Why I will not be voting for Senator Bennet on Saturday

(Just so Andrew supporters don’t think they ever get a break–besides it is David talking about Wall Street reform. – promoted by Danny the Red (hair))

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 Maddox 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 on the 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.

Also posted at Huffington Post

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114 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. There was a post a few days ago where Bennet didn’t support one amendment, but as far as I can tell, it’s his silence on the issue of stronger reform and that one vote that make up the totality of his “bank support” during the reform process.  You mention that he did so repeatedly.

    The other day I wrote that in order for Romanoff to really pull ahead, that it would help if Bennet first screwed up in the financial reform bill.   I’d like to see someone present the full case that he did.

  2. Earnest says:

    I don’t much about these primary politics mechanics.  But didn’t you have to represent to others that you would vote for Bennet in order to be elected as a Bennet delegate to the state assembly?  Will you be breaking your word if you fail to do as you said you would?  Or is changing one’s mind at the state assembly common and acceptable?

    • Ralphie says:

      But IMHO it’s rude and unethical.  It prevented someone else from going as Bennet delegate.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      I am a pledged Bennet delegate and that is why my choice is to vote for Bennet, or not vote. A significant percentage of the delegates will not show up tomorrow for various reasons. I’m just listing out why in my case.

      • StrykerK2 says:

        are you still going to the assembly and skipping the vote, or are you not attending?

      • Earnest says:

        ..it’s interesting that you think you have this “choice.”  When you ran as a Bennet delegate, did you say, “I will vote for Bennet unless I choose not to”?

            • Middle of the Road says:

              As Ralphie said above, it’s not against the rules to change your mind about who you support. Agree or disagree with his reasons for doing it or how ethical it is or whether he should be given the honor in the future of being elected a delegate is a conversation for another day. Anyone has the right to change their mind at each step of the caucus process.

              Which is why I thank God we have a primary where a larger pool of voters can weigh in.

              • Earnest says:

                Today is the day he announced the decision.  Regardless of whether it’s against the rules, his ethical choices are subject to question.

                • Danny the Red (hair) says:

                  What if you had been pledged to John Edwards, but then you found out that he had cheated on his sick wife and you felt that was a betrayal of the ideas you thought the candidate represented.  Would it be ok in that circumstance to switch your vote?

                  I am not saying anything about Sen. Bennet’s votes, I am just commenting on the ethics.

                  • Ralphie says:

                    Edwards suspended his campaign in January 2008.  Convention was in August.  His delegates were in limbo.  Bennet’s are not.

                  • Earnest says:

                    (In any event, even if he were an “ethical person” in general, that wouldn’t mean every decision he makes is the ethical one.)

                    Your post raises a question of when it is ok to go back on your word.  Thus, it’s intertwined with the merits of Bennet’s votes and, I suppose, raises the question whether those votes are similar to cheating on one’s spouse.

                    If, for example, one concludes that the new votes are not bad or not nearly as egregoius as cheating on one’s spouse, one might conclude that a delegate’s changing his vote is not so ethical at all.  

                    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

                      I don’t know the votes which have concerned David so I can not address the merit of his critique. I am just defending David as an ethical person.

                    • Ralphie says:

                      However, I wouldn’t do what he proposes to do.

                      I would called the County chair, bail out of State, and let the Chair seat the alternate.

                      That’s personal.

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      I assumed the 1 alternate would be there regardless. But I just emailed the Boulder County party and the Bennet campaign to ask them to contact the alternate.

                    • Voyageur says:

                      from my House District 6, 32 delegates, that an alternate from ANOTHER district could fill in for one of ours if they didn’t show.  We only had about 28 who felt they could go but had others aggree to sign up as delegates so we could use the alternate-from-another-district gig in a pinch.

                        So, David’s vote might be cast for Bennet anyway.

                         Regardless, or Irregardless, as Marilou would say (;-)) a delegate does have the right to change his mind.

                         I disagree with David and will cast my vote for Bennet, but that doesn’t mean I feel David has been dishonorable in anyway.  And don’t worry, Andrew will be top line but Bennet will be about 4o percent and make it easily as well.   Then, David will have the chance to vote for Bennet in the primary, as I am sure I can convince him to do, if only by threatening to play my collection of love songs for the tuba on the Friday music videos until he gets back in line!

                        (That’s a joke, Marilou.  Put down that assault rifle, girl!)

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      if only by threatening to play my collection of love songs for the tuba on the Friday music videos until he gets back in line!

                    • peacemonger says:

                      to call the Senator’s office, identify yourself as a delegate, and say, “I need to talk to someone about this ASAP” and see where it goes.

                    • StrykerK2 says:

                      I’m hoping you mean Bennet’s campaign office and not senate office.  The senate office is by law removed from campaign activities like the assemblies.

                      If you’re implying that calling the senate office and threatening not to vote for Bennet would get a response…well that’s just interesting 🙂

                    • Earnest says:

                      …whether David is an ethical person generally is beside the point, which is whether this, particuarly, is an ethical decision.  

