A good sign on one of the areas in which the GOP really must change

There’s a lot of talk about how Republicans need to re-brand themselves on social issues. I’m not convinced that’s more important for the GOP than shedding its image of being too closely aligned with Big Business.

There are three key ways in which Republicans lost credibility since 2000. One, as Peggy Noonan argued recently, was the 2003 Iraq invasion. Another was the increase in federal spending that took place during George W. Bush’s presidency; spending accelerated toward the end, when Democrats were in control of Congress, but it was rising too swiftly well before Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the House.

The third was the 2008 bailout of Wall Street. The party that supposedly champions free enterprise went along with using hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to save financial institutions that acted recklessly. Some Republicans argued then, and still argue now, that the alternative would have been worse. But the larger point is that the nexus of Big Business, particularly banks, and Big Government had allowed the situation to deteriorate so far in the first place, and Republicans certainly shared in the blame for that. (As did a number of Democrats, but we’re not trying to fix them today.)

Say what you will about social conservatism, but it doesn’t catch anyone by surprise that Republicans oppose abortion and gay marriage. They won elections while opposing abortion even when that was a far less popular position than it has been in recent years. (Although, as I have argued before, the push by right-to-life groups to move the goal posts on the abortion debate, by going for one or no exceptions instead of the standard three, is both troubling morally and fraught with danger politically.) But they are unlikely to win elections while being indistinguishable from Democrats on the size, scope and reach — meaning intervention in the marketplace — of government.

Would it have made a difference, for instance, in the 2012 presidential race if Mitt Romney had offered concrete proposals to make sure banks don’t become too big to fail — and spent a good bit of time campaigning on that idea? There would have been a Nixon-to-China air about hearing someone who knows Wall Street as well as Romney does say, “I used to work with these guys, and they’ve gotten out of control. I know what needs to be done to rein them in, and here’s how I plan to do it.” Instead, we got a recorded speech in which he talked about “the 47 percent.”

All of which is to say it is good for the GOP to see this kind of approach from a high-level congressman like Jeb Hensarling of Texas (via the Wall Street Journal):

The new chairman of the House financial services committee wants to limit taxpayers’ exposure to banking, insurance and mortgage lending by unwinding government control of institutions and programs the private sector depends on, from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to flood insurance.

Banks and other large financial institutions are particularly concerned because Mr. Hensarling plans to push legislation that could require them to hold significantly more capital and establish new barriers between their federally insured deposits and other activities, including trading and investment banking.

“A great case can be made that we need greater capital and liquidity standards,” the conservative 55-year-old Texan said in a recent interview. “Certainly, we have to do a better job ring-fencing, fire-walling—whatever metaphor you want to use—between an insured depository institution and a noninsured investment bank.” …

Mr. Hensarling inherits the chairman’s gavel as many Republicans appear to be growing cooler to big business. Prominent conservatives have called on the GOP to loosen its ties to Wall Street. Other leading Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), have vowed to root out “crony capitalism,” the practice of rewarding specific industries or companies with taxpayer-funded subsidies or safety nets.

There will have to be action on top of the talk, but beginning to make the case is a positive development.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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148 comments Add your comment

Dusty

March 29th, 2013
11:47 am

Kyle,

I thought Bookman was supposed to write words knocking Republicans, not you.

We are not perfect but the opposite selection is even worse. Much worse.

Kyle Wingfield

March 29th, 2013
11:49 am

Dusty: Feel free to believe everything’s peachy keen for the GOP. The election results over the past 20 years suggest something different.

Feel free, as well, to believe the GOP should support banks that are too big to fail. I disagree, and I think it’s good that a growing number of Republicans are coming around on this issue.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 29th, 2013
11:51 am

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Dusty

March 29th, 2013
11:55 am

Of course,excessive moderation is “peachy keen”.

It is just like milk toast, soggy and not palatable.

