The Agenda

Matt Yglesias on the CPFB and President Obama’s Negotiation Strategy

Having been (mildly) critical of Matt Yglesias in our last post, it’s worth recognizing that he makes an astute political point elsewhere:

What’s interesting about this, to me, is that the Dodd-Frank financial regulation overhaul is really the only example from Obama’s almost-three years in office where I think you could say he really bent Republican Senators to his will and broke a filibuster. In contrast to the legislative debates over stimulus, the debt ceiling, appropriations, or the health care bill Obama made it fairly clear that he was willing to settle for nothing and just stick with the regulatory status quo and the ability to complain about Republican obstruction. Since Obama was prepared to walk away, he wound up not needing to walk away and the New England Republicans came to the table with some compromise ideas. The inclusion of this point about Richard Cordray being held up in a basically campaign-y speech seems to indicate that we should expect a replay on the CFPB issue. The White House would presumably like to get their nominee confirmed and get this agency up and running, but if Republicans want to give this to them as a campaign issue instead they’re happy to take that.

A lot of people have questioned the administration’s commitment to the consumer protection issue over the years, but it’s precisely because the administration doesn’t regard consumer financial protection as the biggest deal in the world that they’ll hang tough and fight hard on it.

It’s not clear to me that this is a good thing, but it’s interesting all the same. 

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

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