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Will Wall Street Money Go Back to Obama?

In 2008, a full 20% of President Obama’s campaign contributions came from Wall Street banks, getting considerably more money from the big financial interests than John McCain did. Why? Because he was winning and corporate money will usually flow to the winner. So now that Obama has taken a clear lead over Romney, will that money start to flow back into his campaign coffers? Noah Millman says the answer may be yes.

The second number to watch is fundraising totals. The business community – Wall Street in particular – has been overwhelmingly supportive of Mitt Romney this year. But that is neither typical – there was a lot of support for Obama last time around, from Wall Street in particular – nor particularly wise if a Romney victory is doubtful.

Paul Krugman suspects that the Romney campaign’s attempts to spin away President Obama’s poll lead is an effort to prevent corporate donors from hedging their bets by donating to Obama as well. I doubt that – spinning is what campaigns do; they don’t need a reason. But he’s right that if it looks like Obama has a good chance of winning, he should suddenly discover that Wall Street and other corporate donors who have been shunning him become much more generous. President Obama’s fundraising numbers have already been perfectly respectable, but if they become substantially better than respectable that will be another sign that the smart money thinks this game is probably over.

With the Republicans in power, the big corporations know they’ll get pretty much whatever they want. With the Democrats in power, they can still get most of what they want because they know they can throw enough money around in Congress to make sure any really damaging legislation is turned to their advantage, or at least much less to their disadvantage. That is why Obama was so hemmed in politically when it came to health care reform that he had to drop the public option.

Comments

  1. Michael Heath says

    Ed writes:

    With the Republicans in power, the big corporations know they’ll get pretty much whatever they want. With the Democrats in power, they can still get most of what they want because they know they can throw enough money around in Congress to make sure any really damaging legislation is turned to their advantage, or at least much less to their disadvantage. That is why Obama was so hemmed in politically when it came to health care reform that he had to drop the public option.

    I don’t perceive the public option dying because of anything President Obama did or more importantly, could have done. Instead it was my observation that some conservative Democratic Senators filibustered their own caucus on votes with the public option in those bills, where the Senate Democrats had a solid majority to pass the legislation and where the president communicated he’d sign such a bill. Specifically – Sen. Ben Nelson, IIRC both of Arkansas’s two Senators, and the person whose hand was in the insurance till, Sen. Joe Lieberman. The latter represents a state where a relatively high number of health insurance companies operate from.

    Besides blaming Lieberman and the conservative Democratic Senators, I also saw this as a failure by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid. He failed by allowing his own caucus members to filibuster. Certainly those Senators should be allowed to vote how they choose in most cases, I think including on this issue, but there should have been known ramifications for filibustering one’s own caucus – like their losing their seniority and committee leadership positions.

  2. Mr Ed says

    I was listening to NPR on my way to work and I noticed that prominent Republican leaders were starting to distance themselves from Romney. Little things like mild statements about his over zealous reaction to the death of ambassador Stevens. I think they are moving from a unified front to having some cover if Romney looses. I would imagine that Wall Street is starting to think about hedging.

  3. M Groesbeck says

    Michael Heath @ 1 –

    That sounds an awful lot like “Democrats are willing to let policies fail in order to satisfy the conservatives in the party”. Their majority leader allowed party members to block legislation…the President was unwilling to push the centrist or barely-center-left version of healthcare reform and settled for the center-right version…it’s starting to sound like a party-wide failure. (Or maybe not a “failure” — just a center-right party preferring center-right policy rather than pushing for greater human benefit.)

  4. d cwilson says

    it’s starting to sound like a party-wide failure.

    It is, or at least a symptom of the fact that the democratic party still has a conservative wing that they have to deal with. That’s one advantage the republicans have had over the past few decades. By purging all moderates from the party, they have’t had to worry about making any internal compromises and instead, can projct a unified front.

    Of course Wall Street money will flow to Obama. For all their carping about about “socialism”, businessmen are pragmatic. They need friends in both parties or they won’t be able to stay in the game.

  5. says

    Michael-

    I think Obama knew the reality. With the public option, there’s no way the bill would have passed. My point is that the reason for that, though, is the influence of corporate money.

