Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good politics

Republicans are expected to largely oppose financial regulation. The particular sticking point seems to be creating a consumer protection agency for financial products.

Okay, so I think that the Obama Administration hasn't exactly handled the whole "Everyone hating the banks" situation incredibly well, and I think it's hurt the Democrats' numbers in general. But my strong feeling is that debate over financial regulation will very likely turn things around politically. Republicans are occupying an untenable position here, as most Senate Republicans supported TARP last time but now tend to lash out against it, and now they're going to oppose fixing financial regulation. The clear trend here is doing whatever helps the banks (and themselves), and while I'm sure that Glenn Beck will somehow shout "Socialism!" about consumer protection, I just don't think that argument will sell with the public.

In fact, I tend to think that the financial regulation fight is a win-win for Democrats, in addition to being the correct thing to do. If it passes, that's a real accomplishment that might help dissipate the enduring anger over the bailouts. If it doesn't get cloture, it seems to me that it gives Obama and Harry Reid a very real justification to go nuclear and kill the filibuster, especially if regulation is pitched in such a way that it enjoys overwhelming popular support. And if they don't want to do that, then they can talk about how Republicans used procedural tricks to kill the bill to rein in Goldman Sachs. I think that the last is the worst of the three possibilities for the Democrats (though I still don't think it would be bad for them) because it will probably just make people feel more hopeless in the face of Goldman and Citi, and passing a good bill would be a victory that would show that the banks don't control everything. It would bring some hope of making things better. And at this point, I tend to think that would be a nontrivial accomplishment for any politician.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.