It's being reported that although Senate Banking Committee Chris Dodd and Richard Shelby continued to hint at a possible bipartisan deal, President Obama and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank have personally asked Dodd *not* to cut a deal with Republicans. Could this be a sign that Obama realizes that public opinion is asking for tougher banking reform, and that he "got it" from the health debate that bipartisan compromise is not the right path? This afternoon, the Senate will do a test vote on the Wall Street reform and they need the support of at least one Republican to get the 60 votes required to open debate on the bill. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the GOP will block the debate from proceeding. On the Republican side, there's Olympia Snowe, the Republican senator from Maine, who has written to Harry Reid urging him to include in the bill Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln's strong amendment to regulate derivatives. And Scott Brown, the accidental Republican Senator from Massachusetts, ran as a populist. Will these two Republicans really vote on the side of the big banks and against the people? On the Democratic side, there's Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, who's the chairman of the Senate Banking committee and retiring from the Senate this year. But instead of behaving like he's liberated by no longer needing big bank money to run for office, Dodd had been putting forward weak proposals, more as if he's thinking of a retirement career as a lobbyist for the big banks that he's generally been a friend to over the past few decades. How all these weird political cross-currents play out will be fascinating to watch, particularly because the financial solvency and future of both average Americans and the entire American empire are at stake.