Banks, Berry, Bologna

Just days after the Massachusetts Meltdown, President Obama has taken the lesson to heart and apparently learned… nothing. Instead of preparing to go in front of the country and become Reagan on deficits to save his Administration, Obama instead decided to go after banks. On some level, perhaps this makes sense. He thinks that perhaps Republicans will stand up for something people can easily interpret as unpopular, like banks. This way, he can regain some balance, something to bounce off of, to show his populism. But this was poorly done.

A quick perusal of will find no definitively written white paper on the gargantuan task of separating regular banking from investment banking. Investors responded by immediately dumping bank stocks. Nice. One banking advisor said it would take “years to negotiate such a mess.” Worse, the absence of anything but a one-page proposal on the matter indicates no serious thinking about it was done beforehand, and no one is going to really take it seriously. Worse still, Mr Geithner, already under seige, is going to find his hands tied and relationships chilled in the financial industry under such circumstances. All in all, the more Obama does in the financial sector, the worse it seems to look.

Evidence is building that more and more people are noticing. Rep Marion Berry (AR) has decided not to run for re-election. Rep Barry ran unopposed in 2008. Unopposed. With his announcement, Berry becomes the second Arkansas Democrat to retire for 2010. When exactly will it be fitting to call it a rout? A deluge? Run away! Run away!

As well, there are quiet rumblings that perhaps the Health Care deal is not yet dead. Dick Morris wrote last night that several key sources on The Hill say that Reid and Pelosi are prepared to pitch to a group of key Democratic Progressives a plan to have the House sign off on the Senate Bill.  The main point of this plan is that Reid and Pelosi apparently have a rough outline of a series of reconciliation bills that will “undo” the bad parts of the Senate bill. Reid is also trying to gather 52 Democrat signatures in the Senate promising to pass the bills in “reconciliation”, basically bypassing the filibuster rules.

But with Obama and Company apparently shifting direction and intent on making jobs and the economy the centerpiece of his State of the Union speech and this years agenda, one wonders how much impetus there is left to this legislative fruitcake.

About Terry Crowley