"Never before in all our history have these forces ["... business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering..."] been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred."
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, speech to the Democratic National Convention, Madison Square Garden, 1936
“I know both those guys [Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMorgan Chase; and Lloyd Blankfein, CEO, Goldman Sachs]; they are very savvy businessmen. I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.”
- Barack Obama, interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday.
Yes, as Paul Krugman and Simon Johnson say, this is some combination of clueless and perfidious. Yes, it's a profound betrayal of the Democratic Party. Yes, it's as politically insane as it is substantively deranged -- as Johnson points out, there is nothing about JPMorgan Chase or Goldman Sachs today that resembles the "free-market system." They are wastrel-son wards of the state.
But again -- my idee fixe of late -- it's also a fundamental failure of leadership, a total incapacity to do the job. In the interview, he goes on to talk about "say on pay" -- in his characteristic "no earth-shattering things going on here" way. He's emotionally out of touch with the majority of Americans... indeed, he's emotionally out of touch with himself. Such a person is unfit to lead.