Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yglesias hits a point I made the other day:
What’s needed to regain footing, I think, is a different kind of issue. An issue where it makes sense to draw lines, pick a fight, and if the votes aren’t there to pass a strong bill just say to the public “we were out there fighting for you and senators x, y, and z killed it.” Swinging for the fences like that, you might actually hit a home run, which would be great. And if not, you energize your allies and make your enemies look bad. At least if you pick the right issue.

Financial regulation, it seems to me, would be that issue. In broad terms, the idea of regulating big banks is popular. And substantively speaking, a weak bill that’s full of loopholes would genuinely do very little good. We’re not in imminent danger of a bubble/crash replay but if we do something called “financial regulatory reform” we’re unlikely to do it again until there is a new panic. So there’s a strong case for coming out swinging against denouncing a too-weak bill as a sham and drawing some bright lines. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll do some Taibbi-style denunciations of Geithner & Rahm.