osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,
osewalrus
osewalrus

Mike Lux on The Near Disaster on Foreclosure and Why Progressives Should Not Give Up Quite Yet.

http://www.openleft.com/diary/20422/obama-comes-through-on-foreclosure-issue-whats-next

I agree with Lux's analysis which is to say Progressives should be alert for openings. A bit more below. . . .

For those unfamiliar with the backstory here (longer, better version here:

1) It has developed that mortgage brokers and others in the financial industry cut corners and simply failed to obey all the legal requirements for foreclosure, prompting some outright forgery, fraud, and false testimony. The resultant legal mess has prompted a halt to foreclosure actions in many states.

2) Rather than seizing this as the opportunity Congress passed a bill (sponsored by Republicans, Go Bipartisanship!) to require state and federal courts to pretend that the documents that had filed to comply with legal requirements actually complied -- because individuals negotiating with big sophisticated banks should not whine about "contracts of adhesion" and should take responsibility for their actions but giant lending institutions obviously could not be expected to comply with laws designed to give procedural rights to individuals.

3) President Obama vetoed the bill. (While it is being characterized as a "pocket veto," I note that it has, in fact, returned the bill to its House of origin (here, the House of Representatives), making it look more like an actual veto.)

First, Obama's veto may well have rescued the Dems from themselves. I can think of nothing more firmly calculated to put a final nail in the Democratic coffin than passing this bill would have done. Had Obama signed it, every Republican challenger would have been able to accuse the D incumbent and Obama of siding with the Bankers rather than the People -- politely ignoring that it was originally sponsored by Rs and supported by Rs as much as Ds. Now, Rs cannot run on the issue without admitting that, well, Obama turned out to be looking out for Americans when the Republicans in Congress were as much with Bankers and Special Interests as the Ds.

So yes, Obama's veto may simply have been damn good politics and a dash more common sense than Congressional Ds seem to have. But there are other reasons why I am inclined to agree with Lux's analysis.

a) Obama has gotten away from his advisers and the whole DC thing and actually talked to his base. Unlike David "What's Hippie Punching Got To Do With It" Axelrod, Obama at least understands the election logic of what happens when your base starts to get pissed off at you. Getting to real town meetings and back yard bar-b-qs may seem hokey and doesn't make for nearly as good a set of photo-ops as screening folks in advance. But it does give you some modestly unfiltered data, which is nice. Rather than explaining to the woman who was "tired of defending him" why she is a whiny loser who shouldn't be so apathetic because, if not for the Dems, the Republicans will eat your young and make you serve them drinks during the dinner, he is actually thinking "this is a problem."

b) Politics does not require sincerity, it does not require agreement on principles, it simply requires agreement on results and achievement of results. Think of it as Elizabeth I's instruction on religion -- I don't care what you actually believe as long as you show up at C of E. Similarly, it is irrelevant whether Obama is "really" a progressive or a Chicago-machine cynical politician or a Kenyan zombie controlled by an alien if the Administration now perceives that it has to shift to a more progressive result.

c) Which means we wait and see. Acknowledge and reward when they do good stuff, still beat the crap out of them for bad stuff. But, as I like to say "Always be prepared for the best possible result."

b)
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