A week ago, the Daily Beast declared Cantwell one of a dozen "rising political stars," specifically citing her work to bring back the Glass-Steagal Act (which would separate commercial banks--and their federally insured deposits--from investment banks). And today Joel Connelly (who's always had a pretty soft spot for Maria), fawns over the Senator in a column headlined "Cantwell Takes On Wall Street Fat Cats."
Whether the revival of a Depression-era banking law would be good or bad for the economy and taxpayers overall is for the experts to decide. But it sure seems like the financial catastrophe of last year wasn't caused by an insufficient number of laws but by a decade in which regulators didn't bother enforcing the rules we've got and people like Alan Greenspan handed the housing market speed even as it hyperventilated. Where was Cantwell during all that? Where were her demands for more regulatory oversight?
Prior to that, Cantwell seems to have devoted a good bit of her legislative and political energy in the finance arena to making sure that residents of Washington were allowed to deduct sales tax payments from their federal income tax--a break that benefits fat cats the most, since they buy the most stuff and pay the steepest income-tax rate.
Of course, there are plenty of people--investors, reporters, homebuyers--who failed to see the looming disaster that finally came to a head last year. But Cantwell now seems like she's being celebrated for something she might have learned out at campaign manager Ron Dotzauer's ranch: corralling a horse that's already left the barn.