The funniest thing I’ve seen today? This:
The Tea Party WMD stockpile is currently stored in book form: Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. By Gretchen Morgenson, one of America’s best business journalists who is currently at The New York Times, and noted financial analyst Joshua Rosner, Reckless Endangerment gives the best available account of how the growing chaos in the mortgage and personal finance markets and the rampant bundling of dubious loans into exotically toxic securities plunged the world, and millions of American families, into the gravest financial crisis since World War Two. It is gripping reading as well, and its explanations are clear enough that readers without any background in finance will have no trouble following the plot. The villains? An unholy alliance between Wall Street, the Democratic establishment, community organizing groups like ACORN and La Raza, and politicians like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Henry Cisneros. (Frank got a cushy job for a lover, Pelosi got a job and layoff protection for a son, Cisneros apparently got a license to mint money bilking Mexican-Americans of their life savings in cheesy housing developments.)
If the GOP can make this narrative mainstream, and put this picture into the heads of voters nationwide, the Democrats are toast.
Good luck making that narrative mainstream. I think it’s fair to say that the housing bubble and all the fancy financial instruments that fueled it took many years to develop and relied on a variety of weaknesses in the system, some of which were created by Bill Clinton. But, let’s remember that the bubble burst in late 2008, after nearly eight years of Republican ownership of the White House. And, during those eight years, the Republicans controlled the House for the first six and the Senate for part of 2001 and all of 2003-2006. They alone had the power to make the kinds of laws or utilize existing regulatory authority to prevent the giant fraud that was being perpetrated on the public. They didn’t do anything. They looked the other way. They let Wall Street run free.
Before we can get to any Democratic complicity in this, we first have to assign blame to the people who actually had the power to do something. Of course, Gretchen Morgenson served as Steve Forbes’s press secretary and is known for writing hyped and slanted opinion pieces posing as analysis. She also likes to steal bloggers’ work without giving attribution. We know how her bread is buttered. As for Rosner, he was prescient about the housing crisis, but he didn’t blame Barney Frank and ACORN for the impending doom. He blamed the rating agencies and the SEC for failing to do due diligence on the collateralized mortgage bonds. If he now has found new villains, it just means he has a book to sell. But, in truth, I don’t think Mr. Mead is giving a fair and balanced portrait of the book, which has won the praise of people like Bill Moyers. It sounds to me like it has a lot of villains that were conveniently left out of this review.
But, yeah, if the Republicans could convince people that they’re underwater on their mortgage and out of work because the Democrats gave free houses to blacks and Latinos, the Democratic Party would be toast.