SHELBY BACKS BOEHNER ON INSIGNIFICANCE OF CRASH…. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) argued yesterday that sweeping Wall Street reform efforts are simply unnecessary. Sure, an unregulated financial industry nearly destroyed the global economy, but as far as Boehner is concerned, Democratic policymakers are “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.”

How ridiculous was the argument? Let’s put it this way: usually, Boehner’s press flacks can come up with a semi-coherent spin to make his more outlandish remarks seem somewhat reasonable. Today, Boehner left his poor spokesperson sounding like a fool.

What’s worse, some of Boehner’s Republican colleagues seem to think he’s right. ThinkProgress caught up with Senate Banking Committee ranking member and financial conference member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) outside a D.C. fundraiser today.

TP: This morning, it was reported that Minority Leader John Boehner said that financial reform is too broad, it’s basically like using a nuclear weapon on an ant. Do you agree with that kind of sentiment?

SHELBY: Well, I basically agree with that. I voted against it. We could have had a meaningful, substantive bill. There a few good things in it, but it’s a broad reach of power, and you got to ask a question, the real question, “are we going to be better off because of this legislation?” And that’s problematic.

Let’s pause to note that, in the event of a Republican majority next year, Richard Shelby would be the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

It’s really fascinating to see GOP leaders pursue this. The trick for Republicans has long been to work with Wall Street lobbyists to kill reform efforts while pretending to care deeply about accountability.

But now they’re not even bothering to do that, dismissing a systemic crisis as being comparable to a small insect, and criticizing Democrats for trying to bring some oversight to the industry.

How bizarre.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.