Logical Dude

March 29th, 2013
11:57 am

“unwinding government control of institutions and programs the private sector depends on”
vs
“Certainly, we have to do a better job ring-fencing, fire-walling—whatever metaphor you want to use—between an insured depository institution and a noninsured investment bank”

So, “we” (being the government) need to get into these banks so that the government has less to do with these banks?

:D I guess more clear lines of where government is supposed to break up the banks vs getting out of banking is needed.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 29th, 2013
11:58 am

With Cyprus in mind do you think your money is safe in US banks? When the FDIC, which is supposed to guarantee our first $100k, writes rules like this?

A joint paper by the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Bank of England dated December 10, 2012, shows that these plans have been long in the making; that they originated with the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland (discussed earlier here); and that the result will be to deliver clear title to the banks of depositor funds.

http://www.alternet.org/economy/think-your-money-safe-think-again-confiscation-scheme-planned-us-and-uk-depositors

clem

March 29th, 2013
12:00 pm

the texas congressman seems correct.

Logical Dude

March 29th, 2013
12:01 pm

Kyle: “if Mitt Romney had offered concrete proposals to make sure banks don’t become too big to fail ”

The way you write the whole article makes this point hidden, I think, to most Republicans.

If you summarized “GOP shouldn’t act like Wall Street owns them” then maybe the point would be clearer. Because, so far, the GOP keeps calling for less regulations of the banks, but that lack of oversight helped cause the fiscal collapse.

Good to see a few Republicans notice that, and try to work to fix it with appropriate actions.

Centrist

March 29th, 2013
12:02 pm

The biggest problems facing the Republican party is the hard right wanting government to control womens’ rights concerning unwanted pregnancies, government adoption of Christian theocracy, and Democrats’ successful pandering to LOFO’s*. Both parties protect the extremely wealthy from progressive taxation because they are the vast majority of political contributors, Senators, and often presidential candidates.

* LOFO – Low information, most commonly used in the phrase, “low-information voter.” Used to describe a person who is manifestly uninformed, ill-informed, brainwashed, unable to think long-term or rationally, etc., and yet insists on screwing up the country by exercising his or her so-called “right to vote” only for immediate self interest.

Just Saying..

March 29th, 2013
12:03 pm

Kyle, I think your topic is on target, but I’m not certain Hensarling’s words match: “…unwinding government control of institutions and programs the private sector depends on..”
The financial sector’s failure is commonly seen as a consequence of too little oversight, rather than too much. Could you clarify a bit?

jconservative

March 29th, 2013
12:07 pm

I think the social issues are critical to taking the White House.

I really believe that Republicans need to stop the large number of state legislative bills that have the effect of treating a woman’s womb as property to be regulated by government.

54% of lady voters and 68% of unmarried lady voters voted against the Republican candidate for president. Will the Republicans win the White House with these numbers? I say no.

The pro-life movement has apparently abandoned the effort to effect change by adding like-minded justices to the Supreme Court. Now they prefer to joust at windmills and alienate a majority of the largest voting block in the nation.

Cutty

March 29th, 2013
12:09 pm

‘Another was the increase in federal spending that took place during George W. Bush’s presidency; spending accelerated toward the end, when Democrats were in control of Congress, but it was rising too swiftly well before Nancy Pelosi became speaker of the House.’

Nice dig at the dems, omitting the fact that no law, spending bill, etc can be implemented without the President’s signature.

I figured you’d be writing about that great ethics bill that passed in the middle of the night.

breckenridge

March 29th, 2013
12:09 pm

This is a step in the right direction, or at least Hensarling is making the appropriate noises. I’m somewhat skeptical because the banker-brokers have shown a willingness to throw huge “campaign contributions”, not to be confused with bribes, at efforts to force responsibility upon them. Their last foray into this arena resulted in the horrible piece of legislation called Dodd-Frank.

Dusty

March 29th, 2013
12:10 pm

The FDIC is a government agency supposed to pay us if the banks close. Pay?

