I don't want
to dislike the president. He just makes it easy.
I count myself as a member of Brigade 2L4O
(Too Liberal for Obama). Nevertheless, as I've said a number of times in the past: This country faces terrible problems. The pleasure I would get from seeing those problems solved would far exceed the pleasure I now get from being able to say "I told you so."
A day after the Massachusetts humiliation, Obama has taken some positive steps. We would be foolish not to cheer the good just as we have jeered the bad.1. Campaign contributions.
The current Supreme Court agrees with Mitch McConnell's absurd contention that corporations are people and corporate contributions to candidates are free speech. In other words, the court has overturned the key provision of McCain-Feingold. Obama's response, per the NYT
President Obama issued a statement calling on Congress to “develop a forceful response to this decision.”
“With its ruling today,” he said, “the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”
Those are the right words. I'm grateful. Now let's see some action. On this issue, Democrats still may have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate: Remember McCain. On the other hand: Remember Lieberman.2. Finally: Bank regulations!
From the NYT
comes a story that I've awaited for a year:
Declaring that huge banks had nearly brought down the economy by taking “huge, reckless risks in pursuit of quick profits and massive bonuses,” President Obama on Thursday proposed legislation to limit the scope and size of large financial institutions.
The changes would prohibit bank holding companies from owning, investing, or sponsoring hedge fund or private equity funds and from engaging in proprietary trading — what Mr. Obama called the Volcker Rule, in recognition of the former Federal Reserve chairman, Paul A. Volcker, who has championed the restriction.
In addition, Mr. Obama will seek to limit consolidation in the financial sector, by placing curbs on the growth of the market share of liabilities at the biggest firms...
Mr. Obama said of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the 2008 bank bailout: “That rescue, undertaken by the previous administration, was deeply offensive, but it was the necessary thing to do.” But he said the financial system was “still operating under the same rules that led to its near-collapse,” and vowed: “Never again will the American taxpayer be held hostage by a bank that is too big to fail.”
Under existing rules, he said, the banks “concealed their exposure to debt” through complex financial maneuvers, made “speculative investments,” and took on “risks so vast that they posed threats to the entire system,” Mr. Obama said.
In reaction to this news, Wall Street shares took a dive -- a sure sign that Obama did the right
Unfortunately, it was also the late thing. He may not now have the political capital to pull off this necessary move. His chief opponent, once again, is the vile Senator McConnell.
I have to admit, plastering Paul Volcker's name all over this initiative, as Obama has done, is -- tactically speaking -- just about the most politically astute thing I've yet seen from this administration. I'm also happy to see that this move has received high praise from Bernie Sanders
, who authored legislation designed to break up the "too big to fail" institutions. I'd be even happier if Obama gave an explicit endorsement to Sanders' effort. But that won't happen.
You know what else would make me happy? Giving Larry and Timmy the sack.