Monday, April 19, 2010

Financial reform opposition is weak tea

Dave Weigel discusses Mitch McConnell's anti-reg gambit here. Here's the conclusion: "The success of McConnell's push depends, I think, on how often Republicans say this without getting follow-up questions. So far they've been getting a lot of follow-ups -- the reliance on this talking point is just so obvious."

I think McConnell's problem here, as opposed to health care reform, is that he's trying to create a new connection instead of emphasizing an existing one. A lot of people in this country want to fundamentally reform health care, but many of them worry about the implications of an increased government role in health care, perhaps after hearing some horror stories about rationing and what not. So, while something like "death panels" can easily be scoffed at by most everyone, it taps an anxiety that exists and can therefore be somewhat subtly effective. (Admittedly the death panels claim specifically was Sarah Palin's work, but all the stuff about rationing was pretty widespread among Republicans.)

Most people, I think, have absorbed that Wall Street melted down because people were doing crazy things and regulators were either looking the other way or didn't have the tools to deal with it. McConnell's strategy is to try to lump in regulatory reform with unpopular bailouts, only there's an extra step he'll have to make there that didn't have to be made to make people anxious about HCR. People might have some anxieties about Wall Street reform, but I don't think the fear of it leading to more bailouts is terribly intuitive. I don't really think McConnell has a winning hand here, but I think the Luntzian groupthink will prove more damaging than would otherwise be the case.

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.