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      Almost by definition means that we are being asked to make a decision on each vote. I personally view my choices as vote for Bennet or don’t vote. But if someone else flips their vote, I would view that as part of the process and not as something wrong or unethical. Because we are being asked to vote at each step, not just being asked if we are present.

                    • StrykerK2 says:

                      the process is set up to encourage discussion and conversation about candidates and platform issues, which naturally means they expect people to switch if persuaded.

                    • Earnest says:

                      You are a delegate representing the views of the group as expressed earlier.  Shouldn’t you ask the group if it’s changed its view before presuming to do it for them?

                    • StrykerK2 says:

                      Earnest — along the same note, a congressperson should hold a vote of all of his/her constituents prior to any vote (especially if it’s a vote on something that wasn’t core to that congressperson’s platform).  In that case, why have that person at all?  We could directly vote on every issue.

                      Instead, we send people to congress and hope they will do whats in the best interest of the nation.

                      As stated elsewhere, circumstances change.  David is apparently concerned about several votes Bennet has done since originally expressing supprot for him.  It’s logical that he’s reconsidering his support by not voting for Bennet.

                      (David I would also mention that I believe “uncommitted” is an option at state.  I would be shocked if it made threshold, but it would be an option besides not voting since you are also not in the Romanoff camp at this point).  There are uncommitted delegations coming from several counties, so there is probably a group of people who will all try to stay that way…and both candidates will also be trying to persuade them.

                    • Earnest says:

                      …i.e., vote for Bennet, and David’s decided not to do that one thing.  That’s quite different from a congressmen, so your analogy is quite off.

                    • StrykerK2 says:

                      while many people want to ignore the other important things that go on at assembly, he was chosen as a delegate to represent his geographic area for an number of issues.  The party opted to use senate preference groups for delegates because it makes the most sense this year.

                      As a delegate, he also has the opportunity to vote on CU regent, introduce ideas into the party platform, and otherwise engage in the official business of the party.

                      We focus on the senate race, but there is a lot more that happens at these.

                      Again, delegates are chosen out of preference group because it makes sense.  People are not “Bennet delegates” or “Romanoff delegates”  They are delegates.

                      This is especially true because they will seat delegates cross preference.  If one candidate doesnt have enough delegates/alternates, alternates who support the other candidate can be seated for those delegates as long as they reside in the same county.

                    • Earnest says:

                      Sincerely.  Yours is a good point.

                      I also note that it was David who first identified himself as a “Bennet delegate.”  He also said he was chosen by others because he consented to be a “Bennet delegate.”

                    • StrykerK2 says:

                      I mean I think it’s common to refer to “Bennet Delegates” or “Romanoff delegates,” and of course both campaigns would love to say that their delegates are locked in to them 😉

                      I’m sure I’ve used the same term somewhere on here, but it’s instances where people want to switch that you realize that there is the freedom to do so.

                      A lot of smaller county assemblies actually still have time set aside for people to convince each other to change — the ones that still hold to the community feel of the process.

                    • Ralphie says:

                      That’s about as ethical as Triguardian.

                      You go to the Assembly committed to vote for a delegate, or uncommitted.  At least if you are a person of your word.

                      A commitment to vote for one candidate or another is not just a free ticket to Assembly.  It’s a commitment.

                    • StrykerK2 says:

                      the kid that signed up a bunch of user accounts to vote for himself on pols?  I fail to see the analogy.

                      The entire process is set up to encourage dialogue and voting.  As stated elsewhere, if people weren’t expected to vote as they see fit, there wouldn’t be votes at the county and state — you would just count how many people who expressed a particular view at caucus show up.

                      I really don’t understand why this seems like such a radical idea in your mind — the process is set up this way for this reason.

                    • Ralphie says:

                      Is really beyond my control, Strykerk.

                    • StrykerK2 says:

                      Ralphie let me make sure I understand your view on this — you think expressing a preference for a candidate caucus night means you have to support that candidate through the assembly process no matter what?

                      If the candidate you liked back at caucus started voting differently than they seemed to before, or were involved in a major scandal, you shouldn’t change your opinion but still send that candidate on to the nomination?  Is there any threshold you think would change that?

                      David is upset with Bennet’s recent votes.  The majority of those votes have come between the time of caucus and now.  Therefore he’s reconsidered his support.

                      What’s so strange about that?

                      Also…again…the entire process is set up to encourage discussion and examination so people can change their preference should they desire.

                    • Ralphie says:

                      See BlueCat’s post below (or above, depending on where this lands).  You’re elected by your County Assembly to represent your fellow County Dems of a particular persuasion and vote for a particular candidate.  Delegates are awarded in proportion to the votes each candidate got at the County Assembly.

