Noam Scheiber on the big next Democratic push Obama has planned and how it could play to their electoral advantage in November:
Pretty much no one who follows the regulatory reform issue can quite believe the sudden change. In the span of a few days, reform has evolved from one of those debates newspaper editorialists have among themselves to Washington’s NEXT BIG PUSH. Clearly much of this derives from the parties’ changing fortunes, as Democrats bask in the glory of their health care victory and Republicans suddenly lack self-esteem. Indeed, try to recall the last time a GOP senator lacerated his party for blowing a chance at bipartisanship, as Tennessee Senator Bob Corker did on reg reform this week, and you begin to understand how far we’ve come.
The key shift is arguably the one that’s taken place at the White House. Prior to late last week, it wasn’t entirely clear whether the White House actually wanted a bill this year, or whether it simply wanted to bloody Republicans over their opposition to reform. But, as health care began to look like a fait accompli, the White House seemed to subtly change its posture. One administration official says it wasn’t so much that the White House was ambivalent, as that it was massively preoccupied with health care--and that it wasn’t sure until recently that a solid bill was achievable. “We didn’t want to do the thing … where you cut a deal here and there with every special interest available,” says the official. Whatever the case, the shift was as palpable as it was significant: Another official was impressed that the president delivered a radio address about reforming Wall Street last Saturday, the day before the most historic health care vote in 45 years.... on Wednesday, Obama told Dodd and his House counterpart, Barney Frank, that he could more or less live with either version, according to an official knowledgeable about the meeting. (Though he stressed that he’d like to combine the toughest elements of both, as with an exemption from derivatives regulation for non-financial companies, which is stricter in Dodd’s bill.) Mostly, he just encouraged them to press ahead, emphasizing the win-win dynamic at work. If Republicans dig in, the president argued, that’s a fight he’d welcome. (Administration officials have seen polling suggesting the public will assume Republicans are carrying Wall Street’s water, regardless of their arguments.) And if Republicans want to join in the effort to rein in Wall Street—well, no one at the White House would turn down a big, bipartisan victory.