Obama eases up on the moneymakers

For once, the anti-capital president refrains from bashing bankers.

By Jim Cramer Feb 10, 2010 8:13AM

Jim Cramer

By Jim Cramer, TheStreet


Is President Barack Obama bending? Is something happening within his party that's making him open to compromise?


I start with a simple and perhaps silly question: Why didn't the stock market go down when Obama talked Tuesday? His pronouncements this year, especially after Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts, have all had that scold tone, that vituperative "this is not the time for profits" nonsense that he said about the banks a year ago. Those comments always kill the market as he says them -- just crush it.


Then Tuesday, in his impromptu press conference, he did not once take cheap shots, denigrate those who make money and are successful, or engage in class warfare with the rich bankers. I actually thought it was quite noteworthy, especially given that I was hanging on every word and watching the S&P 500 futures on a second-by-second tick.


He just didn't take the shots. They were there for him, a couple of three-pointers that he was wide open for and one or two layups.


He kept the ball in his hands. It must be so hard for him. And the market stayed steady.


When asked about alternative forms of energy, he quickly took things to Don Quixote-ville, all windmills and solar, some geothermal. He did the nuke thing, which we all know is impossible because almost everyone in America thinks you'll die if you live near a plant -- fact of life -- and then he spent the bulk of the time praising new technologies that don't exist to make coal clean.


And then, for one brief moment, he opened the door: He mentioned oil and gas! Now maybe he just meant the complex, but maybe he meant natural gas, and I think he did, because he immediately hedged himself by talking about the dangers of drilling, and that can only be drilling for nat gas using frac tech because that is his party line on the cleaner fuel. But he mentioned it. He mentioned it!


Bing: More on natural gas


I jumped up from my desk to see if I could watch a replay. He did. He mentioned oil and gas. Circled back to how much better coal is, but he mentioned it.


What thin reeds we rational middle-of-the-roaders hang on these days!


Finally, there is word that the jobs bill that's coming through may actually come through fast enough that it won't freeze hiring as we wait for it. That the allegedly brilliant handlers of Obama get that it has to go through fast or everyone will just wait to hire because you get a tax credit when you do the hiring. Of course, there is always a chance that they'll make it retroactive, so we are OK.

But at least Obama's people are thinking like this and fast-tracking help. I am told that it may not be all government jobs either and not all gifts to municipal unions and teachers. Some construction jobs even! That would be something!


Then last night we heard from Business Week that in an interview the president talked about how he doesn't begrudge Lloyd Blankfein or Jamie Dimon from Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan (JPM), respectively, for their bonuses, no more than he does baseball players who don't make the World Series.

This is good. This is very good. I said in "Stop Trading" on CNBC that the president should compare these salaries to those of football players on teams that didn't make the Super Bowl, and I said that Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles made the same amount as Blankfein and he didn't make the divisional playoffs.




Look, I wish I could say that this was a cynical exposition, but this president is so off-base when it comes to the stock market that all of these taken together might amount to some sort of tectonic shift of the most anti-capital president in my lifetime.


Worth watching for, because this market's not going to break out of this range as long as the bear in chief rages around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.


At the time of publication, Cramer was long Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan.


Jim Cramer is co-founder and chairman of TheStreet. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO.


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