                      David is careful not to be switching preference, he has only chosen not to vote.  That’s not against the rules, but it’s dishonest to his fellow County colleagues because he signed on to vote for a particular candidate.  Someone more committed could have taken his place.

                      It’s saying one thing and doing another.

                    • StrykerK2 says:

                      you’re saying that regardless of what a candidate ever does, you should never stray from supporting them.  If the candidate you were supporting suddenly starts voting to declare war on Canada or segregate schools, you should stand by them.  Got it.  I must say I respectfully disagree.

                      As I understand him, David has serious concerns about Bennet’s votes supporting the banking industry instead of people.  He’s making that concern known.

                    • harrydoby says:

                      If on the day of the County Assembly, he had this action in mind — then that would be dishonest.

                      That’s not what happened.  And as the analogy goes with our elected officials, if you campaign on an issue with a certain view, but then through honest reflection or subsequent events, change your position —  then the voters have the right to remember that, and not vote for him to represent them next time.

                      So, basically, David may have forfeited his chance to become a delegate in the next election cycle.  But in no way is this a dishonest action on his part.  But, yes, the other caucus/assembly goers have a right to be angry at him.  

                      Such is the nature of representative government at all levels.

                    • Voyageur says:

                      read about the electoral college in the Constitution!   He’ll be dissing the founding fathers all summer if you do;-)

                    • A Congressman is elected to be our informed representative in the House, not to continually poll the voters over what he should do on a single issue.

                      Similarly, the Electoral College electors are theoretically free to switch their votes at the final vote, and such a switch has decided at least one Presidential election in the past.

                      Our Assembly delegates are supposedly assigned based on their preference for a candidate, but the candidate’s don’t just sit on their asses between caucuses and the various assembly levels – they’re out campaigning and trying to improve their position with their electorate (in this case, the delegates).

                      Representative democracy is representative democracy.  If we wanted straight-up democracy in our state party, we’d do away with the caucus/assembly process and just use primaries.

                    • Earnest says:

                      …doing away with the causus/assembly process, that is

                    • StrykerK2 says:

                      It has it’s weird issues sure, but I think getting rid of the caucus would be a terrible idea.  If we just had a primary, candidates would never both visiting the majority of counties.  Caucuses are weighted to give rural counties a voice at the assembly.  It’s not equal of course (and shouldn’t be in my mind), but small counties are able to send a fair number of delegates on to state, so they voices and opinions are represented.

                      With only a primary, there isn’t any reason to campaign outside of 20 or so counties that have the biggest population.  Almost all your primary voters are in those counties.

                      Those of us who live in smaller counties would have no power in the process whatsoever.

                    • Ralphie says:

                      But State is where you commit.

                    • BlueCat says:

                      Delegates for state are technically elected by delegates at County.  It doesn’t usually feel like an election because it’s so hard to get commitments that volunteering pretty much means you are “elected”.  But in the formal sense the supporters of a particular candidate have elected you to represent them. You just ran unopposed, so to speak, because of a lack of competition for the slots. It is still perfectly within the rules to change your mind but those you represent have legitimate cause to resent the change.

                      I’m still going as a Bennet delegate. Not thrilled with Dems from Obama on down who are at least as guilty of Dave’s charge as Bennet but have not withdrawn my support for Obama and a Dem majority either and still feel that Bennet supports me on many important issues, is a good Senator and I don’t see Romanoff as the better alternative.  I think Dave is sending a message. His prerogative. Glad he’s not from my county.

                    • MADCO says:

                      However, caucus is the one time you can have a secret ballot – if requested by anyone it must be secret. State law not a party procedure.

                      But at assemblies- county, HD, state – no secret ballots are allowed. I thought that was because at these levels delegates are voting as representative of others.

                      Of course, it’s all academic. You are free to attend and vote for whomever.  Or attend and be seated and not vote. Or attend as an observer and not be seated. Or not show up at all.  The caucus/assembly process is goofy. And in years like this ultimately just about meaningless.

                      Now- your support or withholding your support, is not meaningless. I’ll attempt to address that substantively after I eat some lunch.

              • StrykerK2 says:

                many caucus sites have to beg people to be delegates to county, let alone state.  The most ardent supporters want to go spend time at democratic (or republican) assemblies, but many people simply don’t have the dedication.  

                It’s also possible that if candidate A’s preference group can’t fill their delegate spots, supporters of candidate B will ask to go.  Because caucuses are often comprised of friends and neighbors, its more common than you would think.

                If no one changed from caucus night, there would really be no reason to have the 3 stage process — the assemblies are an opportunity for candidates to reach out to assembly goers to try and sway their vote.  Both Bennet and Romanoff attended a number of county assemblies (or sent surrogates in their place) for this reason.

    • StrykerK2 says:

      They are free to vote for whoever they wish, regardless if they arrive as a Bennet, Romanoff, or uncommitted delegate.  Of course you can imagine that campaigns want the most hardcore supporters to become delegates so they don’t change, but some people changing their minds about who to support is inevitable.

