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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


September 29, 2008

Three Blind Mice

Steven R. Berryman

What do the president’s speech to the American people on Thursday, and the performance of both the Democratic and Republican candidate at the first presidential debate in Oxford, Mississippi, have in common? Answer: None of them acted with full candor and in a bipartisan way, as advertised.

 

Speeches were devoid of substance, and these “three blind mice” seemingly counted on the benefits of keeping all specificity out of the conversation, as if the American people either could not handle it, or would attach themselves to details that would backfire against the politicians most directly in that line of fire.

 

That’s a pretty large target!

 

Media personality Laura Ingraham had it right: In the case of The Bush Speech, he should have shown up with a Power Point presentation, with some data, facts, and graphics to get these amorphous concepts across.

 

Perhaps a timeline on the origins and consequences of “mortgage backed securities” would have been appropriate?

 

The underlying concept this dumbing-down drove home was that there was no hard analysis of even subsections of a plan, and certainly not by computer modeling, which is standard for even much simpler portions of complex circumstances in order to predict results.

 

When housing sales are at a 17-year low, and sales continue to drop, a real response is begged.

 

What should have been a fact and options based speech was not. It needed to get the trust element back up, but accomplished no such goal. Lame duck George Bush was indeed missing both his political capital and financial capital at the same time!

 

To make matters worse, our current president, the “anti-Gipper,” reminded everyone of why he is seldom seen in such a setting as a news conference. President Bush came across as a man that didn’t want to be there, and saying something that he didn’t himself believe.

 

During the Friday presidential debate, we saw Sen. John McCain change direction from his personal emergency intervention in Washington, just in time. “Bull in the china shop” McCain had certainly left his mark; “if it ain’t broke, break it” was the net effect. At least this consequence stopped the most dangerous rush to a bailout bill.

 

But there was no “McCain Plan” to be extolled at the debate. At least PBS moderator Jim Lehrer attempted to steer candidates at each other. What came out of Senator McCain still amounted to “just trust me.”

 

CNN had a real-time moving graphic to monitor a sample audience response to how well each candidate performed per issue and even per question basis. This ran under the video. The Republican response – shown as a red line – bounced into positive territory whenever he was insistent in leaving Iraq under our own terms with a win. That no soldier should die in vain was big.

 

Senator McCain attacked Sen. Barack Obama’s extremely liberal voting record and the Democrat merely smiled assuredly in a feint at presidential demeanor.

 

Senator Obama was strongest when he dealt with the origins of the Iraq war, and commented that his voting record was to keep President Bush in check. Surely his best strategy remains linking Senator McCain with failed Bush policies.

 

No less than three times Senator Obama made favorable comments towards Senator McCain in an attempt at taking the high ground. This came off as weakness on his part.

 

The Barack Obama financial plan as discussed in the debate was…not to be found.

 

If revealed, details of Democratic Party’s contributions to our current economic woes would surely head back to Obama’s direct operation with the radical grassroots front group ACORN, as described in my previous column, “You Bet Your Life…”  on TheTentacle.com

 

Of course there is plenty a reason to obfuscate, misdirect, and run for cover for all involved at this highest level, as the final unraveling occurred on a Republican watch.

 

Solutions can best be found by examining – and owning up to – the root causes.

 

Bad actors go back a long way. Liberal social programs like the 1995 Community Reinvestment Act under Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin began an unsafe lending trend that continued to snowball. Under Democratic congressional cover, high-risk loans were virtually mandated.

 

Why was the goal of 70% home ownership in America a realistic one? At any cost? And the road to Hell is “paved with good intentions.” This demonstrated diversity within common sense!

 

And what of the bad acting companies, performing as industry referees, taking enormous cuts out of the profits in order to rate corporate financial performance and evaluate risk? Examination will surely reveal their complicity and culpability.

 

I would like to see Moody’s as well as Standard & Poor’s investigated for collusion – and perhaps conspiracy – by the FBI. This goes way beyond negligence and bad business.

 

In the end, will the final legislative solution package work for Wall Street, or Main Street?

 

As facts remain elusive as presented by all concerned in the great financial crisis of 2008, perhaps all we as spectators operating via our political proxies will be able to do is to “see how they run.”

 



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