Today’s opining on the public discourse.
If Henry Paulson says the sky isn’t falling, duck for cover:
As the Wonk Room has documented, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has repeatedly called the the banking system “safe and sound,” only to see those statements followed by the collapse of the banking system. Now, Paulson has added one more instance to the list.
In an appearance on NPR last week, Paulson announced that, due to the effects of the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), the banking system “has been stabilized“:
I believe the banking system has been stabilized. No one is asking themselves anymore, is there some major institution that might fail and that we would not be able to do anything about it.
As the LA Times noted, “So, after Bear Stearns, IndyMac Bank, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Bros., Washington Mutual and American International Group — no more major surprises. Write it down, folks.”
Paulson must be stunned, then, to see the news that the major bank Citigroup is not stable at all. As the New York Times reported, Citigroup’s “precipitous stock-market plunge accelerated on Thursday, sending shock waves through the financial world.” In the last four days, Citigroup has lost half of its value.
This genius is the man in charge of our spiffy bailout program, TARP. We’ll need a tarp to try to protect things from the mess he’s making. He’s definitely a prime exemplar of the qualities of the Bush cabinet. Apparently, applicants had to check off a box affirming, “I am a spectacular dumbass who doesn’t have a clue how to do this job or have the slightest idea how things work in reality.”
No wonder, then, that some are calling for Bush to call it quits early and let the grownups take charge:
The New York Times’ Gail Collins has a good idea in her column this morning: maybe Bush could do us a favor and just wrap things up now.
Thanksgiving is next week, and President Bush could make it a really special holiday by resigning.
Seriously. We have an economy that’s crashing and a vacuum at the top. Bush — who is currently on a trip to Peru to meet with Asian leaders who no longer care what he thinks — hasn’t got the clout, or possibly even the energy, to do anything useful. His most recent contribution to resolving the fiscal crisis was lecturing representatives of the world’s most important economies on the glories of free-market capitalism.
Putting Barack Obama in charge immediately isn’t impossible. Dick Cheney, obviously, would have to quit as well as Bush. In fact, just to be on the safe side, the vice president ought to turn in his resignation first. (We’re desperate, but not crazy.) Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become president until Jan. 20. Obviously, she’d defer to her party’s incoming chief executive, and Barack Obama could begin governing.
As a bonus, the Pelosi presidency would put a woman in the White House this year after all. On the downside, a few right-wing talk-show hosts might succumb to apoplexy. That would, of course, be terrible, but I’m afraid we might have to take the risk in the name of a greater good.
Can I see a show of hands? How many people want George W. out and Barack in?
Works for me. I’m not sure Obama would want this — he’d no doubt like to take the allotted time to complete the transition process — but these are tough times and we all have to make sacrifices.
In this policy climate, a month is a long time. Just hand Obama the keys already.
The tough economic times seem to be hitting Saxby Chambliss where it hurts – so much so that Dick Morris felt the overriding need to turn a news segment into a plea for cash:
From Hannity and Colmes Nov. 21, 2008, Dick Morris changes the topic while being interviewed to openly make a fund raising pitch for Saxby Chambliss.
All of this is relevant only if he can do anything he wants and I know you’re going to touch on Minnesota later here in this program. We can’t do anything about Minnesota but Saxby Chambliss is only four points ahead in Georgia. If we lose Georgia the Republican party has zilch influence because the Democrats are going to get sixty votes. And that’s why I’m urging people who care about that to go to and independent expenditure, GOPTrust.com, GOPTrust.com and fund the effort to reelect Saxby Chambliss because if we lose that seat and we lose sixty votes, forget about it.
Apparently, Dickie thinks Obama’s going to be bringing the Blue Dogs into line with the ol’ rolled-up newspaper. I wonder: do the Cons believe the Magic Sixty Myth so strongly that they won’t even bother to attempt a filibuster if Dems hit that number? Somehow, I’m not thinking so.
I don’t know why Chambliss is desperate enough for cash that his cheerleaders have to turn Fox from Faux News to Fundraising Central, actually. After all, he has stellar organizations like Freedom’s Watch to do his lying, sliming and fearmongering for him:
Yesterday, the struggling Freedom’s Watch released an attack ad against Georgia’s Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Martin, saying that he “failed to look out for Georgia’s families.” “First he actually helped block stiffer penalties for drunk drivers,” warns the voice in the ad, which echoes previous GOP ads. “And then, Martin voted against tougher sentences for domestic abuse.”
Martin’s daughter was kidnapped when she was eight years old. In a new ad, he states, “You never forget the horror of coming face-to-face with violent crime. … I never forgot the way she trembled when she faced her kidnapper in court. That’s why I fought so hard to crack down on violent crime.”
Classy as always. If we’re lucky, they’ll run tripe like this over Thanksgiving and put people off their turkey. I always love it when negative ads misfire and hit their shooters in the face.
It still won’t be quite as entertaining to watch as Chambliss shooting himself in the foot:
On Thursday, Georgia’s Department of Labor announced that the state’s unemployment levels rose to 7 percent in October, the highest in 16 years; approximately 43,093 unemployed Georgians are looking for work. That same day, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who is locked in a tough run-off election battle with Democrat Jim Martin, gave a campaign speech on the state’s economic troubles:
It’s imperative that we continue down the road of putting liquidity, integrity and confidence back in the financial marketplace so that we can see the credit market free up and people having the ability to borrow money to to operate and expand their businesses.
However, Chambliss was so busy campaigning that day that he actually skipped the Senate’s vote on the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2008, which extended unemployment benefits “by 13 weeks in states with an unemployment rate of at least 6 percent.” Chambliss was one of just four senators to miss the vote. WCTV reported that Chambliss later sent out a press released praising “the passage of the law and [said he] hopes it will help laid-off workers get by while seeking a new job.”
That always makes you feel good about the hard work your Senator’s doing on your behalf, dunnit? “I couldn’t be bothered to go vote for that, but now that I know it’s popular, I’d like you to know I totally would have!”
Georgia: do yourself a favor. Don’t vote this assclown back into the Senate.
We’ve got an abundance as it is, thank you so very much. And they’re planning to party like it’s 1993:
Hilzoy had a great overnight item that I wanted to add one observation to.
It’s largely faded from memory, but I’d argue one of the more important moments in the debate over the Clinton healthcare plan in the early 1990s came when Kristol distributed a memo to congressional Republicans in December 1993.
Leading conservative operative William Kristol privately circulates a strategy document to Republicans in Congress. Kristol writes that congressional Republicans should work to “kill” — not amend — the Clinton plan because it presents a real danger to the Republican future: Its passage will give the Democrats a lock on the crucial middle-class vote and revive the reputation of the party. Nearly a full year before Republicans will unite behind the “Contract With America,” Kristol has provided the rationale and the steel for them to achieve their aims of winning control of Congress and becoming America’s majority party. Killing health care will serve both ends. The timing of the memo dovetails with a growing private consensus among Republicans that all-out opposition to the Clinton plan is in their best political interest. (emphasis added)
Today, the circumstances are slightly different — Democrats are in good shape and don’t need their reputation “revived” — but with the Pethokoukis and Cannon analyses in mind, history may repeat itself.
That’s our Republicons, all right. Looking out for their interests, not giving a rat’s ass about their constituents, and turning to Kristol’s Kristal Ball for brilliant advice.
They might want to rethink using him as their oracle this time. I hear his ball’s on the blink.