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With passing of FinReg, Dems are winning the larger argument (very, very slowly)

As you know, Senate Dems today passed the most sweeping overhaul of our financial regulatory system since the Great Depression. When Obama signs it into law, it will cap a run of legislative activity that rivals some of the most ambitious efforts in American history to rewrite the relationship between government and its citizens.

So it's worth stepping back and pondering the larger argument that's dominated our political life for much of the past year and a half -- an argument that Dems may yet win over time, if they keep racking up successes like today's FinReg victory.

The Democratic case has been that the deregulatory mania of the past needs to be reversed before it's too late. We must have faith in the power and ability of the Federal government to undo the damage created by past deregulatory excesses -- and to build safeguards ensuring that such damage never happens again.

The Republican case has been that Democrats are seizing on the fear generated by the crisis to implement government responses that are recklessly large and expensive, remaking our economy and society into something that's no longer recognizably American.

Each time Dems succeed -- as they will now do with FinReg -- it becomes easier for them to tell their story.

The financial regulatory reform bill that will pass into law is, paradoxically enough, tougher than most expected. But it does not fundamentally transform Wall Street or our economy into something unrecognizable.

Once Obama signs financial reform into law next week, he will have not only passed a stimulus package that helped pull the economy back from the brink; he will have also begun reshaping two major chunks of our economy: Health care and Wall Street. As many have noted already, he's probably done more than any president since FDR to transform our country.

And the sky will continue to remain in place.

The White House is deeply frustrated that this larger narrative arc has not sunk in with the public. Fair or not, the awful state of the economy -- and the Federal government's failure to act on unemployment -- have effectively blotted out this larger story.

The economy, and the wrangling in Congress over jobs-related measures, have left the public deeply skeptical about the Federal government's ability to solve our most pressing problems. That skepticism, it's fair to assume, colors the public's views of just about everything about Obama -- including his accomplishments.

As a result, for all their achievements, Obama and Dems may well lose the larger argument in the short term.

Public skepticism about government's efficacy in the face of our economic doldrums has made the public receptive to the Republican case that Dems are overreaching and overspending, with nothing to show for it. The oil spill, by continuing to gush, buttresses this case, undermining faith in the competence of Obama and the Federal government. Dems may sustain large losses in the midterms, and perhaps their travails will continue beyond then.

But more broadly, it's fair to imagine that that the more accomplishments Dems rack up -- energy reform is next, though its prospects are in doubt -- the easier it will be for them to tell the larger story they're trying to tell. The picture of Dems succeeding at what they've set out to do will make it easier for Dems to argue: We're getting things done, and none of the worst case scenarios foreseen by critics are coming to pass.

Success could build upon success, reinforcing a picture of Dem effectiveness that drowns out the Beltway white noise and begins to persuade the public that Dems are on the right side of the larger argument. That's a very tall order, and it may take awhile -- far beyond 2010 or even 2012. But that's how the larger story could end up playing out.

[Editor's note: This post is a reprint, with some editing, of an earlier version I posted when FinReg looked on the verge of passing before Robert Byrd's death.]

By Greg Sargent  |  July 15, 2010; 4:34 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , 2012 , Financial reform , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments

"The oil spill, by continuing to gush, buttresses this case, undermining faith in the competence of Obama and the Federal government."

Umm, look again, Greg. July 15, 2010 will be a banner day in the Obama Administration.

Posted by: boloboffin1 | July 15, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

boloboffin

I thought I made it pretty clear that it's a banner day by saying in the first paragraph that this rivals FDR and Lyndon Johnson

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 15, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Greg: The problem is White House loses EVERY political argument. And against a bunch of morons. 73% of Americans oppose the Gulf deepwater drilling moratorium.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-14/americans-in-73-majority-oppose-ban-on-deepwater-drilling-after-oil-spill.html

That is a stunning failure of political suasion. The "Grownups and Professionals" running this White House couldn't sell lemonade in the Sahara. Absolute, total political ineptitude. And the House Dems are going to get clobbered for it.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 15, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"We will be vindicated by history." That's what they all say.

