Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Denial Presidency

President George W. Bush's remarks this morning indicated little more than what we knew all along, which is that denial is still the strong suit in his hand of Presidential strategies. At a time when we are hearing more and more language to the effect that the needs of the many American citizens facing problems of unmanageable debt vastly exceed the needs of those shareholders who would suffer without a bailout, the President continues to believe that easing Wall Street's pain is the only way to go. We know the specious logic. The President's father once tried to play up the flaws of "trickle-down" reasoning, calling it "voodoo economics;" but he stilled his voice of reasonable protest in the interest of political expediency. These were the days when Ronald Reagan was in his ascendancy; and, when wealth was not trickling down from the haves to the have-nots, there was still a rising tide lifting all boats. The elder Bush could have pressed on about how fallacious this reasoning was, but he chose to run as Reagan's Vice President and eventually became part of the problem.

What the younger Bush does not seem to realize in denying such flaws of the past is that (unless the dark materials at his disposal really have locked up the elections regardless of how the public actually votes) every American facing debt problems still has the power of the ballot box at his or her disposal; and every one of them gets to vote for who will stand for them in the House of Representatives. In other words, if the House votes for something that is not acceptable to the general public, whatever the powers of the Executive Branch and the K Street lobbyists may be, then every member will have to explain that vote of approval to a disapproving electorate (and will have only about a month to do it). There was something historic about yesterday's vote. At a time when most of the rhetoric has been about accountability for reckless financial practices, a critical mass of members of the House remembered their own accountability to their constituency; and they placed that accountability over the powers of Wall Street that once dreamed they were "Masters of the Universe." If both houses of the Congress remember their accountability, fairness to the American public may yet prevail.

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