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GOP strategist: FinReg easy to attack because bill is "so complicated"

Moments ago, the Senate voted 60-38 to end debate on the financial regulatory reform bill, clearing the way for the most ambitious effort to overhaul Wall Street rules since the Great Depression. History in the making.

But that doesn't mean the bill, which had the support of only three Republican Senators, is a political slam dunk for Dems -- far from it! Because certain GOP strategists have decided that Dems are politically vulnerable on the issue, because the bill is "too complicated" for the public to grasp:

"This bill, in the minds of most Americans, is just a big amoeba," said John Feehery, a Washington-based GOP strategist. "Because this bill is so complicated, it makes it easier for Republicans to oppose it, and by opposing it, call it a job killer."

This is an independent GOP strategist talking , and I don't have any idea if Republican officials agree with him. But the fact is that it probably is easier for Republicans to attack this bill because it's so complex.

Of course, Democrats can respond that it's amazing that a Republican strategist would openly admit that it's easier for Rebubs to attack it, and to portray it as a "job killer," because of the public's lack of knowledge of what's in the bill.

Never mind what the bill actually does. Never mind that the set of problems it's meant to address -- problems that brought about the near-collapse of our economy -- are also rather complex. As long as the public remains confused about it, so much the better for us! Good one.

Thanks to commenter Ethan for the catch.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 15, 2010; 12:03 PM ET
Categories:  Financial reform , Senate Dems  
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Comments

i lurk here several times a day. great stuff, great comments. thanks.

Posted by: jeeze56 | July 15, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are going to call a Democratic bill a Jobs Killer? Such fresh thinking! This novel attack is certain to resonate with voters across the nation.

Posted by: kellgo | July 15, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

And that's your GOP "principle" right there.

Game the system for maximum profit; get all you can out of a social system that you pretend doesn't offer you advantages and a playing field for acquiring and keeping power; blame the victims of the system who have little chance to move within it or change it; construct a discourse in which clarity and truth are unhinged from facts and reality; always play for the short-term gain.

Shorter GOP: money buys happiness.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 15, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Greg!

I don't mind disagreement. I don't mind explaining to the American public why you oppose the bill on substance.

But LYING to the American people just because the bill is complex -- and admitting that is your strategy! -- is too much.

This horsesh*t needs to end.

It needs to be asked of every single GOP candidate if they agree with this strategy of openly lying to the American people.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Three words: Wall Street Reform

Shout it from the mountain tops 10,000 times. That's what Republicans would do. It's a winning brand (frame, whatever) if Democrats can practice a little message discipline.

Posted by: CalD | July 15, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

KISS

Democrats seek to rein in the Wall St. Bankers who destroyed our economy.

Republicans consider those Wall St. Bank Casinos to be mere "Ants" in John Boehner's pants.

That is all the Democrats have keep on saying. They do not need to engage in economic Wonk Speak.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 15, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

From what I have been able to find out or actually read, this piece of legislation, if passed, will have a future similar to Obamacare, in that there won't be much left of it after the legal challenges wind their way through the courts. What is left might actually be good for this country, and worth keeping, which would save congress the time and trouble repealing the stuff.

Posted by: larbo | July 15, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

If it is, in fact, easier to attack because it's complicated AND a "job killer", that is not lying.

Posted by: JakeD2 | July 15, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Another major star in the Obama/DemCongress accomplishments cap, and all you can write about is how easy it will be for the republicans to attack it. WTF?

How 'bout the many things this act will do to protect consumers and provide more control over financial institutions? Would that be so hard?

Posted by: converse | July 15, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

GOP Strategists: 'The American public are a bunch of uneducated idiots that don't know any better.'

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 15, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

When did the page count of a bill become the new metric for quality?

The alternative, a simple bill, would be attacked because of Washington bureaucrats writing the rules.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 15, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"How 'bout the many things this act will do to protect consumers and provide more control over financial institutions?"

That stuff is already in the news, and will be.

This is political strategy. We need to have one going into November and while I agree with Liam (K.I.S.S.) we also need to be able to cut through the GOP BS and get right to the heart of the matter. That while the components of the bill are solid, the GOP will lie no matter what it says.

We KNEW this, yes. But this is the first time I, for one, have seen it admitted in such stark terms.