      Over the assembly process, Romanoff has been making gains from caucus night.  Most likely some of this is Bennet delegates simply not showing up, but it’s logical that a number of them have changed their support from Bennet to Romanoff since caucus night.

      • Earnest says:

        I undestand now that changing one’s mind at the state assembly is not against the rules, regardless of whether it’s cricket.  

        • StrykerK2 says:

          I googled and couldn’t figure out the exact slang meaning…but I’m assuming you mean unethical or bad form in some way.

          You elect out of preference groups — that’s true, but you elect people who you figure would make good decisions on behalf of your caucus.

          I applaud David’s decision — not because he’s not voting for Bennet, but because he’s willing to question the person he was supporting (especially in such a public fashion).  If it was unethical to change your mind, then really campaigns don’t have much point — there is a reason that we have a drawn out process that allows time for people to investigate the candidates and to make their pitch.

          • Earnest says:

            The online Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as, among other things, “fair and honorable behavior”

            http://www.merriam-webster.com

            In any event, even if delegates to the state assembly didn’t change their minds once there, there would still be plenty of point/reasons to have a campaign.  E.g., the primary and general elections.  I thought that a delegate was not simply representing his personal views but instead was a delegate for the views of a group.

          • DavidThi808 says:

            You said this much better than I did above.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        First, I don’t think that is right absent some major revelation that occurred after the county assembly.

        Second, I presently don’t see how Romanoff can win in the general election because his campaign has been an ongoing train-wreck.

        Third, I’ve yet to hear a compelling argument from Romanoff as to why he would make a better senator. Similar doesn’t cut it.

      • RedGreen says:

        about the rules, anyone can change his or her mind at any point in the assembly process. That’s how Salazar went into the 2004 assembly with a lead in delegates and then lost top-line to Miles when delegates actually voted.

        But his reading of what happened from caucuses through county assemblies as far as the Romanoff-Bennet split is open to question. Bennet basically held onto his delegates and the uncommitted delegates threw in with Romanoff. There was some switching among individual delegates both ways, but Bennet went into county assemblies with about 42 percent support and that’s what he had after county assemblies.

    • DevilishlyModerate says:

      First of all, David’s argument is unreasonable and sly to say the least. Secondly, to wait until the day before the assembly to write this post points to a campaign stunt rather than a legitimate change of mind. I’m calling crap because this smells bad.  

      • StrykerK2 says:

        he made that point clear.  I would think that if this was a planned action between him and the Romanoff campaign he might be…you know…supporting Romanoff.

        I think the hostility toward David from all the Bennet supporters on here is telling.  I doubt you all would be as hostile were it a Romanoff supporter saying s/he was going uncommitted.  

        We have a caucus/assembly process in this state.  If you don’t like it, be part of the party and change the rules.  The current system is set up to allow delegates to discuss their preferences and support any candidate at any point.

        • MADCO says:

          There hasn’t been much hostility to DT.

          Hostility to the process- no shortage here nor elsewhere in the state.

          The party rules aren’t why we have a caucus. It’s state law.

          The current system is set up to allow delegates to do whatever they want.  Doesn’t mean they should. Or that whatever they choose to do is a good idea.  ANd certainly not that others shouldn’t disagree, even if the disagreeing feels “hostile”.

        • Earnest says:

          I am not a Bennet supporter (or a Romanoff supporter).  Also, I don’t think I was hostile to David, although I did want to correct any notion that I thought he came about his decision without much thought.  

          While I well understand now that it’s consistent with the rules for a delegate to change one’s mind at the state assembly, I still think it’s ethically suspect, absent very compelling reasons.  As the above poster noted, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

        • DevilishlyModerate says:

          That’s not why i’m calling crap, it’s because he decided to write this post which at the end of the day is meaningless. If this is why he would suddenly change his delegate status then I think its bogus. I don’t care if it’s Romanoff, Bennet or Hickenlooper, I would say the same thing based on this reasoning. The fact is we needed reform, the issue is a systemic one and one that influences all aspects of government. To place the blame on Bennet and then decide not to vote as a delegate is perplexing.  

      • DavidThi808 says:

        And I waited a day so that I was not posting in an initial emotional response. I kept trying to talk myself out of writing this because it was not going to go over well.

        But what I kept coming back to is the Senate bill, in my opinion, insures that the banks will implode the economy again. And that causes untold suffering to people across the world. If it’s that important, then the least I can do is withhold my support from one of the enablers of the banks.

        • Ralphie says:

          It was even more of a do-nothing bill than this.  Much more.

          • DavidThi808 says:

            First, Bennet made very public pushes to try and improve it beyond what we had. What I ask is that he fight for us, not that he always win.

            Second, HCR improved things. It’s a step forward. On financial regulation were are still orders of magnitude worse off than we were in 1998 (pre G/S).

