Paul Krugman is worried:
Lucy And The Football, by Paul Krugman: Talking Points Memo reports that Democrats are largely unprepared for the possibility that Republicans will filibuster financial reform.
Is this really possible? I’m afraid it is. My own conversations with administration officials over the past few weeks have given me the sense that they were quite sure that FinReg wouldn’t be like health care — and that they didn’t seem to take seriously those (including me) who thought they were taking too much for granted.
I have a theory about the problem here. My understanding is that Obama officials have looked at the polls, which show that the public overwhelmingly favors cracking down on Wall Street; so they assumed that the GOP wouldn’t dare stand in the way. But they seem not to have learned, even now, that the right has an awesome ability to create its own reality: that Mitch McConnell et al would stand in the way of reform while claiming to be taking a stand against Wall Street.
Nor can you count on the truth to sink in with the public. The conventions of he-said-she-said reporting, among other things, make it surprisingly easy to get away with even the most obvious hypocrisy.
And let’s be clear: there’s a sort of tribal thing going on (and I don’t necessarily mean race, although that’s part of it). The hard right has managed to convince a large number of Americans that it consists of people like them, whereas progressives are alien and untrustworthy; in the face of that, rational arguments don’t make much of a dent.
To break through that, you need hard-hitting campaigns and simple slogans. And I have a sinking feeling that once again, the Obama team is going straight for the capillaries. Let’s hope they prove me wrong.
Democrats have not learned how to make Republicans pay for their obstructionism. If the roles were reversed, you can be sure that Republicans would have Democrats in the hot seat in the press facing all sorts of allegations about the reasons for their opposition to the legislation, questions about why they are supporting the looters on Wall Street. Instead, we have the spectacle of Democrats on the defensive explaining why their attempt to regulate the financial sector is not, in reality, a promise of future giveaways to financial titans.