Steve Rattner is in Martha’s Vineyard now, where he likes to fly his plane. It’s summer. He’s settled into his grand home, with its sweeping waterfront acreage, next to the grand home of Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast, a loyal client and friend. Rattner’s worked night and day for six months, so he’s looking forward to relaxing with his four kids. Still, the vacation has the feel of exile, albeit gilded. This was supposed to be Rattner’s Bob Rubin moment, when he ascended past the mere operators to became a noble figure sharing his consummate financial talents with the people. Instead, he’s embroiled in a scheme to get rich at the public trough. For Rattner, it’s a sad denouement. He’s stopped reading about himself—his Google alerts bring up references to Chooch.
It’s unlikely Rattner will return to Wall Street. Quadrangle is happy not to have him back—the firm wants to be clear of the scandal that’s attached to his name. And at any rate, Rattner has little interest in returning. He’s told friends that, after his Washington adventures, banking has lost its excitement. He’d loved Washington, the high stakes, the public service, the whole heady drama. “There are not many people who spend as much time with the president in four years as I spent in six months,” he told one friend recently. And he liked the person he’d become there, no longer the cool hypercareerist who had won the game in New York. He’d like to go back—if only Washington will have him.