Years ago in the salad days of my youth and naiveté, I was part of a merger team. During that tenure we were working on a critical deal which involved some in-depth, albeit brief in duration analysis. After what seemed like an extraordinarily short, inadequate period one senior executive asked the group if from our perspective we should close the deal. This “deal” was not a small matter mind you as it involved a multi million dollar investment, was critical to the company’s future and also had the unbridled attention of our competitors.
As I recall, the first to respond was an articulate colleague, product of an Ivy League education and no doubt a fellow sponsored by some senior person at the firm. However his retort that day and the following events became nothing more than contemporary Shakespearean theater. In the face of this exigency he opined about needing additional time to study the teams various responses in order to formulate his own personal decision. I suppose the stunned silence which overtook that room was rather foreboding not only of our collective incredulity (based on the fact he wanted to review our work and determine what he believed were the meritorious parts) but also for his career. After that day, this gentleman was never seen by our team again. Although at one point I did once see someone valet parking in midtown that very closely resembled him; welcome to the jungle.
Since then I can only say, like many others, life has been somewhat based on servitude. There have been and continues to be far too many 15 plus hour days, sleepless nights, working weekends, bleary eyed or missed family moments and the list goes on. I can frankly count a number of friends and colleagues who have had it much worse; weeks spent in hotel rooms, incessant global travel, broken marriages and many, many regrets. Nice houses, fast cars, private schools and a “charmed” life? That all depends on your definition. Certainly they are successful by someone’s lexigraphy, although often in the dark recesses of their minds it is not their own; defining completeness is very strange like that as it requires a very parochial, personal perspective. Are there some who are arrogant, uncaring, self centered and unapologetic? Absolutely, tell me what profession is without such characters, especially when large amounts of money are involved. Nonetheless, they have chosen and many are paid and often paid well for what they do. But also keep in mind others might not and more than often, will not, make that enormous sacrifice. Think comprehensively about the aforementioned once talk turns to how evil and abusive “Wall Street” is. Add to that most on the Street have never seen a 3 week vacation in our careers. I am curious can anyone in Congress make that same claim?
On Wall Street reward does not come without risk, sacrifice or arrows from malcontents and political opportunists. It almost never comes accompanied by accolades in good times and almost always comes saddle with mostly ungrounded rebuke in bad times. Wall Street therefore is a perfect target for liberal self absolution, driven by a profound desire to blame someone in the absence of personal, societal or governmental introspection. I frankly have grown tired of the misinformed or specious opines, vituperation and tittle-tattle of a system which forced risky lending on financial institutions, tookFannie/Freddie money to maintain the status quo then feigns ignorance and places blame on others. These are leaders? They are nothing even closely resembling or worthy of that description. If anyone is to blame it is Democrats who mocked the President’s effort, blocked reform at every chance and are awash in campaign contributions from the institutions that started and are the biggest components of this entire “bailout”.
This of course is all a perfect metaphor for a Wall Street existence; act quickly or die. It is also best represents why Barack Obama and his colleagues are dangerous and dishonest economic illiterates; destined to stand on the backs of sagacious, quick thinking individuals that don’t check political wind direction before they act. That posture does not reveal leadership or even temperateness. It is an ignominious attempt at plagiarism and reveals a political sheepishness which has no place in the Presidential skill set. In this regard, Mr. Obama has revealed not only his lack of experience, but a personal chasm of perspicacious judgment these times and our country deserves. I only hope this electorate relegates him to his rightful place, parking cars next to my ex colleague in midtown Manhattan.