Posted by: ath17 | July 15, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"July 15, 2010 will be a banner day in the Obama Administration."

Seriously!

FinReg passed, Oil spill stopped, SEC wins record civil settlement with Goldman Sachs on securities fraud

Pretty darn solid for an afternoon.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne -- I think everything Obama says and does is colored by skepticism that's rooted almost entirely in the economy....

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 15, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, the only fly in the ointment is this calculus, invented by the right:

Government is the bad guy, therefore the bad guy is winning these things.

Until this country begins to understand that the government is us, that it's an opportunity to better people's lives, and that Goldman Sachs is not their best friend, we are going around in circles.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 15, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Greg: I think your historical comparisons to LBJ and FDR are inapt except that Obama is paying the political price associated with grand accomplishments, only without the accomplishments. Each of the measures enacted has been severely compromised to the point of questionable effect. Yet the No-Nothings are poised to make dramatic mid-term gains. Shocking political incompetence. LBJ and FDR seized their moments in history and then absorbed the political backlash. THe Obama White House has engendered the reactionary opposition and political unpopularity while SIMULTANEOUSLY disappointing its Liberal base by, among other things, mocking and insulting them. Epic political failure. And the moment in history is already passed. And things will only get harder and worse starting in November.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 15, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The Dems have made significant accomplishments, but too many of them seem to be afraid of their own accomplishments as well as being afraid of their own shadows. This, as much as anything, is what creates the image in the public's mind that the Dems are weak.

As for Obama, he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. If he trumpets these all very significant changes, he scares the people who are afraid of change and the ground is fertile for GOP fearmongers. If he downplays things and stays sober to be reassuring, the other half jumps him for not doing enough.

I do think that things are starting to look up for the country as well as for Obama and the Dems. The jobs issue is the big sticking point, and the one that the GOP is currently hanging all their hopes on. They have to keep unemployment up and continue to turn the employed and retired against the unemployed. What an unpleasant strategy! Will it work? If so, at what price? I think it won't, at least not enough to make a huge difference in either House. It is likely to turn off as many people as it gains.

Now if we can just get something on energy . . . .

Posted by: Mimikatz | July 15, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I guess Democrats *could* try to learn what Republicans figured out 20 years ago:

The three "R's" of breaking through with a message and changing people's mind are repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition...

It's harder than it sounds though. Our side tends to get bored with a message or a frame long before it starts to actually sink in with people who don't pay much attention to politics, which is to say the majority of Americans. Republicans are much better at being mindlessly persistent.

Posted by: CalD | July 15, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

The underlying premise of this whine o gram is that the American people simply don't understand how wonderful new regulation can be.

Why should we?

We've seen several signal failures of regulation in the past two years. The primary authors of this legislation are in bed with the regulatees. Further they are widely viewed as a crook and a blinkered ideologue.

What Mr Sargent continues to ignore is that much of the push back from the Democrat's opponents have significant validity.

If the existing regulations failed, why should we believe that more regulation will be better?

If the government contributed to the problem, why should we believe that the government can solve the problem?

what if the government truly is the problem?

In addition, many of us have watched the regulatory regime grow over the years and are now expecting the breaking point. 68,000 pages of federal register per year isn't freedom and at some point (like now) the regulations will stifle even the most enterprising entrepreneurs.

To dimiss the valid concerns of those who don't support the liberal agenda is to kid yourselves about the American people. The house dems are whining about the price they are about to pay. Boo frickin hoo.

Name calling, like "know nothings" does little to sell the liberal brand. In fact it simply cements the impression that liberals are efete, out of touch snobs who know better than everybody else.