Who is going to pay the 16.5 trillion $$$ US debt we already owe?

Oh, I know. Just don’t worry about the debt. It will all work out!!

Dusty

March 29th, 2013
12:14 pm

Centrist,

Your whole first paragraph is completely wrong. Try again.

Kyle Wingfield

March 29th, 2013
12:17 pm

Logical @ 11:57: I don’t see any conflict there at all. Hensarling specified Fannie, Freddie and flood insurance as the institutions and programs that the government should not control. I didn’t see him make this explanation in the article, but the standard reason given for this is that their governmental or quasi-governmental nature distorts the marketplace. Instead, make them totally private, and regulate them along with all other private institutions and programs.

That’s hardly the same thing as saying private institutions don’t need some additional regulation, such as the one Hensarling suggested (which essentially, by my read, means re-implementing the Glass-Steagall separation between depository firms and risk-taking ones).

Kyle Wingfield

March 29th, 2013
12:17 pm

Finn: Do you work for Jonathan Alter? You sure post his stuff here frequently enough.

Kyle Wingfield

March 29th, 2013
12:18 pm

Just Saying: See my 12:17.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 29th, 2013
12:18 pm

While I’m not a fan of government regulations at all, as long as the government continues to stick their nose into the banking business by insuring deposits, they do get a say in how banks should be run.

The Congressman’s proposal makes sense; something rare and unusual in today’s Washington D.C.

Kyle Wingfield

March 29th, 2013
12:19 pm

Cutty: Would you like to dispute the facts of spending during the Bush presidency? Or just complain that I didn’t absolve the Dems of all responsibility?

And I’m working on a Sunday column about the ethics bill now.

Just Saying..

March 29th, 2013
12:19 pm

Dusty, many of us want a stronger, more relevant Republican Party in America don’t believe shouting the same themes louder will produce better results.
As for Kyle’s topic, I hope you don’t read this column principally to get an attaboy for policy positions you already support. This is a very fast paced, dynamic world, and political policy can’t ignore that. I see Kyle’s role as recognizing that world, while offering solutions from a conservative perspective. I’d be amazed, and disappointed, if those policy positions offered were to never change.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 29th, 2013
12:20 pm

Finn needs someone else to tell him what to think, Kyle.

He’s probably also getting paid to post here.

Just Saying..

March 29th, 2013
12:22 pm

“…means re-implementing the Glass-Steagall separation between depository firms and risk-taking ones…”

Hear, Here…

Aquagirl

March 29th, 2013
12:24 pm

We are not perfect but the opposite selection is even worse. Much worse.

Vote Republican because….uh, we’re not Democrats!

Time to get out of the echo chamber Dusty. As Kyle rightly pointed out, what works in your head and your small circle does not work in the real world.

It’s also time to drop the apocalyptic approach where hysterical is the default setting. Social conservatives do more damage than you’d think because it’s like a giant D.A.R.E. class. When you say X will result in the collapse of America and then life goes on as usual after X, people quite rightly stop listening to you about anything.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 29th, 2013
12:25 pm

“It’s also time to drop the apocalyptic approach where hysterical is the default setting.”

I suggest sending this sentence to White House and DNC, Aquagirl. No one has been responsible for such levels of faux drama over the past 4 years as they have been.

Dusty

March 29th, 2013
12:33 pm

Republicans do not like an impossible-to-pay national debt,

Republicans want the debt ceiling limited.

Republicans do not want an Iimpossible-to-control-cost-government-controlled-healthcare.

Republicans think business should run their own business, not government.

Republicans are willing to fight terrorism to protect our country.

Republicans believe our Constitution is real and viable and not just a piece of paper.

I like REPUBLICANS and do not wish them to be pseudo ditzy debt-directed Democrats.

Just Saying..

March 29th, 2013
12:34 pm

“… No one has been responsible for such levels of faux drama over the past 4 years as they have been.”

