Friday, February 12, 2010
Sen. Bob Corker Breaks Ranks With Republicans
It surprised hell out of me as I read the news. My fellow Tennessean is breaking away from his controlling comrades to begin negotiations with Democrats on overhauling financial regulation.
His move comes less than a week after Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.) said he had reached an "impasse" with the panel's ranking Republican, Richard Shelby of Alabama. It essentially leapfrogs Mr. Corker over the Senate's long-established pecking order, and prompted fuming from his Republican colleagues amid a hyperpartisan moment in Washington.
Always the obstructionists, GOP lawmakers urged Corker not to vote for Dodd's bill "without other Republicans." Wow, I can see them knocking over each other to be the first to vote yea. Republicans warned against "the risks of breaking ranks." So this is how the party of no keeps their comrades in line - by threatening them.
Corker said more effort should be made to get a bipartisan deal and if each party worked on their own bills it would be a "train wreck."
Corker said he was "taking the step because the financial system needed to be repaired. He stressed the need for new rules to prevent failing financial companies, such as Lehman Brothers Holdings in 2008, from wrecking the broader economy."
As for new consumer-protection rules, which have proven to be the biggest sticking point in negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, Mr. Corker said he wouldn't agree to anything that lacked a "balance" between protecting consumers and allowing banks to extend credit.
Of course politics doesn't lend itself to guarantees, so its possible an agreement between Dodd and Corker won't be reached.
A GOP Senate aide said, "Corker may understand markets well, but he doesn't know how to count votes very well." Don't count on it.