Sunday, October 02, 2011

Charity Begins With One's Enemies

Democrats and Independents who lean Democratic, David Atkins observes, are significantly less enthusiastic about voting in 2012 than are Republicans. The "professional left," critical of the White House's approach and derided (at least until recently) by the Administration, seems to have been right all along.

Atkins cites three reasons for the enthusiasm gap: 1) "playing nice with Republicans is a fool's errand;" 2) "playing nice with Wall Street is pointless;" and 3) "abandoning the base is a very dangerous thing to do politically."

Whoa. Let's go back to #2.

Atkins points out that Wall Street has turned against the President, switching allegiance to the Repub Party (as it did in 2010) and especially to Mitt Romney. The Los Angeles Times cites hurt feelings when Obama referred to "fat cat bankers." But as Joan Walsh writes (and with which Atkins surely would agree), little has been effectuated to reform the financial sector, given

whether it’s “Volcker’s Rule” keeping banks out of speculative, proprietary trading; Gensler’s effort to force the trading of poorly understood derivatives on “exchanges” where their shady contents could be better examined; or Bair’s push for a contingency plan to force the toxic behemoth Citibank into bankruptcy; the tough reforms never materialized. They were watered down to insignificance, or as in the case of the Citi breakup, abandoned completely.

Jon Stewart, therefore, asked on September 20 of Ron Suskind, author of Confidence Men, the key question (video below):

We keep hearing that the Wall Street guys hate Obama, and my sense is ‘why?’ They’ve had it as good as anyone in this country over the past two and a half years, probably better. What’s their beef?

That elicited the answer that sums up this Administration better than has almost anything. Suskind responded

I asked the same question. I talked to a senior Wall Street guy. I said '"what gives with this thing with Obama? You're after him; he's anti-business. God, he couldn't have done more. He basically opened the federal purse for you guys. He saved your skin." This guy says "you bet, you bet.'" And he says "no, no, you see. Of course, he's not anti-business. But when we say he's anti-business, he just ends up dong more for us. So we're going to keep saying it."

You, the reader, suspected this. But now we know it.

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