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December 19, 2012 | 7 comments
Thomas Frank is an earnest liberal confounded by conservatism’s revival under Obama.
(Page 3 of 3)
In the end, because the Commission was intent on pushing through a politically palatable report as quickly as possible, he issued his dissent. The Commission’s management (including Frank’s spouse as executive director)—”particularly its chairman, Phillip Angelides [a long-time California Democratic politico]—would not allow the staff to pursue any theories other than those embodied in the standard left-wing narrative.”
The fix was quite obviously in, with a majority of the commissioners signing onto the report with no contrary evidence presented, just as is the case with Frank’s book. And then, writes Wallison, without waiting for the report to be released, “Congress passed and the president signed the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA), far-reaching and highly consequential regulatory legislation that….will have a strong adverse effect on U.S. economic growth in the future.” (As mentioned above, Frank mentions Dodd-Frank only once.)
By enacting the DFA, “fittingly named after Congress’s two key supporters of the government’s destructive housing policies,” Congress and the president “acted without seeking to understand the true causes of the wrenching events of 2008, perhaps following the precept of the President’s chief of staff [now the mayor of Chicago]—’Never let a good crisis go to waste.’”
In a sense, Frank’s book is very much like the Commission’s report, informed and structured by political and ideological partisanship, with no brief for the defense allowed to be entered in evidence. Nor would that evidence come just from the right. Frank might also have consulted the reporting done by the New York Times’ Gretchen Morgenson, for instance, who in her book Reckless Endangerment, written last year with Joshua Rosner, showed how Fannie Mae, working with a complicit Congress and groups like Acorn, in the name of providing minorities with mortgages, grew rich selling the financial scams that eventually burst the housing bubble and caused the financial crisis.
But none of that is discussed here. Elections are just months away, and in this confused environment it’s time for all partisans to come to the aid of the party.
IN THE BATTLE, AEI president Arthur Brooks, discussing the 2008 crisis, writes that “the Obama narrative” has been built on several claims: government was not responsible for the crisis; government knows how to fix it; the way to save the economy is through more governmental involvement; and only the rich will have to pay for it. This is the narrative that the Democrats will build on for November.
Will it sell? Although the evil Bush is gone now, his successor shows surprising signs of falling into the trap set by Frank’s clever capitalists. “‘I know that as a consequence of my fund-raising I became more like the wealthy donors I met,” Frank quotes the president, ominously.
Frank and a growing number of his colleagues on the excitable literary left fear that in dealing with the financial crisis, “Obama chose the path of Herbert Hoover…. Yes, Tarp aided regional banks here and there, but its obvious, overriding purpose was to get Wall Street off the hook for its disastrous mistakes, to stand the banks back up and get those bonuses flowing as in the old days.”
Poor Obama. When you court the loony left, you inevitably get saddled with dogmatic constituents who devour their own. And poor Frank. Having finally got this muddled book out of the way, no doubt much to the relief of his editor, he’s going to have to try to think his way through this year’s elections. And this time round, he’s going to have to do better than hang it all on Glenn Beck, the Tea Parties, and Ayn Rand
“Root hog, or die.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?