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Hero worship

September 23, 2008

Digby finds this:

Matthews: I’ve been so impressed by Lincoln’s words this week — government of, by and for the people. It isn’t government of, by and for the people. This is being decided, the biggest issue of our time, this economic crisis, the worst, according to the wall Street Journal,since the 1930s, by people so much bigger headed than most voters, than most members of congress, certainly than me. This is being decided by people like Hank Paulson.

THANK GOD this president has this secretary of treasury and not the one other ones he had before, perhaps. But Richard, the people can’t vote on things like this.

Wolf: (nods sagely)

Matthews: We can’t understand it. I’m one of them. I don’t get it. What are all these derivatives and all this short selling and all this complicated financial … skigamadoo or whatever you call it. What is it?

Wolf: Even the candidates have problem getting through this alphabet soup. I mean, they’ve both mangled the players and the key terms of those involved here. Are they talking about firing the right person when he talks about Chris Cox? Is it Fannie Mac or Freddie Mae?

Matthews: I’m just wondering if it’s above our pay grade? I think Carly Fiorina may have been right. These guys can run for president but they can’t be Secretary of the Treasury.

Matthews: Even elected presidents can’t master this financial game. It’s too complicated. Shouldn’t they come out and tell us who their economic team’s gonna be? … The reason I ask is because we saw the president this week and Bush has all the native intelligence you can have. He doesn’t want to touch it because for a layman to start talking about the economy right now is very dangerous. Right Lynn?

Lynn Sweet: It’s tough. It’s interesting because who would have thought that his treasury secretary would emerge from this crisis…

Matthews:the third secretary, two are gone…

Sweet: Right. That he would emerge from this looking as the strong person in the administration, who’s pulling it together. And we’ll see if the congress gives him the power to run the economy.

Matthews: Is congress willing to make him King Henry as they put on the one of the magazine covers?

Wolf: the cover of Newsweek…

Matthews: Will they let him be King Henry?

Here’s the Wall Street Journal yesterday:

If our luck holds, Hank Paulson will get the extraordinary authority he seeks. If we are really lucky, Paulson may actually fix the mess we have made. So why not give him whatever he needs?

Of course, it is easy to be outraged by the Treasury’s bail-out proposal. Lots of money. Lots of power. Naked, ugly dictatorial power.

“Decisions by the Treasury pursuant to the Authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.” Such language could have been drafted by any Third World caudillo.

But it wasn’t. It was drafted by U.S. Treasury lawyers at the behest of the Secretary of the Treasury.

And Paulson isn’t any Secretary of the Treasury. He doesn’t need power. And he certainly doesn’t need money.

Of course, he isn’t a saint or Superman. He is awkward and an awful public speaker. But he is the one man that can serve as an honest broker between the banks and the taxpayers–between Wall Street and Washington.

He can do the right thing for the country. How many other people on Wall Street or Washington can we say that about? […]

There is a lot of money at stake, so it will be almost impossible to produce a plan that makes everyone happy. But the plan has to produce winners on both sides. Push the banks too far–and the Treasury may get more bankruptcies than the system can handle. Don’t push the banks hard enough–and they will get rich at the expense of the taxpayer. It is a balancing act, but who better to find that balance than an honest broker like Paulson?

Is Washington afraid he will be too soft on his Wall Street buddies to the detriment of the taxpayer? This is the guy, after all, who “never once” considered bailing out Lehman.

My guess is that Paulson has moved well beyond Wall Street. His sole concern is to save the U.S. financial system–and as a taxpayer, I will take him over anybody else on Wall Street or Congress to do just that.

How many people on Wall Street or Washington can we say that about? Well, just about any of them. We can say it over and over and over again if we want.

It’s obvious what’s going to happen now: Henry Paulson is the hero that will save us from this crisis (unless, of course, he doesn’t, and then everyone will wonder why we trusted him in the first place). He’s perfect for the role: no one really knew he existed before this week and he’s asking for unilateral power to dispense $700 billion dollars to the richest people in America.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of our traditional media has a direct financial stake in that $700 billion being dispensed. So they need to make sure that Americans trust the man who’s not only asking for it, but asking to be protected from any sort of regulation or oversight.

The media’s never led us wrong when it comes to hero worship before either, right? I mean, I just can’t think of a single example

MATTHEWS: What do you make of this broadside against the USS Abraham Lincoln and its chief visitor last week?

LIDDY: Well, I — in the first place, I think it’s envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man. And here comes George Bush. You know, he’s in his flight suit, he’s striding across the deck, and he’s wearing his parachute harness, you know — and I’ve worn those because I parachute — and it makes the best of his manly characteristic. You go run those — run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman’s vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn’t count — they’re all liars. Check that out. I hope the Democrats keep ratting on him and all of this stuff so that they keep showing that tape.


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