OK, sure, this Politico piece, tallying up another accounting of perceived slights at the financial industry by the Obama Administration (they didn’t invite us to a CEO meeting!), is ridiculous, not the least because Politico decided to give these fatcat cowards anonymity for their back-room gossip for no reason whatsoever. And yes, these Wall Street tycoons never had it so good, so this self-obsession with their own feelings is completely absurd.

Or is it? The one decent part of the Politico article examines the results Wall Street has extracted with this strategy.

After all, polls suggest most Americans believe Obama has handled the titans of Wall Street with an exceedingly light touch. He supported the deeply unpopular $700-billion bank bailout, pushed a financial reform package that stopped short of breaking up the biggest behemoths and, just this month, signed off on tax cuts for the wealthiest and continued low rates on capital gains and dividends.

And, of course, big-time bonuses at bailed-out banks are back, even as average Americans continue to get tossed out of their homes, corporate America has turned in its most profitable quarter in history and the stock market is at a two-year high […]

“You would really have to go back to 1934 to find a time when Wall Street was this angry at an administration following a crisis that was largely of Wall Street’s own making,” said Charles Geisst, a financial historian and professor at Manhattan College. “Back then, Wall Street basically went on strike and would not issue bonds for corporations. They stomped their feet like little kids. The same thing is happening now.”

But, as Geisst noted, this is not 1934. Not even close. Big banks are not getting broken up. Nothing Obama has done equates to having created the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Maybe this is all annoying, maybe Wall Street executives are a bunch of crybabies who have had their mouths wiped by adoring sycophants once too often. But their strategy happens to be working. They stamped their feet and threw a temper tantrum in 1934 because their fortunes and ways of doing business were threatened, and to distract the policymakers from carrying out their work on the people who caused the crisis. It didn’t work. They’re throwing the same tantrum now, for the same reasons. It’s working.

A lot has changed in the intervening 75 years. The media is far more pliant. The country’s political ideology isn’t allowed to move out of very narrow ranges. The political leadership covets rather than abhors that special relationship with big business.

But why would anyone expect these titans of industry to stop whining? They’re businesspeople, in most cases successful businesspeople, if you define “successful” as finding ways to make money, the law be damned. They pick a business plan, and if it works they stick with it. Whining is working.

David Dayen

David Dayen