It was two years in the making, runs to 2,300 pages, took three Republicans to pass it, and 11 pens to sign it into law. President Barack Obama put the seal on a drastic overhaul of the rules governing Wall Street and the banking industry today, using a separate pen for each letter of his name.
Behind him, Joe Biden chatted throughout the signing ceremony, often with his back to the camera, so we just have to assume the vice president thinks this particular legislative victory is also a “big … deal”.
Influential business groups lined up with Republicans to criticize the new law for the 533 new regulations they say it imposes, while Obama’s one-time friend, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, was not even invited to the signing ceremony. No sign of a rapprochement in the relationship between the presidency and Big Finance, as Obama used the occasion to take another swipe at “unscrupulous” lenders and the “abuse and excess” that lay behind the financial crisis.
It was Obama’s second major legislative victory of the year, confounding all those obituaries of his presidency written in the wake of Scott Brown’s Massachusetts victory in January. But there was one other set of numbers today that the president may find particularly uncomfortable reading.
Another poll, this time from Quinnipiac, showed the president’s approval ratings falling to a new low, and independents continuing to desert the Obama cause. More voters are now saying they would pick an unnamed Republican over Obama in 2012, although at this early stage the president still comes out ahead when pitted against Sarah Palin.