MSNBC.com has posted a set of stories called “The Exit Interviews,” where the site has interviewed nine retiring senators on a full range of issues. During the exit interview with Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), the senator explained his recent decision to break from his party and support the small business bill written by Senate Democrats. He told the interviewer, “I hate the banks. If I could strangle the banks today, I would, the big banks. I am so upset with them I could kill them” because of the lack of money flowing to consumers:
And you notice in my votes, nobody knows what I’m going to do around here. They don’t. I mean, the recent thing on this bill dealing with loans for small businesses. I hate the banks. If I could strangle the banks today, I would, the big banks. I am so upset with them I could kill them because of what they’re doing in terms of not making money available. So somehow we’ve got to get some money out there to some people that are worthy of getting it.
While Voinovich may be willing to use strong language against the nation’s biggest banks, during his Senate career he repeatedly failed to put his money where his mouth is. In 1999, as the big banks and their lobbyists pushed for a massive deregulation of their industry, Voinovich joined with the majority of the Senate in voting to effectively set the stage for the financial crisis of 2008.
When time came to clean up Wall Street’s mess and place new regulations on the industry, Voinovich decided to stand with the banks instead of the American people. He voted against the Brown-Kauffman amendment that would’ve broken up the nation’s largest banks, successfully killing it. He later proceeded to vote against the final bill, complaining that the “new consumer protection bureau created by [the] bill is too wide in its regulatory scope.”
Voinovich spent his entire Senate career deregulating the nation’s largest banks and shielding from further regulation. If that’s hating them, it would be difficult to imagine what he would see as loving them.