Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 16, 2010

GOP SEEMS SERIOUS ABOUT 'REPEALING' WALL STREET REFORM.... Before the Senate had even approved the legislation, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters that Republicans would like to "repeal" the Wall Street reform package. Soon after, President Obama noted, "[A]lready, the Republican leader in the House has called for repeal of this reform. I would suggest that America can't afford to go backwards, and I think that's how most Americans feel as well. We can't afford another financial crisis just as we're digging out from the last one."

It seemed possible that Boehner's remark was just an off-the-cuff remark that the GOP would not repeat, but as it turns out, Republicans actually seem serious about this. George Stephanopoulos reported this morning:

...Boehner's call was backed on "GMA" by Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate banking committee.

"We would like to repeal it," Shelby said.

I just didn't see this one coming. Much of the country is still deeply disgusted with a financial industry that nearly destroyed the global financial system, and then took a massive taxpayer bailout to survive. The circumstances that led to the 2008 crash included, at the heart of the matter, the wild-west like regulatory system, which allowed the industry to be as reckless and irresponsible as it wanted.

The new legislation brings safeguards and accountability to a system that desperately needs it. And yet, the new Republican line is that they'll bring back the 2008 framework, if given a chance.

Putting aside the fact that Obama would veto any kind of repeal attempts, I'm curious: who, exactly, is supposed to find this argument persuasive?

Pat Garofalo highlights some of the consequences that would come with repealing the reform package. It wouldn't be pretty.

Steve Benen 10:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (37)

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I'm curious: who, exactly, is supposed to find this argument persuasive?

A small-but-non-zero bunch of 'progressives', for starters.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 16, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

I'm curious: who, exactly, is supposed to find this argument persuasive?

You could ask this about anything said or done by the right-wing, but it seems to work OK for them. Too few people seem to be willing and/or able to analyze things rationally.

Posted by: qwerty on July 16, 2010 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm curious: who, exactly, is supposed to find this argument persuasive?"

Wall Street donors. Duh.

Posted by: retr2327 on July 16, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans are playing to a very small base of people who hate Obama and everything he does. It's a small base, but it's a growing one, as the economy continues to be bad and Obama gets the blame.

Republicans need some kind of base. The religious right largely abandoned them after the Bush years, and the ones that didn't went cuckoo. The anti-tax libertarian wing, aka the Tea Partiers, are cuckoo as hell. So they're hoping that pure hatred of Obama is enough to serve as the foundation of the Republican party.

Posted by: Remus Shepherd on July 16, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

They're banking everything on "ABO" - Anything But Obama.
The new Republican Contract ON America:
Country and people be DAMNED. WE have to WIN this Fall and save this great country by executing our strategy of, of, well the same stuff that got us into this mess, but different this time, WE PROMISE.
Oh, and term limits! Yeah, this time we mean it, too. We'll limit Congressmen to 30 terms, and Senators to 15. And you can take that to the Bank.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on July 16, 2010 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

When both parties are ultimately of the same entity - one that favors the rich at the expense of everyone else - this is actually quite unsurprising to see.

The public sees fighting between the two 'sides', with what is espoused as 'fixing the problem' ultimately winning, with the side having 'won' becoming slightly more popular amongst the non-rich. When in reality, the rich win because the problem was not fixed at all, and keeps the money flowing to them.

It's a fight in appearance/name only, when the fight already had been won when the bill was passed with no real teeth, leaving the underlying foundations that led to the issue in question in place. This dynamic applies to pretty much everything involving the economy.

No one gains the Presidency in this country without vetting and approval from the oligarchs. I fear that we will see nothing but a continual, growing divide between rich and poor; a devolution from what could have been to what had always been.

Posted by: terraformer on July 16, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

It's all about the money. Surely you've read that donations from anyone connected to the financial industry have been dropping for Democrats and going to Republicans. If they talk about repeal, this gives Wall Street types reasons to keep backing the GOP, even if they know it won't happen.

Banks and Wall Street types are flush with cash, unlike many of the rest of us.

Posted by: Molly Weasley on July 16, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

"The anti-tax libertarian wing, aka the Tea Partiers, are cuckoo as hell"

Tim Geithner is a secret member. Wrangel too.

Posted by: Pieces of 8 on July 16, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

they're saying that this bill will be a "perpetual bailout" or something like that. basically tying this reform to what was required because of the financial crisis.

this may be a bad metaphor. but it's something like arguing against curbing smoking as a way of preventing lung cancer under the notion that it would be perpetual chemo-therapy. or something.

