Archive for Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Campaign Notebook: Holland criticizes Brownback over vote for bailout of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

September 15, 2010, 12:33 p.m. Updated September 16, 2010, 3:30 p.m.


— On July 26, 2008, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., voted for the $200 billion bailout of mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The bill, signed into law by then-President George W. Bush, allowed the U.S. Treasury to extend credit and buy stock to help the mortgage firms and raised the national debt.

Now, Brownback is running for governor. Last Saturday, during a gubernatorial debate at the Kansas State Fair, Democratic candidate Tom Holland brought up the vote, saying it was an example of Brownback willing to bailout special interests while voting against every day Kansans.

Brownback responded, "To set the record straight, I voted against the bailout."

On Wednesday, Holland said Brownback is misleading voters. "It might be acceptable in Washington to shirk responsibility and never admit the truth -- but this is unacceptable here in Kansas. Senator Brownback voted for the $200 billion bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. This is a matter of fact and a matter of record; it cannot be spun, brushed aside or explained away," he said.

Asked to respond to Holland's statement, Brownback's campaign spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said, "This is quickly becoming absurd." She said Brownback "has voted repeatedly to protect taxpayers, increase oversight of Fannie and Freddie and repeal the bailouts."

But Holland, a state senator from Baldwin City, said Brownback voted for the "Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac bailout. Period. Real leaders do not try to hide their agenda." Holland also took Brownback to task over his vote for the $85 billion bailout of American International Group.

Meanwhile, Holland noted that Brownback recently voted against a federal funding package to help states. Despite Brownback's vote, that legislation was approved and allocated $191 million to Kansas for school funding and health care for the poor.

Holland said there needs to be more debates so that voters have a better idea of where the candidates stand on the issues. He said he would like to have three more debates with Brownback and one between the lieutenant governor running mates -- Democrat Kelly Kultala and Republican Jeff Colyer, who are both state senators.

Holland said the Brownback campaign hasn't responded. Brownback's spokeswoman Jones-Sontag would only say that the State Fair debate wouldn't be the last.


yourworstnightmare 7 years, 8 months ago

Brownback was for the bailout until he was against it.

ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 8 months ago

OK, so who will the Republicans run for governor in 2014 when this becomes an open seat?

ronwell was the first to state it here. Brownback will be forced to retire at the end of his term due to a major financial scandal that will bring more shame to Kansas than electing him in the first place.

Jimo 7 years, 8 months ago

To set the record straight, there were several different bailouts. Brownback voted in favor of the worst of them and refused to make the more understandable ones better.

Brownback voted (AIG bailout) to take your money and reimburse speculative bets to Wall Street banks. The situation was akin to making a bet with your brother for $1 billion, he loses, you force him to file for bankruptcy, and the taxpayer bails him out by paying you $1 billion. You escape any penalty for making such an absurd bet or making it with someone who you should have known could never make good on the bet. For my money (no pun intended), this was - BY FAR - the most egregious bailout and indeed has been criticized by everyone (except the Wall Street bankers).

Brownback also voted (Fannie/Freddie) to take your money and reimburse mortgage banks who chased the private mortgage lenders handing out stupid, predictably bad mortgage right over the cliff rather than lose market share. This is a close second to the AIG deal because (a) it is - STILL - ongoing and that blackhole shows little sign of being filled up soon and (b) Brownback could have taken action before the moment of crisis to restrict the dangerous practice of making such bad loans to begin with (but that would have required ... regulation! (booh!).

These were the two bailouts least likely to ever be repaid.

When Brownback says "I voted against the bailout" he means that he refused to bailout banks in the middle of a financial panic - one that would have brought the entire global financial system to its knees within weeks and left us all unemployed and eating grass from the backyard because no one could know which banks were solvent and every lender was refusing credit to anyone and everyone. And would have led to the immediate bankruptcy of the FDIC system and left your accounts empty. More important that that bone-headed vote is that Brownback didn't even try to make the bailout better - pushing for strings attached to this bailout such as commitments to making good loans, firing all the key management officials, forbidding bonus payments with taxpayer money, etc. Of course, Brownback had supported all of the many causes that led to the moment of crisis that developed over the preceding decade but it's too much to expect a politician to accept responsibility for anything that voters will find too complex to put on a bumper sticker.

This bailout is already in the process of being repaid and stands a reasonable chance of even being profitable to the Treasury.

And so voters get the politicians they deserve. Congrats Kansas!

Jimo 7 years, 8 months ago

Interesting, Politico - the right-wing version of Chris Matthews - posts just today: "TARP: A success none dare mention"

As they correctly quote: “[Without TARP and the stimulus] it would not be surprising if the underemployment rate approached one-fourth of the labor force...With outright deflation in prices and wages in 2009-11, this dark scenario constitutes a 1930s-like depression."

