Archive for Friday, September 26, 2008

Where were the cops?

September 26, 2008

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It's just human nature that some calamities register in the brain and others don't. The train engineer texting at the throttle ("HOW R U? C U L8R") and missing the red light and 25 people die in the crash - oh God, that is way too real - everyone has had a moment of supreme stupidity that came close to killing somebody. Even atheists say a little prayer now and then: Dear God, I am an idiot, thank you for protecting my children.

On the other hand, the federal bailout of the financial market (YAWN) is a calamity that people accept as if it were just one more hurricane. An air of crisis, the secretary of the treasury striding down a hall at the Capitol with minions in his wake, solemn-faced congressmen at the microphones. Something must be done, harrumph harrumph. The Current Occupant pops out of the cuckoo clock and reads a few lines off a piece of paper, pronouncing all the words correctly. And the newscaster looks into the camera and says, "Etaoin shrdlu qwertyuiop." Where is the outrage?

Poor Larry Craig got a truckload of moral condemnation for tapping his wingtips in the men's john, but his party proposes to spend 5 percent of the GDP to buy up bad loans made by men who walk away with their fortunes intact while retirees see their 401(k) go pffffffff like a defunct air mattress, and it's business as usual. John McCain is a lifelong deregulator and believer in letting brokers and bankers do as they please - remember Lincoln Savings and Loan and his intervention with federal regulators on behalf of his friend Charles Keating, who then went to prison?

Remember Neil Bush, the brother of the C.O., who, as a director of Silverado S&L, bestowed enormous loans on his friends without telling fellow directors that the friends were friends and who, when the loans failed, paid a small fine and went skipping off to other things? McCain now decries greed on Wall Street and suggests a commission be formed to look into the problem. This is like Casanova coming out for chastity.

Confident men took leave of common sense and bet on the idea of perpetual profit in the real estate market and crashed. But it wasn't their money. It was your money they were messing with. And that's why you need government regulators. Gimlet-eyed men with steel-rim glasses and crepe-soled shoes who check the numbers and have the power to say, "This is a scam and a hustle and either you cease and desist or you spend a few years in a minimum-security federal facility playing backgammon."

The Republican Party used to specialize in gimlet-eyed, steel-rim, crepe-soled common sense and then it was taken over by crooked preachers who demand we trust them because they're packing a Bible and God sent them on a mission to enact lower taxes, less government. Except when things crash, and then government has to pick up the pieces.

Some say the tab might come to a trillion dollars. Nobody knows. And McCain has not one moment of doubt or regret. He switches from First Deregulation Church to Our Lady of Strict Vigilance like you might go from decaf to latte. Where is the straight talk? Does the man have no conscience?

It wasn't their money they were playing with. It was yours. Where were the cops?

What we are seeing is the stuff of a novel, the public corruption of an American war hero. It is painful. First, there was his exploitation of a symbolic woman, an eager zealot who is so far out of her depth that it isn't funny anymore. Anyone with a heart has to hurt for how McCain has made a fool of her. Never mind the persistent cheesiness of his attack ads. And now this chasm of debt and loss and the gentleman pretends to be shocked. He was there. He turned out the lights. He sent the regulators home.

McCain seems willing to say anything, do anything, to get to the White House so he can go to war with Iran. If he needs to recline naked in Macy's window, he would do that, or eat live chickens, or claim to be a reformer. Obviously you can fool a lot of people for a while and maybe he can stretch it out until mid-November. But the truth is marching on. A few true conservatives are leading a charge against the bailout. Good for them. But how about admitting that their cowboy economic philosophy was at fault here?

- Garrison Keillor is the author of a new Lake Wobegon novel, "Liberty" (Viking).

Comments

Terry Jacobsen 6 years, 6 months ago

Funny, its the democrats and republican senate that want to give a bailout to these hoodlums. McCain was the one saying that Walstreet should bail out their own kind, and not take it out of the American peoples' money. Are you not paying attention?

