Obama's speech walked a line between vision and reality. At times it seemed an internal dialog between the technocrat who sees the problems and how to fix them, and the pragmatist who wants to reap the rewards from whatever bill gets passed.
The banking wars are in full scale battle mode. We are going to see a lot more of this faux populism paid for by bailed out bankers before the year is through, and progressives have to be quick to expose it.
Obama's working from a flawed theory: "There is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street. We are all in this together as one nation." Really? The entire story of this crisis is about how we are not in this together.
Washington has tied itself in knots trying to find a way to thwart "too big to fail" without cutting megabanks down to size. It can't be done. When something is too big, the solution is to make it smaller.
The revolving door between government regulators and the high-paying banks they supposedly regulate remains as fluid as ever. None of what Obama said today matters while our cops still work for the crooks.
Wall Street has long forgotten how to spell "ethical" or "good," and replaced it with "compliant" and "legal."
The time has come to explain to investment banks what their responsibility and accountability are.
The so-called "resolution" mechanism the Democrats are pushing to wind down any big bank that gets into trouble is a step in the right direction. But it won't work if two or more giant banks are simultaneously endangered.