Obama’s Scorched Earth Day
After a bipartisan blip on financial regulation in Washington, the President was in Manhattan yesterday, warning Wall Street, “A free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it.”
This tough talk comes after his lofty Earth Day anniversary proclamation: “Forty years from today, when our children and grandchildren look back on what we did at this moment, let them say that we, too, met the challenges of our time and passed on a cleaner, healthier planet.”
The contrast underscores a new bipolar tone in the Obama presidency, pairing his inspirational gifts with the kind of hard-edged political pressure from the White House that marked the final days of the health care war.
As key GOP elders move away from Mitch McConnell’s adamant obstruction of last week, a party official tells the Washington Post of the President’s role in the reversal: “His rhetoric got really sharp and really mean…That’s what changed.”
In his weekly address, the President labeled McConnell “cynical and deceptive,” challenging moderate Republicans to put up or shut up on financial industry reform.
Yesterday, Dick Shelby voted with Democrats to control derivatives, and now Chuck Grassley is predicting, “We’re very close to a deal and there will be a substantial number of Republicans that go along with it.”
After more than a year of nonstop naysaying, GOP ranks are finally collapsing under the pressure of public anger over banks and bailouts, stoked by an energized President in his appeal to industry leaders to call off their army of lobbyists who are trying to derail regulation.