So the narrative is one of the liberals chosing. The snobs VS the common man. Gosh doesn't that sound like Obama's campaign?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 15, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Dude! BP is reporting that the oil leak is plugged. :D Oh, but now I see that you've removed the offending sentence, so never mind. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: boloboffin1 | July 15, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"FinReg passed, Oil spill stopped, SEC wins record civil settlement with Goldman Sachs on securities fraud

Pretty darn solid for an afternoon."

So awesome. Today's shaping up to be a good one...

Posted by: SDJeff | July 15, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Greg: No doubt the economy is the primary driver in Obama's job approval number. It always is. But FDR came in in the midst of the Great Depression and made NO REAL PROGRESS economically until WWII began. What FDR did do was seize his historical moment and make great structural changes right at the outset (the first 100 days to be exact). Then FDR tried just about every program under the sun and, though none of them really worked, he at least got credit for fighting and trying. LBJ also made his grand moves at the beginning because that is the only time it can happen. This White House has been timid from Day One and has misread the public climate totally. When Obama was elected people EXPECTED real change' Americans were READY for those changes. But the Grownups and Professionals opted for incrementalism and got slammed for being radicals anyway. Sheer stupidity.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 15, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I give the oil spill 30 days after it's capped to remain a salient news story. After that it will be a dim memory. If BP is smart they'll stall the capping, just as the GOP is stalling on UI extension, and for essentially the same reasons.

Posted by: joeff | July 15, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

BGinCHI:

You are absolutely correct. The White House has won some battles but is getting crushed in the war because they have never attempted to change the narrative that government is bad. Like Krugman said today, Obama's rhetoric echoes those who want to destroy him.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 15, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

If the Dems really want to hoist the Republicans by their own petards, they should agree to fund the unemployment extension with unspent stimulus funds.

Think about it. First, it would probably put that $31 billion back into the economy faster than through the stimulus program. Second, it would cut the legs out from under the Republicans' argument that Democrats don't care about the deficit.

And third, and most important, it would help the long-term unemployed.

And at least a few Republicans would try to "move the goalposts" by finding another reason to vote against the extension, which would make good campaign fodder for Dems.

Is sticking to an abstract principle that an extension of unemployment must be emergency spending every time more important that helping people in need when you've got the opposition apparently offering a way to get it done?

Posted by: Gallenod | July 15, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I agree BG, it's a conundrum alright.

Just like the fraudulent myth:

More regulation = bigger government = bad for America

That the GOP is still harping on just any regulatory bill is totally unbelievable given the obvious effects of deregulation. They flat-out lie to America. And they don't care if we know it.

That's why I'm so glad that Greg posted that article earlier today on Feehery's comments. "It's complicated so it's easier to call it whatever we want." That sh*t is just pathetic and we need to attack them viciously while touting the benefits of regulation.

Because, let's face it, policy wonks like us love policy, but political strategy is what gets people to pay attention. That's why there's so much more coverage of -- and interest in -- Sarah Palin's tweets than the finreg bill's resolution authority, for example.

At the end of the day, political strategy may even be MORE important than what's in the bills. If you have a winning political strategy you write your own bills. While the Dems are pretty good at writing reform bills (A-/B+) they are pretty mediocre at political strategy (B-/C+ at best) and need to wake up and take the offense.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Seeing as how great their "stimulus" worked at keeping unemployment below 8% and getting the economy going again, I don't hold out much hope.

I take that back.

It did stimulate the business of making signs touting the stimulus.

Posted by: drjcarlucci | July 15, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

OK, BP isn't that smart, having (maybe) plugged the leak, but I maintain that the over-under on the spill going down the memory hole is 30 days.

Posted by: joeff | July 15, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

" While the Dems are pretty good at writing reform bills (A-/B+) they are pretty mediocre at political strategy (B-/C+ at best)"

Right, Ethan. And Rahm Emanuel is in charge of political strategy. Just fire his stupid as* already.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 15, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"The financial regulatory reform bill that will pass into law is, paradoxically enough, tougher than most expected..."
-------------------------------------------

But also paradoxically, weaker than it could have been with St. Feingold's support for even so much as a vote cloture on the first conference report.

