Thursday, November 13, 2008

Never too Late for Chutzpah!

President George W. Bush apparently has no intention of letting his lame duck status interfere with his capacity for building up a collection of Chutzpah of the Week award. Once again I have Al Jazeera English to thank for helping me with my decision, and once again the award is based on his inability to keep his mouth shut for our current financial crisis. More specifically, our President's twelfth award is based on remarks he prepared for a speech today prior to the G20 gather in Washington on Saturday. Here is how Al Jazeera English reported the content of that speech:

George Bush, the US president, is to urge global leaders to fix the current financial system rather than dismantle it completely, the White House has said.

Bush, who will host a conference with leaders of the world's top 20 economies this weekend on the financial crisis, is in New York to deliver remarks on the financial turmoil.

"[The president will] emphasise that free market capitalism - especially free trade - is still the best system to create economic growth and lift people out of poverty," Carlton Carroll, a White House spokesman, said.

"We should fix the problems we have rather than dismantle a system that has improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world."

Bush will call the financial crisis a decisive moment for the global economy but "not a failure of the free market system", according to prepared remarks.

Al Jazeera's John Terrett says that Bush's aim in his speech on Thursday will be to appear as buoyant and optimistic about the economy as possible in a bid to ease fears over the economy.

It is hard to imagine what it would take to be "buoyant and optimistic" of a mess that is decided of one's own making; but a strong helping of chutzpah would definitely have to be part of the mix! I suspect that, however superficial his knowledge of economic may be, our President is nervous about the prospect of a new Bretton Woods approach to reviewing the basic "rules of the game," not to mention the influence that John Maynard Keynes could have on that approach. Worse yet, that approach could well lead to taking a critical approach to the whole nature of political economy, meaning that he would also have to contend with the likes of Karl Marx. Our President may be uncertain about economic theories, but his ability to sort out the good guys from the bad guys is probably as robust as ever! Thus, once again he is sacrificing a sense of reality in favor of his own vision of a war of good against evil; and his assumption that the rest of the G20 will take such reasoning seriously is the highest order of negative-connotation chutzpah.

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