            Third, our existing health-care system was survivable. Not great but survivable. And the increasing costs (which still aren’t addressed) are hitting a ceiling called reality. But not fixing the financial system – society cannot survive shocks like that every 10 years.

            The biggie is item 1 – Bennet was fighting on our side on HCR.

            • DevilishlyModerate says:

              The guy was an appointed Senator and a freshman. Your disappointment is misplaced, he’s not going to have a hole lot of sway in the Senate. I would say it’s unreasonable to come to the conclusion that he needs to be essentially fired because he “didn’t do more”  but voted the correct way.

              I would argue that we’re lucky to have the elements that regulate and add transparency that are in the bill. I actually expected the bill to be more less enforceable based on previous attempts during the Clinton administration. That being said, I agree that it wasn’t what I had wanted in a perfect world.    

            • Ralphie says:

              You made your decision the way you made it because you can’t be trusted to do what you say you’re going to do.

              You can spin it any way you want.   I wouldn’t use you to take a hill.

              • DavidThi808 says:

                At a minimum people realize that many delegates do not show up. There is no expectation that every one will be there. Not voting has the exact same effect so I don’t see how my choosing to not vote is significantly different from that common expectation.

                Second, the rules are that you can vote for anyone (or no-one) at the state assembly. That means by definition vote changing, while not common, is viewed as possible.

                With all that said, I agree that going as a pledged delegate is a serious commitment. I did not make this decision lightly. But what do we do when we see a lack of action that threatens the future of our country? The lack of Glass-Steagall has us on the road to financial meltdown every 10 years or so.

                I think we have voting at each step because we delegates are expected to make an informed decision before voting. We should not change our vote lightly, but neither should we be automatons.

                • RedGreen says:

                  It really doesn’t. If you don’t show up, you’re replaced by an alternate, presumably one who would actually cast a vote in the Senate race.

                  But you’re right, you’re perfectly able to vote however you want at assembly, and everyone knows that’s the situation going into this. There will be Bennet delegates who vote for Romanoff because he stirs them up with a good speech, and there will be Romanoff delegates who vote for Bennet because they decide it’s time to get serious. There’s nothing wrong with either action, it’s how things are supposed to happen.

  3. Middle of the Road says:

    with Bennet and this bill?

    I really don’t see specifics and am sort of unclear what he has done in particular to create what you think is a bad bill but what Paul Krugman calls a “qualified win”.

    This bill could be so much better but it’s pretty major reform by anyone’s standards.

    What’s good? Resolution authority, which was sorely lacking last year; consumer protection; derivatives traded through clearinghouses; ratings reform, thanks to Al Franken; tighter capital standards for big players, although with too much discretion to regulators.

    What’s missing? Hard leverage limits; size caps; not much in the way of restoring Glass-Steagall. If you think that too big to fail is the core problem, it’s disappointing; if you think that shadow banking is the core, as I do, not too bad.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      1. Bringing back Glass-Steagall. That eliminated this problem for 70 years. Upon elimination we devastated the economy in 8. Very strong argument for needing to re-institute it.

      2. Volcker rule (Merkley-Levin) not even given a vote. Not a word from Bennet in support of even voting on it, much less supporting it.

      3. Eliminating TBTF banks (Kaufman-Brown). Bennet voted against it. Yet there’s no legit argument that we need banks of that size, and their existence endangers us.

      4. Dorgan amendment not even given a vote. Again, not a word from Bennet.

      5. And don’t forget that oldie but goodie – voting against cram-down last year.

      • Danny the Red (hair) says:

        On GS-I don’t think we can bring it back, but I would use the threat as a hammer to get what I want.

        I think the Volcker rule is critical–we can’t let banks operate as hedge funds.

        Question on TBTF.  Has he offered an alternative?  While I support some limits on the size of institutions, I have heard good arguments from friends in the industry that it would disadvantage us versus the world competitors and would tend to offshore the most dangerous activities to places where we had no control, but still had the same dangers.  Personally, I have changed my mind on TBTF and instead support a “size tax” where the bigger you are, the higher your capital requirements and you are required to pay in to a system insurance fund at a progressively higher rate.  The fund would provides liquidity (and or work outs) to the system in case of systemic collapse.

        Cram down is an old issue.  You knew about it going in, so it shouldn’t be a factor in your abstention (even though I was disappointed by that vote).

        • DavidThi808 says:

          With very strict limits on what they can do, the higher tax as you mentioned, etc. then fine. But if you put all that in place for real, my guess is no bank will go for it. Because the big win on TBTF is they get capital cheaper due to the now explicit government guarantee and they use it to gamble with.

      • From my understanding of this versus your change in opinion, it was mostly the Kaufman/Brown amendment that did it.  As you note, Glass-Steagall and Merkley/Levin didn’t get a vote.  (M/L was scheduled as a secondary amendment to Sen. Brownback’s auto dealer exemption amendment, but Brownback pulled his amendment at the behest of the bankers who felt Merkley/Levin might pass.)  And cram-down is old news, so if it colored your opinion, it must’ve been in a “will he change this time” kind of way, making you a somewhat weak delegate to start with – but that’s sometimes what you get in caucuses.

