Bob Corker is at pains here to not say that he’s learned lessons from his caucus’ disastrous approach to health reform, but it’s hard to read this as anything other than Corker urging his colleagues to learn some lessons from their disastrous approach to health reform. Victoria McGrane reports:
“This is so unlike the health care debate,” said Corker, noting that some of his Republican colleagues have made misjudgments on that point over the last month. “I don’t think people realize that this is an issue that almost every American wants to see passed. There’ll be a lot of pressure on every senator and every House member to pass financial regulation.”
Corker’s comments offered a sharp rebuke to the emerging Republican strategy of trying to keep all 41 GOP senators united against the bill in order to change key aspects of the legislation. Corker said that will be difficult to do now that a bill has been sent to the floor because voters want to see the end of “too-big-to-fail” financial firms but don’t care about the other, more arcane details that divide the two parties.
Corker said Republicans lost their leverage when they failed to rally around the emerging deal on which he and Dodd were working until several weeks ago. Corker suggested that the lack of enthusiasm from his colleagues about those talks played into Dodd’s decision to cut short his work with Corker and move a bill to committee.
The last point is key. A lot of conservatives seem to have talked themselves into the view that “Democrats” aren’t interested in finding compromise. And, indeed, many Democrats aren’t. But others are positively desperate to get bipartisan cover before moving forward on other initiatives. And pragmatic liberals (like me!) recognize that and so are happy to see people engage in a bit of dealmaking in order to pursue big goals. But the problem for would-be Democratic dealmakers—first Max Baucus with Olympia Snowe, then Chris Dodd with Bob Corker, and in parallel John Kerry with Lindsey Graham—is that none of the would-be Republican dealmakers are showing any ability to actually deliver any votes.
Meanwhile, Larry Kudlow is blasting the US Chamber of Commerce for its opposition to reforming the financial sector:
For my part, I really think some bipartisanship here would be a good thing. A set of regulatory changes on this front is necessarily going to involve discretionary authority, which means it’s going to work a lot better if there’s some kind of consensus—if people from both parties and substantial elements of the business community agree that the rules that have been put in place are important rules that should be enforced. If you look at something like the NLRB you see that labor law offers no meaningful protections whenever we have an administration that just doesn’t believe there should be labor law. Financial regulation will work a lot better if people basically agree that there should be financial regulation. A big problem in the 90s and 2000s wasn’t about the rules on the books so much as it was about an elite consensus that the regulations were musty and outdated and that it was noble and important to find and exploit loopholes in them.