Posted by: john b on July 16, 2010 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

No one gains the Presidency in this country without vetting and approval from the oligarchs.
Our current POTUS had a meeting with the oligarchs in SFO. No press allowed. Shocking, I know.

Posted by: Low Cost on July 16, 2010 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

who, exactly, is supposed to find this argument persuasive?

Wall Street donors and Tea Partiers. Same people who find all of the GOP's antics "persuasive".

Posted by: NonyNony on July 16, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

As has been noted in other threads, the plan for the Republicans is first, to ignore at least 3/4 of what the bill does in their arguments. And second, to lie.

Specifically, they plan to describe the part of the bill that allows regulators to break up failing institutions as a permanent bailout authority. Never mind that it is actually this is almost the exact opposite of what the bill does.

Posted by: tanstaaf on July 16, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

I'm curious: who, exactly, is supposed to find this argument persuasive?

Predisent Obama holds a PRESS CONFERENCE and EXPLAINS what Wall Street regulation does

If you let LIES go unanswered they take on a life of their own
President Obama has been derelict in answering the Republican lies

Why didn't he hold a Press Conference to answer the 'Death Panel' Lies ?
Why not a Press Conference to answer the Kenyan Lies ?

President Obama has been weak and unwilling to FIGHT for anything

(or two?)

Sissies Always get picked on
President Obama is letting Democrats down

Posted by: Friscosf on July 16, 2010 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican Party figures if it loses in the fall, they can still can continue to do exactly what they are doing now - try to obstruct everything and anything. But, if they win in the fall, they have a "mandate" from the people to do exctly what they are now out there saying they want - to represent the interests of the rich. It doesn't have to make sense. They're extremists who want money. Political nuance is not their strong suit.

Posted by: Tom Paine on July 16, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

When Rush Limbaugh and others is busy telling the conservative base that the President hates America and white people, it pretty much forces the GOP to oppose everything Obama does. Of course this repeal talk is largely symbolic, and probably counterproductive with the electorate, but that's the bed the GOP has made for themselves.

Posted by: Archon on July 16, 2010 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

I think you're missing the forest for the trees here, Steve. The GOP has very little to run on, which they have known for a while. So they decided to go all-in with the obstruction card early in Obama's presidency. But here's the catch: you only get credit obstructing if you make people believe that the other side is up to no good. And since the GOP has gone overtly racist (as opposed to quietly racist), they are banking on a strategy of: Obama=black/Muslim/evil so everything Obama does is bad. Thus, if you obstruct EVERYTHING Obama does, that is, in fact, good for the country because Obama is so evil. It's why the demonization of Obama that Democrats let slide early in his term was a disaster: it set up a situation in which the President of the United States was turned, for some people, into an anti-American, foreign zealot. It's the connection between the Birthers and the Tea Party and all the anti-Obama groups out there. And, importantly, the GOP establishment has jumped on the bandwagon and now wants to stop everything Obama does (Health Care, FinReg, Elena Kagan, etc.) and then want to repeal the stuff they are too weak to stop. So don't be surprised...this is the whole point of the GOP's strategy since Day One.

Posted by: ReallyFedUp on July 16, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

"I just didn't see this one coming."

You're normally a pretty insightful guy, Steve, so I think you probably could've expected this if you'd thought it through. The GNOP loves them some CEOs and big time financiers (except George Soros, of course), so they'd be protecting them even if Wall Street didn't already own them.

Posted by: azportsider on July 16, 2010 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

I actually think progressives are making some headway vs. the tea party noise machine. It'll take some good economic news to minimize GOP advances in the midterms, but I'm sensing the wingnuts are starting to weary of keeping the incoherent anger dial set to 11. The Wall Street reform package in particular is a can't-miss political winner. The real difficulty for Dems is going to be complacency -- the big victories have been won or at least have been set in the right direction, so it'll be impossible to regain the momentum and urgency of 08. The battle goes on every day, but I think tea partyism has peaked.

Posted by: beejeez on July 16, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

"We would like to repeal it," Shelby said.

Sure, Republicans and their Wall Street cronies might like to, but how exactly do they propose getting a repeal past Obama's veto?

