It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

I’ve watched waterfalls of self-pity roar from Wall Streeters and hedge fund managers for years now. I remember when Leon Cooperman compared President Obama to Adolph Hitler. I remember Leon Cooperman’s moment in the Sun when his letter to the president briefly got some attention. You know, the letter where he wrote that Barack Obama and his “minions” were at fault because “the divisive, polarizing tone of your rhetoric is cleaving a widening gulf, at this point as much visceral as philosophical, between the downtrodden and those best positioned to help them.”

Yes, Mr. Cooperman’s feelings were hurt because the president said that perhaps the super-rich could pay a little more in taxes and still fly on their private jets. This complaint was pretty widespread in the run-up to the 2012 election. Do you remember this jewel from Mike Allen that came out in July 2011?

Fifty of the most prized donors in national politics, including several hedge-fund billionaires who are among the richest people in the world, schlepped to a Manhattan office or hovered around speakerphones Tuesday afternoon as their host, venture capitalist Ken Langone (pronounced LAN-goan), a co-founder of The Home Depot, implored New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to reconsider and seek the GOP presidential nomination…

…Several of them said: I’m Republican but I voted for President Obama, because I couldn’t live with Sarah Palin. Many said they were severely disappointed in the president. The biggest complaint was what several called “class warfare.” They said they didn’t understand what they had done to deserve that: If you want to have a conversation about taxation, have a conversation. But a president shouldn’t attack his constituents – he’s not the president of some people, he’s president of all the people. Someone mentioned Huey Long populism.

You’d think these folks, who “couldn’t live with Sarah Palin” and couldn’t abide the mildest criticism from President Obama, would have a wee bit of problem about getting accused of murder by Palin-endorsed Donald Trump. But what do we hear from them now?

We hear crickets about Trump and howling about Hillary Clinton.

Clinton’s stance on hedge funders drew fire from hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman, who called her a hypocrite on television. Clinton’s son-in-law, Marc Mezvinsk, is a co-founder of hedge fund Eaglevale Partners. And Clinton’s daughter Chelsea previously worked at hedge fund Avenue Capital, run by well-known Clinton supporter Marc Lasry.

“(She) hangs out with all these people in Martha’s Vineyard and in the Hamptons and then the very first thing she has to say is to criticize hedge funds,” Cooperman told CNNMoney in June. “I don’t need anybody crapping all over what I do for a living.”

Cooperman and his ilk are just the kind to “cultivate their flowers to be nothing more than something they invest in,” and, whether it’s Trump or Cruz, it’s clear that they’re ready to “obey an authority they don’t respect in any degree.”

Take former head of the Futures Industry Association, John Damgard.

Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have been crushing the moderate Republicans he prefers, hurling insults at bankers and hedge fund managers and flying high as the first primaries near in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. But Damgard, a former head of the Futures Industry Association, is one of the many Republican donors from the financial industry who aren’t rattled.

“Not a bit,” said Damgard, a top defender of derivatives in Washington until he retired in 2012. “Doesn’t bug me. In the middle of the campaign a lot of people say things that they think are going to help them get elected.”

Do you see how sophisticated he can be when it’s Republicans blasting Wall Street and Hedge Fund managers?

Their criticism is like water off a duck’s back.

“Hold on, hold on, hold on,” billionaire investor Ken Langone said this week when asked if the success of the Republican front-runners upset him.

For one thing, according to Langone, a Home Depot Inc. co-founder who’s given New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s super PAC at least $250,000, anything can change before the primaries. Life goes on even under President Trump, Langone said, before getting even sunnier.

“The cockeyed optimist that I am, maybe, just maybe, he might turn out to be one of the greatest surprises America ever had,” he said. “You got to be optimistic.”

Back in 2011, Langone and his folks couldn’t take Sarah Palin, but now they’re cockeyed optimists who think Trump might not be so bad after all.

A person involved in government relations at one of the largest U.S. banks, who asked not to be identified, said Trump might be bad overall but wouldn’t come after Wall Street out of the gate like Sanders.

Well, he can be bad overall. Who cares if the president is bad overall? That’s not so much of a problem, right?

As for Ted Cruz?

Well, that’s simple:

Cruz doesn’t frighten one former Goldman Sachs executive who watched the senator help his wife, Heidi, woo clients to a unit that caters to people and families with average investments at the firm of more than $40 million. The senator knows bankers, went to the same Ivy League schools, understands their needs and has taken their money, he said.

So, when Obama bailed these bastards out and made a couple of mildly populist comments about them, he got compared to Hitler. When Hillary Clinton suggests some minor reforms, she’s “crapping all over” what they do for a living.

But Ted Cruz can demonize them and Trump can say they’re getting away with murder and it’s no big deal. They can be trusted to play ball.

Here’s how Cooperman defended his class:

As a group we employ many millions of taxpaying people, pay their salaries, provide them with healthcare coverage, start new companies, found new industries, create new products, fill store shelves at Christmas, and keep the wheels of commerce and progress (and indeed of government, by generating the income whose taxation funds it) moving.

Here’s how Bob Dylan described them.

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Make everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

Yes, they sound thin-skinned when a Democrat criticizes them, but they’re really justing aiming for their mark.

And the president of the United States is the biggest mark of them all.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.