Palin vs. Bachus

In the race to be chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., has received an unexpected boost from a fight between his rival, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., and former Alaska governor and Tea Party movement icon Sarah Palin.

The ruckus started after the elections when Bachus, the committee's ranking Republican and heir apparent to the chairmanship, was widely quoted as blaming Palin for the Republicans' failure to win control of the Senate. Bachus noted her backing for Tea Party movement candidates who failed, as did Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and Sharron Angle in Nevada. "Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate," he was quoted as saying.

Bachus' representatives said the comment was overblown and was not intended to be anti-Palin, but the self-proclaimed "Mama Grizzly" did not take the critique lightly. Though Palin supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program herself as part of Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, the former vice presidential candidate slammed Bachus for backing Tarp and the Obama administration's "Cash for Clunkers" program.

In an e-mail to the Daily Caller, a news site founded by TV commentator Tucker Carlson, Palin described both programs as part of "the Bachus bigger government agenda."

"No wonder he's not thrilled with people like me, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and all the others who also endorsed common-sense conservative candidates," she said.

Palin said nothing about Royce specifically, but Daily Caller went on to note his opposition to Tarp and said freshman Republicans could be swayed to support him.

"Palin's involvement in the race, even while tangential, could be crucial given that many of the 80-some conservative freshman lawmakers coming to Washington are Tea Party-backed or otherwise aggressive conservatives," Daily Caller said.

Bloggers, too, have suggested that Palin's anger at Bachus equaled support for Royce; a headline on an OCWeekly post asserted, "Sarah Palin Fingers Ed Royce for Powerful House Financial Post."

The posting went on to say, "Regardless of the history here, the obvious beneficiary of the Palin-Bachus spat is Royce, whose rise will give Orange County its most powerful D.C. figure since Christopher Cox helped lead the nation into economic disaster as the bumbling chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission."

Animated ICBA

Forget all the big law firms' hundred-page summaries of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Independent Community Bankers of America made the ultimate effort to encapsulate the complicated regulatory reform law last week by releasing a cartoon that promised to be the first in a series of animated videos explaining the statute.

The first one, titled "Straight Talk: Wall Street Reform and Community Banks: Facts vs. Hype and Spin," depicts football players with a backdrop of the Capitol and a narrator touting ICBA's involvement in working with Congress on certain provisions designed to exempt or minimize the law's burden on community banks.

The description also appears to take tacit shots at other trade groups, which mostly chose to oppose the bill, such as the American Bankers Association.

"Rather than standing on the sidelines while legislation is proposed and new regulations are adopted, ICBA along with our state community bank association allies, has stepped in to continue leveling the playing field for community banks," the video says. "We strongly believe that it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness — working within the legislative process to ensure community banks are as protected as possible."

QE2 by Cartoon

Strangely, the ICBA video was not the only animated offering related to financial services making the rounds last week.

One viral video was of two cartoon characters criticizing the Federal Reserve Board's recent monetary policy actions. They sure weren't cute or cuddly. Instead, they savaged the Fed's actions and then questioned its credibility.

"The Fed has been wrong with every economic development in the past 20 years," said a male character, citing the Fed's failure to foresee the Internet stock bubble, the housing bubble or the subprime crisis.

"So, has the Fed ever been right about anything?" a female character asks.

"Let me see if I can think of anything," the male character responds.

After a long pause, he says, "No, nothing."

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