Posted by: CalD | July 15, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

joeff, I agree, much like health insurance reform, it seems like a mighty big deal when it's in the news all day every day, but then something else will come along to dominate the news cycle.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 15, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

"(very, very slowly)"

Again...if you look at the history of Barack Obama, this is 100% standard. He'll keep picking and picking at something, he'll frustrate friend and foe alike.

Then you'll step back, sometime later, and say: "Holy sh*t. Look what that guy did."

He's reversing an argument that's gone almost uncontested for 30 years. In 18 months, we're already seeing him start to "win" that argument, even if just a little.

He's got 2 more years in his first term ("re-election" time as 6-months), with 6 possible until he leaves office.

Then people will step back. It's going to be a 300+ million chorus of "holy sh*t" come 2016...

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 15, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"St. Feingold"

He's no saint to me. I said it about Lincoln and Nelson and I'll say about Feingold, too. Any Senate Democrat who opposes the party on procedural votes should be striped of privileges. But since it wasn't done with the Republicrats the precedent is already set.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 15, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

tell us...
when people start losing their credit lines...
is this a win for obama...
when people lose their homes...
is this a win for obama...
when companies can't get credit...
is this a win for obama...
well...
is this a win for obama...

Posted by: DwightCollins | July 15, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, unemployment didn't stay under 8%. The President set an ambitious goal, reports idicate 3 million jobs were created or saved as promised but unemployment went over 8% So I guess what you can get from that is very simple, they knew what the stimulus would do, what they did not know was just how truly screwed up the economy left by George Bush was. Let's not lose track of this simple chart when discussing jobs and the economy pre and post Obama plans coming into affect:

http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics/files/2010/04/jobs-graph.jpg

Yeah, Republicans really know what they are doing for the economy. Republicans destroyed the country, Republicans are doing there best to block any chance at fixing the country with the Senate filibuster to gain power. Those who live in a reality based world understand what happens when you put Republicans in charge and can remember 2001-2008.

Posted by: zattarra | July 15, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, unemployment didn't stay under 8%. The President set an ambitious goal, reports idicate 3 million jobs were created or saved as promised but unemployment went over 8% So I guess what you can get from that is very simple, they knew what the stimulus would do, what they did not know was just how truly screwed up the economy left by George Bush was. Let's not lose track of this simple chart when discussing jobs and the economy pre and post Obama plans coming into affect:

http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics/files/2010/04/jobs-graph.jpg

Yeah, Republicans really know what they are doing for the economy. Republicans destroyed the country, Republicans are doing there best to block any chance at fixing the country with the Senate filibuster to gain power. Those who live in a reality based world understand what happens when you put Republicans in charge and can remember 2001-2008.

Posted by: zattarra | July 15, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

To the naysayers here I ask again:

What will your GOP do if they gain control of the House? What are your ideas?

What will a GOP President do if elected in 2012? Give us some platform policy.

Regulation caused our woes? Examples?

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 15, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I have nothing good to say about Feingold voting against his own leadership on procedural matters. On this, he is just as bad as Big Ben, holy joe, blanched lincoln, etc.

Overall, I respect his stances on several issues, but on this he is dead wrong and continues a terrible precedent of party disloyalty ON PROCEDURAL VOTES!!!!!!!

Russ, don't you know the difference between substantive and procedural votes??????

The repubs must be laughing into their sleeves seeing dems flout their own leadership. With the occasional exception of 1 to 3 of the NE repubs, the repub caucus votes as a block on all procedural matters. Dems better wake up and smell the roses on this one...

Posted by: srw3 | July 15, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

This day keeps getting better and better!

* President Obama publicly takes on congressman who opposed stimulus *

Is it bad form to attend a ribbon cutting celebration when you voted against paying for the project? Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan, sat smiling in the front row today as President Obama marked the groundbreaking of a new stimulus-funded project in Holland, Michigan.

