The administration's critics are right about one thing: Obama can't afford to play it cool any longer. And he can't follow the same playbook with the banks he has used with the health-care reform, pragmatically allying himself with industry stakeholders .... Harnessing public anger at the banks isn't just one of many options. It's the only way he can pass his reforms.
[In a recent speech, Obama] ... excoriated bankers, fought for consumer protections, and explained how strong rules make for strong capitalism. But he also urged the bankers to voluntarily take civic interests to heart and "embrace serious financial reform, not fight it." He fails to understand that the financial sector is an even more obstreperous partner than congressional Republicans, who oppose the administration from both self-interest and principle.
The banks have no principles behind their opposition, just the profit motive, and the American economy depends on reducing profits in the financial sector. There's no deal to be made. If Obama wants to make the financial sector work for the economy and not against it -- and reap the political benefits of doing so -- it's time to fight.
Friday, September 18, 2009
The American Prospect on why "No Drama" Obama's failure to channel public outrage at the financial sector may cost all of us: