Responsibility?

Don't look at me, not my fault...
Don't look at me, not my fault...

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/18/obama.economy/index.html, http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/19/bonus.bill/index.html, http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/19/aig.bonuses.congress/index.html

I didn’t vote for Mr. Obama, but I understood his appeal.  Here was a fresh face, promising change, competence, and a new era of responsbility.  Who doesn’t want that?

But after the past few weeks, you have to wonder how much of his claims were bluster, and how much are actually real.  There has been no responsibility taken; there is no culpability, and certainly there has been no mea culpa.

Mr. Obama, at a town hall meeting on Wednesday night, said that the AIG mess was his responsibility.  But when  you take responsibility, Mr. President, you don’t follow it with excuses.  “We didn’t draft these contracts. We’ve got a lot on our plate. But it is appropriate when you’re in charge to make sure stuff doesn’t happen like this,” Obama told a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa, California. Why do we need excuses, if the problem is yours to deal with?   Earlier in th day, Mr. Obama and his press secretary again blamed the Bush Administration for leaving this mess to them.  Doesn’t sound like taking ownership of the problem to me.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has plenty to answer for as well.   He was in charge of the New York Federal Reserve when they were having discussion regarding bonuses at AIG late last year.  For him to state he only found out about them last week is ludicrous. Then, to compound matters, he could have been more upfront on the whole episode, but was not. On Thursday, the Secretary finally admitted that it was his department that asked for removal of  bonus restrictions in the Stimulus Package, after denying the fact for days.   Geithner decided that legally he had no authority to withold the bonuses. He may be right, but with his own president leading the mob against AIG, Geithner is frankly in the way.  He is actually taking the most fire in this mess, but the President has said his job is safe.  And now, it appears that Geithner will somehow have to diffuse the next bomb, the bonuses at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Then there is Senator Chris Dodd.  Mr. Dodd, the biggest ally of AIG in Congress as well as the biggest recipient of AIG campaign contributions, conveniently forgot to tell the public that he was the one that neutered his own provision in the stimulus bill to limit bonuses on Wall Street.  I wouldn’t mind, except he didn’t tell the truth on an interview with CNN yesterday; today, he came clean.  Of course, he also threw Timothy Geithner and the Treasury Department under the bus by stating it was Treasury officials who asked him to change the law.

But Mr. Dodd isn’t the only one to get into the act.  Almost every Congressman that could get in front of a camera in the last two days has jumped on the bandwagon, without taking any responsibility. Take Barney Frank, who objected to bonus limitation on Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac.  Or Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, who certainly could have stood up for bonuses to be revoked in cases of government bailouts, but did nothing.  Not all Republicans are safe either, with Sen. Grassley leading the way.  Republicans have slightly more cover considering most of them voted against the TARP in October, only to be attacked by the media for it.  One final point:  remember that most of the people you now hear complaining about the bonuses voted for the stimulus plan, which contained the law about allowing these firms to hand out bonuses.  These Congressman didn’t have enough time to read the bill, but now are complaining about what they voted for.  What goes around, comes around, I guess.

Nancy Pelosi, in her usual incompetent manner, refused to take any blame for this mess, completely laying the blame on Republicans and George W. Bush, conveniently forgetting that it was her stimulus plan that blocked restriction on bonuses.  Again, politicians in power are reluctant to be culpable for anything.

The honest truth is that the Democrats were playing with a safety net for the past several years, and his name was George W. Bush.  Anytime anything went wrong, Mr. Bush was a convenient (and truthfully, often a real) fall guy.  Now, that net is gone.  Mr. Obama has no one to blame for this mess other than himself and his colleagues.  This was either incompetence or malfiescence on their part.  It is always a bad thing when the President gets asked “What did you know, and when did you know it?”, especially when he can’t answer the question.

The time is long past when Mr. Obama states that this mess was his and his alone.  No excuses, no explanations.  Sure, I understand that it was not totally his mess.  AIG is incompetent and foolish, but he has only his administration to blame for making what was a small matter in to a large fiasco.  The only way to end this is to take the blame and move on.  However, they feel that passing a 90% tax on those receiving bonuses will placate the public; they are wrong.  The public is not only mad at Wall Street, they are sick and tired of incompetence from ou political leaders.

But instead of taking lame and movig on, Mr. Obama has spent much of the week feigning anger about the whole debacle.  He succeeded in enraging the public, but what he still fails to understand is that the public is angry at the establishment, and that Mr. Obama is now the establishment.  The President of the United States is the definition of Washington insider, and Obama hasn’t accepted that yet.

The arrogance of the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats, however, still stands out.  Even on Wednesday, when they had clearly been shown to be completely amiss on the AIG bailout mess, they were still pointing to Mr. Obama’s personal polls as proof that all is well.  David Axelrod said the public is not worried about AIG; is he kidding?  They are living in a bubble; all polls are transient.  The White House better start understanding that the campaign is over, and poll numbers don’t matter all that much.  As long as the Obama people keep looking for scapegoats, it is unlikely the American people will be satisfied with the result.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/19/feehery.geithner/index.html

9 thoughts on “Responsibility?

