To interest groups in Washington, supporting a political party is about hedging your bets and deciding who’s done the most for you lately. It’s not different for individuals either — after all, the “Party of Lincoln” doesn’t exactly look like it’d free the slaves today — which is why lunatics are flocking to the Tea Party and GOP, happy that their insane views are suddenly mainstream.
So it’s no surprise that “fat cat” bankers are no longer big fans of Barack Obama. Sure he was slow to express any outrage over their comically-obscene bonuses, and his cabinet is replete with Goldman alumni, but he’s finally at least sounding like he gets it. He’s finally at least hinting to the 17 percent of Americans who are either unemployed or underemployed that he’s on their side.
Consequence: Wall Street’s all butthurt. Turns out bankers are only giving money to the GOP now.
The shift reflects the hard political edge to the industry’s campaign to thwart Mr. Obama’s proposals for tighter financial regulations.
Just two years after Mr. Obama helped his party pull in record Wall Street contributions — $89 million from the securities and investment business, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics — some of his biggest supporters, like [JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon], have become the industry’s chief lobbyists against his regulatory agenda.
Republicans are rushing to capitalize on what they call Wall Street’s “buyer’s remorse” with the Democrats. And industry executives and lobbyists are warning Democrats that if Mr. Obama keeps attacking Wall Street “fat cats,” they may fight back by withholding their cash.
First of all, GOOD. Good that they don’t think Obama’s on their side. He shouldn’t be. We’re talking about an industry that contributed to a global financial meltdown (with greed and a complete disregard for responsibility), took billions in government money and, in the face of a still-struggling economy, doled out $23 billion in bonuses to the same people who created the crisis. Barack Obama shouldn’t be your friend, and we’re glad he’s not.
That said, seems Wall Street found a new friend pretty easily in the “Party of No.”
If the president doesn’t become a little more balanced and centrist in his approach, then he will likely lose that support,” said Kelly S. King, the chairman and chief executive of BB&T. Mr. King is a board member of the Financial Services Roundtable, which lobbies for the biggest banks, and last month he helped represent the industry at a private dinner at the Treasury Department.
“I understand the public outcry,” he continued. “We have a 17 percent real unemployment rate, people are hurting, and they want to see punishment. But the political rhetoric just incites more animosity and gets people riled up.”
Do you really understand the outcry, Kelly S. King? Because we think you don’t. The political rhetoric incites more animosity and gets people riled up not just for the hell of it, but because they should be riled up. Quoting ourselves from earlier in this post:
We’re talking about an industry that contributed to a global financial meltdown (with greed and a complete disregard for responsibility), took billions in government money and, in the face of a still-struggling economy, doled out $23 billion in bonuses to the same people who created the crisis.
If that shouldn’t rile people up, what the hell should? Twenty-three-billion dollars in bonuses? Are you serious? Where are the layoffs? Where’s the accountability? Where’s the commitment to change? Where’s the acknowledgment that huge terrible mistakes were made and a commitment that they won’t be made again? Where’s the acknowledgment that much of this financial disaster is your doing?
It’s not there. It’s not there at all.
So run to the GOP. They’ll happily take your money, and if history is any guide, they’ll probably do what you want and oppose any Wall Street regulation. They shouldn’t and we hope that’s not what happens, but we’re sure not holding our breath. Sen. Jon Cornyn (R-Tex.) summed up the shift nicely: “I just don’t know how long you can expect people to contribute money to a political party whose main plank of their platform is to punish you.”
Hey, fair enough. You don’t want to be punished for doing a terrible job, then head over to the GOP. After all, we know how the Republican Party treats failure.