Attacking THIS Republican Party meme cuts directly to the heart of their fraudulent strategy of attacking EVERYTHING the Dems do as "overreach."

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately republicans will always lie because it works beautifully for them. Think of the biggest lie of all.....they blew up the deficit, and now that they aren't in power, they point it out, even though it's what THEY did, and now people actually trust them to fix it.

Lying is what they do. Democrats just have to point out that this is meant to rein in abuses and regulate the industry that collapsed our economy. That's an easy soundbyte, at least I'm sure someone could do it better than I could.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 15, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"""GOP Strategists: 'The American public are a bunch of uneducated idiots that don't know any better.'"""

Precisely.

Maybe it's the GOP members are a bunch of idiots who don't know any better. But that's NO excuse for not being straight with the American people.

Either way, this needs to be pointed out over and over and over again while also repeatedly making the case to the American people that the reforms the Dems have passed were necessary for a strong, stable economy.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

This bill is a great opportunity for conservatives to advance.

First, look at its primary authors. A crook that can't get re elected and an ideologue that contributed mightily to the financial mess to begin with.

Does the word Shibboleth ring any bells?

Why should Americans support a bill written by these two knaves?

next, let's talk about informed consent. If our government governs us only with our consent, how, exactly, do we consent to bills of this size? Even the crook said that we have to wait for its implementation to understand its functioning. Yeah right. Imagine a surgeon saying: "well its an extensive operation but you'll have to wait until you recover to see the benefits of it."

That's just not informed consent.

The bill expands the size and scope of government impermissibly. Yeah I'll hear about the commerce clause, but the fact is that the Democrats are strangling our economy and Americans are quickly understanding this sad fact of modern life.

What is really entertaining about all this is the whining from the left as they find themselves on the recieving end of the tactics they've employed for the past decade.

You made this bed kiddies. Why not lie down in it and suffer in silence?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 15, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

skip,

Why don't you address the subject of Greg's post?

That being, Feehery's comments:

"Because this bill is so complicated, it makes it easier for Republicans to oppose it, and by opposing it, call it a job killer."

He's not saying it is a job killer on the substance.

He's saying it's easy to CALL it a "job killer" because people don't understand it.

Read the quotation again.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

You made this bed kiddies. Why not lie down in it and suffer in silence?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 15, 2010 12:48 PM
=============================

"Reagan proved deficits don't matter"
- Notorious Liberal Dick Cheney

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 15, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"Democrats are strangling our economy and Americans are quickly understanding this sad fact of modern life."

I bring two sites to your attention, the first showing that Bush's policies are the primary cause of the deficit, and the second being that most voters still blame Bush for this mess:

http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/06/chart-of-the-day-reminder-the-deficit-youre-freaking-out-about-is-bushs-fault.php

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/07/15/bush-miss-poll/

Posted by: SDJeff | July 15, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Great post skipsailing!! Most folks on this site have very short memories and selective vision.
One point I will make in addition, is that the left fully intends to pass legislation regardless of the opinion of a majority of the electorate. Just like they did with Obamacare. A review of the polls on that fiasco will reveal the reason for the present polls which measure the electorates trust of Obama and the congress.

Posted by: larbo | July 15, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

But before the Senate even votes, Republican leaders have already begun talking about -- what else? -- repeal.

They're not campaigning on it in earnest -- at least not yet -- but Republican leaders say that, given the power, they would like to do away with Wall Street reform much like they have already discussed repealing health care reform.

"I think it ought to be repealed," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, in response to a question from TPMDC, at his weekly press conference this morning.

One of his top lieutenants, Republican Conference Chair Mike Pence agrees. "We hope [the Senate vote] falters so we can start over," Pence told TPMDC yesterday. "I think the reason you're not hearing talk about efforts to repeal the permanent bailout authority is because the bill hasn't passed yet."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_07/024740.php

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 15, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@jd2: If it is, in fact, easier to attack because it's complicated AND a "job killer", that is not lying.

Some proof of the job killing aspects of the bill would make it seem less like lying.

Attacking something BECAUSE it is hard to understand instead of addressing the ACTUAL SUBSTANCE OF THE BILL is deliberate obfuscation. I think that should be made clear.

