Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Financial reform and Bob Bennett

If polls are to be believed, Mike Lee will make it out of the GOP convention, and Bob Bennett will not. As Romney's attorney and Hinkley Institute head Kirk Jowers points out, it is a really bad idea to have a process for determining who our next senator will likely (sorry Sam Granato, the number crunchers at 538.com say you have a 2% chance of winning even if Bennett is a goner) be via a few thousand state delegates that are FAR to to right of even GOP primary voters, let alone in the general election where he is still popular. Jowers point was that all voters, not these delegates, should be showered with attention and get to decide who our next senator will be.

As a registered Democrat, I don't get to vote on this until the general election, which is the Republican party's right, but I think is a bad idea in general. The Utah Democratic Party has open primaries (meaning anyone can vote) and it isn't that hard to become a delegate either.

If you think I am being partisan about this, keep in mind that most Utahns are not registered Republicans, even if they vote Republican overwhelmingly, they still like to think of themselves as independents (small i) who pick the person not the party. This is something Jim Matheson understands.

What does this all have to do with Financial Reform you ask? Well, Bennett is in hot water with the delegates, for among other things, voting for the TARP fund at the end of 2008. And because he is in hot water, he is not back in Washington voting on the Financial Reform bill, but instead campaigning back in Utah. Meanwhile, his other 39 Republican colleagues (and Ben nelson D-Berkshire Hathaway) voted twice to filibuster a bill that would impose the most regulation on the financial industry since the Great Depression. Now perhaps Sen. Bennett would also vote to filibuster. More maybe he would join the other 58 Senators (all Democrats) who want to be able to vote on the bill. Maybe Sen. Bennett has some good ideas that should go into the bill that would make it better policy wise.

Soon, the bill will come up for a vote with or without Bennett as there is too much political pressure not to pass something this year. Voters are mad at big banks. But before he had to watch his back, Bennett liked to constructively engage with liberals moderates and conservatives. Perhaps Mike Lee will, but he certainly will not have learned that lesson from his election, should it happen.

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