indianaforeclosuresjpg.jpgI was on Rachel Maddow last night, talking about the efforts of Campaign for America’s Future, USAction, blogs and others to push back against Evan Bayh and his coalition of self-described "centrists" who have announced they will join with the Republicans and undermine Obama’s ability to use the reconciliation process. 

Bayh, Carper and Lincoln pen an OpEd today in the Washington Post they call "Building Bridges on The Hill":

As moderate leaders, it is not our intent to water down the president’s agenda. We intend to strengthen and sustain it.

Who wrote that, Frank Luntz? What a load of horseshit.

This is nothing more than a naked power grab by corpratists who use the conservative bent of their districts to push through legislation on behalf of lobbyists and control campaign cash, and become the arbiters of any law that gets through Congress. It’s Jack Abramoff/Tom DeLay all over again.

Consider: after the bank lobby took a hit and couldn’t get cramdown killed in the House, the next step was the Senate. Surprise! The bill passed by the House hasn’t been taken up there yet, because Senate "moderates" want to "narrow" it to include only subprime loans, just like the Mortgage Bankers Association, the American Bankers Association and Financial Services Roundtable want them to. From their letter to the Senate (PDF):

Title IV is not the “narrow,” targeted approach to the problems in the mortgage market that proponents claim. Although an attempt was made to narrow the focus to “subprime” loans, the definition of subprime is very broad and would include many prime loans.

The person pushing for a "narrower" cramdown bill, blocking the House version and reported to be writing his own?

Some Senate Democrats, including Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, continue to push for ways to narrow the bill, encouraged by the banking industry, which says the legislation would drive up the cost of credit.

Indiana has a huge foreclosure problem (see map). It’s estimated that giving bankruptcy judges the ability to write-down mortgages would cut the foreclosure rate by 20%, without any cost to the taxpayers. But Bayh doesn’t seem to be responsive to that concern. I wonder why. . . .

Top 5 Contributors, 2003-2008

Goldman Sachs $123,750
Eli Lilly & Co $65,722
Latham & Watkins $50,300
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe $47,816
Next Generation $46,750

Top 5 Industries, 2003-2008

Lawyers/Law Firms $1,363,171
Securities & Investment $1,005,186
Real Estate $432,200
Misc Finance $255,701
Insurance $241,748

Bayh’s little "lobbyist problem" is considered by many to be what tanked his Vice Presidential aspirations. His wife Susan earns about $837,000 a year serving on seven corporate boards, among them Wellpoint, a health insurance company for which Bayh helped secure a $24.7 million dollar grant. She’s on the board of ETrade, even as Bayh is on the Senate Finance Committee.

Bayh wants people to believe he’s a "moderate" who sits in the "center."

Center of K Street, maybe.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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