After Obama’s same sex marriage fundraising appeal dropped him back in the polls, the president is using J.P. Morgan’s $2 billion hedge implosion as an opportunity to hone in on a single message and gain campaign momentum beyond his liberal base. Obama is confident that the lingering bitterness toward Wall Street will blind the electorate to the irony of a president, running $1.4 trillion annual deficits, lecturing J.P. Morgan over one $2 billion mistake. Hoping the media play along, Obama will try to benefit from J.P. Morgan’s loss in at least four ways.
First, it gives him an opportunity to shape the economic message in a way that avoids his disastrous economic record. While the Occupy movement has devolved into roving bands of anarchists like the movie Fight Club’s Project Mayhem, the original sentiment, which drove people to protest at the homes of AIG executives in 2009 and occupy Zuccotti Park in 2011, remains intact. Three years after the collapse of Lehman, these “too big to fail” institutions continue to benefit from billions of dollars in government bailouts while the average citizen’s home is still “too small to notice.” People’s homes linger underwater or fall into foreclosure. Economic reality isn’t the issue here. Perception is, and perception wins votes.
Second, the J.P. Morgan debacle will function as a symbol of the dysfunctional “1%” propped up by taxpayer money and existing at the expense of everyone else. This fits with Obama’s recent pivot from a donation-motivated campaign on social issues to an all-out assault on Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital tenure. The Obama campaign has made no secret of its intent to paint Romney as an out of touch one-percenter while the president claims to go to war for the middle class. The months leading up to the election won’t be about gay marriage but about Mitt Romney the “job destroyer.” Continue reading