Linda Ketner, A Different Kind of Democrat? Part I

Being a resident of South Carolina’s First Congressional District, I am curious whether Linda Ketner is actually a different kind of Democrat. Is she actually going to bring change or is she just going to be another rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank?

So, I decided to start out by reading her biography which she seems to be so proud of. I can see why she is running on the Democratic ticket.

Much of her efforts seem to be related to housing issues which on a national scale are the basis of our current financial crisis. Anyone who has missed the fact that the disintegration of the housing market was caused by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operating in an essentially unregulated manner, falsifying their accounting books to provide their senior management with increased bonuses and either encouraging or coercing lending institutions to write risky home loans and then being the agents to pass these high risk loans into the investment sector which in turn caused numerous commercial and investment banks to fail when the portfolios put together by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were deemed to be either worthless or of an indeterminate value …, well, anyone who has missed that has been either in suspended animation, hibernating or lost in space for the past 11 months.

To quote Ms. Ketner’s bio, Biography | Linda Ketner For Congress, “Linda formed South Carolina Citizens for Housing in 1991… . Some of Linda’s leadership positions include: Chair of the Mayor’s Council On Homelessness and Affordable Housing, Chair of the S.C. Housing Trust Fund, Founder of South Carolina Citizens For Housing, Founder of Charleston Affordable Housing and South Carolina Equality Coalition.”

Ms. Ketner’s efforts, since 1991, have been right in line with the major Democratic supporters of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. My question is,  “Was she competing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac … or colluding with them?” Also, have her efforts had anything to do with ACORN, an organization some consider a radical left wing operation which, among other things deals with housing issues a as well as other activities like its union affiliates and voter registration efforts which have led to a number of its operatives receiving felony convictions for voter fraud?

It seems that Ms. Ketner, like all of the rest of the Democrats, wants to blame the Republicans for deregulating Wall Street and, in some delusional, mystical or magical way, to try to insinuate that all of the current financial crisis is not related to corruption and fraud in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Democrats’ efforts to block increased  or basically any regulation of those two out of control institutions but to some undefined deregulation on Wall Street which has nothing to do with what happened at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In fact, early in his first administration, even President Clinton tried to reign in these two corrupt giants but was blocked by his own party.  Did you just see Ms. Ketner pull a quarter out of your ear?

The Republicans contribution to this entire mess was the failure of SEC chairman Chris Cox, a Bush appointee, to adequately oversee the functions of the SEC which basically ignored what was going on even though it knew about it as reported in a recent Inspector General’s report and, then Chairman Cox failed to exercise a power he had to change the “mark to market rule”. He was finally reminded of this authority last week by the Senate and has subsequently acted … after 11 months … hopefully not too late.

To the contrary, President Bush, since 2001, has been trying unsuccessfully to increase the regulation on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and has been opposed and obstructed every step of the way by such prominent Democrats as Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer. President Bush sent Treasury Secretary John Snow to Congress with warnings about irregular accounting practices and increasing risks of continuing the high risk policies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He sent Alan Greenspan who warned of the potential of a financial crisis if the practices of Fannie Mae and Freddi mac continued to go unchecked. They were ridiculed by Democrats like Barnie Franks, Maxine Waters and Chris Dodd. John McCain warned of a pending financial crisis two years ago as the Republicans tried to get a bill passed to increase regulation on these two entities which was voted down by the Democrats.

Think about it? If there were Republicans actually responsible for this crisis, don’t you think there would be several hundred special investigations going on right now with the current Democratic majority And, with the Democrats maintaining a majority in Congress, do you think that there is going to be any sort of investigation or commission to study the crisis? Barack Obama has already said that notion, an investigation or commission, which has been suggested by John McCain was “ridiculous”.  I imagine he does think the idea of investigating the cause of the current financial crisis is ridiculous. What could John McCain be thinking? No sane Democrat would want that.

Now everyone will argue that the Republicans have controlled Congress for six of the past eight years. Actually, some will argue that the Republicans have controlled Congress for the past eight years. I’ve actually heard that one frequently. Based on that, I understand why the Democrats think they can win. There’s nothing like appealing to and feeding on people’s ignorance. Ms. Ketner knows that it takes a majority of 60 in the Senate to override the possibility of a filibuster. The Republicans have never had more than 55 members in the Senate in the past eight years … or past twelve years.  The Democrats last had that kind of majority in the 1960’s. Without a majority of 60, the minority party can, in effect, veto any bill it doesn’t want passed. That’s why the Democrats are trying real hard to get 60 Senate seats. Simple majority rules in the House … not so in the Senate. The Founding Fathers were very smart … although many Democrats would resentfully disagree.

But, somehow, the Republicans are responsible for the current meltdown of the housing markets and the resultant financial crisis. Even though you can hear and see the words coming from the Democratic Congressmens’ and Senators’ mouths on video tapes of the events, the Democrats …. like Ms. Ketner … are in complete denial of the obvious truth. President Bush can justifiably be held responsible for a lot of things … but this isn’t one of them. The evidence is in plain view for anyone to see.

