One can only assume their consultants started screaming bloody murder when the GOP congressional leaders made it clear they were digging in again to oppose new regulation.

Their pollsters know their "No way in hell" position alongside the bankers and corporate titans could be overrun by the millions out there who are disgusted at how the all-too-free-market system has allowed unrestrained plunderers to abscond with their money. That explains why their usual solid wall defending the moneyed special interests is a bit porous. So this could well be a tactical retreat.

Furthermore, they know that they don't have enough time to spread the emotional distortions and outright lies they utilized so effectively to whip up the irrational frenzy they created over healthcare and stymie more sweeping change.

This time, if they aren't careful, opposition could be their Waterloo. They are far too clever to wage a fight that could send some of them into exile.

So this could be a tactical retreat ... a deception. Sometimes, the most effective way to kill meaningful repair is the "death of a thousand cuts," where effective improvements are bled dry. The negotiations can easily be "like pulling teeth," where a final deal means new rules that are indeed toothless.

It often happens in politics when advocates decide to compromise with their crafty adversaries and climb into bed with them. Need I say what happens next?

The Republicans and their status quo puppeteers could well be stealthily trying to so weaken legislation we are left with something that is worse than nothing. Of course, that other interpretation: that they have suddenly become true converts, reformed anti-reformers. Perchance they have concluded that the national well-being supersedes politics. And if you believe that's what's happening, I have some derivatives I'd like to sell you.

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