Wall Street reform passes, Boehner's Republicans immediately call for repeal

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill just passed the Senate, 60-39. It now goes to the President for his signature. The new law won’t do nearly enough to prevent another Lehman Brothers or Bear Stearns – for instance, there’s no practical way to break up too-big-to-fail – but it improves the status quo at least somewhat and was worth passage.

And yet, the man who would be Speaker if voters choose Republican this fall is already calling for the bill’s repeal. That’s right; John Boehner thinks the government should leave Wall Street in exactly the same regulatory position that allowed it to double unemployment and seize up credit.

I understand the politics of demanding repeal of the health insurance bill. The thing’s unpopular. But voters actually care about the economy; they don’t want to lose their jobs, and they understand that the financial industry is to blame for the economic collapse. What the hell is Boehner thinking?  

“I think it ought to be repealed,” Boehner said at his weekly press conference. “There are commonsense things that you should do to plug the holes in the regulatory system that were there, and to bring more transparency to financial transactions, because transparency is like sunlight. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

Boehner doesn’t get it. Transparency works when we’re talking about politicians. If we don’t like what we see, we can vote them out. That’s not true of private corporations. If setting up the economy to fail isn’t illegal, it doesn’t matter how transparent it is; there’s nothing the public can do other than yell louder and louder about completely legal activities. If ever there was an industry that screamed for regulation, it’s the financial sector. Under no circumstances can John Boehner be permitted to become Speaker of the House.

And yet, he’s not alone. Senators Thune, Shelby, and LeMieux:

“If we were in a position to do something, maybe [Boehner] is right," said GOP Policy Chairman Sen. John Thune (S.D.). "We'll see if we can do something about it after the next election."

Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), the top Republican on the Banking Committee, said he “absolutely” agreed.

"If you vote against it, you know it should be repealed. It's the wrong bill. It's not reform. It ignores Fannie and Freddie. It's not going to create any jobs. It's going to create a huge bureaucracy,” Shelby said.

Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) said he would look to repeal parts of the legislation.

Also Senators Graham, McCain, and Corker:

South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham called the bill a "missed opportunity" to control spending and set priorities. And Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was similarly underwhelmed, calling it "business as usual."

"No one can make a convincing argument that this legislation indeed prevents any institution from being too big to fail. You can't make that argument," he told reporters at the Captiol today. McCain's amendment, which would have mandated an end to government support of the failed companies within two years failed, 43 to 56.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, a top Republican player in the financial reform debate, slammed the Democrat-backed bill... One reporter noted that Corker had helped to craft the legislation, negotiating several provisions with Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, and Corker acknowledged his role but quickly pivoted back to his talking points.

(McCain is right that the bill doesn't end TBTF, but mandating that the government ignore rather than break up such institutions wouldn't solve the problem either.)

Senator Alexander and possible presidential candidate Rep. Mike Pence:

TPMDC asked Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the third ranking Republican in the Senate, whether Republicans would make a concerted push to repeal the financial reform bill.

"Well, that's a good -- that's a good, that's a good question," Alexander said. "We're very disappointed with this...If we have a Congress with a majority of Republicans, and there are ways to improve it or fix it, I imagine there'll be an effort to do that."

Pence suggested much the same... What elements of the law would need to be dismantled?

"There's several aspects of that, but I can break that down for you. Let's jump off that bridge when we come to it," Pence said.

What a message. I think Democratic chances this fall just got a lot better.

A Sincere Question

Do you know anybody who has ever been truly inspired by Haley Barbour or Mike Pence?!

There's more...

They Took The Bait

Contained within this Politico article about the...er...unfortunate roll-out of the GOP "budget""plan" today, is the suggestion that today's rushed presentation was a direct result of having unwisely taken the president's bait.

Ryan, the ranking Republican on the budget committee, plans to introduce a detailed substitute amendment for the Democrats' spending plan next Wednesday -- and still intends to do so.

But he and Cantor were reportedly told by Boehner and Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) they needed to move more quickly to counter Democrats' charge they were becoming the "Party of No," according to House GOP staffers.

The 19-page document, prepared by Pence's office, was distributed two days after  President Obama criticized Republicans for trashing his detail-crammed 142-page budget outline without producing a credible alternative.

As a result, not only do we have a self-inflicted Republican PR disaster, but we have some nice internal under-the-bus throwing among the power players involved on the side:

"In his egocentric rush to get on camera, Mike Pence threw the rest of the Conference under the bus, specifically Paul Ryan, whose staff has been working night and day for weeks to develop a substantive budget plan," said a GOP aide heavily involved in budget strategy.

"I hope his camera time was gratifying enough to justify erasing the weeks of hard work by dozens of Republicans to put forth serious ideas," the person added.

"It's categorically untrue," said Pence spokesman Matt Lloyd. "Cantor as well as Ryan and the rest of the leadership have been part of this process for weeks. They not only signed off on it, but their staffs helped edit it. [...]

Still, when he was asked what purpose today's preview served, Ryan directed me to Pence's office:  "You've got to ask the conference this question, I can't answer that question."

My favorite takedown of Pence is from Yglesias who skewers him:

I've been saying this for a while now, but something people need to understand about the current state of American politics is that Rep Mike Pence (R-IN) is not a smart man. He lacks intelligence. He's been able to rise into the House leadership and even somehow acquire a reputation as a policy thinker of the right larger because it's extraordinarily rare for the media to ask a politician to answer a question about a policy issue. But when Pence is asked to do this--as Norah O'Donnell did below--he's completely unable to deal with it.

Here's Pence and Norah O'Donnell who ended up asking Pence a gotcha question in spite of herself:

But the reaction of the usually mild mannered Contessa Brewer on MSNBC might be my favorite schadenfreude-inducing video of the day:

Update [2009-3-27 3:55:57 by Todd Beeton]:Here's more from Rachel on the GOP taking the president's bait.

There's more...

A Report on a MoveOn Event IN-06

Today at noon, citizens of Indiana's 6th Congressional District, who are also MoveOn members, gathered in front of the Anderson, Indiana office of Congressman Mike Pence.

There were groups all around the country doing similar protests at their local Congressperson's office.  

I was at today's 6th District protest, I am the Democratic Candidate for this seat and the rest is below

Here is a link to a flickr page with pics from the event.

There's more...

2008 Congressional Race IN-06

Political People.  We have sent the following out to officials and supporters to gain a pulse on a second run, I would welcome any comments from this group as well.  Thanks.

My friends and Honorable Party Officials;

We accomplished quite a lot in the 2006 Congressional Campaign in Indiana's 6th District.

Sherri and I are contimplating the 2008 race and would welcome your feedback.

Here are some facts:

In 2002, (the last off year) the vote was:  Republican    118,436        Democratic    63,871

In 2004, (the last Presidential) vote was:  Republican    182,529        Democratic   85,123

In 2006 Off Year                the vote was:  Republican     115,266       Democratic   76,812

There's more...


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