Archive for September, 2008

Bush’s economy – a success story?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Dan Froomkin of the WaPo’s White House Watch presents:

AFP reports: “Fears of a global financial collapse have cast a dark cloud over US President George W. Bush’s final months in office, after years in which he claimed the US economy as a major success story.”

Paul Krugman of the NY Times comments on Bush’s alleged “major success story”:

Looking at [the included chart], which presidents, exactly, would the Bush economic climate be the envy of? Even at its best, the Bush economy failed to deliver employment growth comparable to that under earlier presidents. And the Bush economy spent very little time at its best. Only Gerald Ford and Bush the elder failed to deliver performance better than the current occupant of the White House.

And just where has Our Glorious Leader (Bush) been during:

“What we are witnessing may be the greatest destruction of financial wealth that the world has ever seen — paper losses measured in the trillions of dollars. Corporate wealth. Oil wealth. Real estate wealth. Bank wealth. Private-equity wealth. Hedge fund wealth. Pension wealth. . . .

“What is really going on, at the most fundamental level, is that the United States is in the process of being forced by its foreign creditors to begin living within its means.”

And as our buddy Joseph Stiglitz says in the Guardian:

“Houses of cards, chickens coming home to roost – pick your cliche. The new low in the financial crisis, which has prompted comparisons with the 1929 Wall Street crash, is the fruit of a pattern of dishonesty on the part of financial institutions, and incompetence on the part of policymakers.”

Well, just as during Hurricane Katrina (and 9-11, for that matter) and its aftermath, Bush has been AWOL:

Ezra Klein blogs for the American Prospect: “According to The Wall Street Journal, Bush was briefed on the rescue after it was in play. And even then, he was only ‘briefed.’ There’s been no effort on the part of the White House to even advance the idea that Bush is an engaged participant who’s actively signing off on these actions, possibly because suggesting his involvement in a crisis of this complexity would cause the stock market to run and hide in a corner.”

At thinkprogress.org, Ali Frick watched MSNBC host Chris Matthews take on Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) last night:

“Noting that a ‘normal president’ would be more visible during such a crisis, Matthews compared Bush’s response to the current financial turmoil to his handling of Hurricane Katrina:

“MATTHEWS: ‘I’m just asking you where’s the President of the United States tonight? You got Paulson out there. Where’s the President? He’s pulling one of these Katrinas again. Where is he? The country’s worried like hell when you lose this amount of value in the wealth of this country in a matter of days. You’d think the President would come on television and explain the situation to the American people. I’m just asking where he is. That’s all I’m asking.’

“CANTOR: ‘Chris, you’ll have to ask — I don’t know where he is. I assume he’s in the White House.'”

And this was just one of those comments that make you go “Wha-a-a-a?!?!?!”:

Olivier Knox writes for AFP: “The vastly unpopular president, who has not held a formal press conference since July 15th or taken questions on the economy since a September 7 television interview, worries that anything he says could become fodder in the race to the November 4 elections, explained spokeswoman Dana Perino.”

Whoa! Whoa! Hold on here! In the midst of financial crisis that rivals 1929, the President is concerned about the upcoming election? The election is even a factor!?!?!

And for anybody who thought that the Iraq War had something to do with oil and other economic factors, Fred Kagan suggests that’s correct and explains why Democrats are to blame:

Democratic senators intervened in Iraqi domestic politics earlier this year to prevent Iraq from signing short-term agreements with Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total, Chevron, and BP.

The Iraqi government was poised to sign no-bid contracts with those firms this summer to help make immediate and needed improvements in Iraq’s oil infrastructure…

…Instead, Senators Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, and Claire McCaskill wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rice asking her “to persuade the GOI [Government of Iraq] to refrain from signing contracts with multinational oil companies until a hydrocarbon law is in effect in Iraq.”

As Booman puts it:

I’d like to point out one more time for the record, that the Iraqis are not grateful for what coalition troops did to their country and that they want us to get the hell out of their country.
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All of this disrespect is what led Fred Kagan (panties all in a bunch) to break out his laptop and type nasties about Sens. Kerry, Schumer, and McCaskill. Why does Kagan give one rat’s ass who gets the contracts in Iraq? You tell me. To blame it on the Democrats, per chance? Or maybe as a direct quid pro quo from his paymasters? [emphasis added]
Fred Kagan has been a major theoretician behind the Iraq War (no, we won’t credit him with the title of “thinker”).