Huffington Post political reporter Sam Stein appeared on "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" Monday night to discuss President Obama's possible 2010 retreat from energy and immigration reform in advance of November's midterm elections, as well as the continuing obstruction of unemployment extensions by Senate Republicans and the prospects for financial regulatory reform.
Stein told Olbermann that the Obama administration may well back off energy and immigration this year, having just gone through "a bruising health care fight," even though some prominent Democratic strategists think immigration is the perfect issue to divide Republicans and energize Democrats dispirited by Obama's endorsement of nuclear power and offshore drilling.
On unemployment, Stein expressed surprise that Republican leaders have grown to endorse the obstructionist tactics of Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Jim Bunning (Ky.), who have now cut the safety net from underneath hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans while Congress is on a two-week vacation. "Take the money out of the stimulus" has been the GOP refrain, which struck Stein as a boneheaded move.
"Keep in mind, tax cuts were not paid for, but a marginal unemployment insurance extension has to be paid for?" Stein said. "It's just terrible politics, and it's awful that it went to this point and 200,000 people might lose their unemployment benefits now."
As for financial reform, Stein told Olbermann that Senate Democrats are likely to pick off a moderate Republican or two and get a package through the Senate, particularly given the extent to which the GOP has tethered itself to the Tea Party fringe, no friend of the banks.