Time was, Jamie Dimon was referred to as "Obama's favorite banker." And for a while, he really was! And why shouldn't he be? He's a lifelong Democrat, he basically put Obama in office, he attended the 3-day inauguration in support of his guy. He's extremely good-looking. He loves universal healthcare. He's got charm and charisma dripping out of every orifice, he was one of the CEOs who didn't fuck up and he's not Lloyd Blankfein. I won't even get started on the fact that he's the guy who'll make you laugh and he's handy around the house. (Just know that those attributes were not discounted by the president.) And for a while, things between O and D (and their respective kingdoms) was good. Really good. Obama seemed to understand that Dimon wasn't cut from the same cloth as "baldy," it looked like JPM wouldn't get punished for the sins of its peers and the President would openly acknowledge how great Jamie was, especially compared to the low-hanging fruit at Citi.
Somewhere along the line though, things started to splinter, to the extent that Obama and Dimon's "breakup" is now a topic of dicussion. And while the friends are always going to be biased, and blame the good for nothing ex g/bf who wronged their pal, in this case, it's true. First off, if the White House wanted to break it off with Jamie, they should have done so like a man. Instead, they just started treating him like shit, perhaps in the hopes he'd get fed up and leave. They started talking a lot of shit on bankers and when they did so, failed to add "obviously, none of this applies to JPMorgan." Dimon didn't get it and if you want to know the truth, it stung pretty bad. Out of nowhere, Obama didn't want to be associated with the banker formerly known as his "favorite." When crafting financial regulation, the administration failed to take into account that Dimon and his people were the good guys and shouldn't be held to ridiculous measures intended for fuck-ups! Of course, when the White House needed something from Jamie, they were more than happy to pop back into his life like for the night, which is so typical.
The nomination of Ben Bernanke for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman was suddenly losing altitude in the Senate. For a brief moment, it looked like it might crash, something the administration feared could damage the financial markets. Treasury officials asked Scher if senior JP Morgan executives could call a few senators to help put the nomination back on track, which they agreed to do without hesitation.
And guess what happened next? Obama et al realized how badly they treated Jamie and that breaking up with him was the biggest mistake of their lives? Wrong! What happened next was Dimon being snubbed on the State Dinner, which one financier told The New Republic was an unforgivable offense, especially considering who was asked to come. “Not being invited to the state dinner is not nice," he said. "They invited Bank of America.” Which brings us to our next point, namely that Brian Moynihan, the homely CEO who thought he was being tossed a bone, should know the sudden interest from Washington is not about him. It's about JD.
Team Obama has sometimes marveled at Dimon’s tone-deafness—“they don’t really understand how toxic they are,” one administration official complained to me—and distanced itself in ways subtle and not-so-subtle. It shut out the bank at key moments when crafting its financial overhaul and took a hard line when selling back the options on JP Morgan shares it acquired during the bailout. And then, there’s the state dinner snub. “It’s always easy to raise your profile in this environment,” says one politically astute financier. “It’s [not the same as] participating, making sure you’re in.” The executive continues: “Not being invited to the state dinner is not nice. They invited Bank of America.” In fact, one gets the sense that JP Morgan sees the White House elevation of Bank of America—a recent Bloomberg headline blared, “Moynihan Becomes Obama’s Top Wall Street Ally on Rules Overhaul”—as a thinly veiled reprimand.
Oh, I'm sorry Brian, you thought? That there was something there? That he was really interested? Oh, I'm sorry. But isn't it better to know the truth? If you need someone to talk to you, your old boss could offer a thing or two about the duplicity of the White House (and if he's really looking to unload and you've got the time, their hired goons at the Treasury and Federal Reserve).