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

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

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. 


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Comments [8]


Sigh... Feel bad that bl shows boards have come to this. No ideas just crotchetiness

Jul. 06 2011 01:32 PM
Coach Rich from Murray Hill

It seems that the show's Comments section is under attack by a hacker group intending a disruption of thinking. Is it ironically perverse or purposely perverse that the defenders of Rupert's Empire cannot accept those on the Left who criticize their honorary leader, i.e. the President? I must now see how they have attacked the Comments section at David Brook's NYT site...

Jul. 06 2011 10:46 AM

I can't believe how awful that interview was? Does Frank Rich have dimentia?

Let me get this right - all of those people who are angry over the government takeover of healthcare are not really angry over the government takeover of healthcare but rather the financial meltdown. It has nothing to do with the concern over funding, security in access to healthcare or even just fundamental ideological differneces (right or wrong)? It has nothing to do with the way the ACA was forced through bending every rule in the Congressional playbook?

Typical false relativity from another leftist - you said "green" but I'm going to redefine "green" to mean "blue" so what you really meant was "blue."

Brian - you didn't even challenge him on this false equivalency. I can't believe I actually give NPR money.

Jul. 06 2011 10:32 AM
MB from Greenwich Village

Perhaps you could ask Mr. Rich why he deemed it necessary to hijack our New School commencement with his arrogant polemic about federal politics and how stupid he considers the Tea Party?

Jul. 06 2011 10:22 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Martin.


Jul. 06 2011 10:17 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Frank Rich left the Times!!!!
Who knew?

Snarky lefty critics whose only job requirement is to be cute and clever..... and to contribute no solutions of their own to anything..... are a dime a dozen at the NYT (Dowd, Collins, Blow, Friedman, and most of the papers editors and news "reporters").

Who noticed one less?

Jul. 06 2011 09:18 AM
gary from queens

Knowing Rich's fawning admiration for Obama, I'm sure his article neglects to describe his betrayal of Wall Street, after Wall Street gave more money to his persidential campaign.

The irony continues to this day. Just yesterday, Obama said he hopes the Republicans he invited to the the White House will "leave their rhetoric at the door."

This is the pot calling the kettle black! Everyday, some Republican tries to explain how taxing businesses and people earning over 200K will continue the capital strike; prolong the recession and hinder employment, because jobs are solely the result of businesses earning profits.

That is an ARGUMENT. It may or may not be invalid. But it is not RHETORIC. The RHETORIC comes with the Democrat/Obama rejoinder, which accuses Republicans of siding with Wall Street and not caring about the working poor. That is NOT an ARGUMENT. That is rank political demogoguery. I've not heard ONE argument from Democrats. Just ad hominems.

An example of an argument would be that increasing taxes (or Democrats' euphemistic term, "revenues") would reduce the debt. But that's an invalid argument. Because taxing the rich would merely pay the cost of food stamps, which amounts to 70 billion. It wouldn't make a dent in a 14 trillion debt.

The only interesting thing about Mr. Rich is how he manages to avoid the truth.

Jul. 06 2011 09:04 AM

Wow, I didn't even notice Frank Rich left the NY Times. Ever since they put up that annoying paywall I just scan the headlines to get a feel for the government line on the issues of the day and then go read elsewhere. It's simple to get around (I can't believe they paid millions of dollars for it, hah!) but I'd rather read a source that actually wants me as a reader...

Jul. 06 2011 06:20 AM

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