Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Blame GOP ideologues for current crisis
Gene Lyons

If the headline on a recent Associated Press dispatch failed to alarm
you, you can’t have been paying attention. “Bush confident sweeping
measure will stabilize economy,” it read. That was scant hours before
the House rejected Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s Wall Street rescue
plan, thrashed out over a long weekend of intense congressional
negotiations. As a rule, the more confidence that George W. Bush
expresses, the worse things are. How and why the administration allowed
what even cautious commentators describe as “the worst financial crisis
since the Great Depression” to worsen until stopgap emergency measures
couldn’t wait would appear something of a mystery. Even with a manifest
incompetent like Bush in the White House, if there’s anything
Republicans are expected to understand, it’s money. Well, think again.
In the short term, it’s actually not so mysterious. Until the impending
failures of Lehman Brothers and American Life Insurance Inc. threatened
a meltdown of the entire Wall Street credit market with potentially
catastrophic effects on the U.S. and world economy, it appears that
Paulson and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke were hoping to limp
past the November election, after which a newly elected Congress and
president-elect might deal with the problem in a less-fevered climate.

Instead, we get to watch our dysfunctional political system at its
absolute worst. As recently as Sept. 15, GOP presidential nominee John
McCain, who has manfully admitted that he knows very little about
economics, was assuring audiences that “the fundamentals of our economy
are strong.”

On Republican talk radio, see, it’s been an article of faith for months
that Democrats have been falsely talking down the economy for political
purposes, so when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi correctly, if somewhat
intemperately, under the circumstances, pointed out that Bush inherited
budget surpluses, turned them into massive deficits and continued to
preach deregulation even as heedless speculators turned the U. S.
banking system into the world’s largest roulette wheel, GOP congressmen
got petulant and killed the bailout plan.

The poor babies got their feelings hurt. Then they went running back to
their districts to spend the Jewish holiday campaigning as champions of
Main Street.

Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks got it right: In
their “single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party,” he wrote,
GOP congressmen “have once again confused talk radio with reality.”

Live by Rush Limbaugh, die by Rush Limbaugh. In the bombastic radio
host’s upside-down world, it’s not Paulson and the White House that are
responsible for the bailout bill, but Democratic “thieves” scheming to
use the crisis to raise taxes on the “little guy.” Is it necessary to
point out that Paulson’s bailout proposal contains no taxes at all?

Meanwhile, here’s Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s
contribution to the debate. It’s worthwhile quoting in full. Pressed by
CBS’ Katie Couric, who asked if it might not be a better idea to help
middle-class families than rescue the big financial institutions that
created this mess, Palin responded as follows.

“That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with, we’re ill
about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers
looking to bail out. But ultimately what the bailout does is help those
who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help
shore up our economy, helping the—oh, it’s got to be all about job
creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right
track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending
has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And
trade, we have, we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as a
competitive, scary thing, but one in five jobs being created in the
trade sector today, we’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All
those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part
of that.”

In short, sheer gibberish. The woman has no clue. What with McCain
donning his Mighty Mouse costume, pretending to suspend his campaign for
all of 36 hours and rushing to Washington to save the day by championing
a three-page proposal that it’s been claimed by some he hadn’t actually
read, his hand-picked vice-presidential candidate turns out to be
somebody you wouldn’t hire to prepare your own tax return. Not that the
Democrats have covered themselves with glory. Pelosi ought to have known
better than to schedule a vote on the bailout plan without knowing if
she had the votes. It might have been smarter to let the Senate, where
passage is all but certain, vote first. Barack Obama has been something
less than scintillating, coolly keeping his distance while Sen. Chris
Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank do all the heavy lifting. One thing’s clear:
Republican ideologues have created yet another fiscal disaster; adult
supervision will again be required.

—–––––•–––––—Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and
recipient of the National Magazine Award.


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