Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Alpha Dogs Bark

Gail Collins with some scathing and spot-on humor!

John McCain, on the other hand, was angry. Still. He had been angry Monday, when he blamed the financial crisis on greedy speculators, and on Tuesday, when he blamed it on people who didn’t respect the American worker. He was furious on Wednesday, when he blamed the crisis on C.E.O.’s with golden parachutes until it was pointed out that one of his highest-profile advisers, Carly Fiorina, had sailed out of Hewlett-Packard with a 24-karat whopper. On Thursday, he was mad at the head of the Securities Exchange Commission.

On Friday, McCain looked steamed when he gave a new policy speech in Wisconsin with Sarah Palin at his side. The Republicans have discovered that McCain can’t draw a crowd without Palin, and the dangers of letting her float off by herself are apparent. So the two are manacled together these days like Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier in that old escape-from-a-chain-gang movie.

McCain’s proposals were pretty much in line with the emerging Washington consensus. The real theme of the speech was assignment of blame. Normally at times of great national trauma top politicians say they want to avoid finger-pointing. But the McCainian digit was ready for action, and its owner assured the audience that he had found “plenty of places to point.”

The main culprit, the finger’s final resting place, turned out to be — Obama!

September 20, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

The Alpha Dogs Bark

These times are so perilous that George W. Bush emerged from his burrow on Friday to reassure the American people about the financial crisis.

Looking either grim or overmedicated, Bush spoke for several minutes — 1,260 words worth of reassurance. That was a far more ambitious effort than the day before, when, as Politico’s Roger Simon noted, our president devoted 100 fewer words to his public utterances on the collapsing economy than he did to toasting the president of Ghana at dinner.

Behind the-first-president-with-an-M.B.A.-and-a-lot-of-good-it-did-us stood the Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke, who appears to be actually running the government. On Thursday night, Bernanke had called Congressional leaders together and terrified them into supporting a quadrillion-dollar rescue plan. Legend has it that there was a time when these sorts of gatherings took place at the White House, but it would probably have really cast a pall on the president of Ghana’s big night.


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