Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Megan McArdle writes that "Maxine Waters brings the crazy" to the Congressional hearings on the TARP:
Her questions to the bankers are so bizarre that they don't know what to do. Ken Lewis looks like a deer in the headlights as Waters asks her about offshore loss mitigation efforts. He can't even figure out what she's talking about, and neither can I. She also asks the bankers, few of whom are in the credit card business, how many of them have cut credit limits to people on the basis of where they shop. It's like watching your crazy aunt challenge your boyfriend to prove that fairies aren't real.
Sadly, Megan did not include the video, which ought to be parodied on "Saturday Night Live," but which probably will not be.
The look on Ken Lewis' face at roughly 5:45 is absolutely priceless (when Waters asks him about taking "fees" for the TARP funds), and would be laugh-out-loud funny if it weren't so tragic. The truth is, Bank of America is under pressure because it stepped up to buy Merrill Lynch when the government asked that it do so. Lewis cannot admit that publicly, of course, because he would be buried in lawsuits from stockholders, but everybody knows it.
Anyway, is Rep. Waters the stupidest elected official in all of America? Why, exactly, would the Democrats want her sitting on such an important and high profile committee? Do they think that this helps them?
Stupidist? We should be so lucky. She would be a mighty buzzy but dim bulb on any number of city councils, planning commissions, etc. Unfortunately, my experience suggests she would not be alone or go home with the brass ring.
But Gawd, she is dumb. Maybe the founding fathers were on to something with the Great Compromise.
Oh, the world we live in...
What is nuttier for those of us post-Oz scarecrows is Obama's refusal to countenance the question that what we spend the stimulus package on does matter, since any government spending is a "stimulus". I think he learned that type of reasoning from the Daleys. Either he has to know better, is an idiot, thinks we are idiots, or all three.
I guess some of us set the bar higher than Maxine...
When you read what's in that Stimulus, and imagine how many layers of people that money passes thru, you think Imelda and Ferdinand, and realize that it's a huge Christmas Tree for his peoples.
Like the one about the bid in DC ... first vendor says 600K, I pay my labor first their 200K, then 200K to my material providesrs, then the profit to myself. I take the hit on overruns. Second Vendor, a minority business, also says 600K ... I pay for my materials, then I pay for my labor, then I pay myself.
The third vendor, from Chicago, says 2.6M. The officials asks why so much, and he gets the following response ... $1M for me off the top. $1M for you ... and 600K to the minority contractor so we can get this passed.
I think everyone is missing the big question here.
Most reasonable people agree that Barney Frank is a pretty sharp guy, whatever one thinks of his politics & of his complicity in much of the housing crash.
Would anyone care to guess exactly what it was that Barney whispered into Maxine's ear after her first question?
No honest person rests easy when the legislature is in session. Her performance was terrible. Why can't we have humble congress people who care about the facts and not photo opportunities. She's entitled to her opinions about the banks, but not her own facts. You're right, TH, SNL would have a field day with this if it took equal opportunities to lampoon people.
"Would anyone care to guess exactly what it was that Barney whispered into Maxine's ear after her first question?"
-- - - - -
He said "Damn, you're rippin' their butts! These are GREAT questions! Push harder, they're gonna break!", and then he sat back down, relieved that someone else is going to look like a clueless, bumbling idiot in tomorrow's news cycle.
Barney's been having a tough couple of months, you see . . .