@ss28:The bill expands the size and scope of government impermissibly. Yeah I'll hear about the commerce clause, but the fact is that the Democrats are strangling our economy

Really? I thought it was the COLLAPSE OF THE FINANCIAL SECTOR THAT DIRECTLY LED TO OUR CURRENT ECONOMIC WOES. Without that irresponsible derivatives trading the housing bubble collapse (aided and abetted by shrub directly through pressure on the fed to keep interest rates artificially low and indirectly by not regulating the sub prime mortgage market) would not have melted down the world economy.

Posted by: srw3 | July 15, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

larbo:

The public supports reform overall by 65-31 percent, a broad margin that's been steady since midwinter, and trusts Obama more than the Republicans to handle financial reform by 52-35 percent, a 17-point advantage for the president in this new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

http://abcnews.go.com/PollingUnit/abc-news-poll-two-thirds-back-financial-reform/story?id=10476079

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010, don't worry, the public will learn to hate it after the GOP gets done casting it as a ~*~jobs killer~*~ and the Olbermann/Maddow/Fineman crew trashes it for not mandating that everyone gets a free pony.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 15, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

All, check this out, it looks like that right wing ad attacking plans for a Mosque at Ground Zero may have just been a stunt:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/what_if_that_ad_attacking_mosq.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 15, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

ethan2010 - Sure, deliberately misinterpret my post and cherry pick liberal polls. I never said the public did not want economic reform. Please re-read the post accurately this time. What I said was that Dems plan to ram through their brand of legislation regardless of what the public may want once they begin to understand this bill, just like what happened with Obamacare. The polls show that less than 30% of the electorate approves of the congress in general, and only about 40% approve of the direction Obama is taking us.

Posted by: larbo | July 15, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I would expect the Republican strategist to lie about what's in the bill simply because it is complicated because of the process it underwent that is replete with gaps.

It is true that it has been said that most American have short attention span on most issues unless it is reported in the media.

Posted by: beeker25 | July 15, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"What I said was that Dems plan to ram through their brand of legislation regardless of what the public may want once they begin to understand this bill, just like what happened with Obamacare"

Except that's not what's happened with HCR.

As time has gone on, more and more people have supported the bill and fewer and fewer support repeal.

You know that.

We'll see what happens with FinReg but, larbo, the cat is out of the bag.

The GOP intends on CALLING FinReg whatever it is they plan on calling it for political purposes BECAUSE it is hard to understand, NOT because of what's in the bill.

And you know that as well.

The fact that you still whine about it is rather illuminating. You'd rather be lied to by your own political party than face the fact that the Dems are about to pass a very important and well-liked piece of financial reform legislation.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"This bill, in the minds of most Americans, is just a big amoeba," said John Feehery, a Washington-based GOP strategist. "Because this bill is so complicated, it makes it easier for Republicans to oppose it, and by opposing it, call it a job killer."
==============================
The republicans like it simple. For example, the 3-page memo from the Cheney/Bush treasury secretary Paulson asking for $700+ billion for TARP. With a footnote "or Else, We'll Bring the World to its Knees!"

Why complicate things by considering what-ifs and contingencies ahead of time? We can always respond AFTER something happens! Oops! I may have opened up a can of worms here!

Posted by: kishorgala | July 15, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

It seems that Ethan cannot muster a valid response to my very valid point: why should Americans accept new regulation from the crooks and ideologues that made this mess?

and why was there a "housing bubble" to begin with? How soon the Democrats forget the way they treated Mr Falcon of OFHEO. We were sagely advised by none other than Mr Frank that safety simply wasn't an issue.

Further, when will Democrats recognize that even with all the regulations already in place they couldn't stop the wall street collapse. Why is that Dems? And why should anyone believe that MORE regulation is better?

Perhaps we should focus on keeping federal employees away from Porn sites during the day. Maybe then the regulations already in place might have worked.

Or maybe Obama should keep his promises about ethics and transparency and fire guys like Geitner who is too stupid to make Turbo tax work for him.

More regulation won't bring an end to crony capitalism as long as team Obama is being enriched.

Tell me again, how much did Emanuel and Gorelick rake in at Fannie?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 15, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

well SDjeff, you've got your liberal talking points down pat, eh?

