Update: I am live blogging the state assembly today at Liberal and Loving It. I will post the Bennet/Romanoff results the second they are announced.
Politics is the art of compromise. Even when we elect someone we are in close agreement with, there are times they will disappoint us. And politicians need to win the vote to do anything. In Colorado, for a state-wide office, that means we elect moderate Democrats. That's the will of the people and to fight that is to tilt at windmills. In to this mix add interest groups and the need to raise obscene amounts of money, where a candidate must at least pay lip service to many of these groups, and you have a mess.
In the sausage factory we call Congress, with all these various forces, and so many ways to spin each vote, we are often left wondering just what we are getting from a given legislator. And they rarely take some clear unambiguous action that shifts them from hero to villain in a single moment. It would be nice if life was that simple - but it's not (although people on the far left and far right haven't learned that basic lesson).
So we're left having to read the tea leaves from what they do, and what they don't do. In the case of Senator Bennet, in my opinion, he has come down strongly on the side of the major banks. Or to be more accurate, on the side of the top executives that pull out hundreds of billions of dollars in bonuses yearly by privatizing profits and socializing risk. Why he has come down on their side I don't know. But clearly he has.
The root issue with the just passed security regulation is that it will not stop a repeat. David Kurtz put it best:
Historians will probably conclude that the package of reforms was surprisingly modest given the depth and severity of the 2008-09 financial crisis. A harsher historical judgment might find that the political and economic power wielded by the financial industry in the late 20th and early 21st centuries was so extensive that it could weather a near total collapse of the system without having to yield its power or privilege.
It adds regulation, but the SEC was busy downloading porn instead of enforcing existing regulation that would have easily identified Bernie Madoff and Alan Stanford. It disallows some mortgage practices, but with hundreds of billions of dollars in bonuses at stake, Wall St. will find other investments to bet the economy on. Yes we have a competent Democratic administration enforcing regulation now, but that didn't mean MMS was actually inspecting off-shore oil wells.
Throughout the process of financial reform, on the key amendments, Senator Bennet was voting for the banks and against the people and against the health of our economy. On the key amendments that were not even brought forward for a vote, he was silent.
As to why, it's not a liberal vs. conservative issue. Trust me, the moderates and conservatives in Colorado do not want to socialize the banks' risk taking. And they do not want the large banks to be able to risk our economic well-being. Fixing the financial system is a bi-partisan issue. I assume it's not a money issue, as Senator Bennet has raised a ton of money already, and I don't think we would sell us out for a couple of hundred thousand.
But for some reason Senator Bennet has decided that he wants the financial system to remain pretty much as is. There's a bit more regulation, and a few new actions. But mostly it's some minor changes all dressed up real pretty so members of congress can point to it as action taken in the November election.
Now compare that to another Senate candidate who said:
He also is in favor of the idea of not allowing banks to be too big to fail and thinks we should look at using the anti-trust laws to break up the ones that can take the entire economy down with them if they fail.
I am a Bennet delegate for the state assembly this Saturday. My options are to vote for Senator Bennet, or to not vote. I will not be voting. Yes, I am a very ardent Democrat. But more important than that, I am an American. And our economic system cannot weather constant devastation wrought upon it by out of control bankers sucking every bit of life out of it to increase their bonuses. So in August I will look again at Senator Bennet's efforts from now till then, and to see if Andrew Romanoff has learned how to run a competent campaign.
And in November I will vote for the candidate that I think will be best for America.