Unless President Obama throws himself fully into the fight, there is not much chance of pulling this off in an election year, when many lawmakers are more focused on deep-pocketed donors than on the public interest. The House passed a flawed reform bill last year. After months of talks that led to some compromises between Democrats and Republicans, no Republicans voted for the Senate’s version when the banking committee passed it on Monday. That bill, too, is flawed, and the banks are lobbying relentlessly to water it down even more.If I were pushing for real financial reform, I would want the legislation to come up for a vote in the Senate in October, inviting the Republican Party to either filibuster or get on board - but one way or another to reveal to the country their willingness (or lack thereof) to get behind a bill that could scale back abusive lending practices and help prevent another financial industry meltdown.
I recognize that no small number of Democrats are in bed with the financial industry, and are as against meaningful reform as many of their Republican counterparts. But the Dems should have enough votes to move a meaningful reform bill forward and, really, if they're afraid of backlash in the November election you may even see enough Republicans sign on to pass the bill despite the Democratic Party's holdouts. And if voting against the bill hurts some Democrats in the election? A fate they deserve.