I happened to catch a bit of Meet the Press this past Sunday. David Frum, who had written a piece for Newsweek (which I read part of) explaining why Rush Limbaugh should not be allowed to be the de facto voice of the Republican party, was trying to defend Michael Steele’s comments that allowed for the possibility that abortion is part of a woman’s right to choose. Tavis Smiley was sitting right next to Frum, saying the Republicans can not simply put a colored face on TV and expect black voters to respond. Frum tried to differentiate between a colored face (bad) and a different face (good).
The Republicans are treading carefully now. The politicians know that the minute they criticize the Democrats, they will have to endure a lecture on the last eight years. They believe that Congressional Democrats are not interested in bipartisanship (and they are probably right), but the Republicans are not convincing making this case because they also wanted to punish the President for not giving them more on the stimulus bill and so not one Republican representative voted for it. Because the Republican politicians are currently paralyzed, the commentators like Rush Limbaugh are leaping into the vacuum. Rush can say whatever he wants on his show (I guess maybe there are callers, probably taped so that callers challenging Mr. Limbaugh’s views can simply be deleted).
Ruth Ann Dailey is also jumping in, carrying on the theme that the Democrats are communists. She gives us a mock letter from communists to Ed Rendell about the PLCB. Now, let me say up front that I would prefer liquor stores to be private. There is no reason why the State should control liquor sales, except to gouge citizens. But I don’t think Ruth Ann’s column was entirely about the LCB.
As I say, Ruth Ann’s letter is listed as from “Marx, Engels, Keynes & Krugman -- "Economists for a Better Tomorrow"”. In other words, she wants to link the Obama administration to communists, and Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist. Yes, Krugman is mostly a cheerleader for the Obama administration, but I defy Ruth Ann to show one credible shred of a link between Obama and communists. As for whether the Obama administration is pursing even slightly communistic policies, they have resisted stating that they are nationalizing the banks or any other industry. The government’s handling of AIG, despite having installed the current CEO and owning most of the stock, still has them saying they do nothing about the contractually mandated bonuses. The Obama administration knows it has to keep the current system running and so has to keep bankers and other financial professionals somewhat happy.
Meanwhile Ruth Ann lobs this comment at us: “Since the real estate bubble burst, triggering the economic meltdown, we've worked diligently to deflect attention away from Clinton-era mandates on lending standards and to pin responsibility for the disastrous economic fallout on the Bush administration.”
I will certainly admit that some of the mandates to loosen controls came from a Republican Congress during the Clinton years. Clinton may well have expected Al Gore to be elected President (he was, actually) and that Gore could have kept watch and stepped in if the loosened mandates proved problematic.
But the Republicans are being incredibly disingenuous when they complain about legislation from the Clinton era. We all know, for example, that the Democrats quickly came to dislike the Patriot act, but have never been able to do much of anything about it. Yet Republican commentators claim the Democrats prevented reform in the financial sector. That is bullshit. I would buy the notion that neither the Bush administration nor the Republicans in Congress nor the Democrats in Congress wanted to change things or restrict bad mortgages because the housing bubble was very popular (and I suspect the credit swaps were creating enough wealth to cause some better than average campaign contributions). The incentives were likely perverse, but still I bitterly resent Republicans blaming Democrats for something when they spent at least four years and possibly as much as eight years reaping the benefits and therefore doing nothing about the coming financial mess.
As an aside, Jim Cramer claimed, on the Dailey Show, that the financial meltdown was a one in million thing, despite the fact terms like housing bubble have been around for years. Later Cramer said that the 35 to 1 leveraged mortgages were considered realistic in a world that gave 30% returns year after year. That lster statement might explain why everyone turned a blind (and stupid) eye towards a clearly inevitable downturn.
Ruth Ann is clearly reverting to Republican code phrases and innuendo to slam the Democrats. Which is a sham, since she rails against the liberal media for doing that to Republicans. We are all still waiting for a legitimate Republican criticism of the current administration, and some hint they are interested in bipartisanship.