Cause the President telling American students to study harder is infected with Socialist undertones. Therefore the Florida Republican Chairman won’t allow his children to attend school that day, and encourages other American parents to do the same.

Geeeezz…

Centrist

March 29th, 2013
12:35 pm

@ Dusty – The right wing which you belong to thinks my first paragraph above is wrong, and the left wing thinks pandering to LOFO’s is legitimate. We are a divided nation with (IMO) too few centrists.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 29th, 2013
12:36 pm

“It’s also time to drop the apocalyptic approach where hysterical is the default setting.”

That’s how you get headlines in a 24-hour news cycle.

Just Saying..

March 29th, 2013
12:39 pm

“Republicans do not like an impossible-to-pay national debt,”

Dusty, I’m not sure you’re keeping up. Did you listen to Boehner this past Sunday?

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 29th, 2013
12:40 pm

Do you work for Jonathan Alter? You sure post his stuff here frequently enough.

I get hundreds of links through my RSS feed every day. You only see the ones I think are worthy of passing along.

But at least the link I posted today wasn’t totally off topic…

Politico

March 29th, 2013
12:40 pm

“Republicans want the debt ceiling limited.”

I guess that is why the debt ceiling over the last 60 or so years was raised 54 times by Republican and 40 times by Democrats, with Ronald Reagan leading the way with 18.

But do carry on

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 29th, 2013
12:40 pm

now, about that trans-vaginal ultrasound….

Aquagirl

March 29th, 2013
12:42 pm

I suggest sending this sentence to White House and DNC, Aquagirl.

Thanks Tiberius, for offering exhibit C on why conservatives and Republicans are lost in the wilderness–an inability to reflect and address their own actions. The reflexive “but look what he’s doing!” is familiar to any of us who have raised children.

Children who continue that pattern never do well in life.

Cherokee

March 29th, 2013
12:42 pm

“I like REPUBLICANS and do not wish them to be pseudo ditzy debt-directed Democrats”

Good for you Dusty. However, I think Kyle is smart enough to realize that if Republcans don’t appeal to average American voters, they won’t win elections. Adn then what good are they?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 29th, 2013
12:44 pm

Just Saying, once again you may not write as to what I believe. You do not have my permission in that regard.

As to not having my child (or others) attend a school where President Incompetent is speaking, that is less about whatever “message of the day” the Incompetent One is delivering, and more about the lack of respect I have for him (and his lack of respect for his office) than his current message.

You see, people with principles do not show support for people who lack them. At least, not in the America in which I grew up.

Dusty

March 29th, 2013
12:45 pm

OH dear, AQUAGIRL is giving me a lecture on how to be a good Democrat and just shut up and behave!.

Sorry, Aqua, i don’t swim in your waters “cause I like things a little clearer and cleaner.. Blow my own bubbles and that sort of thing. Don’t really care about who is listening.

But have no fear. Lunchtime is near. And it is split pea soup with ham. That always clears the mind. I may even begin to tolerate those lax licentious liberals. Maybe…

Centrist

March 29th, 2013
12:47 pm

@ Politico – The problem with our national debt is the percentage of GNP. It exploded under Obama to levels never seen before except during WWII. I think you know that, but like to pretend it was equally as bad under Bush.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 29th, 2013
12:47 pm

“Thanks Tiberius, for offering exhibit C on why conservatives and Republicans are lost in the wilderness–an inability to reflect and address their own actions. The reflexive “but look what he’s doing!” is familiar to any of us who have raised children. ”
u’ve
Aquagirl, you will never see me defend the GOP when they are in the wrong. In fact, if you had paid attention all these years (or understood English better), you’d have seen me take the GOP to task on many issues.

YOU, on the other hand, lap up everything your DNC masters and your Messiah in the White House tell you.

