This HuffPo piece backs up my analysis of how liberal activists are starting to drive the financial reform agenda:

“To be honest, a lot of us were surprised,” said one consumer advocate closely involved in financial reform efforts. “It seemed like a deal of some sort was imminent and on track.”

The advocate noted that Dodd’s decision was likely influenced by the outcry from progressives and other pro-reform groups who argued that Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat not seeking reelection this year, was giving Republicans and Wall Street-friendly Democrats too much sway over the legislation. Dodd’s original reform proposal in November had called for a strong, independent consumer-focused agency to protect borrowers from predatory lenders.

“At the end of the day, though, there is only so much that reform advocates were willing to give on this,” the advocate said. “And because of the context — what the banks did to the economy and the bailouts — reformers have a lot of high ground right now. Democrats just don’t benefit from teaming up with the banks and losing the interest groups.”