Perhaps John McCain sees a real opening in the field for 2012, or perhaps he really is offended by the "too-big-to-fail" banks and their lack of remorse for the profound financial crises they have precipitated. He might also be working on his Karma because of his marginal involvement in the Keating Five, for which he was admonished.
Frankly, I don’t really care what McCain’s motivation might be. I am hopeful, though, that he and Maria Cantwell may start a snowball of financial reform that will roll through the halls of the Capitol and, eventually, clear away all of the leftover financial detritus and debris, the flotsam and jetsam of the tsunami that rolled down Wall Street last year.
Newsweek calls McCain and Cantwell an odd post-crash couple. Maria Cantwell has also been noted by Newsweek as something of a firebrand in her own party, just as McCain once was labeled a maverick in his. Is McCain trying to rehabilitate his "maverick" reputation? And, is Maria Cantwell a relief, an antidote, after the reign of Palin? It is also true that McCain was doing slightly better than Obama in the polls during the late summer and early fall of 2008. Then the stock market crashed, Wall Street imploded, and McCain’s campaign seemed to flounder incessantly afterwards… Who can really know what motivations lurk in the hearts of men… my previous post about Lieberman notwithstanding?
From the Newsweek piece:
More than a year after the election, the Arizona Republican is looking to repair [his] reputation by joining up with Democratic firebrand Maria Cantwell to propose something that will be anathema to both Wall Street and the Obama administration. According to two congressional sources, the two maverick senators want to reinstate Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era law that forced the separation of regular commercial banking from Wall Street investment banking. The senators’ proposal echoes a failed amendment introduced in the House last week by Rep. Maurice Hinchey of New York.
The Senate prospects for the success of the McCain-Cantwell bill—which the two plan to announce together on Wednesday morning—seem bleak at best. But McCain and Cantwell join a still small but not insignificant insurgency of chronic doubters, including former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, who say not nearly enough is being done to change Wall Street and, in particular, to address the "too big to fail" problem. The issue is one of the few in Washington that can unite the left and right sides of the political spectrum. Democrats like Cantwell deplore Wall Street’s outsize role in the real economy and its lobbying influence, and conservatives such as McCain are appalled at the way the market system has been undermined—some would say rigged—by the power of the big banks.
All we need now is for Paul Volcker to make a few more influential converts.
Both Cantwell and McCain share an interest in campaign finance reform, and yet each has been investigated for questionable financial dealings. Perhaps their partnership will be one with the necessary insight, born of personal experience, that can bring about much-needed financial accountability reforms to Wall Street… and maybe to the WH, as well? And, should we live long enough… true campaign finance reform. Would that not be a relief?
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Disclaimer: No, I’m not thinking of joining the GOP, but I am frankly lacking in anything good to say about Democrats. So, I’m grasping at straws here…