December 7, 2011
Wow, I have to hand it to Obama’s spinmeisters. They’ve managed to find a way to resurrect his old hopium branding by calling it something completely different that still has many of the old associations.
And we have a twofer in Obama’s launch of his new branding as True Son of Teddy Roosevelt. Never mind that Teddy, unlike Obama, was accomplished in many walks of life and had meaningful political accomplishments (such as reforming the corrupt New York City police department) before becoming President at the tender age of 42. The second element of this finesse is that Obama is using the Rooseveltian imagery to claim he will pass legislation to get tough on Big Finance miscreants. That posture, is of course meant to underscore the idea that you just can’t get the perps with the present, weak set of laws.
Team Obama may have planned to wheel this new, improved image out later, with the timing accelerated by Judge Jed Rakoff’s decision against a proposed $285 million settlement between the SEC and Citigroup over a bum CDO in which Citi allegedly wielded considerable influence over its contents so it could bet against it. The SEC has gone on a full bore media offensive against Rakoff, with enforcement chief Robert Khuzami’s becoming uncharacteristically accessible to the media and also using scheduled speaking engagements to take issue with Rakoff’s ruling. And on top of Khuzami’s own efforts, the media has taken up some other dubious plants by the SEC. The biggest howler is a story in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. Titled “Financial Crimes Bedevil Prosecutors,” not one of the sources for the story is a prosecutor!
The centerpiece of the piece is one David Cardona, who just joined the SEC. Gee, you think he is going to do anything other than sell the party line? And what was his last job? At the FBI, investigating financial crimes, which by the way, resulted in pretty much no criminal cases, except, curiously, Taylor Bean. But doesn’t count, since the wronged parties were even bigger fish.