Your faux poutage is noted.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 29th, 2013
12:50 pm

is less about whatever “message of the day” the Incompetent One is delivering, and more about the lack of respect I have for him (and his lack of respect for his office) than his current message.

ie, it’s a black thing.

Dusty

March 29th, 2013
12:51 pm

Cherokee

I vote my convictions. Did you ever think of that?

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 29th, 2013
12:53 pm

you’d have seen me take the GOP to task on many issues.

oh, I need to put on my waders….it’s gettin’ deep

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 29th, 2013
12:53 pm

“ie, it’s a black thing.”

Finn, if you can please point out ANY post I have ever made which shows any animosity towards ANYONE based on their color, have at it.

Otherwise, you’re just lying through your teeth. A typical response by liberals when they can’t provide an alternative view.

Dusty

March 29th, 2013
12:53 pm

FINN

You are introducing bigotry here. Not nice! Go have your trans-vaginal ultrasound. Your wires are crossed.

Just Saying..

March 29th, 2013
12:57 pm

“Just Saying, once again you may not write as to what I believe. You do not have my permission in that regard.”

And Tib, once again I’m happy for you to demonstrate that you do not set the rules on this blog. And never will.

I said nothing about your children attending or not attending school. I, as AG did, was illustrating the childish bankruptcy of your “So’s your ol’ man!” response.

And thanks for your nostalgia for “…the America in which I grew up”
That America does not exist anymore. And never will again.
Grab Dusty’s hand, come along to the America that exists today. The only day we actually have…

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 29th, 2013
12:58 pm

“oh, I need to put on my waders….it’s gettin’ deep”

More lying by Finn.

Supporting gay marriage is not a GOP policy. You’ve seen me post countless times in support of this. Same for polygamy. Same for abortion rights.

You’ve seen me blame the GOP and Bush for overspending. You’ve seen me complain about the Iraq invasion and the occupation of Afghanistan. None of these are in support of GOP policies.

Now, Finn, if your goal is to be seen as some knee-jerk idiot who simply posts disagreements that are not based in fact just to provide disagreement, that’s your choice.

But the history of my posts, and my beliefs, are based in facts.

Not your false opinion.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 29th, 2013
1:00 pm

“And thanks for your nostalgia for “…the America in which I grew up”
That America does not exist anymore. And never will again.
Grab Dusty’s hand, come along to the America that exists today.”

Sorry, Just Saying, but I won’t compromise my standards just to lower myself to your level.

Georgia, The " New Mississippi "

March 29th, 2013
1:01 pm

A Republican has never met a lobbyist bearing gifts that they do not like . As long as the GOP continues to say one thing in public and then do something else in private, the contractions will be hard to over come with an educated electorate. Corporate America along with the very poor have the best government money can buy. It provides for all of their needs.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 29th, 2013
1:04 pm

“I said nothing about your children attending or not attending school.”

Moving the goal posts. Almost MarkV-like in it’s ability to proclaim “I didn’t say exactly what you said, even if it is what I meant”.

“I, as AG did, was illustrating the childish bankruptcy of your “So’s your ol’ man!” response.”

Deflection. Typical response of liberals when caught with their pants down. You will never get the “principled argument” thing, Just Saying, because you have no principles that aren’t for sale to the highest government bidder.

Aquagirl

March 29th, 2013
1:07 pm

OH dear, AQUAGIRL is giving me a lecture on how to be a good Democrat and just shut up and behave!

No, I pointed out when you say you’re not a Democrat, you’re not saying anything. You and any other Republican are free to say it all day long and deal with the resulting election losses.

Your list of what Republicans want does not square with what Republicans have done. They’ve run up debt, voted to raise the debt ceiling, expanded socialized medicine, cozied up with big business, meddled in people’s private lives, and flailed around in the war on terror.

You can re-write their actions or pull a Tiberius but quite simply it’s not getting you anywhere. If you’re happy outstanding in your field the rest of the world goes right on without you.