Monday, March 1, 2010

New Month, Same Madness

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for March 1, 2010


1) This whole situation with Charlie Rengel stinks, but the judge, jury and executioner take by the Morning Joe show seems like a hatchet job, even if they wind up being right on all of their analysis and predictions. An analysis that it looks bad is one thing, but not affording a person due process ultimately dilutes your punitive options. If your ultimate goal is to remove Mr. Rengel from the House Ways and Means Committee, you might want to rethink your strategy, before you create the technicality or the opposite reaction sympathy that prolongs his tenure.

The other part of this story that seems to have gone uncovered in the land of anecdotal evidence is just when Mr. Rengel and Mrs. Pelosi should be hiding, they’re not. Charlie Rengel made an announced ‘perp walk’ on Friday to give opportunity to the entire House press corps for their stories about him. Nancy Pelosi did not back away from any appearances knowing she would be dogged by this sort of meandering justice.

Here, I’ll do it too, he probably does need to look for new work or retire. But, I’m on his side of the aisle and it comes from a different place than a group of individuals hatcheting out their frustrations prematurely by about three processes.

2) Second in the gratuitous hatchet Morning Joe show, was the John McCain hack fest. By the 8:30 segment, the show decided it was more important to skip a financial segment to get a 5th hack at the ‘duped’ line by McCain. Again, I don’t disagree with the assessment that anybody of reasonable intelligence should have been adequately able to predict the money flow here. But you have missed an opportunity for ascension on this and that is the danger of three hours of instinct and anecdote where the in depth analysis should be.

Over the weekend George Soros joined the latest Matt Taibbi take which has centered around the Swedish treatment of it’s 1992 banking situation as superior based on forensically available information, to what we wound up doing at the behest of Paulson and Geithner.

That Swedish plan had the banks briefly nationalized to ensure banking stability, while renegotiating a path back toward privatization with the necessary alterations to the regulatory system and a simultaneous interactivity with the middle class occurring alongside.

The chief point anyone could make here in the US is that we got taken by a 3 page bailout with no terms leaving the term sheet entirely in the possession of the banks we were rescuing. The results are obvious that as they earned their way out of crisis, the US financial industry supported no other segment of the economy except by the virtue of their not being closed.

Where this gets back to Joe, Mika and guests is that you have again reduced an important, horrible situation like the choices faced by John McCain in 2008 to unrealistic algebra. His remorse is less about the bait and switch by Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner, than about the fact that many believe there was a better option, just not better for Citibank and Goldman Sachs, and he feels duped because some conflicts of interest at the highest level prevented the government from taking the right path at a crucial moment. You have missed that zeppelin in the pursuit of a cheap canned analysis, and you need to do better.

3) Third is the health care debate that deservedly permeates everything at this point. Again, same as points 1 and 2 above, I agree with all of the points made: the junk in the bill is awful, shameful and a direct result of Obama doing what we hated about Republicans, there are great small fixes coming from the Republican side (although JS mentioning tort reform first is grossly out of order), and Democrats have mismanaged their opportunities to a historic extent.

But where the show goes fatally off the track is it’s misinterpretation, or misrepresentation of opportunity. When a Republican implies that they want to start over with a blank page, they are lying because they historically have never initiated nor will they ever initiate health care reform. Only a Democratic majority will option health care to it’s agenda. It’s the way of the world.

When the Democrats get health care done, it will be the true beginning of the incrementalist approach. We wont get any meaningfully incremental health care concepts done stand-alone, they have to be improvements to or reactions to an omnibus bill. And as I laid out for Joe Scarborough months ago, now is the time for our generation, because it takes 15-30 years to get the stars aligned to put such a sweeping measure on an agenda in this country.

So when I hear incremental, when I hear start over, when I hear better off without the bill (my own take on the Senate version as is), I do so knowing full well that fatal is the right word above, because it’s a generationally permanent death to health care reform. This is our only real chance to get the long necessary process started. Look at it from all walks of life, Warren Buffet called our broken health system a tapeworm on American business trying to compete internationally, the middle class is on its way from having it to not having it at all, and the lower class is a cold away from bankruptcy.

Who doesn’t need reform, despite wickedly irrational calls from the populace otherwise?

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

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