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Just returned from a candidates forum at Newcastle Golf Club in my home town. Three term Republcian Congressman Dave Reichert closed out the event with a speech, after which he fielded a few questions. My neighbor, Judy, asked him about Glass-Steagall. I didn't hear the question, but I was shocked at the answer.

"I'm not familiar with Glass-Steagall. If you give me your contact information I'll get back to you later."

Seriously.

When the questioner clarified she was talking about financial reform, Reichert delivered a long, convoluted opposition to the Wall Street reform bill that was recently signed into law by President Obama.

Glass-Steagall, as most of you know, was put in place after the 1929 crash. Among other things, like establishing the FDIC, it put a firewall between banking, investment, and insurance, in order to keep these financial systems sound. It is widely recognized as being responsible for maintaining a stable banking system for a half century.

Key parts of the bill, specifically the separation of insurance, investment, and banking, were repealed in 1999. Critics warned that it would lead to exactly the type of financial meltdown that occurred two years ago. It is a widely held belief that the repeal of those regulations led directly to the financial crisis that to no small extent still persists. For the past two years, many have been lobbying for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall. The recent reform package was intended to replace some of the protections lost when Glass-Steagall was repealed. Of course the bill is woefully inadequate, because the first job of Congress is to protect the profits of big banks and big insurance companies. But that is beside the point.

To not be familiar with Glass Steagall, today, is to not be qualified to be a U.S. Congressman.

DCCC, are you listening? Democratic challenger Suzan DelBene is well within the margin of error according to the two latest polls. She was identified many months ago as a Red-to-Blue candidate. So far she has received not one penny or one ad from the DCCC. Ballots have already arrived in the mail. Reichert just proved his incompetence. Get on this. Now!

You can contribute to Suzan DelBene here. Trust me on this, she knows about Glass-Steagall.

Originally posted to Sarge in Seattle on Sat Oct 16, 2010 at 01:09 PM PDT.

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