The Republicans having Goldman Sachs' Hank Paulson in charge of getting the country out of this financial mess is likeBush having FEMA’s Michael ("Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job") Brown overseeing the Katrina disaster. Here’s the picture Paulson painted for us a little more than a year ago:
In Washington, the Bush administration is cautioning that the recent volatility in bond and stock markets is no cause for alarm because of the underlying strength of the American economy and because recent market declines should be thought of as an adjustment to past lending excesses. “We have the strongest global economy I’ve seen in my business lifetime,” Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. said in Beijing last week. “We have a healthy economy in the U.S. So what is going on in my judgment is a reassessment of risk.”
“The American people are angry about executive compensation, and rightly so,” he said. “No one understands pay for failure.
This from Forbes regarding the "$700 billion" bailout figure:
In fact, some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy. "It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."
Thanks for this, JK.
My Republican campaign insider informant, Sid, called to tell me why McCain tried to call the debate off. This first debate, says Sid, was supposed to be about foreign policy. But knowing the the questions would surely turn towards the economy, working against McCain’s only perceived long suit—national security-- and into Obama’s strength, the campaign needed to play the "maverick" card.
Sid says that Steve Schmidt thought the only way out was to make a big news splash with McCain riding into Washington to take credit for a bi-partisan agreement and then flying to Mississippi at the last moment as the conquering war hero who put the nation first above politics.
Sid’s other reasons.
1. McCain's campaign manager has been caught red-handed this week taking $15,000/month from Freddy Mac. They wanted to put some time between that and the debate.
2. With poll numbers sinking like a stone, Schmidt told him, “DO NOT ENGAGE UNDER THE CURRENT CONDITIONS!”
3. Schmidt thought he could blindside and out-maneuver Obama after accepting his initial offer of a bi-partisan approach to the bailout, as a sign of weakness.
4. As for the Letterman fiasco, which showed that McCain hadn't really stopped campaigning after all, Sid wouldn’t say a word, leaving me to think that this was just a giant screw-up. Second big one in a week, following the anti-Chicago, anti-Daley ads.