New York’s Frank Rich on Where Obama Went Wrong with Wall Street

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, New York Magazine columnist Frank Rich discussed his debut column for the magazine after leaving the New York Times as an opinion columnist.

When Obama lost the angry

In his debut column for New York magazine, Frank Rich gives a savage critique of President Obama's "original sin": the administration's failure to prosecute those responsible for the financial crisis. Rich calls it an absolute failure, both moral and political.

Political, because it represents a missed opportunity to capitalize on the populist rage following 2008's TARP bailouts. By the summer of 2009, Rich said, a lot of Americans felt they'd been betrayed by a bipartisan system that pillaged their livelihood in order to salvage Wall Street. It then became a question of who would control that narrative—and it didn't turn out to be the President.

Tea Partiers—and to some extent conventional Republicans—exploited this anger by turning the health care plan into another symbol of the big guy screwing you. If Obama had addressed this anger and been more proactive, he might not have been hoisted on petard of health care.

Obama/Cuomo 2012?

In all the talk of what's hurting the President's re-election chances, there's also the rumor that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo may replace Vice President Joe Biden as Obama's running mate in 2012. Cuomo's successful tenure thus far, which was capped by the legalization of gay marriage last month, has made him the most approved-of governor in the nation, fueling speculation that he'd make Obama's ticket stronger.

But Frank Rich doesn't buy it. The move wouldn't win the President voters in any place he's not already a lock.

It doesn't make sense for Cuomo and it doesn't make sense for Obama, who is going to carry New York...Chicago plus Albany slash New York City is not a broader ticket.