Maria Cantwell Comes Off as a Hero in Ron Suskind's Hot New Book on Obama Administration

Maria Cantwell.jpg
Talk is circulating about an eye-opening new book on the Obama administration set to come out tomorrow. Confidence Men, by Pulitzer-prize winning author Ron Suskind, suggests that a handful of power-hungry, Wall Street-loving advisers undermined the president's quest for financial reform, according to an early look at the book by New York magazine. To boot, these advisers, including the "insubordinate" Tim Geithner and the "monomaniacal" Larry Summers, were "pretty awful to women," says New York's Adam Moss. A number of women, in contrast, come off as heroes--among them our own Sen. Maria Cantwell.

Neither Moss nor Frank Rich, who bantered about the book in the New York piece, revealed why Cantwell was so lionized. But it's not hard to guess.

She became a media celeb a couple of years ago when she and John McCain launched a crusade to bring back the Glass-Steagall Act, which at one time separated commercial and investment banking. It's a wonky subject--Cantwell's favorite kind--but people grasped that the idea meant taking on "Wall Street fat cats," as the P-I's Joel Connelly put it at the time.

She fed the applause with populist quotes, as in this one:

Behemoth banks are putting their money into risky, get-rich-quick Wall Street schemes instead of investing in Main Street. So much U.S. taxpayer-backed money is going into speculation in dark markets that it has diverted lending capital from our community banks and small businesses that depend on loans to expand and create jobs.

So starstruck were the political junkies that read Huffington Post that they voted her the "sexiest senator on Capitol Hill."

When it comes to politics, however, no love-fest ever holds. Witness a recent poll that shows Cantwell with only 38 percent support for re-election next year--even though no real challenger has emerged. Consequently, Suskind just could become her hero, giving her a much-needed boost.

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