Indeed. TARP was the least bad of horrible choices. If you want to have avoided TARP, you have to go back a decade or so before TARP and undo many of the choices made by both Republicans and Democrats (although mostly the pro-Wall Street, laissez fair 'markets are perfect' GOP). Brownback cannot avoid having spent the same period in office in the heart of the bad-dealing.

StaceyD 7 years, 8 months ago

This year we must quit allowing our votes to be stolen through the politics of fear. Every year we each are told that you can't vote for X or Y will win. This fear mongering is what allows the two establishment parties to maintain the status quo. It's is in your power to change that this year. When Andrew Gray, the Libertarian Candidate, receives just 5% or more of the statewide vote in November Kansas gives birth to a 3rd major political party. With a 3rd party, both establishment parties become more responsive to their supporters. Brownback is likely to win this race. He's ahead by 28 points. A vote for him or Holland has little chance of changing the outcome of the election. A vote for Andrew Gray changes the political landscape of Kansas and America.

Make your vote count, vote Gray.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 8 months ago

How does being a librarian make one eligible for the governorship?

meggers 7 years, 8 months ago

If he were a Green Party candidate I might consider it.

I see little difference between the Tea Party and the Libertarian Party. In fact, I suspect that much of the money being funneled to the tea party comes from libertarians who have decided to sell their ideas under a new moniker. The angry white "I hate goverment, but leave my Medicare alone" contigent might be buying it for now, but I'm hopeful that cooler heads will eventually prevail.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 8 months ago

Agreed. Brownback voted in favor of the most egregious bailouts and voted against the ones that were actually critical.

Brownback's voting with regard to the bailout is something he wants to sweep under the rug. He must be held accountable, Mr. Holland. It is up to you to make it so.

Shane Garrett 7 years, 8 months ago

Let us not forget that Fred and Fannie contributed monies to the current administration.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 8 months ago

When Obama runs for Kansas governor, we can discuss it.

situveux1 7 years, 8 months ago

So Holland is criticizing him for not voting for OTHER bailouts? Not too convincing to me. If his criticism is that he voted for the bailouts and shouldn't have, then I'm good with that, but that doesn't seem to be the argument here.

BigDog 7 years, 8 months ago

Again ..... what is Tom Holland for and what are his accomplishments as a state senator.

When will he begin travelling Kansas to tell those west of Topeka what his platform is?

Centerville 7 years, 8 months ago

My favorite sign at the State Fair debate: "Mr. Holland's Ooops1" He's a regular whine-o-rama.

kansanjayhawk 7 years, 8 months ago

This is like the pot calling the kettle black Mr. Holland is a tax and spend liberal you better believe he would have supported Obamanomics if he were in the Congress. Holland is not dependable he does not even return phone calls to constituents as a State Senator.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

Since 1980 beginning with Reagan/Bush republicans have brought on recessions galore and established a significant pattern of destroying:

  1. Savings and Loan Institutions
  2. Financial Insurance giants such as AIG
  3. banks such as Citigroup and Bank of America
  4. tons of retirement plans as a result of all the above

First it was Reagan/Bush then it was Bush/Cheney

As a result: 1. thousands perhaps millions of retired were tossed back into the job market to supplement their Social Security Insurance 2. Approximately 23 million jobs have left the USA 3. Medicare has become a wonderful and thankful insurance program 4. Credit card debt went beyond the sky 5. our housing market now has 7-8 million homes on the market 6. new home construction is essentially no longer a source for long term employment 7. a wide variety of retirement plans are either dead or still taking serious hits

AND fraud aka white collar crime is looked upon as gainful white collar employment instead of as a source for prison terms.

bd 7 years, 8 months ago

Does not matter, Holland will be growing tulips after he is buried in the Nov. elections! Don't fool yourselfs libs! He will be beat down big time!

Tea anyone???

vermont 7 years, 8 months ago

I'd rather vote for somebody that lives in Kansas and has created job in Kansas. Tom Holland lives in Baldwin, his kids go to public schools in Lawrence, he attends church in Lawrence -- Bottom line: Tom is a good Kansan and more than qualified to be Governor. I hope people will do their research and understand that Sam Brownback will NOT be good for Kansas. I know Tom has an uphill battle but I really, really hope he can pull it off!

BigDog 7 years, 8 months ago

Based upon those qualification you have listed Vermont ..... tens of thousands of people in Kansas are qualified to be governor.

What are Tom Holland's accomplishments?

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