"We are pleased to have in attendance with us today, and seated in the front row, Congressman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra, in attendance to show his support for a robust Recovery Act investment right here in Michigan," tweaked President Obama.

Yet Hoekstra, who represents the district, voted against the very stimulus funding that provided the $151 million to build the LG Chem Power Plant where the presidential event was held.

[...]

The President wasn't alone in calling the congressman out. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, told CNN, "I think it's totally hypocritical. I mean you can't vote no and then come and take the credit or celebrate on the other hand. This is good for Michigan. It's good for Ottawa County. It's good for Holland. It's good for the people who would be hired here. It's good for Michigan to get this federal investment."

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/15/president-obama-publicly-takes-on-congressman-who-opposed-stimulus/

L-o-v-e it!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"To the naysayers here I ask again:
What will your GOP do if they gain control of the House? What are your ideas?
What will a GOP President do if elected in 2012? Give us some platform policy.
Regulation caused our woes? Examples?
Posted by: BGinCHI | July 15, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse "

what more will dems do to destroy our contry....
comprehensive immigration reform...
cap and trade...
reinstate slavery...
go totally socialist...
well...

Posted by: DwightCollins | July 15, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan"

Please, god, save us from "Governor Peter Hoekstra," this we in Michigan seriously implore.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 15, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I think the elephant in the room re current politics is race.

Remember that old PPandM/Seeger(?) song "Where Have all the flowers gone?". A great parody of that would be "Where have all the racists gone?"... Somebody (else) should work on it.

Face it, there are a sizable % of (mostly but not all white) Americans (10,20 30%) who WILL NOT follow the directions of a black man, no matter what office he holds.

Yeah, it's also about what Krugman calls the Third Great Depression. But Obama has done more to ameliorate the effects of Bush's economic disaster than anything the Repubs could do.

Krugman argues correctly that the stimulus of last year was too small. And it was the Repubs, along with a too complicant Obams, who made this. The Repubs politically cannot afford to let Obama be successful. He is black. Goes against their base.

Posted by: jkrogman | July 15, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Dwight, thanks, I think you answered my questions.

You have no idea what you're talking about.

Others? Anyone on the right here know anything?

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 15, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

BG;

It's clear to us that all the Repubs have to offer is more lies and insults.

Isn't is interesting that the Brits are going after their torturers. Are Americans too cowardly to go after Bush and Cheney, etc. for their crimes against humanity?

Posted by: jkrogman | July 15, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Greenspan Says Lawmakers Should Let All Bush’s Tax Cuts Lapse


July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, whose endorsement of George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts helped persuade Congress to pass them, said lawmakers should allow the cuts to expire at the end of the year.

“They should follow the law and let them lapse,” Greenspan said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff,” citing a need for the tax revenue to reduce the federal budget deficit.

Greenspan’s comments, to be broadcast tomorrow and over the weekend, place him in the middle of an election-year struggle over extending trillions of dollars of tax cuts enacted under Bush.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-07-15/greenspan-says-lawmakers-should-let-all-bush-s-tax-cuts-lapse.html

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 15, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

But but but Dwight, I thought we already WERE slaves living in a socialist tyranny. Michelle Bachmann told me so.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 15, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

sue, wow, just wow, on Greenspan.

Hey, thanks Alan. Finally figure out that Rand had no idea what she was talking about? Ready to sit at the grown-ups' table?

He's finally realize what was staring him in the face: without government, capital does not automatically find equilibrium in markets.

Or, shorter: free markets aren't free.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 15, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

sue, I agree with Greenspan, but considering he's one of the most unpopular people in the country right now, I don't think his opinion will go too far with anyone....

Posted by: SDJeff | July 15, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

btw, OT but it was great watching Carville and Begala on CNN agreeing with Norm Coleman about Obama's mistake in calling for a moratorium on deepwater drilling. Jerks.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 15, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Good post, Sargent.

Just maybe, once we've held more than expected in the mid-terms and change the Senate rules on cloture and holds, things won't move so slowly over the next six years.

