In the Clinton and Bush years, it often seemed that Wall Street and the super-rich were aligning themselves with the Democratic Party.
Obama and his top lieutenants are working hard to win back Wall Streeters to their side after a couple of years of tension in the wake of Dodd-Frank.
Apparently financiers are still bitter about the banker-bashing then went on during the Fin-Reg debate.
Another less obvious reason why there’s tension, according to what one Wall Streeter told Ben White, is that “Obama is nothing like former President Bill Clinton and simply doesn’t like rich people, who in turn don’t like him very much.” That source said “the money would ultimately be there but would flow much more evenly to the GOP nominee (assuming it’s not a tea party candidate) than it did in ’08.”
By the numbers, you may wonder what the rich have to complain about. Corporate profits are up, and the S&P 500 has surpassed 2008 levels. President Obama has signed a renewal of the Bush tax cuts.
You might also wonder: Are the rich – and especially the Wall Street rich – truly so thin-skinned? Millions of Americans have lost jobs, homes, and savings in a financial crisis and recession caused by the recklessness and incompetence of some of this country’s most eminent and best-compensated financiers. Isn’t the president elected by those Americans entitled to grumble a little about the disaster?
Yet the theme is powerful. Mitt Romney includes in his stump speech a question: “Any business folks here? Well, this president doesn’t like you very much.”
I’m not positioned to assess the president’s likes and dislikes, but off-hand I’d guess that he likes rich people who support him and dislikes rich people who don’t. Politicians tend to be self-centered that way.
Meanwhile, business leaders need to be a little more hard-headed – and a lot less thin-skinned. The flow of negative regulations from a re-elected Obama administration is reason enough for business leaders to invest their political contributions against the Democrats, regardless of the president’s real or imagined feelings.