The Republican Party’s Requited Love for Large Banks

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The Republican Party is currently attempting to executive a tricky political high-wire act. On the one hand, they’re hoping to turn populist outrage at the financial industry and bailouts into a generalized hatred of government and incumbent politicians that puts them in power. At the very same time, they’re steadfastly opposing any sort of new regulations on the financial industry and are hoping to reap a mighty financial reward for their labors. I wrote the other day about John Boehner making the case to Wall Street that the GOP should be the banksters’ favorite party, and today’s New York Times contains evidence that Boehner’s pitch is working:

[JP Morgan Chase’s] chief executive, Jamie Dimon, is a friend of President Obama’s from Chicago, a frequent White House guest and a big Democratic donor. Its vice chairman, William M. Daley, a former Clinton administration cabinet official and Obama transition adviser, comes from Chicago’s Democratic dynasty.

But this year Chase’s political action committee is sending the Democrats a pointed message. While it has contributed to some individual Democrats and state organizations, it has rebuffed solicitations from the national Democratic House and Senate campaign committees. Instead, it gave $30,000 to their Republican counterparts.

The shift reflects the hard political edge to the industry’s campaign to thwart Mr. Obama’s proposals for tighter financial regulations.

I happen to think Obama’s policies and rhetoric on the banks have been too soft and too pro-banker. But you don’t get to become an economy-destroying master of the universe by recognizing when you have a good thing going. Instead, they’re aiming for the full prize—no new regulations plus lower taxes for bank executives—and Boehner and his colleagues are reaping the rewards.