Obama personally believes in the legitimacy of the existing banking institutional framework and he strongly suspects that no crimes were committed. He has hired a raft of people – including Jack Lew, Tim Geithner, Eric Holder, Larry Summers, and so on and so forth – who agree, and has implemented policies such as Dodd-Frank that assume as much. His administration genuinely believes that mortgage fraud has been a top priority of theirs, as I showed this morning. These people aren’t stupid, they aren’t without principles, and they aren’t electorally driven. They are ideologues. They really believe in a neoliberal political economy, where government throws money at the economy through private channels and private channels do with it whatever they think best. As Jonathan Alter, who is as close as you can get to the administration’s emotional spokesperson, explains in a column titled “For Obama, Pro-business Populism is no Oxymoron”:
The president, channeling John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural address, framed it almost as a patriotism question: “Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.”
The response to this is often: Who is the president to tell me where or how to run my business? But he’s not. He’s simply saying he’ll offer you tax advantages when your interests are aligned with the nation’s, and he won’t when they aren’t. (italics are mine)
The Obama administration’s posture is not passive because Obama is weak, it is passive because President Obama and his administration believe passivity towards business interests is the appropriate role of government.
The second-worst thing about having a batshitloonitarian Republican Party is that people who propose conservative solutions to real problems (as opposed to FETUSES IN YOUR PEPSI!!!) are viewed as moderates, or even liberals, when they are, in a sane polity, conservatives. Even the Krugman is susceptible to this.
Of course, the worst thing about having a batshitloonitarian Republican Party is that we have a batshitloonitarian Republican Party. So the choice is, as I learned growing up in Virginia, between the de facto Republican and the batshitloonitarian.
Also known as the evil of two lessers.