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April 17, 2010

No Matter What They Propose

-- by Dave Johnson

Matthew Yglesias - The Battle Lines

Back in January, Frank Luntz wrote a memo saying that the best way to defend Wall Street from any new regulation was to spuriously characterize efforts at regulatory reform as leading to “endless bailouts.”

[. . .] [now] They claim that the bill “allows for endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street and establishes new and unlimited regulatory powers that will stifle small businesses and community banks.”

This doesn't quite capture the sense of that is happening.

Luntz said the way to kill financial reform was to characterize it as "endless bailouts" no matter what they propose.

This is how it works. You do a series of focus groups. You ask "if I told you so-and-so would that make you be against it?" If they say that if they were told that Democrats were stealing green cheese from the moon and forcing ducks to swim in it they would be against it - whatever "it" it - then you would start hearing from everywhere that Democrats were stealing green cheese from the moon and forcing ducks to swim in it. No. Matter. What. The. Truth. Was.

So yes, Republicans are going to say that the financial reform bill will lead to endless bailouts. It is what they were going to say -- all of them -- no matter what the bill has in it.

Posted by Dave Johnson at April 17, 2010 12:13 AM


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