        Several of these provisions I feel failed for a number of reasons; the most obvious is that all but Kaufman/Brown were blocked by Republicans before they got the vote.  Behind that, though, the unstated issue is that several Democrats were probably just has happy to see those provisions die, and having the Republicans front for the bankers allowed those Dems to get away without their names being mentioned (much, Sens. Cantwell, Murray and Kerry…).

        Bennet’s lack of outright support for these amendments is most disappointing to me, and the one spot where I’ve said Romanoff has a chance to capitalize if Bennet seemed weak.

        • DavidThi808 says:

          If he had been one of the few voices publicly supporting G/S, M/L, & Dorgan’s amendment. I don’t expect him to single-handedly bring them to the floor and get them passed. But I did expect him to voice clear support for them. Then add in his vote to continue TBTF, especially without the key constraints on their activity.

          If he had been vocal in support of the 3 amendments, and had voted to end TBTF – and nothing in terms of legislation had changed, then Bennet would have my strong support. But instead of Senator Bennet working to be part of the solution, he chose to be part of the problem.

      • Middle of the Road says:

        Bennet voted against tabling the Dorgan amendment. His vote was in the minority and it was tabled.

        YEAs 57

        NAYs 38

        • The Dorgan amendment IMHO should have been a no-brainer, but apparently not.  Both of our Senators seem tp have brains, because they both voted against tabling the motion.

          To summarize the amendment for those who don’t know, the Dorgan amendment would have banned “naked default swaps” – aka the trading of “securities” in which none of the involved parties actually has any interest.  In other words, it’s essentially high stakes betting, or equivalent to taking out fire insurance on your neighbor’s house – except they can do so with investor money.

        • DavidThi808 says:

          I was going from memory and wrote that one wrong. Kudos to Bennet on that one. With that said, items 1, 2, & 3 are still key to my point. (In fact item 1 by itself is key.)

  4. The realist says:

    Speaking in general about Congress’s many failures in recent years, have we not learned anything from the financial collapse we just went through – and from which we are still trying to recover?  I firmly believe that there is a lack of understanding of how troubled our nation’s economy has become.  Jobs were moved beyond our borders, then the money folks flushed what was left down the toilet.  I lost two jobs last year and am still looking for decent employment – and I am not alone.  The banksters nearly ruined this country plus much of the rest of the world.  They learned nothing from the experience except perhaps they’ll need a modest revision of their tactics for the next “takings.”  

    Anyone currently serving in Congress whose actions do not reflect that they understand the enormity of the problem, does not belong in Congress.  

    And on the subject of delegates to the state assembly – the caucus/assembly process is “human” not mechanical for a reason.  Things can happen (as others have said above) between caucuses, county assemblies and the state assembly to lead a delegate to vote differently from how they voted at the local level.  We are each there to use our best judgment to select candidates.  I’ll be there tomorrow as a Romanoff delegate.  Nothing has happened in the past year that has changed my mind about who is the best candidate for US Senate.  I have to say (maybe this is too much about me – whatever) – when MY statement about the need for health care reform, at Bennet’s Pueblo meeting last August, drew more applause than anything Bennet said during the entire meeting, I knew he was probably not the leader we needed.  

  5. DavidThi808 says:

    One thing I wanted to add. I did not make this decision lightly. And I did not make it because Bennet addressed this issue a little bit different from how I think he should have. This will make me persona non-grata with quite a few people in the Democratic party. And there is no real advantage in stating this publicly rather than just not showing up.

    But I think this issue is important enough, and the Senate’s decision to not address the fundamentals, that it deserves being called out. And this is the one way I know for me to truly call it out.

    And does a Senator that leaves our economy at great risk deserve our support?

    • Earnest says:

      And I apologize if I gave the impression that I believed your decision was cavalier in some way.  This whole assembly process fascinates me (to some degree).

    • harrydoby says:

      David, while I don’t agree with your decision to not vote for Sen. Bennet tomorrow, I certainly agree that your decision represents one of the better purposes for becoming a delegate.

      I see your action as an honorable protest message in the strongest possible terms to Michael Bennet to take a stronger stand on the banking and financial reform issues.  While only a freshman, he has shown how he can have an outsized effect on the direction of important legislation, when he so chooses. So your disappointment with his silence on your issues is not due to placing unrealistic expectations on him.

      That you have been an outspoken and active supporter of his campaign gives you much more impact than just another voice on a blog.

      I think they have heard you.  I too want further, stronger measures taken.  And I believe (as I suspect you do to) that the Senator will act on your message.

    • sxp151 says:

      back when they were actually being proposed? What did you tell Bennet to do while the votes were taking place? You post a lot here, but you really haven’t had much (if anything) to say about financial reform until today. That’s what makes this sound like flighty ego-tripping.

