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My Turn: How this diehard conservative came to admire a Massachusetts liberal

Former Epsom state representative Tony Soltani takes the stand in his own defense at his trial at Merrimack County Superior Court ; Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.  

(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

Former Epsom state representative Tony Soltani takes the stand in his own defense at his trial at Merrimack County Superior Court ; Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

Given the opportunity, I would never have oted for Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren. After all, I am a lifelong, diehard, conservative Republican. There is a vast chasm between her political views and mine. I now know that I would have been, simply, wrong.

The senator from Massachusetts is a perfect example of a legislator performing one of the most vital duties of any legislative body: oversight and protection of citizens against government overreach, malpractice, inefficiency and abuse. It is a vital function envisioned by the founding fathers, reserved for Congress. But it is all too frequently abrogated, ignored or used for grandstanding on issues that really don’t matter.

This vital function is not uniquely reserved for Congress. Most state legislatures, including New Hampshire’s, are vested and, indeed, charged with the same responsibility. And in every legislative body, certain members have expertise in particular areas. As a former legislator, I was incapable of knowing the details of every bill, nor was I able to determine misconduct, abuse and government overreach in every single instance. Legislators rely on each other’s expertise. We are also required to use our expertise to inform our fellow members. This enables the legislative body to function properly and fosters a cooperative environment so that all members may rely on various views expressed by the expert members in a particular area before making an informed decision.

Warren is showing the nation and her colleagues in Washington how that expert knowledge is used to best serve the people. Her area of expertise is economics, the financial industry, and the oversight responsibilities of various government agencies regarding the multibillion-dollar industry propped up and subsidized by the federal government and taxpayers. She has been in office for about 18 months. During that time she has worked tirelessly and without regard for party politics. She has spearheaded investigations into the most powerful financial institutions within and without the government. She asks tough questions and demands answers. She has exposed corruption, favoritism, abuse of the lower economic class and the incestuous relationship between the regulators and the Wall Street giants.

Warren seeks the truth and lets the chips fall where they may. She has exposed the government agency charged with promoting home ownership actually using its power and taxpayer dollars to obstruct the ability of the people to buy their first homes. She has exposed a missing $9 billion from taxpayer dollars. She has exposed the agency charged

with the noble function of allowing lower and middle-class students to acquire student loans as a cash cow for government, which profited $54 billion from lower and middle-class students in one year. The government still dares to call this program a subsidy.

She has exposed that hundreds of thousands of poor homeowners were victims of illegal foreclosures by the major national lending institutions. The regulators have granted those institutions immunity but refuse to disclose to the victims that they have, in fact, been victimized.

Thanks to Warren, we now know that at least one mega-bank laundered money to the tune of nearly $1 billion for drug lords and tyrants who murder their own people, oppress freedom and are engaged in terrorist activity against the United States. They did this after being warned several times by regulators that they were in violation of the law and international sanctions against terrorist regimes. We now know that the federal government has not prosecuted a single individual responsible for these and other violations of the banking regulations, United States laws, and our international treaties.

In Warren’s words, “it’s all about transparency and accountability.” Also in her words, “it is fundamentally unfair” that people are prosecuted and put in prison for years for selling an ounce of cocaine or laundering a few thousand dollars for drug dealers. But no one who engages in large-scale money-laundering for drug cartels and terrorists ever gets prosecuted. These giant institutions in bed with the regulators are too big to fail, so our tax dollars are used to cover up their misbehavior.

Regardless of whether the attorney general or the regulators are Democratic or Republican appointees, they have betrayed the American people. When it comes to financial institutions we have no transparency, no accountability, civil or criminal. They can do as they wish, without the fear of any consequence.

The honorable women representing New Hampshire in Congress would do well by taking a lesson from Warren.

(Tony F. Soltani is a former Republican state representative from Epsom.)

Legacy Comments6

Five minutes of careful reading make perfectly clear the difference between partisan (Mr. Soltani) and a partisan hack (Grant Bosse).

You were so proud of this post that you had to post it on two comment sections today? Copy and paste. But you are absolutely wrong. It is more like this: "Five minutes of careful reading makes perfectly clear the truth that Bosse speaks and the inability of progressives to be intellectually honest that he is right".