Posted by: Gregory on July 16, 2010 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

I think that ReallyFedUp hits the nail on the head. Demonization and obstruction have been the overt agenda of the Republican party machine (whatever individual Republicans may think) for a while, and this trend has been taken to new heights since 2008. (I remember a poster at the Orange County Republican election night gathering in 1992, by the way: "Impeach Clinton" -- nearly three months before he was inaugurated -- the Republican machine hasn't changed, just gotten worse since then).

Meanwhile, purists like terraformer keep insisting that there is no difference between Republican oligarchs and Democratic oligarchs. All evidence to the contrary is just "appearance/name only." There's a grain of truth here: political systems, whether they're called hereditary monarchy, aristrocratic republics, popular democracy, or fascist tyranny, all respond to existing power relations, even as they also change those relations (intentionally and unintentionally). Political systems that ignore power relations fall.

But terraformer has no solution to this fact: rather than asking how the power system is open to change, they prefer to drearily insist that it's the same old same old, nothing ever changes, we're stuck in the same rut. If that were true, we'd still have hereditary aristocracy, monarchy, and other state forms. Have things improved? Yes, for some people, not for others.

Instead of griping and despairing, we need to look, hard-headedly, at where the openings for change exist or can be created. Neither the health care finance bill nor the financial regulatory bill is perfect, of course; but they have consequences for the distribution of power in the United States, and open up possibilities for further shifts. Obama is not a saintly messiah who will bring about a just and wholesome society (that was a Republican accusation, remember?), but he's a politician whose choices are clearly different from those Bush made. Why not push the difference, rather than gripe?

Posted by: PQuincy on July 16, 2010 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

"Instead of griping and despairing, we need to look, hard-headedly, at where the openings for change exist or can be created."

I say fire Gensler, Summers and Geithner. Next donate a cool $1 million to an actual program that helps people. Then discussion can begin. Until then, STFU.

Posted by: Mo' $ on July 16, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

OF COURSE Republicans say they would repeal it. This is because Republican politicians understand human psychology. What kind of idiot politician would tell their constituents that they oppose proposed legislation because it represents a danger to the country, but wouldn't repeal it if given the chance?

Posted by: square1 on July 16, 2010 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

To push this even further, this is a perfect illustration of how the GOP understands that it is not a political liability to hold political positions that cannot be achieved in the short or medium term.

People are tired of a Democratic leadership that will not take a stand unless 60 votes are already lined up.

Posted by: square1 on July 16, 2010 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

PQuincy ignores the fact that the current President is legendarily conflict averse and has a track record of capitulating to gripers. Most often the gripers are in the GOP or Blue Dogs. So Obama gives them what they want. As long as liberals shut up and take it, they will be ignored.

Simply put, griping is change.

Posted by: square1 on July 16, 2010 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

The cry starts out as Repeal, it devolves into cries of Impeach. (see page 18, GOP playbook)

Posted by: Gridlock on July 16, 2010 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

square1 ignores the fact that Obama is a brilliant strategiest and tactician and has a track record of winning significant victories despite overwhelming odds.

Posted by: cr on July 16, 2010 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

"square1 ignores the fact that Obama is a brilliant strategiest and tactician and has a track record of winning significant victories despite overwhelming odds."

And Goldman Sachs agrees!

Posted by: Doddy on July 16, 2010 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

that would be "strategist"

And he only listens to "gripers" when they have the power to help give him what he wants, i.e., not you or your ilk.

Posted by: cr on July 16, 2010 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

square1 ignores the fact that Obama is a brilliant strategiest and tactician and has a track record of winning significant victories despite overwhelming odds.

No, I would say that Obama is a brilliant campaigner whose governance skills are fairly mediocre. He has a track record of weakening key bills to the point that proponents question whether, on balance, they are worth passing.

All this despite enjoying huge majorities in both Houses of Congress. He has been unable to keep his entire caucus from filibustering or threatening to filibuster signature bills. He has demonstrated no ability to siphon off any meaningful votes from the opposition party (In contrast, Bush and the GOP constantly got Democratic defections, not because of the purity of Democrats' commitment to good governance, but because Karl Rove was an expert at scaring Democrats into compliance). He has demonstrated virtually no ability to use the power of his office to sway public opinion on key issues, and consequently, his political opponents have come away relatively unscathed from their efforts to obstruct.

Posted by: square1 on July 16, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

My ilk? cr, you need to get a grip. Let me tell you about my "ilk". I am a reliable democratic voter. A donor. And a sometimes volunteer on political campaigns.

I am also an upper middle-class professional and a taxpayer.

