course, the Obama administration did sign the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law, and while it is almost embarrassingly ineffective (having been nibbled to death by lobbyists, who were bought with bailout money, this is hardly a surprise), its existence does create the impression that maybe -- just maybe! -- some degree of financial regulation is desirable.
Meanwhile, corporate America has been posting record profits, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is (perhaps ominously) back to its pre-recession levels, and, of course, no one has actually been punished for that time the global economy nearly died in a ditch.
But gads! The whining! It remains. And the Obama team can't guarantee that some attempt to mine populist ire against the financial industry won't come up during the campaign season. As Confessore reports, when Obama campaign manager Jim Messina was asked if the president would make some sort of sustained attack on the private equity industry, because of Romney's history with Bain Capital, Messina said that while the president would refrain from such attacks, he "couldn't control what the president's surrogates -- like Priorities USA -- might do."
The Priorities USA super PAC is run by Bill Burton, Obama's close personal friend, but OF COURSE they cannot COORDINATE, oh no!
At any rate, these resentments and fears are all part of the gap that the Obama campaign is finding difficult to traverse, in order to shore up a larger share of that sweet, sweet campaign lucre. But that's not to say that the Wall Streeters themselves don't have some pretty great ideas on how the resident can make everything copacetic:
One of the guests raised his hand; he knew how to solve the problem. The president had won plaudits for his speech on race during the last campaign, the guest noted. It was a soaring address that acknowledged white resentment and urged national unity. What if Obama gave a similarly healing speech about class and inequality? What if he urged an end to attacks on the rich? Around the table, some people shook their heads in disbelief.
I sort of don't understand why rich Wall Streeters can't just go visit the small apartments of normal New Yorkers to get a quick dose of feeling a lot better about themselves, but there you have it. Rich people be having their feelings all hurty! Over at the Plum Line, Greg Sargent has some disbelief to offload:
One wonders if there is anything Obama could say to make these people happy, short of declaring that rampant inequality is a good thing, in that it affirms the talent and industriousness of the deserving super rich.
"Yes, yes, that's exactly what would make us happy!" say Wall Street donors.
READ THE WHOLE THING:
Obama's Not-So-Hot Date With Wall Street [New York Times]
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