Posted by: converse | July 15, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

BG and Jeff, I hear you both on Greenspan. His opinion will carry little, if any, weight. But at least he's opened his eyes.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 15, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

sue, the question here is "when do we learn?" Mistakes are one thing, but phoney, bankrupt ideology is another.

You'd have thought we couldn't, as a country, be stupid enough to elect someone like Bush again, and it's possible that Palin will be the frontrunner for the GOP next time round. And if, not, the rest are just as bad, if slightly less dumb.

Why are GOPers getting to participate in what they clearly don't understand? Is it because they wear suits?

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 15, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Headline at TPM;

"Boehner: Wall Street Reform Should Be Repealed"

This repeal X, repeal Y repeal Z strategy seem inefficient. They ought to go straight to Repeal The Election!

Posted by: bernielatham | July 15, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/happy_hour_roundup_50.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 15, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

It seems to be a balanced effort to deal with the dirt in the industry, without throwing the baby out with the bath water.... more encouraging than chastising.
We're gonna' be needin' most of the investment brokers to help with the "Great Recovery".

Posted by: deepthroat21 | July 15, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne, CalD, I agree about Feingold. He's on my sh*t list right now for touting some kind of moral win--even though his refusal to vote for a "weak" bill meant Brown could step in and weaken it further. I am all for a liberal agenda, but I'm sick and tired of liberals who think small steps are as bad as no steps. At the end of the day, if he'd faced reality, the bill would have had better leverage ratios and stronger consumer protection.

This is part of a larger problem facing liberals, that we're never happy with small or moderate steps, even though current political reality means we can't take a ton of really big ones. The finreg bill represents a large change to the culture, but already you have liberal commentators tearing it apart for not going far enough.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 15, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne,
You're missing two historical realities about the FDR era. First, the economy may not have come out of the Depression until WWII, but the gains in 1933 alone were positively historic. The economy had three long years to cycle into the toilet before FDR was inaugurated (unlike Obama, who was inaugurated just as the recession was starting to really bite). By 1934, not only did FDR have tons of massive legislative accomplishments under his belt. He also presided over a serious drop in the unemployment rate from March 1933 until November 1934, and a major rise in production. People felt more hopeful because the results had already started to trickle in. Yes, there would be double dips, but nobody knew that yet in 1934.

As for political enemies, FDR had HUGE enemies on both the left and the right. A serious American Communist Party and Socialist Party challenged FDR from the left, as did populists like Huey Long. FDR was seen by many on the left as a complete sellout who cared only about rescuing banks. On the right included a corporate executive who tried to organize a fascist coup, a reactionary Supreme Court, and a largely nihilistic Republican Party hoping to undo the entire New Deal.

Obama's opponents are much like those of the 1930s: paranoid on one side and impatient on the other.

Posted by: ElrodinTennessee | July 15, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

The financial regulation package is almost in place and the oil leak is capped. A very bad day for those who hoped to use the failure of America as a cheap political opportunity.

Posted by: Miss_Fedelm | July 15, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Congressman Boehner (R-Ohio) vows to repeal the act once the Party of Palin makes very significant gains in the House of Representatives. And the reason for that is he opposes the "onerous" provisions affect not only Wall Street banks but Main Street banks as well. Yes. Reform will take a lot of the fun and money out of gaming the system and market manipulation. That's why Wall Street players are doing the usual whining. But pay no attention to that. Boehner wants the repeal "on principle," the principle being that GOP members hate everything Democrats do.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | July 15, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama's big mistake in retrospect was in pushing through an inadequate stimulus bill. Economists told him the stimulus was too small, and he should have known he was going to be charged with being a big spender no matter what. Republicans are counting, as usual, on the ignorance of the average American voter, who can't figure out that without the 2 or 3 million jobs saved by the stimulus package we would be going right down the tubes. Republicans with their vast communication resources have pushed the debt theme incessantly, and it is biting, despite the fact that Bush's double war/tax cut for the wealthy act was designed to plunge the country into debt, "starving the beast" so Reps could insist on massive cuts in spending. Dems need to stop being bashful and make their arguments between now and November. One thing has been proved: the average citizen is clueless about economics and believes that running the US is pretty much the same as running their own household.