      • raymond1 says:

        … if David got picked despite being less than 100% committed to Bennet, that’s just to say that the Bennet forces failed to assure that the delegates picked were solid for them. If there was a more solidly pro-Bennet delegate to be found, the Bennet forces should’ve pressed for that person. I’m pro-Bennet, but my sense is that one real problem  Bennet has is this: being unknown to 99% of he lacks the die-hard, years-long-committed supporters that Romanoff has, or that frankly any non-newbie pol would have.  Once Ritter picked Bennet, he assured that most of the notional “Bennet delegates” would be folks who’d barely or never heard of the guy until this past year, making their support less than 100% solid.  So if the “Bennet delegates” prove to have soft support, well, that’s just a problem with Bennet as Ritter’s choice, seems to me.

  6. redstateblues says:

    on August 10th?

  7. DavidThi808 says:

    For those wondering if the financial reform bill favored the banks, the stock market says yes:

    Big bank stocks, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of America and Citigroup were all up almost 4 percent today before leveling off, as you’ll note by this chart [click link] below. For comparison’s sake, the Dow Jones Industrial average was finished the day flat.

    • RedGreen says:

      Like all kinds of industries, banks and financial interests want to know what the rules are so they can get on with their business. The same is true for energy companies and utilities — their stock will go up once we pass an energy bill, whether it’s favorable to their preferences or not, simply because they’ll have rules in place.

    • Ray Springfield says:

      I think the Euro stabilization had more to do with the rally, but i’m not a good judge of the market.

      The 1000 point drop in a couple of minutes (maybe 5) of a couple  weeks back was probably one of the biggest thefts in US history.

      I think getting any reforms through in this political environment surprises.

      I don’t think that breaking up the large banks in an economy starting to rebound from a recession would stinmulate the economy. I could be wrong. There are no easy answers that don’t involve unintended negative consequences at this point in my opinnion.

  8. MADCO says:

    Though I agree with some of what you wrote – politics is compromise, it’s not a liberal v. conservative thing, and some other stuff.

    Meanwhile –

    The legislation does a lot to reign in banks and is pretty  good.  Of course, it is not perfect, but it is hugely significant. And I’m pretty surprised  it survived.

    In a nutshell, Senator Bennet voted for the strongest financial regulatory reforms in decades.  It gained cloture with just enough votes.  Obviously,  I am not a whip, but I don’t see how the bill could have added any more of what you think you want, DT (nor Alan Grayson, Dennis Kucinich, and others more to the left) and survived.

    I believe you are disappointed because you believe the legislation doesn’t do everything you want it to, which is partly because you have learned some easy to memorize catch phrases like “Glass Steagall” and “TBTF.”   And you’ve read one analysis (Grayson) and one summary (Kurz) that say the current legislation doesn’t address enough.  But the restoration of Glass Steagall and preventing too big to fail is harder than we might otherwise prefer it would be.  ( one example – No one ever explained how one country could prevent the financial players from just moving offshore as DTR,h pointed out above.)

    In the final analysis, the current legislation survived cloture with zero room to spare. Now that its got to go to a conference committee and get resolved with the House version, maybe we could add single payer.  Or comprehensive immigration reform.  Or something.

    Make no mistake about it: The Senate just handed Wall Street and the big banks their biggest political setback since the 1930s. For all the compromises and omissions, and all the money spent on industry lobbyists, the Senate bill would impose immense new restrictions that could end what has been a quarter-century of go-go growth and rising appetite for risk in financial firms of almost every type.

    The Senate bill would:

    Subject banks, credit card issuers and most other kinds of lenders to a new federal consumer-protection agency with the power to examine their operations and marching orders to rein in everything from high-risk mortgages to high-cost payday loans.

    Force the trillion-dollar market in financial derivatives – which aggravated the subprime mortgage boom and Wall Street’s subsequent near-collapse – onto regulated exchanges and clearinghouses.

    Give federal banking regulators new power to scrutinize and restrain giant financial institutions considered “too big to fail.”

    Transform incentives for credit-rating agencies, like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, which gave AAA ratings to trillions of dollars worth of bonds backed by reckless mortgages.

    Consumer groups, often quick to complain that lawmakers are diluting real reform, declared victory even before the final vote.  “This is the most significant reform for consumer financial protection and reining in the casino economy that we have had in fifty years,” exulted Heather Booth,  executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, a broad coalition that includes Consumer Federation of America, major labor unions, liberal policy think-tanks and the nation’s biggest lobbying groups for the elderly.

    http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/

    For more from Heather Booth*, see Americans for Financial Reform , the main progressive group pushing on financial reform.

    Alan Grayson’s heart is certainly in the right place, and I love him for it.  But there are better sources and analysts for this kind of thing. Lot’s of ’em.

