Obama's Guest List
It's your party, President Obama, so you can invite who you want to. But we still think it was less than hospitable to leave JPMorgan Chase (Stock Quote: JPM) boss Jamie Dimon off your guest list.
The CEO of the nation's second-biggest bank was one of the few major bank heads not to be invited to Wednesday's signing of the U.S. financial reform bill. Dimon was best buddies with the president before he became an outspoken critic of the financial overhaul, which limits Wall Street risk-taking and beefs up consumer protections.
Other bank bigwigs who did receive tickets to Obama's shindig included Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman. (The other high-profile-yet-less-surprising snub was Goldman Sachs (Stock Quote: GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein. While not present, Goldman Sachs could figuratively have catered the affair by paying the government $550 million to settle a fraud lawsuit last week.)
Maybe we should check our copies of Andrew Ross Sorkin's bankus opus Too Big To Fail
, but we could swear that Dimon was one of the good guys during the banking collapse, or at least one of the better actors in the dismal drama that unfolded. Dimon didn't need TARP funds, yet he took them at the government's insistence. Similarly, he did Uncle Sam a solid when he bought Bear Stearns when it was in free fall.
Hey, even Barclays (Stock Quote: BAC) President Robert Diamond got an invite, according to White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage! And Barclays wouldn't step up to buy Lehman Brothers even when it meant saving the global economy.
Sure, Dimon's Eagle Scout attitude helped boost JPMorgan's performance when his competitors were reeling. Nevertheless, to freeze the guy out now seems ungrateful given the amount of praise heaped on him barely a year ago. And it's hard for us to buy the White House's excuse that there was not enough room in the building for Dimon when the government desperately needed him at a much smaller bargaining table back then.
Prior to signing the bill, the president said, "we had to overcome the furious lobbying of an array of powerful interest groups and a partisan minority determined to block change."
Who's acting partisan now, Mr. President?
Dumb-o-meter score: 95 -- We could understand such silly, spiteful behavior from a bunch of Syracuse students. But the White House? Come on!
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