Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What the Fannie/Freddie takeover and the Iraq War Have In Common

Here's what:

No matter what they say, the Bush administration will always, always, ALWAYS use any authority Congress gives them.

Chris Dodd should have known better:
In the mortgage rescue bill, the Treasury Department was given authority to buy major stakes in the two mortgage giants — if it had to. But Paulson, until recently, predicted that the government would not need to get federal money involved in propping up Fannie and Freddie. Just the ability to do so, he suggested, would be enough to calm the market.

"We certainly accepted him at his word that this was going to be all that was necessary," Dodd said, adding that the administration has now "used that authority aggressively." Dodd said that he would be more wary of Paulson's words in the future. "Fool me once, your fault; fool me twice, my fault." [emphasis added]
Uh huh.

Now, I don't necessarily oppose the Fannie/Freddie thing. Unlike the Iraq war, something along these lines was probably necessary. But the Bush administration has this habit: they ask for a power "just in case." The war authority was supposed to bring Iraq to heel. The Fannie/Freddie legislation was supposed to do the same to the market.

I'm sure you can add your own items. How many kinds of authority has the Bush administration requested, and received, with the promise or hope that they wouldn't go down that road? Have they ever received an authority that they haven't maximized or more?


I thought so.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

My letter to ABC News

Sent today:

So Charlie Gibson has scored the first interview with Palin after the GOP convention. Congratulations! But I wonder why they chose Gibson. Today on Fox News, a McCain spokesman said he will only release Palin to the media when he's convinced they will be "deferential" to her. If you are at all deferential, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Charlie Gibson's pre-convention interview with John McCain was a softball suck-up interview of the first order: a shameful piece of puffery. I imagine they've chosen Gibson to interview Palin because they expect the same kid-glove treatment. But the American people want some answers.

So my suggestion is this: spare us the domestic soap-opera distractions. Don't ask anything about Bristol's pregnancy. Don't ask about the First Dude's snowmobile. Don't ask about Trig's Down syndrome. Don't ask about Track's deployment.

Instead, how about this? Ask about issues.

Ask about her position on Georgia. Ask about her view of the new Pakistani prime minister. Ask about housing. Ask about her flip-flops (on earmarks, on cooperation with Troopergate). Ask about her support of creationism. Ask about her view that global warming isn't anthropogenic. Ask aobut NATO expansion. Ask about Darfur. Ask about Zimbabwe. Ask about nuclear waste disposal (including Yucca Mountain). Ask about unemployment. Ask about the estate tax (don't you dare call it the death tax). Ask about Iraq strategy. Ask about the value of the dollar. Ask about unionization.

Don't be a doormat, Charlie. Despite your history, you don't have to be.