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The GOP's excellent trade

On Monday, I argued that the big political mistake of TARP was severing it from financial regulation. There was no immediate punishment or reform connected for the bailout. Of course, financial regulation eventually happened. But as Mike Konczal points out, by that time, the politics of the issue had turned against President Obama so hard that lots of Republicans who voted for TARP -- that is to say, with the banks -- decided the safe play was to vote with the banks a second time and oppose financial reform. That let Republicans play a double game: Attack the bailout, which many of them voted for, so they could seem like they were anti-Wall Street, and then back up the banks on their actual legislative priority so they could get Wall Street's donations:

One other political point that I don’t think was emphasized enough was that there were many, many people who voted for TARP who fought and voted against the financial reform bill. And they are almost all Republicans, and they are almost all now getting rewarded in campaign contributions.

Zach Carter has a must-read about this point: ”Of the 69 House members who voted with Wall Street on both the bailout and financial reform, 60 are Republicans, while nine are Democrats. All 21 Senators who voted with Wall Street on both issues are Republicans, and Republicans raked in over 90 percent of the total campaign contributions.”

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 3:45 PM ET
 
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Comments

The fact Dems won't or don't create a series of TV ads that can win elections means they are incompetent or timid or both.

Posted by: Lomillialor | October 5, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Republicans will collect business support as long as Obama continues his ridiculous anti-business rhetoric.

It's not rocket science.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 5, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Unemployment unemployment unemployment. Obama hits the nail on the head in his Rolling Stone interview. It was clear from way back in February of 2009 that the Republicans weren't going to budge on anything because they knew that the economy was in poor enough shape that by November 2010 Obama and the Democrats would be viewed much more negatively and this would provide an opening for the Repubs. This seems to be working, but seems very short-sighted. How can an organization prosper who's sole purpose has been to say no to everything for two years? What do their ideas look like? Maybe we could start another war with Iraq.

Posted by: klautsack | October 5, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Fannie/Freddie and their market-meddling policies dictated by Democrats like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd was at the root of the housing crisis that led to the Great Recession. Yet Obama continued to protect his Democrat cronies who were/are at Fannie/Freddie, while trashing Wall St. on a near daily basis. Now, Obama [and Ezra] are surprised Wall St. is giving more to Republicans?

Tell me...what if you had a neighbor who has called the cops on you repeatedly for nonsense reasons, gossiped about you to the neighbors, and blamed you at the neighborhood picnic for all the problems on your street. What if this neighboar showed up at your door one day looking for a contribution to their favorite charity. How much would YOU give him?

Posted by: dbw1 | October 5, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans will collect business support as long as Obama continues his ridiculous anti-business rhetoric."

The above comment is about as ridiculous as it gets. Obama has done nothing but cater to business and Wall Street since he took office. Tim Geitner and company spend more time talking to Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and their other cronies than they do to anyone else. The Health Care bill has conforms to insurers needs more than the general public's.

As someone recently wrote (maybe Ezra), Obama has done a terrible job communicating and framing what he's wanted to do and what he's accomplished. He might have said he wanted a public option but the only way to get health care passed was with those corporate handouts. He wanted a bigger stimulus but had to settle for what he could get passed, etc., etc. He's hardly been anti-business.

And at this point, how many more handouts do we really need to give to business anyway? That's all we've done the past 30 years and look where that got us. The rich have gotten much, much richer and the middle class have gotten the shaft.

Posted by: saratogian | October 5, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

klautsack:
"How can an organization prosper who's sole purpose has been to say no to everything for two years?"

Well, the Democrats prospered pretty well in 2006 and 2008 after saying no to everything for many years. Were you griping then?

You know, sometimes saying 'no' is a good thing when what is being proposed is an awful idea. Parents understand this point; why can't liberals?

Posted by: dbw1 | October 5, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Lomillialor:

The Democrats are entirely competant. It's just that they are trying to lose. Remember, they are millionaires as well and will get rewarded by millionaires. And so their actions, just like the Republicans, are aimed at helping millionaires, including those on WallStreet.