Posted by: scientist1 | July 16, 2010 4:06 AM | Report abuse

"When Obama signs it into law, it will cap a run of legislative activity that rivals some of the most ambitious efforts in American history to rewrite the relationship between government and its citizens."

But Obama is no radical, you say.

We already have a Constitution and Declaration of Independence that define our relationship to government.

Shocking moment of unintentional candor by Greg.

Posted by: quarterback1 | July 16, 2010 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Funny. This is being charactorized as a win. Since when is it a win, when the political class takes yet another action against the will of the people. Sounds like another nail in their coffin to me.

What they fail to realize, is thinking people understand, the Dems for the last 2 years of Bush, enabled the actions that led to the financial meltdown. For example, when is Franklin Raines going to testify before congress. By his fraudulent bookkeeping, he stole $90 million and then went on to be the co-chair of Obama's campaign. THat is until he stepped down to avoid Obama getting splashed with his criminal actions. IN spite of this, he has never been called to capital hill by this congress. Barney Frank, Greg Meeks, Maxine Waters, Chris Dodd enabled the financial meltdown by forcing Fannie and the "Big Banks" to loan money to sub-prime borrowers. They THINK this big show will paper over their criminal actions. It's not going to happen. I can't wait till next year when hearings are finally scheduled to get to the bottom of the real cause of the financial meltdown. Just like when Harry Waxman was going to invite ATT and others comapny executives into congress to explain their big writeoff, due to the healthcare bill. He folded like a cheap shirt when he understood it would expose the hypocrisy in the healthcare bill.

Don't get me wrong, Repubs have little to be proud of, but at least they have the decency to tell the truth and be consistent. Dems are jumping from one soundbite to another to justify the payoff of their benefactors in the "stimulus". What a bunch of crooks.

Where is the outrage over Guantanamo staying open?

Where is the outrage over the Afghan war?

Where is the outrage over the deficit?

Where is the outrage over unemployment?

Dems, where being american means you don't have to act responsibly. Dems, who howled about Bush'es deficit, trumped his 8 year deficit in 2 years. What a crock.....

Posted by: grcac | July 16, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

@grcac:Don't get me wrong, Repubs have little to be proud of, but at least they have the decency to tell the truth and be consistent.


This is a joke right? republicans howling about the national debt that they more than doubled in 8 years? added more than all previous presidents combined?

Orrin Hatch "we didn't pay for a lot of things then"

Now that their damage is done, they are deficit hawks? deficit peacocks is more like it.

We are slowly digging out from the worst recession since 1929. Does it make sense to allow those who literally brought the economy to its knees any responsibility for trying to fix it, especially when their solution, tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation are the policies that got us here. Give me a break!

PS: Why do Bush's deficits look smaller. Well he didn't put the two failed wars he started on budget. Just mind boggling

Posted by: srw3 | July 16, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

And the tired liberal narrative just carries on.

Liberals are struggling with some simple facts:
(1) The American people aren't buying their hogwash. Mostly because it doesn't work as advertised.

(2) The American people understand that their government let them down. Since liberals are committed to ever more government, they are struggling to sell their nonsense.

(3) the American people will try the ballot box first. Draw your own conclusions.

(4) The liberals here are "energized" to be sure. but posting nasty comments at the WaPo is a far cry from putting people into the voting booth. The rest of the co alition that put the rookie in the white house is crumbling.

(5) There is a formidable opposition to the liberal agenda and it is energized.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 16, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

@srw3

Ok......

So,
Where is the outrage over Guantanamo staying open?

Where is the outrage over the Afghan war?

Where is the outrage over the deficit?

