Washington Post editorials have long been a goldmine for unintentional comedy, so I wasn't at all surprised to see an editorial bemoaning that "partisan politics is getting in the way" of derivatives reform. How is partisan politics making it into something as pure as the derivatives reform debate? Why, it's the White House's doing, of course!
Now the White House, convinced that it has a winning issue -- go ahead, Republicans, side with Wall Street if you dare -- is discouraging Democratic senators from working with any Republicans who might still be so inclined. The risk is that the mudfight will keep Congress from doing the essential business: bringing most of the derivatives market into the sunlight.I immediately clicked on the link the Post provided, because I'm pretty close to the derivatives reform debate, and I hadn't heard anything about the White House discouraging Senate Dems from working with Republicans (which would be a big deal). The linked article, however, says absolutely nothing about the White House discouraging Senate Dems from working with Republicans. In fact, the article disproves the editorial's bogus claim about the White House. Here's what the article says about the negotiations between Blanche Lincoln and Saxby Chambliss on a bipartisan derivatives bill:
Administration officials, who are being kept abreast of the talks between Lincoln and Chambliss, said they are trying to ensure that the two lawmakers do not increase the scope of those exceptions and create loopholes that financial firms could exploit. One senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged that the bill may be more friendly to business interests that are close to the agricultural committee.Memo to Washington Post editorial board: When a "senior administration official" tells one of your reporters that the White House would be "open to compromise on [derivatives] if it hastened bipartisan consensus," that's called encouraging Senate Dems to work with Republicans on derivatives reform.
The official said the administration would be open to compromise on the issue if it hastened bipartisan consensus and helped move the regulatory reform legislation forward in the Senate. In addition, the Obama administration is trying to head off possible turf battles between regulators who would share oversight of derivatives.
What's actually going on here is that the Post is carrying Saxby Chambliss's water: not surprisingly, the editorial appeared mere hours after Chambliss released a statement saying that his negotiations with Lincoln have broken down, and blaming the White House for "forc[ing] politics in the pathway of meaningful financial regulatory reform" — without, of course, specifying anything the White House did that was partisan. But I guess Chambliss didn't need to provide evidence, since the Post's editorial board is clearly happy to make up the facts for him.
(Oh yeah, and the Post's mobile site is still so terrible that it's practically unusable. Ironic, seeing as ~99% of the Post's target audience is glued to a Blackberry. Just thought I'd throw that in there.)