But seriously: WTF? This is the final report of a conference committee. There's no more negotiation. It's an up-or-down vote and there isn't going to be a second chance at this. You either vote for this bill, which has plenty of good provisions even if doesn't break up all the big banks, or else you vote for the status quo. That's it. That's the choice. It's not a game. It's not a time for Feingold to worry about his reputation for independence. It's a time to make a decision between actively supporting something good and actively supporting something bad. And Feingold has decided to actively support something bad.That's Monday. And what was, apparently, the real-life effect of Feingold's stubborn stand? Well..back to Drum, on Tuesday:
After three Republican senators threatened to vote against the financial reform bill unless its $18 billion bank fee was removed, Democrats briefly reopened conference committee proceedings today and voted to remove it.Granted, I don't have any idea whether Feingold's support would have save the bank fee, which I assume Feingold actually would support.. But it might have! The truth is that the practical effect of Feingold bailing on the bill isn't to sink the bill; it's to empower the three New England Republicans a bit more than they would have been had he supported the bill. Which, in this case, meant something that the banks, presumably, will be happier with.
My larger point here is just to echo what Drum said: when politicians worry more about posturing than they do about making the best of what they have, there are real consequences. That doesn't always mean that liberals in the Senate, for example, should just give up and do whatever the 60th most liberal Senator wants; there's plenty of room for fighting and negotiating and bargaining. And sometimes, walking away may still be the best choice. However, what I'd say is that walking away better have some real-life, substantive benefits, or else the Senator is simply being self-indulgent and/or irresponsible.