Suddenly, Republicans don’t like ‘populism’

Chris Dodd shares a touching moment of bipartisanship with Richard Shelby of Alabama.

Having decided to use the tea partiers as shock troops to win elections, and to try and milk “populism” to try and take back control of Congress (yeah, good luck with that…) suddenly, Capitol Hill Republicans have discovered the enemy, and the enemy, it turns out, is “populism.” From the NYTimes, news that the “party of no,” is also the party of no regulating or taxing Wall Street:

Republicans on the [Senate Banking] committee said Mr. Obama’s call for a bank tax was a political response to the unexpected loss of a Massachusetts Senate seat. And Democrats, although more positive about the president’s remarks, were slow to embrace the specifics, like the tax, of his proposals.

“There is no question that this was presented to stoke and jump in front of a lot of populist furor,” said Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who is working with Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, on the problem of securities firms being so big and interconnected that their collapse could bring down the financial system.

“I think everybody watching understands that this was a political undertaking and not necessarily a substance undertaking,” he said. “This is a soak-the-rich populist grab.”

Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican who is working with Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, on regulation of derivatives and credit rating agencies, offered a similar assessment of the president’s intervention.

“I think it’s confused the issue considerably, because he’s basically fanned the fires of populism and in a lot of instances, populism doesn’t give you either good regulatory activity or strong markets,” Mr. Gregg said. “It undermines both, in many instances.”

Vocker testifies before the Senate panel today. Chris Dodd will attempt to sit erect through the hearings, despite the absence of his spine.

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