Thursday, March 19, 2009

In Defense Of Chris Dodd, Or Why Wolf Blitzer Is A Jerk

Thursday’s Hartford Courant shows a picture of US Sen. Chris Dodd above the fold looking for all the world like a man who has seen the beginning of the end, and over his head there is a bothersome headline in three quarter inch caps proclaiming DODD’S FLIP-FLOP.

What to make of all this?

A senator has flip-flopped? Oh my! What is the country coming to?

The headline, the picture and the story follow a stunning interview with Wolf Blitzer in which Wolf pins Dodd’s ears back, slams him to the floor and dances on his chest?

But Wolf Blitzer is a jerk; always was, always will be.

Some will say he is doing his job.

Possibly -- if it is the job of a jackal to lunge into the side of a wounded wilderbeast.

Jackal? Wilderbeast? What the….

There should be something in us that recoils whenever we see jackals advancing on a corpse.

Dodd, who all his political life had shown some mastery of the legislative sausage machine, got caught up in it this time. The organ has swallowed the organ master. The first few graphs of the Keating story in the Courant contain all the usual well worn slings and arrows: “Dodd, already reeling… In a retreat from earlier statements… Dodd admitted… negative attention… Dodd is already vulnerable… AIG’s controversial bonuses…”

Now then, the bonuses received by the administrators of AIG are, everyone agrees, obscene. But that is becasue AIG, a governmental industrial complex, also is obscene. If we had not forgotten the meaning of revolution, the guillotine long ago would have been set up in some public square, and all of us could have enjoyed the beheadings of the CEOs of all the GSEs (Government Supported Entities).

AIG is the company that injected all the poisonous “derivatives” into the bloodstream of the nation’s marketplace. But it would be an insult to Charles Ponzi to describe this poisoning of the system as a Ponzi scheme. Students of history will remember that Charles Ponzi was a protégé of Luigi Zarossi, a Canadian who started a bank in Montreal for Italian immigrants. The back got into trouble because of bad mortgage loans – does this sound familiar? – and Zarossi hit on a scheme involving fraudulent stocks later perfected by Ponzi to salvage the bad loans.

When Zarossi’s fraud was discovered, he fled to Mexico with enough cash to allow him to enjoy the good life as a retired banker. Ponzi was not so lucky.

The story at AIG is eerily similar. It has been pointed out, both here in this blog and in columns made available to scores of papers in Connecticut, that the mortgage crisis in the United States was the finger that pushed all the other dominoes now crashing down upon us. None of the lions in the senate were paying the least bit of attention.

Why? Because they were intent on salvaging their own Ponzi scheme. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are still trying to reinvent the economic wheel to make it possible for people to own houses who cannot afford reasonable mortgage payments, and they are largely responsible for the crash of the mortgage market. It also has been said, both in this blog and in columns, that if the problem is that companies like AIG are too big to fail , the problem is THEY ARE TOO BIG. The US government, far from propping up monopolies, should dismantle them. Companies to big to fail should be broken up by bankruptcy judges – who operate outside the confines of the legislative sausage machine that now has ground up Dodd. May it also grind up Barney Frank.

If Wolf Blitzer wants to dilate on all this, he certainly has a forum in which to do it.

But he won’t – because he’s a jerk.

Over at the sausage machine, it was Dodd who was playing the part of the grown-up. Revoking AIG bonuses, which are a part of past contracts, is almost certainly unconstitutional. Retroactive legislation is inherently unconstitutional The grown-up lawyer in Dodd probably recognized this. So, he was being pulled in two different directions, first by his heart – not to mention a yearning for demagoguery his comrades on the left relish – and then by his head, a recipe for tearing yourself asunder.

And Dodd, appearing weak and old in photographs, now has been torn asunder – not because he is a bad man, for Dodd is not a bad man, but because his heart has put him in the scent of jackals.

Wolf Blitzer cannot begin to comprehend why.
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