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September 26, 2008

GOP Rotten Fish

Roy Meachum

Coming out of the Fredericktown movies Wednesday I was greeted by the voice of the commander-in-chief. George W. Bush informed me and all Americans that his financial rescue proposal would save the lives we cheer. It was a clunker of a speech.


Frederick Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, a stout Republican, allowed: "The president wasn't any more definitive than Secretary (Henry) Paulsen and Federal Reserve Chairman (Ben) Bernanke have been. You can't privatize profits and socialize losses. You can't reward bad behavior."


And that was Mr. Bartlett's reaction to five days of negotiations to make the measure more palatable to taxpayers and legislators. Mr. Bush laid out crucial details that were vastly different from the package proposed by his administration last Friday.


Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, with the advice and consent of the White House and Vice President Richard Cheney, chose to "reward bad behavior" by going along with the executives' golden parachutes, involving millions of taxpayers' money. That's what Dr. Bartlett meant. Mr. Bush said not!


With the enthusiastic support of the top two men in Washington, the top financial bureaucrats tried for a quick "kill" that would have left disbursement entirely in the hands of the president and all his men. But Wednesday the president spoke of limiting federal funds to the nation's chief culprits in the financial mess.


Hypocrisy looms for history as the leading characteristic of George W. Bush and his top hands. Incidentally – but not really – a survey shows only 16 percent approval for the way the Oval Office handled the financial crisis. Seems high to me.


The stink in Hamlet's Denmark transforms into delicate perfume by comparison.


Making things no better for the chances of electing another Republican this time, the GOP nominee tried yet another gimmick: his first was Sarah Palin; she evidently has great legs – I’ve never seen them – and abysmal knowledge of the world outside her native Alaska.


Desperately, Sen. John McCain wants Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama to join in suspending their campaigns because of the national financial concerns. He tried that gimmick early on when Hurricane Ike stormed the Texas coast: he canceled his convention's first day of ceremony and business. But looking at the vicious tone in his attack ads, a halo has no place to sit upon his head. But still he tries.


Neither Mr. Obama nor the bipartisan Commission for Presidential Debates went along with Mr. McCain's "noble call" to cancel tonight's debate at the University of Mississippi. As the senator from Illinois pointed out, whoever wins the White House inherits multi-tasking as part of the job. Let the speechifying roll!


Outsiders suspect – and some outright say – the Arizona senator is trying to dodge the hit that comes to his party for making America's financial picture so screwed-up. Senator Obama received his highest numbers in the polls this week.


More importantly, the current GOP nominee should get President Bush, his vice president and all their warriors to act less politically. As this presidential term winds down, Washington takes on the smells when Herbert Hoover was exiled from the Oval Office. 1932 was another year of rotten, Republican stinking fish.


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