  • March 19, 2009 at 12:46 am
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    our politicians and “leaders” have been raised by a society and generation that says it is wrong to teach/impose values on others …. so our media and our politicians and our “leaders” twist half truths and tell us it is “spin” rather than just admitting that half truths are simply lies because they are deliberately stated to deceive and not tell the truth.

  • March 19, 2009 at 3:12 am
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    I watched alot of Liddy’s testimony yesterday. There was something showtrially about it. The guy takes the job for a dollar a year. Now, obviously he does that for one of two reasons: 1. he is independently wealthy, in which case it’s no great sacrifice for him, or 2. he was chosen by the cabal to protect their interests while pretending to look after the country’s interests. It reminded me of Cheney taking the VP job for relative peanuts. Look at the sweetheart deals Cheney got for Halliburton and other big corps and big wealth and energy giants, etc. It seems to me that there is a conspiracy by the closed door made it big corporate class to “get their guys” in government and quasi-government decision making roles. Liddy was being praised by most Congressmen for the “thankless” job he took on, but did he take it on to protect the upper echelon thieves at AIG? Whatever the reason, he had varying excuses for why it was necessary to pay ridiculous bonuses in these times, and according to his testimony, he intends to pay hundreds of millions more “performance” bonuses this year. He says if he doesn’t good people will leave and go somewhere else. To me that means, either the economy is not that bad since these multi-million dollar jobs still exist, or he is just making excuses for making sure these people continue to wallow in excess while the rest of us struggle.

  • March 19, 2009 at 4:58 am
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    What wrong here? The buck didn’t stop at BHO’s desk; he passed it on. It’s called spreading the wealth. This is just a big feint of keeping the focus of the proletariat off what the Alinsky-aligned Maoists, Leninists and Marxists in the Administration and Congress have done and are doing to destroy this great nation, and have us more like central and eastern Europe. Yes, the wealthy will can afford to pay more taxes, because they will not be providing jobs, which really stimulate the economy.

  • March 19, 2009 at 5:15 am
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    Obama is a fraud and a liar, liar, liar, liar. Wake up and vote these crooks out!

  • March 19, 2009 at 5:37 am
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    Seems our rock star’s brillance is fading. Before the end of 2009 he’ll be a red dwarf. Obama is like a hollywood set. All show, no go. The bonuses were PAID on Obama and Liddy’s shift. Maybe they both need to take the Japanese route! Bow, say I’m sorry and fall on their swords.

    Hey, I didn’t vote for the rock star.

    BjNJ

  • March 19, 2009 at 6:25 am
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    Just ask yourself. How long has Chris Dodd been in Congress and the Senate combined. How many relationships do you make with those willing to give you money for favors in that period of time?
    Why is it when a Republican does something wrong, they have to leave office? When did a Democrat have to do that? America ….. TERM LIMITS ARE THE CURE and we must demand one in the Senate and two in the Congress.

  • March 19, 2009 at 7:21 am
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    Yesterday’s AIG hearings represent America at it’s worst. There is no responsibility among the elected. They cannot be deemed leaders – just elected officials. Liddy was essentially spit on by members of Congress, and had “leaders” like Chris Dodd actually spoken words of truth, this entire theater would never have occurred.

    The fingers of blame are poisoning America: kill the executives, blame the republicans, fault our troops, lie to your mother. This administration and congress are turning Americans against each other at a time when we most need each other. People are losing jobs, businesses, and personal sanctuaries, yet, ideology, greed, envy, and untruths rule the day. Congressional members fan the flames of envy and greed, leading to the most vile of hatred, until, someone actually leads the charge the kill the snake that squirms, when it is not the snake that needs to be killed, but the motives of power.

    As Americans, we have listened to President Obama far too often claim, “he inherited this situation”. Well he ran knowing the economy was a disaster, and seems to believe that is better to remind Americans of his inheritance rather than taking responsibility to find solutions. Responsibility and leadership are just that; faulting others continually is not leadership.

    Bonus rewards to AIG employees is no different than the intent of government to reward those in society that have not played by the rules. The difference is that AIG is on the wrong side. The most disappointing aspect of this whole mess, is there appears to be no one, perhaps other than Liddy yesterday, who wants to seek solutions to solving difficult problems, and the one’s that speak the loudest of hate and most vengeful of breath will receive no punishment what-so-ever from their dishonest ways.

  • March 19, 2009 at 11:41 am
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    I am a democrat, I supported Barack Obame to get elected and still fullheartedly support his administration. But I agree that this AIG affair is a terrible embarassment — this is what we expect of republicans but democrat officials should be held to a higher standard.

    Tim Geinther should offer his resignation to the President. Dodd should resign his committee position where he obviously messed up so badly.

    And since I am here, I should also say that I strongly believe that the best way to solve the banking crisis is by nationalizing the banks — that is called “the Hamburg Factor” — knock down everything and start anew. Once the industry is rebuilt on a sound basis, it should then return to the private sector. But as of now, it is just too rotten — thanks to the last 30 years of laissez-faire.

  • March 19, 2009 at 3:03 pm
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    Well, I partially support your comments. As for nationalization, I would argue that broken companies like AIG and possibly Citibank should be nationalized, broken up, and sold off. But there are many banks that are profitable right now; actually, most banks in this country are profitable. You don’t hear that on the news. The broken companies should be devolved, and the rest should be regulated so we won’t have this kind of mess again.

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