Hoots 6 years, 6 months ago

Oh, it's all the Republicans fault. Give me a break and get your head out of the sand you fool. This fraud was perpetrated on us by both parties yet the blind and unseeing always want to place the blame on the other guy/gal. The real evil lies with the big money that splashes your beloved dem's or rep's of choice. Does a single Big Wig in Washington know your name? I'm sure a few know yours. But they don't care if I or most Americans have so much as a sandwich to eat tomorrow. They don't care if they make one sided trade deals that ship our jobs over seas or favor slave labor practices that we'd never tolerate here. Of course they don't you fool. Not when some big spender just bought your favorite Democrat or Republican a $300 bottle of wine, a $400 meal, gave those tickets to the Mets game, and promised to fly the whole family to the Caribbean on the company jet for the weekend. Garrison Who? Even your big name means nothing to these people, so who are we to them? During the Clinton administration many of the big players in finance lobbied Washington for changes in the banking laws. They wined and dined both Republicans and Democrats to get this done. Many important economist at the time said this was bad policy and would surely come to haunt us at some future date. So the Congress and the Senate pass this disastrous time bomb of a bill and your BELOVED savior BILL CLINTON signs it into life. But no Garrison it's all the Republicans fault. No Garrison this is the fault of a system gone wrong. This is the fault of a system that has corrupted all in our federal government. The real problem is that they have all become a fraud on the people they are in oath to serve. So take your head out of that Donkeys bottom, step back a few steps, and take a whiff. Then maybe you might be able to smell what you should have all along. This isn't the first time either. Let's not forget the savings and loan crisis in the 80's, the junk bond mess, Enron, Tyco, the housing crisis, and now this. I even left out a few things. In all cases many people walked away from these deals guilty as hell but with tens of millions in their pockets. So we are the fools for voting for the people who keep padding the pockets of the guilty. Yet we cheer for the home team even though they would happily sell your first born child to make themselves millionaires as well. We have been bought and sold yet we are ask to pick up the tab at the door. Our system is broken and I for one am sick of it and have been for years. So Garrison keep your head in the backside of that donkey. I hear if you live in stink long enough you cease the ability to smell it anymore.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 6 months ago

Desperately trying to spread responsibility as far and wide as possible, the reds, and not without an unprecedented degree of olfactory habituation.

b_asinbeer 6 years, 6 months ago

"Hoots (Anonymous) says:Oh, it's all the Republicans fault."I'm glad you're finally seeing things clearer! :o)

Left_handed 6 years, 6 months ago

Hoots,Mr. Keillor's head is not in the sand. I won't sit here and let you malign him so unfairly. His head is actually inserted into a dark and probably foul-smelling part of his anatomy.

David Omar 6 years, 6 months ago

Keillor isn't talking about the Republicans in general but McCain Specifically. he was for deregulation while a Senator and now he is trying to shore up the problem with regulations. Keillor is right on. This man chose a VP candidate who is way out of her league and has had her made a fool of her self. That's what he said and most of that is right on. Palin is a nice woman, but not ready to lead the country no matter how many hockey games and moose. Being close to Russia is not foreign experience. She just got a passport.

Solutions101 6 years, 6 months ago

Why does the liberal media print this crap?Wait.. recap.. it's the liberal media providing a non-informative bs article. Surprising? Not really.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 6 months ago

after the way this loser described the veteran's memorial day event, "vulgar" "repulsive" were words he used, why is this man even still in the ljworld at all? only one answer: acute far left fringe bias! apparently GK hasn't heard of McCain's 2005 bill trying to prevent this, and in his statement predicted the current trouble! stopped by: Frank, rangel, mad-maxine waters, Schumer, Dodd. Dodd took more FM money than any other senator; number 2: Barry H. Obama! Barry H. Obama voted against regulatory reform. and as to the "current occupant, GK knows and thus lies in ignoring the dozen and a half statments made by this administration on this looming crisis, going back to '01! no one should trust one word out of GK's pie-hole. what a waste of talent! what an idiot.
LJWORLD! please pull this guy!

Tony Kisner 6 years, 6 months ago

Toe - how about extortion? If you don't give me some money I will do something terrible to you.

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