Recent reports show that Mitt Romney, not Obama, is winning the hearts and minds of Wall Street donors. This may be the clarion call for those who have strayed from the President’s camp over the last year and energetically rejoin his 2012 campaign.
President Obama may win back some tenuous support for his campaign from people like me who have been disappointed with some of his performance thus far. Along with this is the disappointment of those selections he has made to fill staff and cabinet positions with some of the people who have very close ties to Wall Street.
He recently replaced his tough chief-of-staff Rahm Emmanuel with Chicago’s Bill Daley who has strong ties with big finance, serving as a senior executive with JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase received $25 billion in bailout funds back in 2008-09 but has since fully repaid it with interest. Obama’s newly appointed Job Czar, G.E’s Jeffery Immelt was seen as an insensitive selection by many pro-labor groups in light of the fact that his company not only didn’t pay any income tax in 2010 after making worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, with $5.1 billion made in the U.S., they actually claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion for that year.
Being too cozy to Wall Street is something the GOP doesn’t worry about but as the Party for the common man and woman, the Democratic Party needs to be seen at least keeping these high rollers at arm’s length. Obama’s campaign continues to receive about the same amount of grass-root level funding for those giving $500 or under as he was in 2008 but there’s been about a 10% increase of wealthier donors for his 2012 campaign over what this group was giving back in 2008
But now a new report comes out that shows Mitt Romney is more favorable in the eyes of Wall Street donors than Obama and has in fact taken that edge away from the President in the 3rd quarter of this year.
In a post from Nicholas Confessore and Griff Palmore in the NY Times we find”
Mitt Romney has raised far more money than Mr. Obama this year from the firms that have been among Wall Street’s top sources of donations for the two candidates.
That gap underscores the growing alienation from Mr. Obama among many rank-and-file financial professionals and Mr. Romney’s aggressive and successful efforts to woo them.
The imbalance exists at large investment banks and hedge funds, private equity firms and commercial banks, according to a New York Times analysis of the firms that accounted for the most campaign contributions from the industry to Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama in 2008, based on data from the Federal Election Commission and the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
It could widen as Mr. Obama, seeking to harness anger over growing income inequality, escalates his criticism of the industry, after a year spent trying to smooth ties bruised by efforts to impose tougher regulations. SOURCE
This takes the onus away from Obama who was beginning to alienate many of those people who are currently represented in the nationwide protests that is “Occupy Wall Street”, a movement that has brought into focus the concentration of political power and wealth in the hands of a few people while too many Americans struggle to keep their homes and meet basic financial obligations to address health care, food and educational needs. It has exposed the strong connection between job losses in this country and the rising power and wealth of hedge fund managers and corporate CEOs whose political connections have created the greatest income disparity in U.S. contemporary history. While the wealthiest 2% have seen their income increase threefold since 1978 the rest of us have seen our wages become stagnant or even decrease.
To make matters worse says Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi, “virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth” served no jail time. While those of us on Main Street suffered the loss of our jobs, homes, health care benefits and retirement savings, hedge fund managers and banking CEOs were drinking champagne on their new yachts after making record profits following the government bailouts they received in 2008 and 2009.
So what some might see as a coup d’état for Mitt Romney, there are others like myself that see a turning point where we are ready to rejoin the effort to re-elect Barack Obama. There will remain those differences to some degree that mitigated our support earlier but with this developing image that pits Wall Street against the President, it may be that clarion call that reunites those who have strayed from the fold and are ready once again set an agenda that works toward that real change we were all inspired to vote for the first time round.
There is a caveat to this new hope. To be sure, there is no self-deception here that Obama will fit the Progressive mold comfortably. Rational minded liberals know that some give and take is still essential in our democratic republic but we expect to see less bipartisanship efforts on the part of the President at the first sign of any intransigence by the GOP. Should there be any inclination Obama’s spine is turning into rubber, bailing will come far quicker this time and the Democratic Party could suffer a setback it may not recoup from for a few election cycles.
- Romney Beating Obama in Fight for Wall Street Cash (NY Times)
- Losing Their Immunity (NY Times, Paul Krugman)