Why are there no ads attacking the give away of billions of dollars to millionaires in the tax cut extensions? Because no millionaires want to pay for them. This country is run by the rich. And millionaires have paid good money to brainwash the public into thinking "class warfare" is something perpetrated on behalf on the poor (who, of course, are lazy). Actually, millionaires have stolen untold trillions over the last 30 or 40 years and so the working and middle classes have gotten no income gains. It's all gone to millionaires.

Oh, and this money is killing people because they cannot pay for cars to escape hurricanes or healthcare to cure their cancer among many other things. Look no further than Haiti to see how being poor = dying. But millionaires are happy to sip champagne on their yachts while trillions of people around the world suffer and die for them.

Posted by: cassander | October 5, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"The above comment is about as ridiculous as it gets. Obama has done nothing but cater to business and Wall Street since he took office. Tim Geitner and company spend more time talking to Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and their other cronies than they do to anyone else. The Health Care bill has conforms to insurers needs more than the general public's."

Obviously, they disagree. And what you and the parrots in the white house say hardly matters.


Forcing businesses to provide expensive health care benefits is rather anti-business no matter how you slice it, or excuse it, by saying it could have been even more anti-business.

"And at this point, how many more handouts do we really need to give to business anyway? That's all we've done the past 30 years and look where that got us. The rich have gotten much, much richer and the middle class have gotten the shaft."

I dunno, the ~40 million or so jobs created during that time frame sure beats today.
Obviously, they don't think so.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 5, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Real pro-business action would be to gut this idea of universal health care in the first place.

It is certainly not a necessary condition to job growth, economic growth, or corporate profit growth.

It might be a necessary condition for Obama's re-election and liberal ideological partisan beliefs, but that is a very different issue.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 5, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

dbw1 -
Pretty selective memory. The Dems compromised (much to my dismay) on lots of things - bankruptcy reform and tax cuts (they forced the 10-year timeline compromise) come to my mind immediately. They didn't filibuster nearly to the same degree as the Republicans have over the past two years. Think about it. Republicans effectively sat out probably the two most important pieces of legislation in decades - financial regulation and HCR. You may disagree with these pieces of legislation, but no ideas were offered, no compromises were made, and all they promise to do is repeal them. Dog catches car on Nov. 2.

Posted by: klautsack | October 5, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

krazen1211 wrote: I dunno, the ~40 million or so jobs created during that time frame sure beats today. Obviously, they don't think so.

What are the ~40 million jobs Republicans have created? Service jobs like at McDonalds, WalMart, or in hotels? How many good paying (over $50K) jobs were created here in the US by those Republicans you're praising. Statistics show US middle class wages have decreased and, adjusted for inflation, are the same as they were in 1976.

dbw1: Regarding Freddie/Fannie, if you've been reading the reports coming out of the investigation, you'll find that both of these companies did not invest in or approve of the subprime mortgages until a year or so before the bubble burst. Actually, even after they started accepting these mortgages because "every one else was doing it (dumb!), their overall holding on these types of mortgages was quite low. Actually, Citigroup, BofA, and the other now defunct banks sold these mortgages to consumers, then packaged them and sold them to other banks, investors, pension funds, and municipalities.

Blaming Freddie and Fannie has been an easy target for Republican congress members because they don't want to admit the truth and risk losing that potful of gold in donations.

Oh, and if your going to blame Frank and Dodd, then you have to also blame Bush Jr as he made a lot of speeches and pushed home ownership more than anyone and don't forget Phil Gramm.

Neither party has clean hands, but I don't understand how voters who hate TARP will vote in people who voted for TARP and against Fin. Reg. Don't the voters understand that the paradox of that decision? It lacks so much logic.

Posted by: valkayec | October 5, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

"I dunno, the ~40 million or so jobs created during that time frame sure beats today. Obviously, they don't think so.

What are the ~40 million jobs Republicans have created? Service jobs like at McDonalds, WalMart, or in hotels? How many good paying (over $50K) jobs were created here in the US by those Republicans you're praising. Statistics show US middle class wages have decreased and, adjusted for inflation, are the same as they were in 1976."


From 1980 to 2009? A mix of government, construction, and services.

http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/in_focus/midwest_economy/employment_by_industry_charts.cfm

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 5, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

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