Now, all of these things that Linda Ketner has done, … well, they’re very admirable. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get people affordable housing and trying to help people own homes … unless and until it starts hurting other people. Can anyone deny that the current financial crisis has the capability of hurting a lot of people.

Now … I don’t know if the things that Linda Ketner has been doing for the past 17 years has anything to do with the meltdown of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but … it all sounds an awful lot like a lot of what many of the rest of the Democrats like Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer have been up to for a long time.

So, my question is, “How much have Linda Ketner’s efforts been tied to risky loans handled through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which are the cause of the meltdown of the housing market?

I’d like her to answer that.

No. I’d like someone else to look into that … some entity that doesn’t have a vested interest in winning a political campaign. It’s not that I don’t trust you Ms. Ketner. But, in my opinion, you have a knack for either stretching the truth or completely ignoring it and you haven’t been completely candid in your assessment of what and who has been wrong for the past seven or eight years. If you do consider yourself candid, then I question your ability to accurately assess a financial situation … or anything else.


3 Responses

  1. Laura,

    Thanks for the comments and some good ideas for another blog post … or two.


  2. I should have read Part II before submitting this comment. In Part II you answer your own question as to whether Linda will bring change or be a rubber stamp for Pelosi and Frank. She obviously disagrees with Clinton and Senators Chuck Schumer, Chris Dodd, Dick Durbin, Tom Daschle, John Edwards, John Kerry and Joe Biden and doesn’t hesitate to say so. Doesn’t sound like a rubber stamper to me.

    Come on, Earl, you surely don’t expect us to take the fact that Bill Clinton can’t admit he might have made a mistake as “fact.” I have to admit when I heard Linda saying his support for repeal of Glass Steagall and the subsequent changes in commodities futures rules were largely responsible for the current financial crisis, I was skeptical. I did a little research and came to the conclusion that she is basically correct. I’d suggest taking this out of the political arena and looking at less biased sources of information. The best I found was from Investopedia in an article that can be found at Read the article, check other sources, and draw your own conclusions. For you lazy bloggers, Forbes’ conclusion is “Although the barrier between commercial and investment banking aimed to prevent a loss of deposits in the event of investment failures, the reasons for the repeal of the GSA and the establishment of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act show that even regulatory attempts for safety can have adverse effects. “

    And, since you repeat the erroneous charge again in Part II, let me emphasize that Linda Ketner has NEVER and DOES NOT advocate “low interest loans in South Carolina since 1991 of the type that got Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into trouble in the first place.”

  3. Earl, you have such a distorted view of reality that I hardly know where to start. Would youknow “truth” if it jumped up and hit you in the face?

    However, as the current representative to the South Carolina Housing Trust Fund Advisory Committee for the South Carolina Citizens for Housing, I feel compelled to respond to at least some of your accusations and implications.

    To begin with, the Housing Trust Fund is a state law that has NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH FANNIE MAE, FREDDIE MAC, OR ACORN. It is a law that uses a very small portion of the document stamp on every real estate transaction in the State to set aside funds to make housing affordable for the average South Carolinian—teachers, policemen, firemen, meter readers, elderly rural residents, small business owners, the people who make this country work.

    Linda Ketner understood that as housing prices rose, many working South Carolinians were not able to afford housing that was adequate for their families. Surely, these working Americans deserve at least as much consideration than the folks, including Members of Congress on the Friends of Angelos list who got sweetheart deals from Countrywide without asking or even being aware they were getting special treatment!

    Let’s be honest, Linda Ketner has lots of money and no reason to care one whit whether these people can afford to buy a house. But, she looked around and said, “this isn’t right, and I have a responsibility to try to fix it.” “What could we do to remedy this situation? ”
    She started looking for other people around the state who shared her concerns, organized these people, and they went to the General Assembly to advocate on behalf of those who were being left out of the American Dream. The result was state legislation that attempts to make housing affordable. Under the bill passed by the General Assembly, “affordable housing” means structuring deals that people can afford. It clearly does NOT mean giving mortgages to people who can’t afford them. The Housing Trust Fund does not provide any direct assistance to individuals; it funds non-profit organizations and state agencies that help individuals and families secure affordable housing. The vast majority of these funds go to assisting low-income families in need of emergency repairs and owner-occupied rehabilitation of existing structures.

    In order to qualify for home ownership assistance, individuals are required to participate in a minimum of 20 hours of financial counseling that assures potential homeowners have looked carefully at their family budgets and can actually afford the housing–that they have a clear understanding beyond the morgage payment of the responsibilities of being a homeowner. As noted in the Post and Courier following the debate and acknowledged readily by Linda Ketner, Henry Brown was the first Republican to step up and support this proposal.

    I’ve known Henry for at least 30 years and have always found him to be a decent, caring person up until the last few years. Whether old age is taking its toll or he has succumbed earlier than most to the rarified atmosphere of Washington, I don’t know. Whatever it is, he seems to have forgotten what really matters, and that is sad.

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