  6. says

    A good friend is at the top end of Wall Street Banking. He’s always been more liberal–grew up relatively poor and his route to success was somewhat improbable. Even though he is enormously successful, making loads of money for lots of people, he says that, today, someone like him would never be given the opportunities he got. I think his own history and his view of his success is the reason he’s a liberal, moderately economically conservative, but he would be totally unacceptable to Republicans. He and his wife say that people really have no idea how much they make and how little in taxes they pay because of the devices available to them. They give a lot of money away to charity and helping people personally, but they think taxes at the top end for people like them are absurdly low. His wife was a libertarian for years and she’s not anymore. Actually, she and I were both libertarians in the 80s.

    So friend’s take is that there are many established Wall Street people whose views aren’t all that different from his own. He despises Mitt Romney personally (apparently a lot of people on Wall Street do) and though he’s not a big fan of Obama he’s voting for him. Other like him would have supported Obama, but the problem is that Obama has not been “one of the guys” with them. For whatever reason, Obama doesn’t make a point to call people personally, reward them with invitations to the White House, attend events where they get to sit with him, talk with him, ask him questions, shoot the shit–that sort of thing. Bush used to do this. Clinton did it, too. These guys expect to be treated with extra attention and respect and Obama hasn’t done that. As petty as it seems, this is the reason many haven’t supported him this time around. Sure, that will change if it looks like Obama will win, but, according to my friend, it wasn’t so much about Democrat or Republican as it was about Obama’s lack of interest in hanging out.

  7. d cwilson says

    So, the biggest beef these “Masters of the Universe” types have is that Obama won’t be their BFF?

    Are they stock brokers or 14-year-old girls?

  8. Michael Heath says

    Ed Brayton writes:

    I think Obama knew the reality. With the public option, there’s no way the bill would have passed. My point is that the reason for that, though, is the influence of corporate money.

    I think the public reaction was in the feasible grasp of the Democrats, who IIRC, only had to two turn two of their four filibustering colleagues; not to vote for the public option, but instead to merely stop filibustering the bill. But that required a tougher Senate Majority Leader where Sen. Reid was not willing to break precedence on how Senate caucus leaders treat their members; however I think a departure from tradition was warranted given the monolithic obstructionism of the GOP, which also was a new precedent.

  9. Michael Heath says

    Dr. X writes:

    Other like [Dr. X's Wall Street banker friend] would have supported Obama, but the problem is that Obama has not been “one of the guys” with them. For whatever reason, Obama doesn’t make a point to call people personally, reward them with invitations to the White House, attend events where they get to sit with him, talk with him, ask him questions, shoot the shit–that sort of thing. Bush used to do this. Clinton did it, too. These guys expect to be treated with extra attention and respect and Obama hasn’t done that. As petty as it seems, this is the reason many haven’t supported him this time around. Sure, that will change if it looks like Obama will win, but, according to my friend, it wasn’t so much about Democrat or Republican as it was about Obama’s lack of interest in hanging out.

    Andrew Sullivan has repeatedly linked to reports citing how the president is both an introvert and unwilling to allocate the amount of time reaching out exactly like past presidents have done. I bet H.W. Bush, Reagan, Carter, and Ford didn’t either, but 16 years of Clinton and W. Bush was probably enough to set a precedent with the people running the street now.

  10. says

    “Are they stock brokers or 14-year-old girls?”

    They’re worse than 14-year-old girls. 14-year-old girls aren’t extremely rich and don’t have an entourage of sycophants telling them how wonderful they are day and night.

    Virtually all Wall Street gillionaire complaints about Obama reveal an extreme degree of pettiness and sense of entitlement. For his detractors, much of whining is based on the belief that Obama has said mean things about them or cast them in a less than flattering light, although there’s virtually no evidence of this. They simply take it for granted that they are objects of worship who are beyond reproach, and that Wall Street’s near obliteration of the world economy 4 years ago and the massive government bailout had nothing to do with them or the culture they inhabit.

    It’s getting to the point where I think we need to round up and randomly shoot one out of every ten, simply as a warning to the others. Apparently nothing else is getting through.

  11. Ichthyic says

    It’s getting to the point where I think we need to round up and randomly shoot one out of every ten, simply as a warning to the others. Apparently nothing else is getting through.

    sadly, given the results of the French Revolution we have to examine as history, I think you would still find a great many takers on your offer.

    terrorism, like torture, does not produce a change of mind. Instead, it just produces words you want to hear.

    you want change? run for office, and work your way up to where you can head the committees that set the laws for such things.

    that’s exactly the way things have gotten to where they are now, so that’s the only way they can get “undone” as well.

    we don’t need another revolution. we don’t need another constitution. we don’t need a new kind of government infrastructure.

    all we need… is you.

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