IS THIS OBAMA'S 9/11?
(And is it not at all like Bush's?)
In my last post, I talked about Dick Cheney's habit of telling interviewers that President Obama is making us more vulnerable to foreign evildoers, and I argued that it's laying the groundwork for a blame-Obama response in the event that America does suffer a terrorist attack.
Well, it occurs to me that Americans are looking at the AIG bonuses as a domestic 9/11 -- a deliberate assault by financial evildoers who hate us and who boast of their deeds. But as regards the president, in this 9/11 the reaction in the Beltway is to focus on the White House's failure to prevent the attack, and the assumption is that the attack weakens him.
Is that because this isn't a real terrorist attack by foreigners -- or is it because Obama's a Democrat? Hard to say. But here's the lede of a Washington Post story:
President Obama's apparent inability to block executive bonuses at insurance giant AIG has dealt a sharp blow to his young administration and is threatening to derail both public and congressional support for his ambitious political agenda.
Politicians in both parties flocked to express outrage over $165 million in bonuses paid out to executives at the company, demanding answers from the president....
It's easy to imagine that as:
President Obama's apparent inability to block the terrorist attacks has dealt a sharp blow to his young administration and is threatening to derail both public and congressional support for his ambitious political agenda.
Politicians in both parties flocked to express outrage, demanding answers from the president....
With regard to this attack, we're already at the 9/11 Commission stage. From the syndicated version of that Washington Post story:
Attorneys working for the Fed had been examining the matter for months and determined that the bonus payments couldn't be touched because AIG would face costly lawsuits and be subject to penalties from states and foreign governments. Administration officials said over the weekend that they agreed with that assessment.
AIG disclosed its retention-payment program more than a year ago, and the amount of the bonuses had been widely reported. But as the payments were coming due in recent days, the White House began to express its indignation.
And here's Talking Points Memo posting a story about California congressman Brad Sherman, who said the Obama administration had the power to modify those bonuses:
We had a provision in there that said Treasury was supposed to establish, by regulation, standards for executive compensation. We required that to be done -- had it been done, it would have been binding, whether [or not] these contracts had been signed earlier. It's entirely within the power of the federal government to have contracts modified [at companies receiving public aid]. Nixon had contracts modified by the federal government. We gave a similar power to Treasury.
It's fair to say that the Obama administration has tiptoed around these bastards far too carefully -- nationalize the lot of 'em, I say. (Certainly nationalize AIG.)
But meanwhile, I think he needs a bullhorn moment. I suspect he needs a war. He needs to identify himself with this outrage and join with those who want this wrong reversed somehow. It may be his only chance of retaining the Beltway-elite respect that Bush, despite failing to prevent 9/11, didn't lose for years and years.