Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Graveyard

Self important to the extreme, Charles DeGaulle actually had one truly great quote. "The graveyards are filled with indispensable men." something Frank Rich eloquently paraphrased in his excellent op-ed piece titled Slumdogs Unite!, a cautionary tale about the rising anger of America regarding bailouts to the rich and connected sleazeballs who perpetrated the economic disaster our country is now facing. .."Obama’s brilliant appointees, we keep being told, are irreplaceable. But as de Gaulle said, “The cemeteries of the world arefull of indispensable men.” You have to wonder if this team is really a meritocracy or merely a stacked deck."

The irony of all of this is the fact some of the players who gamed the system are now considered to be part of the solution, something that doesn't auger well as we move out of the aughts of the 21st century.

Here's the NY Times take on the myth of the IM.

Adding fuel to the fire, here's another blurb on the O Man team.

"Only weeks ago, the political world was buzzing about a "team of rivals." America was told that finally, after years of yes men running the government, we were getting a president who would follow Abraham Lincoln’s lead, fill his administration with varying viewpoints, and glean empirically sound policy from the clash of ideas. Little did we know that "team of rivals" was what George Orwell calls "newspeak": an empty slogan "claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts.

Obama's national security team, for instance, includes not a single Iraq war opponent. The president has not only retained George W. Bush's defense secretary, Robert Gates, but also 150 other Bush Pentagon appointees. The only "rivalry" is between those who back increasing the already bloated defense budget by an absurd amount and those who aim to boost it by a ludicrous amount.

Of course, that lockstep uniformity pales in comparison to the White House's economic team -- a squad of corporate lackeys disguised as public servants.

At the top is Lawrence Summers, the director of Obama's National Economic Council.
As Bill Clinton's treasury secretary in the late 1990s, Summers worked with his deputy, Tim Geithner (now Obama's treasury secretary), and Clinton aide Rahm Emanuel (now Obama's chief of staff) to champion job-killing trade deals and deregulation that Obama Commerce Secretary Judd Gregg helped shepherd through Congress as a Republican senator. Now, this pinstriped band of brothers is proposing a "cash for trash" scheme that would force the public to guarantee the financial industry's bad loans. It's another ploy "to hand taxpayer dollars to the banks through a variety of complex mechanisms," says economist Dean Baker -- and noticeably absent is anything even resembling a "rival" voice inside the White House.

That's not an oversight. From former federal officials like Robert Reich and Brooksley Born, to Nobel Prize-winning economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, to business leaders like Leo Hindery, there's no shortage of qualified experts who have challenged market fundamentalism. But they have been barred from an administration focused on ideological purity.


The Confidence Man cometh.

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