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Would Mitt Romney be smart to take on Wall Street?
JPMorgan's big bad bet could be political gold for Romney, says conservative James Pethokoukis — if Mitt starts pushing the breakup of "Too Big to Fail" banks
Mitt Romney holds forth in Chantilly, Va., on May 2: If Romney vowed to break up banks that have been deemed "Too Big Too Fail," it would "undercut the charge that he's a creature of Wall Street and the financial super-elite," says James Pethokoukis.
Mitt Romney holds forth in Chantilly, Va., on May 2: If Romney vowed to break up banks that have been deemed "Too Big Too Fail," it would "undercut the charge that he's a creature of Wall Street and the financial super-elite," says James Pethokoukis.
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ame-sex marriage? Bullying? Winning over female voters? These aren't issues Mitt Romney wants to be discussing. By all indications, he wants the 2012 presidential race to be about the economy, where President Obama polls the weakest. Well, JPMorgan Chase's surprise $2 billion bet-gone-bad gives Romney a golden shot to seize the conversation, and the election, says James Pethokoukis at the conservative American Enterprise Institute: He should vow to break up the five biggest Wall Street financial behemoths. This "Nixon-to-China moment" would "undercut the charge that he's a creature of Wall Street and the financial super-elite," and help Romney outflank Obama on financial reform. Is this a good idea? And will Romney bite?

Don't count the idea out: Romney getting behind a Wall Street breakup is "not as crazy an idea as it sounds," says Michael Brendan Dougherty at Business Insider. Former GOP primary rival Jon Huntsman proposed a similar plan, and while "it is very tricky for conservatives to bring themselves to set hard regulations on the financial industry," even the Right hates Too Big to Fail banks. Remember, it was the Wall Street bailout that planted the seeds for the Tea Party. Now Romney can gin up Tea Party support and woo Occupy Wall Street, too.
"JP Morgan fiasco presents Mitt Romney with a huge opportunity"

This is great advice... that Romney will ignore: Pethokoukis' proposal "could be a total game-changer" for Romney, says Joe Klein at TIME. So far, Romney has only said he wants to repeal Obama's Dodd-Frank financial reform law, but hasn't said a peep about what he'd replace it with. Breaking up the big five banks would be a big winner with "discerning liberals" and with independent voters, who view Big Finance as skeptically as Big Government. It would also establish Romney as a "creative thinker" — which is, sadly, "precisely why he won't do it."
"Jamie Dimon's worst nightmare"

There's no will in Washington to bank-bust: It's clear that "neither the Obama administration nor Congress has the will to take on the financial services oligopoly," says Joseph Palermo at The Huffington Post. Big bankers are "simply too rich and connected." But let's be frank: A Romney presidency would be much worse. The only viable hope is a mass movement, like Occupy Wall Street. "With a little luck, and a few more blowups on Wall Street, we might be able to generate the political will to finally break up the financial behemoths," no matter who's president.
"JP Morgan's loss could be America's gain"

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