I don't expect much from government. Mostly what I expect is that they protect me and my family from the excesses of predictably greedy private corporations. I don't blame corporations for trying to make money. I simply expect my representatives to take steps to ensure that profits are generated honestly and without excessive danger to the public.

Any student of American political history would find 95% of my views well within the mainstream of American politics.

I'm not sure about the brilliance of this tactic of attacking your political base and blaming your constituents for being insufficiently gracious in receiving the crumbs you toss their way. Last time I checked, the doctrine of "the customer is always right" applies in politics as well. If people aren't happy with the job you are doing, maybe you should do what they ask, rather than insult them.

I agree that Obama only cares about gripers who can help (or threaten) him. We will soon find out whether that group includes Democratic activists and voters.

Posted by: square1 on July 16, 2010 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

PQuincy, you bring up some good points. My point as it were is that I am not so sure that the system is open to change; that instead, it has been carefully constructed by those with power and money to resist change, and becomes more formidable against change as the years pass. I agree, there has been change in this country via our revolution - independence from a monarchy to representative democracy or a republic.

In the years immediately following the Depression, and largely due to the War, we had tremendous growth in the middle class, and the mantra that "in America you can do anything" came with it. Things did improve for most people. However, starting in the late 60s if not before, I see a devolution away from middle class support and voice, and back toward monarchy - or in this case, oligarchy. That these entities desire to take away from the middle class and below toward consolidating their power and influence at the expense of the masses. Neo-feudalism if you will.

True, I don't have a solution to this. But I am griping about it. Because I don't see this dynamic changing for the better - and no, I am not talking immediately, but even in our lifetimes, at least appreciatively. There will be just enough scraps thrown down to avoid pitchforks and torches. And people will accept it, internalize it, and not complain about it.

Posted by: terraformer on July 16, 2010 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know why this would be a surprise to Steve. The GOP has every right to be confident in pushing extreme positions. Their propaganda machine is supremely effective against a reliably muted democratic messaging machine. They've convinced the country that Obama is the cause of our deficits, that Obama is a socialist, that fannie mae/freddie mac (sp?) were the reason for the financial meltdown, and that the health reform legislation was a govt. takeover of the health system. As far as the GOP is concerned it's only a matter of time before they convince the country that the financial reform bill is a perpetual bank bailout law. And they're probably right. I for one haven't heard a single dem call this talking point out confidently and unequivocally as complete nonsense.

Posted by: njrich on July 16, 2010 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

-As far as the GOP is concerned it's only a matter of time before they convince the country that the financial reform bill is a perpetual bank bailout law. And they're probably right.-
They are. It is a perpetual bank bail out bill.

Posted by: Lloyd on July 16, 2010 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

You are more likely do have a shorter lifespan in Alabama than in any other state except Louisiana and Mississippi. People in Alabama live on average 74.4 years almost 4 years below the national average. They have a shorter life span than those in Argentina 76.7 years, than Slovakia 75.4 years, and Cuba 77.75 years.

So rather than talk about fantasy repeals, Senator Shelby should become part of the solution to the high mortality problem in his state.

Because when you are dead, not much else matters.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on July 16, 2010 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, square, I don't buy your story. Real Democratic activists, people who care about keeping the opposition at bay, don't spend their days throwing bombs deliberately intended to undermine the party leader, which is about the only thing I've seen from you. Your comments paint you as a spoiled brat who whines all day because daddy didn't bring home exactly the right toy from the last business trip, where he worked his ass off to put food on his family's table. That's the "ilk" that your words represent.

Posted by: cr on July 16, 2010 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Are you truly an idiot I see nothing better about our financial situation . All I see is our largest debt ever in history and it is by this president no other. My grand children will not even be able to dig us out of this one.

Posted by: T.A on July 16, 2010 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

terraformer -- the difficulty of change is enormous, even small change. I'm a pessimistic incrementalist, but find myself forced to admit that sometimes, systemic change (and systemic change that benefits those other than the oligarchs) does take place. That's why I appreciate being hardheaded. If griping is an effective way of shifting things in Washington (and I'd suggest we not overestimate, or underestimate, a president's capacity to shift the trajectory), then griping has its uses.

What I did respond to in terraformer's original post was the hopelessness. For all the difficulty of things, there are real (if modest) differences between parties, factions, and ideologies. Ignoring them, (or as some did back in my college days, buy into the 'worse is better' line of dead-end Leninism) strikes me as a mistake.

Thanks for the generous response, terraformer.

Posted by: PQuincy on July 17, 2010 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK



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