Try this:
http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/06/The-Three-Biggest-Myths-About-Tax-Cuts-and-the-Budget-Deficit

Touche fellah.

One thing I do not understand about us is this: why do we blame the president for the profligacy of the congress? In the Bush years the mantra was that Bush should veto spending bills. Why? Is this a version of "stop me before I spend again"?

In the Obama era blaming the president is dead bang right on. He wants the spending and he doesn't care how hard my grandchildren will have to work to pay for it. Afterall, he might get votes from the dead but even the Democrats haven't figured out how to get votes from the not yet born.

If they could, they would instantly reverse their position on abortion.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 15, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"why should Americans accept new regulation from the crooks and ideologues that made this mess?"

They shouldn't and won't. That is the very reason America elected DEMOCRATS and not REPUBLICANS after the crisis. Remember? "The fundamentals of the economy are strong."

Given your reply to me...

Plus your reply to SDJeff (wahh stop with the "liberal talking points," here's ultra-conservative talking points instead)...

Plus your lack of will to answer my question about the very subject of this post (it's complicated so it's easy to lie about")...

It's clear that unfortunately you ARE one of the people who is SO STUPID as to fall for the GOP lies every time.

But hey, NICE BLINDERS! Stylish.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

["One point I will make in addition, is that the left fully intends to pass legislation regardless of the opinion of a majority of the electorate."]

The electorate voted for the democrats over you Reich Wingers because we liked their agenda. They're doing what they promised us they'd do. Deal with it.

Meanwhile, you Reich Wingers are purposefully abusing the filibuster and other Congressional tricks to prevent the majority from doing what we voted for. So you are in no position to whine about going against the will of the electorate; that's what *you* are doing.

Posted by: edta | July 16, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

We received letter from our Representative Barbara Lee on the day FinReg passed through the Senate, stating that there is nothing her office will be able to help us. Clearly, FinReg means nothing to her. What a joke about rebuilding the integrity of our financial system and protect American general public!

We filed complaints against Wells Fargo 's appraisal and mortgage loan fraud with Office of Comptroller of Currency, Barbara Lee, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid in 2006. In 2006, with overwhelming evidence, we were told that Wells Fargo did not commit appraisal and mortgage fraud against us.

We spent 10 months from June, 2006 to March, 2007, trying to convince everyone that Wells Fargo made the mortgage loan to us based on hugely inflated appraisal. No one cared or bother to listen.

In March, 2007, after clearly indifference from Wells Fargo and our regulatory agencies, we filed the lawsuit against Wells Fargo and continued to follow up with OCC and senators. After we filed the lawsuit, OCC and all senators told us that they can't make any comments on our complaints since it is in litigation.

The irony is that should Senators made sure OCC do its regulatory job, we don't even need to file lawsuit. On top of it, should OCC take action upon our alerts two years before the housing crisis, how many homes could have been saved. How many wrongful foreclosure could have been prevented?

All our senators voted for FinReg, but none of them cared about homeowners beig defrauded by Wells Fargo and have no intention to protect homeowners like us or future victims or hold Wells Fargo accountable for defrauding homeowners.

Wells Fargo committed prosecutable crime against us. We lost our home. Something is wrong with this picture. Here are the facts.

1. it is illegal for Wells Fargo to make mortgage loan to us based on hugely inflated appraisal.

Fact: - Wells Fargo's fraudulent appraisal valued our home at $718,000
- Wells Fargo's own review appraisal valued our home at $475,000
- Nevada Attorney General's office suspended the appraiser's license for committing appraisal fraud on our home.
- Nevada Appraiser Licensing Board mandated the appraiser to complete appraisal fraud course before regaining his real estate appraiser license.
- Nevada Revised Statue NRS 205.372 states that it's category C felony to make mortgage loans based on fraudulent appraisal.
- Cases of Attorney General's indictments against attorneys, loan brokers for teaming up make fraudulent loans to defraud homeowners.

2. it is illegal for Wells Fargo to wrongfully foreclose our home based on fraudulent appraisal and mortgage loan.

You can find all the facts on our website. www.wellsfargomortgagefraud.com

Posted by: WellsFargoFraudVictim | July 19, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

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