Obama and Wall Street: A rocky love story 

Some liberals repeatedly try to make that case that Wall Street opposes Barack Obama, loves the Republicans, and pines for unfettered free markets. (Matt Yglesias, Jonathan Chait come to mind first). I won't psychoanalyze this tendency, but it is a pretty hard one to hold on to if you delve into the facts.

Sure, Republicans are far too cozy with Wall Street, but there's no basis for claiming this is a one-party problem. And it's absurd to paint Wall Streeters as Laissez-Faire cowboys.

In the last couple days, we've gotten a few interesting pieces of journalism documenting the complex relationship between Obama and Wall Street. Nicholas Confessore, a liberal New York Times reporter formerly of the American Prospect, lays out a story line that largely rings true to me: Obama effortlessly raked in unprecedented sums from big Wall Street banks in 2008, but it's harder now, because of former donors who are (a) caught up in corruption cases, (b) sad that he called them "fat cats," (c) unhappy about the economy, and (d) displeased with Dodd-Frank.

Confessore reports:

To offset those defections, Mr. Obama’s campaign has deployed a corps of loyal Wall Street supporters who have fanned out to defend the president’s record and stoke fatigued donors. They include Robert Wolf, the chief executive of UBS Group Americas; the hedge fund managers Orin S. Kramer and Eric Mindich; and Mark T. Gallogly, a co-founder of Centerbridge Partners.

Mr. Mindich and Mr. Wolf were among those at the White House meeting, along with some prominent names from the hedge fund world: James G. Dinan of York Capital Management, Glenn Dubin of Highbridge Capital Management and Paul Tudor Jones.

Members of the president’s economic team and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, a former banking executive, have been more active in reaching out to Wall Street executives about policy issues, donors said, along with Mr. Messina and Patrick Gaspard, the D.N.C.’s executive director.

The campaign and its allies are also seeking to recruit a new group of high-level bundlers, supporters who recruit other donors.

On this score, I recommend my brother John's blog post at CNBC, where he lists five things Obama can do to win back the "Fat Cats."

Then there's the debt ceiling debate, where the GOP is torn between its free-market-populist-Tea-Party base and its usually-free-market-but-really-pro-business money bass. David Callahan at Confessore's old magazine reports on this "On Again, Off Again" relationship between the GOP and Wall Street.

Finally, on the subject of high finance and big-money Democrats, here's a hopeful piece suggesting that the Fannie Mae slush-fund racket run by the likes of Jim Johnson and Barney Frank might finally become an issue.

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Timothy P. Carney

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