The emerging favorite Republican tactic for killing reform measures without actually admitting that they want to kill reform is to complain that Democrats are "rushing things." They're not against reform, they just want enough time to do it right.1
This was the pitch on healthcare reform from the GOP members of the Senate Finance committee, even after hundreds of hours of meeting. It's the pitch from George Voinovich on climate legislation. And now it's the pitch from Bob Corker on financial regulation. Tim Fernholz shakes his head in dismay:
What in the world does he want to talk about? It's not like Corker is pushing some specific agenda or has offered any major ideas, at least publicly. These issues have been at the forefront of the policy debate for a year now, and certainly have been bubbling underneath for a long time. If he doesn't have any specific concerns, its hard to conceive of this as anything but a delaying tactic that simply substitutes vague delays for substantive engagement.
....There's a pretty big argument going on in the Democratic party between those who want to reshape the financial sector fundamentally and those who want to nudge it towards responsibility, which I talk about in my article today. Sometimes, though, it's easy to forget that there is also an opposition party out there that believes we should do virtually nothing.
Well, it's not really that easy to forget. After all, Republicans remind us of it pretty much every day. Which is OK! They're Republicans. They're the opposition. They don't support things like providing healthcare for everyone, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and regulating the financial industry. The only question is why an opposition that controls 40% of the Senate and represents about a third of the population should be allowed to routinely stop all this stuff in its tracks.
1Unless, of course, the subject is Afghanistan. In that case, taking the time to do things right is "dithering" and "playing Hamlet."