I actually don’t believe much of anything written by Andrew Ross Sorkin, but this is perfectly plausible.

The conventional wisdom, of course, is that Wall Street has turned its back on Mr. Obama out of frustration with his so-called antibusiness rhetoric and “fat cat” comments about bankers.

But Wall Street’s absence may be more about optics — the way things appear— than reality. Behind the scenes, it seems that many bankers are not running away from the president as quickly as some might suspect.

While many of the biggest name financiers feel that they can’t publicly support Mr. Obama through campaign contributions the way they did in 2008 — “it would be bad for business,” one brand-name chief executive of a major bank acknowledged — some still plan to vote for him. And some begrudgingly acknowledged that they don’t yet see a viable alternative to Mr. Obama among the Republican field.

It also turns out that Wall Street is not the only one concerned about optics. The president’s re-election campaign has not been actively courting Wall Street’s biggest C.E.O.’s to appear at such fund-raisers out of fear that their support could offend his most liberal backers, two people involved in planning his fund-raiser at Daniel said.

“A picture of Lloyd and Obama together probably isn’t helpful,” one of these people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid upsetting his role in the campaign. (It is unknown whom Mr. Blankfein plans to vote for.)

I certainly believe that Wall Street Masters of the Universe are a bit whiny, and get personally offended when anyone dares to challenge their brilliance. But certainly they can read an earnings statement. They know precisely that the Obama Administration’s policies have been good for business. And they’d be happy to see that continue. Now, maybe a few of them think they can get a better deal from a corporate Republican, although how exactly that would be possible is unclear. But overall, a cursory look at the numbers, at the record earnings and inflated stock market in the midst of a recession, at the light regulatory touch and the lack of prosecutions, would show that Wall Street is pretty happy with this Presidency.

It’s just not credible that people who look at the bottom line all day would value rhetoric over their performance. Bankers have to see that they were dead in the water, and brought back to life by a friendly Administration that exacted very little price for their crashing the global economy. And of course, as the election looms, and the President courts big money, this relationship will only get better and better.

How this changes, how we get to a point where politicians don’t need the rich and powerful on their side, is not at all clear in the post-Citizens United era. It’s a small solace that the Supreme Court didn’t totally decimate the concept of public financing yesterday when they struck down Arizona’s Clean Elections law, the way they’ve struck down every campaign finance law they’ve seen in the past couple years.

If we don’t figure something out, the only progress for the American people will come because rich people’s wives support gay rights.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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