The lies of Mitch McConnell are legion. We all know this. Having lost the health insurance reform battle, he’s now doubling down on the failed “we need to start of and form a bipartisan bill” approach by applying the same strategy to financial sector reform.
The GOPosaurs have have to be terrified of this fight. As Chris Hayes pointed out last night on Countdown, their rhetoric, when compared to their fight against health insurance reform, tells the tale. While the mantra during the HIR fight was an endless “KILL THE BILL!”, they are now saying they like totally support the bill, they just want to totally start over.
But now McConnell has crossed a very dangerous line. He’s misquoting Robert Reich and, well, once you do that, you’re toast:
When Mitch McConnell has to misquote me to find evidence he’s telling the truth, he is desperate.
Here’s the offending comment on CNN Sunday on the State of the Union with Candy Crowley show:
CROWLEY: We want of course to get the Senate minority leader to respond. We have Mitch McConnell. He is joining us from his home state of Kentucky. Senator, thanks for being here with us. Right off the bat, the president says you are being deceptive in describing this bill.
MCCONNELL: Well, Candy, he ought to talk to his own treasury secretary, who agrees with me, as well as the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, that there is a bailout fund in the bill that was reported out of the Banking Committee, the partisan bill that came out of committee on a party-line vote.
CROWLEY: But that still does not–
MCCONNELL: I don’t think that’s in dispute.
CROWLEY: But that bailout is funded by the banks themselves, is it not? It is not a taxpayer bailout?
MCCONNELL: Well, Robert Reich, who was Bill Clinton’s secretary of labor, says it is a bailout fund. I mean, regardless of how the money is produced, it is a bailout fund that sort of guarantees in perpetuity that we will be intervening once again to bail out these big firms. The president’s own secretary of treasury toward the end of the week confirmed that they would rather not have it in there. I think we are all in agreement that the bill that I was referring to, except maybe the president hasn’t talked to his own secretary of the treasury, has a bailout fund in it.
Nice try, Mitch.
Robert Reich is none too pleased.
No, Senator, I never said Dodd’s finance reform bill contains a bailout fund. The fund in the Dodd bill is a $50 billion liquidation fund designed to keep the creditors of distressed banks from jumping ship so fast they’d cause widespread financial panic before the bank’s operations could be wound down. And the cost of that liquidation fund would be paid entirely by Wall Street’s biggest banks. So it’s not, I repeat not, a bailout fund.
Can’t get a whole lot clearer than that, eh?
I’m positively gleeful that the Obama administration has teed up financial reform as their next target. This strategy is a direct result of the president’s training with the Gamaliel Foundation during his time as a community organizer in Chicago. The Gamaliel process for choosing issues to work on involves two key components:
1. Can we win it?
2. Does it build coalitions and strengthen the organization?
Like health insurance reform before it, the answer to both of these questions with bank regulation is a resounding YES WE CAN! Not only is this quite winnable as an issue, it will bring together people from around the country. It could, in fact, even get the teabaggers on board, though I doubt they’d ally themselves with anybody associated with the president. Still, it’s hard to imagine them (or any group besides the bankers themselves) manning the picket lines to demand protection for the big banks.
And when the head of the Republicans in the Senate starts telling lies about the position of someone as well-respected as Robert Reich, it’s very clear that the GOPosaurs know this.
And they are scared.
@crowleyCNN Time to have Robert Reich on to refute McConnell’s lies about him. #democrats #democrat #gopfail
For those that are interested, there’s more on the Gamaliel Foundation in my blog entry from just after the 2008 election and my experience receiving community organizer training from them HERE. Mike Kruglik, the man who hired Barack Obama to be a community organizer is part of Gamaliel, ran much of the training I received. I was also on the receiving end of a 1-on-1 with him and it’s an intense experience.
UPDATE 2: Thirty-three tweets @crowleyCNN in the first 4 hours after the suggestion for a Twitter bomb about having Robert Reich on Candy Crowley’s State of the Union show. Not bad, not bad… Keep ’em comin’, folks.
Also, you can uprate the Reddit entry for the blogged version of this diary HERE. Thanks!
UPDATE 3: With Salon reporting that the White House is not itself overly supportive of the pre-collapse self-funded cash pool to help failing banks go to the Big Bank Graveyard in the SkyTM, John Boehner is insisting the GOPosaurs will still call it a Bailout Bill even if the liquidation fund is removed:
Republican leadership made it clear on Tuesday that, even if Democrats drop from regulatory reform legislation a suddenly controversial $50 billion fund to help wind down failing banks, they will still denounce the bill for including an unlimited bailout.
The announcement…came in the form of an email from House Minority Leader John Boehner’s office…
Tuesday morning…Boehner’s office fired out an email insisting that the bill crafted by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) “would empower the federal government to provide Wall Street with permanent bailouts, courtesy of American taxpayers.” This would be true, the Ohio Republican said, even if Dodd took out the proposed $50 billion fund to help wind down dying banks.
In the meantime, Talking Points Memo is saying that McConnell claims bipartisan talks are back on. Hmmmm…
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell struck a markedly different tone on financial regulatory reform today, suggesting an agreement could be struck with Democrats sooner rather than later. And Democrats have taken notice.
“We believe the process to achieve [a bipartisan bill] has now been reconstituted,” McConnell told reporters after the Republicans’ weekly caucus meeting this afternoon. “We are all confident that this can be fixed… Senator Shelby [the Republicans’ chief financial reform negotiator] believes that there’s been a very serious effort to re-engage.”
[A]ides say, they believe this is a sign that the Republican bloc is beginning to fracture.
I’m just sayin’…