Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is Opposition Really Over?


by Dee Newman
Ezra Klein wrote the following earlier today in the Washington Post:
Word is that the Democrats might make the Republicans actually . . . stand on the floor and talk and talk and talk . . . forcing the Republicans to really filibuster the bill . . . The Kentucky Derby starts Friday, and Kentucky's senior senator, Mitch McConnell, would surely prefer to attend. Given that his members are already talking about breaking ranks, McConnell may find himself eager to get this kabuki dance over with a little bit early.
It seems that Ezra was right. The Senate Republicans blinked. After four straight days of blocking debate they dropped the filibuster.

But, why?

Did Mitch McConnell really drop Republican opposition to the legislation because he wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby?

Press reports have confirmed that the Congressional Republican leadership have been meeting privately for the pass month with Wall Street executives, plotting to weaken the bill.

So, why did they end their opposition?

Did they finally come to believe that obstruction is not a good political strategy in an election year?

Or, was it that they finally decided that delay was no longer necessary, that bank lobbyists had had enough time to water down the reform legislation with loopholes and exemptions?

Or, was it that they finally realized that they were losing the debate and have decided to go with Frank Luntz’s new strategy? Namely to characterized the legislation as a lobbyist bill written by Wall Street and that it has been the Democrats and not them who have been working with Wall Street to weaken the bill?

It's true, the Senate bill is far from perfect, but it does do a number of important things, including:
Ending bailouts by using the big Wall Street banks' own money to shut them down if there's another AIG-like disaster. Taxpayers will no longer be on the hook to bail them out.

Protecting consumers by creating an independent watchdog that would finally stop credit card companies, mortgage brokers, and big banks from hiding information in the fine print. 
And Shutting down the "shadow markets" by cracking down on the secret, trillions of dollar, highly risky, and virtually unregulated derivatives market that truly put our economy at risk.
Whatever the reason the Senate Republicans decided to end their obstructionism, one thing is clear, they are now in the process of trying to turn this obvious loss into a political victory.

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