The financial reform bill still hasn’t been passed in the Senate, as Harry Reid still needs to gin up a few key votes, most notably from Scott Brown, and Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, neither of whom have committed 100% to voting for the Do dd-Frank Act.
But it seems pretty likely. On Squawk Box this morning, New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg said there was little doubt that ultimately the bill would pass.
Besides holding up the bill, Senator Scott Brown also used the financial reform debate to become more of a star, singlehandedly winning special loopholes for Massachusetts-based bank, and generally throwing around the muscle that he failed to throw around during healthcare.
But as Noam Scheiber notes in a piece at TNR, Brown’s success is actually even more profound than just taking advantage of the fact that in an institution of 100, any single vote can be pivotal.
Here’s the nut part:
Perhaps most intriguingly of all, Brown has sometimes exploited anxiety about jobs as a reason to oppose … jobs-related legislation. In doing so, he’s picked up on a paradox that defines the political zeitgeist: Even though Americans are more concerned about jobs than anything else, they don’t seem to appreciate the factors that help create them. In the same NBC poll in which voters overwhelmingly say jobs should be the government’s top priority, they also say, by nearly a two-to-one margin, that they’d prefer the government attend to the deficit even if it delays the economic recovery. So, according to the poll, voters care much more about jobs than the deficit, but much more about the deficit than the economy. Where exactly are the jobs supposed to come from?
All politicians should probably be forgiven if they’re wildly confused by what voters want right now — just like the leaders of Japan’s DPJ were probably confused by their electoral drubbing following attempts to fix the debt.
In the end, the punishment for any politician that actually does something consistent and painful, is probably a sure sign that the status quo will persist.
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