Thanks for this nice piece on Warren's accomplishments. She fits right in the mold of the Progressive era's and TR's trust-buster thinking of old. We need a whole lot more of her kind of thinking and action in attacking crony capitalism and too-big-to-fail Wall St. banksters. Obama and the Clinton-Rubin wing of the Democratic Party are too cozy with Wall St. to have done much to reform and remedy the abuses that nearly wrecked the world economy and gave us the Great Recession. As for the Republicans--they admire and cheerlead for the behavior exemplified by the banksters--it's what they dream about doing in their own lives. For the likes of Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor--who believe that wealth = virtue, it's Ayn Rand's dream come to reality. For such thinkers as these two intellectual leaders of the modern GOP, Wall Streeters are the modern-day "giants among us".

Wealth does not = virtue as you cleverly implied. Wealth is earned by human beings applying themselves. There is a misconception that people just are obsessed with amassing wealth and hoarding it. To the wealthy, it is a game to keep building wealth and if you look at the track record of the wealthy, most of them give away millions to causes, hospitals, disease cures, summer camps, etc. Yes, there are greedy folks in all walks of life, including many liberals or progressives. Take a look at the Senate. I am a conservative and don't like many of the banking practices, but, I also understand that Type A personalities like myself are afforded employment opportunities through the efforts of those who have wealth and invest it. That is called "economy". Progressives like Warren, if she had her way would confiscate and redistribute wealth based on some twisted criteria. I think that fairness is defined by several things. If you make the right choices, you will be successful. If you choose the correct priorities, you will live comfortably. If you decide that cigarettes and alcohol and drugs are more important than leading life crafted by better choices, then you will not realize the same success as someone who makes different choices. If you choose to take the easy path in life (menial labor, easy jobs, state employee kind of employment), you took that path of least resistance and will reap the rewards of that. If you party instead of study in college, there are consequences for that often. If you decide that time off is more important than working more than 40 hours per week, you probably won't realize the lifestyle of someone who works two jobs or 70 hours per week and in reality, why should you. Finally, if you want to 'blame the man' or your race or history of 300 years ago, or skin color and live the life of a victim, well, the only way you are going to realize a good life is through government redistribution of wealth or a "handout". That is not the cornerstone of this country, it is a travesty and that is what Elizabeth Warren stands for.

To wss1 hit the nail on the head. But to progressives, character does not matter, not at all. Nowhere, is this any more evident than with Elizabeth Warren who for all intents and purposes, lied about her heritage and used EEOC and Affirmative Action to land her cushy job at Harvard. She was listed as a Native American and then denied it and then told people that her high cheekbones proved it. In NYC, progressives support Carlos Danger aka Anthony Wiener regardless of his sick and twisted behavior. Heck, even a supposedly enlightened progressive woman, his wife supports him without reservation. I think that the war on women start with men like Wiener. Eliot Spitzer is another example of supposedly principled progressives supporting a man who cheated on his wife and had long term trysts with a prostitute. Then we have Bill Clinton, having an affair with a 20 year old intern and Hillary Clinton, just putting up with it. Richard Blumenthal, um, "misspoke" (lied) about being a returning Vietnam veteran and of course it was all a lie. But progressives refuse to recognize any of this kind of behavior. Why? Because their interest in wealth redistribution, fundamentally changing this country to meet their sense of reality trumps ethics, morals, principles, right and wrong and character. It speaks volumes about progressives.

At best, this is picking the one piece of coal from a mountain of slag. Warren ran one of the most intellectually dishonest campaigns last year in recent memory. She claimed a Native American heritage based on the whim of a dead aunt. Her infamous and pandering "you did not build that" speech ignored the slew of taxes business owners pay. She decried electioneering, even as her daughter did so. Her campaign viciously assault Scott Brown personally and then she hid behind her gender to ward off any response. She said she was the intellectual foundation of "occupy" as she takes home $350,000 for teaching one class at Harvard Law. You can find a less reputable, malevolent force in the Senate, but you really have to dig deep.

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