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December 12, 2014

The Boehner-McConnell-Reid-Obama Alliance

The CrOmnibus passed last night and the story of the day is the TEA party-Elizabeth Warren wings of the parties uniting in an unsuccessful bid to derail it.

Lots of people are having fun with the idea that Ted Cruz and Warren have become mirror images and wondering what this might portend for the GOP.

I think this is missing the real story.

What we should be focusing on is that the establishment of the GOP was far more interested in cutting deals with the Democrats than they were in exercising the power of their new majorities come January.

Look at the provisions that the GOP included in CrOmnibus that set off the Democratic progressives and some TEA types...

First was an increase the limits donors can give to political parties.

The provision would increase the amount of money a single donor could give to national party committees each year from $97,200 to as much as $777,600 by allowing them to set up different funds for certain expenses. The change would be a huge boost for party committees that have faced steep challenges in recent years from well-funded outside groups.

...

“Conservatives support the First Amendment and believe there should be no limits on political speech,” said Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund. “Unfortunately, the new limits included in the omnibus only increase political speech for party insiders while silencing the majority of Americans who are fed up with Washington.”

The second was a 'reform" of Dodd-Frank. Republicans have been running against Dodd-Frank for years. Normally their critique is that it hurts small businesses that can't afford to comply with a maze of regulations. The reform the GOP stood fast on? A provision literally written by Citigroup.

The derivatives provision would let JPMorgan, Citigroup Inc. (C:US), Bank of America Corp. (BAC:US) and other banks trade almost all swaps in divisions that have government backstops like deposit insurance. It would repeal a requirement that some of the trades be pushed out to separate units, which Wall Street argued would drive up costs for clients and increase risk in the financial system by moving the trades to firms less regulated than banks.

So thanks to the brave leadership of John Boehner, Harry Reid and Barack Obama we made it easier for political parties to fend off outside interest groups and make sure banks can trade derivatives again with the knowledge that if things go south, the taxpayers will foot the bill. The chairman of Citigroup certainly must be pleased with his personal lobbying efforts.

I'm not one to say there's no difference between the GOP and Democrats, that's silly. But it's not nearly enough or as much as they like to pretend.

The story isn't that a minority of the GOP found common cause with some Democrats to oppose these deals, it's that after facing a populist backlash after the failed GOP administration of 2001-2007, the party has successfully weathered the storm and returned to business as usual. Big donors and big business get theirs. Meanwhile voters who thought they voted for spending cuts and opposition to amnesty just six weeks or so ago are told, sorry can't do it. Good luck ever collecting.

I know there's a lot of anger on the right today, as there should be. But don't blame the GOP. There's no White Knight coming to liberate the GOP from the evil clutches of Boehner and McConnell. They are what the GOP is. Instead of railing about sellouts leading the party, ask yourself why you continue to support them and why you thought it would be any different this time.


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posted by DrewM. at 10:45 AM

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