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"Wall Street Strikes Back"

That's the lead in Politico's Morning Money today, which -- again -- prints verbatim a blind quote from an unnamed "top financial industry insider."  You have to wonder what these masters of the universe are so afraid of that they will never same anything on the record.  

Anyway, Wall Street and its allies are spending unlimited amounts of money to attack anyone who disagrees with them or has the nerve to want to regulate them even in the most benign ways.  Well at least all that money came up with a decent blind quote today, albeit after more than 24 hours.  When the billings from all the law firms, lobbyists, spin-meisters, PR firms, etc., that worked on this blind quote for the 24 hours are added up, this quote will probably cost Wall Street more than $1,000 per word.  

One has to wonder about the wisdom of such an attack, particularly when its potential to backfire is so huge (discussed after the quote):  

"A top financial industry insider offered M.M. a blistering response to reports that the Obama 2012 campaign will make attacks on Wall Street a centerpiece of the reelection strategy: 'Hard to tell if the Obama Administration's vilify Wall Street strategy is inspired or insane. The Obama Administration was the top recipient of Wall Street cash last election and the list of Wall Street insiders and bailout supporters working for Obama is truly breathtaking. ... The President's Treasury Secretary was in charge of the New York Fed [during the start of] the bailout. The President reappointed Ben Bernanke, a key architect of the bailout.'"

"'The President's White House National Economic Council Director took almost a million dollars from Goldman Sachs before joining the Administration ... The President's National Security Advisor is a former top Fannie Mae lobbyist, and both of his OMB chiefs have ties to big banks. Obama's current Chief of Staff is from JPMorgan Chase, and his predecessor was on the board of Freddie Mac. ... If the President really wants to send Wall Street a message why doesn't he just convene a meeting of his senior staff?'"

"'Openly supporting and identifying with the Wall Street protesters is also risky. Some of them (in Portland) were just caught on tape cursing America. The last person who did that on tape was Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and Obama's ties to him turned out to be a real liability.'"

Overall, probably pretty smart to paint Obama and his administration as essentially still on the payroll of and working for Wall Street because it feeds into the critique from and alienation of the left, which they probably think means, if the left and Wall Street have abandoned Obama, who will remain to support him?  And, if Obama is functionally the same as Wall Street, then attacking Wall Street will be the same as attacking his own administration.  

Seems like at least two obvious flaws with that thinking.  One is that that vast majority of those who are angry with Wall Street isn't just the "left," whatever that means now-a-days.  In fact, if you read the polls - and it's in ALL the legit polls - anger with Wall Street cuts across all ideologies and political affiliations.  So, at first glance, being against Wall Street would look like a real winner.  Yes, its effectiveness requires one to be a credible messenger, and the no-credibility Street is trying to damage Obama's ability to be that person, but, while he may not win awards for governing, he does have some ability to drive a message when he wants to - as proved in the last campaign where he not only beat the Clinton machine and all the smart money, but overcame a number of very difficult situations, including the Jeremiah Wright one they so conveniently seem to have forgotten.  That snarky point missed the point:  it didn't turn out to be much of a liability at all in the end. 

The other flaw may well be that Wall Street taking the gloves off may in fact cause the administration and the re-elect operation to write off completely the intermittent attempts to curry favor with Wall Street to, at least, neutralize it, as the argument has been.  Using the quote above as a poster child, the argument that will now be repeated over and over again by many will be:  "There is nothing you will ever do to satisfy Wall Street and this attack proves it."  Going to be very hard to argue against that, particularly in light of everything else.  (Of course, the Street will be seeking to have it both ways:  those trying to prevent an all out assault by Obama will say, it was a blind quote by, they will claim, a "rogue" no less, and doesn't represent the views of the "responsible" Street, whatever that is.  Presumably, that argument will be a little difficult to prevail in light of everything else being said and the river of campaign cash flowing in certain directions.)  

Emboldening and really irritating your sometimes allies to make them your never-again allies doesn't always turn out to be the best strategy - this cuts both ways of course and everyone will get to see what happens over the next 13 months.  Let's just hope that financial reform isn't one of the casualties.  

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