    Edmund Andrews used to cover  Wall Street at the New York Times – now he writes for Fiscal Times and Capital Gains and Games.    His assessment seems pretty thorough and he  thinks it’s pretty good.

       A few hours ago, the Senate did something truly amazing: it clobbered Wall Street and the banking industry, defying armies of  overpaid lobbyists and passing genuine reforms for our run-amok financial system. Voting 59 to 39, the Senate passed Senator Chris Dodd’s sprawling bill to clamp down on the Wall Street excesses that nearly destroyed capitalism.

     For all its compromises and omissions and special exceptions, this is a strong bill that will make life a lot less free-wheeling and lucrative for the big banks and, with a little perserverence, a lot safer for consumers and  the economy as a whole.  This is a victory for the good guys.

    More to the point, onn a number of occasions, Bennet stood up to the banks to make this bill stronger.

    On the agricultural committee he voted for Blanche Lincoln’s bill that was so tough on derivatives that the Administration tried to kill it.

    He voted to allow states to set their own caps on credit card interest rates to protect consumers. It failed 35-60.

    He voted to protect small businesses from huge credit card fees. It passed 64-33. He voted against tabling the Dorgan Amendment mentioned above- would have banned ‘naked’ credit default swaps.

    –  but the motion passed by 19 votes.  

    Yes, Bennet voted against Brown-Kaufman which would have placed arbitrary limits on the size of banks. It failed by 30 votes.  (Bennet could have save face and let it fail

    by  29- eve if you disagree with him at least you know his real thinking.)

    And he also voted against weakening the bill’s strong regulations on derivatives.  And he stood up to shady lending practices  and voted for stronger protections for homebuyers and consumers.

    The bill is not perfect, but it’s a huge step forward. Bennet has a clear record of standing up to banks in the past like when he voted to crack down on credit card abuses and he clearly stood up to them again while helping to pass and strengthen this bill.

    For more sources see Krugman, Roubini, Stiglitz, Elizabeth Warren, Simon Johnson, James Kwak.  Ask if you need cites.

  9. Barron X says:

    .

    is to vote their conscience.  

    I think if David cannot bring himself to vote for the Bankster shill, then he should vote for the better candidate – if there is one.  

    Forget that “lesser of two evils” stuff – voting for either major party is still voting for evil.  

    How do you know if you’re voting your conscience ?  Its when you vote Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Reform, anything but D or R.  

    .

  10. demtrnindy says:

    I found this entire thread interesting. Most of the writers on this blog beat up elected officials if they change their position after being elected.

    Just a reminder – Delegates and Alternates ran in their Caucuses and then again at the County Assemblies based on the campaign platform in support of a particular candidate.

    So, David, given new information, you seemed to want to vote differently than before. I wonder if you would ever give that same consideration to electeds? I think not.

    Lucky You!! You don’t have to be accountable to the people who voted for you to get a delegate credential at the State Assembly.  

    • DavidThi808 says:

      The last person I want to elect is someone who is incapable of changing their mind. What I beat politicians up for is making stupid decisions, not revisiting decisions.

    • sxp151 says:

      is that he’s nothing at all like what you say. He’s often the first to defend a politician for voting contrary to the electorate’s wishes, and will frequently assume that a politician is voting his/her conscience rather than anything nefarious.

      A lot of us will complain about politicians changing their positions, but I don’t think David is being a hypocrite here. (Not that I agree with his decision.)

  11. dukeco1 says:

    thread (whew!), I want to tell you, David, that you have, in my view, done nothing wrong.

    As has been stated above, there are good reasons that delegates are not irrevocably bound to support a candidate (the Brown/Kaufman vote by Senator Bennet being a good case in point). Some may consider this principle ill-advised, particularly if their favored candidate is taking it in the shorts (so to speak), but real life is not absolute and things change, so I support the rule that allows a delegate to change his/her mind.

    But, just so you know from whence I am coming, I will remind you of how I got to be a Romanoff delegate. At my precinct caucus, I was the only Romanoff supporter versus 7 Bennetistas. By the numbers, Andrew was not awarded a delegate to the Mesa County assembly, while there should have been 3 Bennet delegates from my precinct.

    Trouble was, none of the Bennet supporters were willing to attend said county assembly, so I offered them a deal. I told them I would attend the county assembly as a Bennet delegate, vote for him there, and then seek a position as a Romanoff delegate to the state assembly. They went for the deal and elected me as a delegate to the Mesa Co. assembly.

    When I attended the county assembly, I did as I had promised. Even then, I did not vote for Bennet because I was required to, but because of my verbal promise to this group of people. Had I not made that deal, I would have been well within my right as a delegate to vote for whomever I pleased.

    I have been reading the words of David Theobold for more than two years now, and while I have immense respect for some of the posters who have been taking David to task over this, I have found his writing to reveal a man of great dignity and wit.

    Questioning Davids’ ethics, seems to me, to be completely inappropriate. He followed his conscience…and the rules, for which he owes an apology to no one.  

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