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I voted as hard as I could!

And here is my October column in the Methow Valley News (10/13) on Murray/Rossi WA-Sen. (I'd link it if there was an archive to link it to -- we're working on it.)

And WA-Kossacks, remember me in November: NO! on 1100 and 1105!

Patty didn't start the fire; Dino did

The Great Depression, and all its lasting misery, could have and should have been not more than a deep recession. What made it worse than it should have been was that the government did virtually everything wrong in the first three years of the crisis.

President Herbert Hoover attacked the problem by attacking the deficit, tightening up on trade policy, restricting direct relief payments to individuals, continuing deep tax cuts in the top tax brackets, relying on voluntary stimulus efforts by business and engaging in gimmickry such as relocating Mexicans back to Mexico with the Mexican Repatriation Program. (No kidding, by the end of the program 500,000 Mexicans were sent back to Mexico. It solved nothing.)

Unregulated Wall Street speculation collapsed. It took the banking industry with it. Credit dried up. Consumer demand virtually disappeared. That shut down production. Jobs went south.  And it hit the fan.

The economy was starving, and Herbert Hoover put it on a strict diet.

That is exactly what Dino Rossi suggests we should do again. He is dead wrong. And it would be foolish to send him to the U.S. Senate. Unless, of course, you think it can't possibly get any worse than it is now.

Rossi's criticism of Sen. Patty Murray displays a profound ignorance of the causes of this economic crisis. And that, we don't need.

There have been only three banking crises in the last 100 years. In the 100 years prior there were 33. After the panic of 1907 the Federal Reserve was created. After the Great Depression a plethora of banking and investment regulations were imposed. That's why we went from 33 disasters to just three. Well...

Something happened between the lessons learned in 1907 and 1929 and the crisis we're in now. What brought about the collapse of the mortgage industry and the subsequent banking crisis used to be illegal under laws enacted after the last time Wall Street speculators drove us off the cliff. Making the illegal legal began in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan, was broadened under President H.W. Bush, broadened again under President Bill Clinton and liberalized still further under President George W. Bush's "Ownership Society" program.

The fact is, the biggest economic crisis this country has faced in 80 years would not have happened had banking regulations not been eased. This mess did not have to happen.

Congress, including key efforts by Murray, re-regulated the banking industry this last year. Rossi says he wants to take Murray's seat to repeal banking reform and return to the wild west that caused this crisis.

And he goes so far as to blame Murray for a recession that would have been a depression had his ideas ruled the day. That is like the arsonist blaming the fire fighter for causing the house to burn down. There's a lot of that going around.

Millionaire Rossi ought to know better. He is, after all, a co-founder and part owner of a failed bank brought down by what the U.S. Comptroller of the Treasury called "unsafe and unsound banking practices."  

That by itself is a reason not to replace Patty Murray with Dino Rossi.

But more than Rossi's shortcomings, which are many including his infamous and unseemly call to lower the minimum wage, is the simple fact that Patty Murray has been doing a good job.

She has done stellar work for veterans in many areas and specifically, stepped up and saved the Jonathan Wainwright Veterans Medical Center in Walla Walla. She was instrumental in finding common ground to create a win-win compromise creating Wild Sky Wilderness Area.

When Arizona Senator John McCain tried to make Boeing a political football in the case of the Air Force tanker, it was Murray who went to bat for Washington workers.

And she knows her stuff. As the Seattle Times said, "On almost every topic, Murray is studied and has an answer. On the issue of net neutrality, which involves unfettered access to the Internet, Rossi did not have a clue, even though this issue is pressing within the tech industry."

With their secretly funded attack groups, Republicans are smearing Murray for "18 years of reckless spending," which itself is asinine, considering that Murray was one of 23 senators to oppose the Iraq war -- she was right -- and staunchly opposes the failed Bush tax cuts for the rich. War and tax cuts are by far the biggest elements of the deficit.

Rossi would make the Bush tax cuts permanent. And he says he wants to balance the budget. Really? How? He is ominously silent on Medicare and Social Security, the gutting of which is the only way to have both tax cuts and a balanced budget.

Murray has stood up for Washington State's interests in the senate and deserves re-election. She is not a rock star, but she has proven to be a strong and pragmatic voice for common sense.  

Murray is part of the solution. Rossi IS the problem.

Patrick McGann is a regular op-ed columnist for the Methow Valley News

Originally posted to Our Man in Twisp on Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 02:45 PM PDT.

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