Roger Lowenstein was allowed into the JPMorgan CEO’s “inner sanctum” for a few months because he is a famous journalist and also because “my mother is friendly with Dimon’s parents,” he writes in the Times today. What he found was this: The crisis has taken a profound “toll” on Dimon, according to his wife, Judy. The profound unfairness of the events of 2008 left him hankering for justice … for the bankers who caused it. He’s since developed what appears to be a kind of Tourette’s, shouting “I am not embarrassed to be a banker” at dinner parties to guests who didn’t ask and scolding the president after his “fat-cat banker” remarks by telling him, “President Lincoln could have denigrated all Southerners. He didn’t.” Zing. (Of course, Dimon doesn’t know that for sure; they didn’t have the Internet then, but it sure sounded good.) He’s always been rebellious like this, his wife notes.
This kind of attitude used to be sexy, but now it just ruins dinner.
Jamie Dimon, of course, is a rebel with a very pinstriped cause. I saw him entertaining corporate clients over dinner, rousing his guests to “fight for what you believe in” in Washington, meaning turning back the tide of what he regards as ill-considered regulation. During the Dodd-Frank debates, he argued with a U.S. senator, and later, during a family dinner at the Four Seasons restaurant, he spoiled the family’s night out by ripping into a politician who innocently wandered by his table. He seems to not quite connect the backlash against bankers to the deep recession that Wall Street did in fact trigger.
Also, he doesn’t wear leather anymore, did Judy mention that?