Where is the outrage over unemployment?

and two more

Where is the outrage over Franklin Raines, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Greg Meeks, Maxine Waters and there direct culpability in the financial meltdown?

Where is the outrage over Obama spending as much as Bush in 2 years that Bush spent in 8? And it's set to fly at over $1 trillion a year into infinity. This isn't Bush'es doing. It is the O man.

Let me make this as simple as possible - The old saying, "Those who know do, those who don't teach". I know Aristotle said it a little different, but the point still holds. There are capable people and there are teachers who think they are, but really can't accomplish anything of merit (except win an occasional award). Obama has surrounded himself with teachers who think they know how to do things, but the criticism from the business community leaders is real. Obama's advisors only know how to throw rocks, none has accomplished anything of merit, outside of academia.

Here's where you toss out the nobel prize and then I toss back, with Obama's, Gore's and Krugman's awards, the Nobel Committee have shown themselves to be political hacks. I sincerely doubt Obama could win the Peace Prize today. Nore Gore a prize on Global Warming. Just read Krugmans column and you will appreciate he's in lala land.

So, welcome to 10% reported unemployment, 17% real unemployment for the next 4 years. Yep, thanks Obama.

Posted by: grcac | July 16, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Krugman -

In 2004, an unhappy Krugman criticized Bush’s “weak” economy and “miserable” job creation. Running an “enormous” deficit was a bad thing. Times were awful — “by a large margin” the worst job crash and performance since Herbert Hoover. Today the deficit is four times as large in an even weaker economy with much higher unemployment. Times are awful. Now, though, the deficit is a good thing and should be even bigger.

Krugman’s flip-flop on the deficit demonstrates a modern economic equation. Hatred of Bush + love for Obama = intellectual dishonesty

Posted by: grcac | July 16, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

in response to:
==============
To the naysayers here I ask again:

What will your GOP do if they gain control of the House? What are your ideas?

What will a GOP President do if elected in 2012? Give us some platform policy.

Regulation caused our woes? Examples?

===================

To the first question, I see support beginning to coalesce around the Ryan road map. It is a good discussion platform and I look forward to the debate about its merits.

Also the Teaparty in Maine published a platform that outlines much of the core thinking.
the platform of a presidential candidate would be, of course, a work in progress at this time.

Honestly, if you don't understand what your opponents think you are missing one of sun Tzu's most important thoughts: know your enemy. I read the stuff here at the WaPo as a form of intelligence gathering about the political opposition. YOu should try it.

Or are you just trying to pick a fight? Either way, hey I'm here.

both the SECC and the MMS betrayed America. Those examples are clear enough. In both cases we saw a pattern: inattentive employees who were cosy with the regulatees.

68,000 pages of federal register a year isn't freedom by any stretch. The regulatory burden on Americans is killing our economy. That you don't understand that speaks volumes.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 16, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

This is what I love about the press. "With passing of FinReg, Dems are winning the larger argument (very, very slowly)". Mr. Sargent, it about gains for the AMERICAN PEOPLE, not the PARTY. The real question should be “will this bill benefit the American people”? Who cares what it does for the PARTY. What will it do for the average American? Will it help or hinder our ability to enjoy economic recovery? According to the Wall Street Journal, “Its 2,300 pages will create at least 243 new regulations that will affect not only, as many assume, the big banks but just about everyone, including, as noted in one summary (the Wall Street Journal), "storefront check cashiers, city governments, small manufacturers, home buyers and credit bureaus”. Is this what the American people expected from the new regulation? And in the end, who will be paying for enacting the new regulation? How much will this cost the American people?

Posted by: Bockscar | July 16, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

See it and weep...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxMInSfanqg&feature=related

Posted by: grcac | July 16, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

You sound completely delusional, Greg. These Democrats haven't passed a sweeping anything.

They keep passing bills with lots of pages, but without any real remedies for the economy or anything else.

People aren't fooled, though you apparently are, as we keep seeing in the polls.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

Posted by: CaroKay | July 16, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

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