Walter Russell Mead again. I can't help it, he's so good and a Democrat besides.
Posted by Jill Fallon at June 9, 2011 4:58 PM | Permalink
The Republican Party and especially its Tea Party wing have just acquired a new weapon of mass destruction — and it has nothing to do with any of Congressman Wiener’s rogue body parts. ....
The Tea Party WMD stockpile is currently stored in book form: Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. By Gretchen Morgenson, one of America’s best business journalists who is currently at The New York Times, and noted financial analyst Joshua Rosner, Reckless Endangerment gives the best available account of how the growing chaos in the mortgage and personal finance markets and the rampant bundling of dubious loans into exotically toxic securities plunged the world, and millions of American families, into the gravest financial crisis since World War Two. It is gripping reading as well, and its explanations are clear enough that readers without any background in finance will have no trouble following the plot.
The villains? An unholy alliance between Wall Street, the Democratic establishment, community organizing groups like ACORN and La Raza, and politicians like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Henry Cisneros. (Frank got a cushy job for a lover, Pelosi got a job and layoff protection for a son, Cisneros apparently got a license to mint money bilking Mexican-Americans of their life savings in cheesy housing developments.)
If Morgenstern and Rosner are to be believed, the American dream didn’t die of old age; it was murdered and most of the fingerprints on the corpse come from Democratic insiders. Democratic power brokers stoked the housing bubble and turned a blind eye to the increasingly rampant corruption and incompetence at Fannie Mae and the associated predatory lenders who sheltered under its umbrella; core Democratic ideas may well be at fault.
The story also undercuts what little is left of the credibility and the moral authority of the American establishment. What is especially shocking in this story is that the higher up and more powerful people are usually the most venal and corrupt. Low level researchers and bureaucrats are constantly raising questions and preparing devastating reports that expose the flawed premises behind Fannie Mae’s policies. They are being constantly slapped down by the well connected and the well paid. The American establishment does not have the necessary moral strength and intellectual acuity to run the affairs of this country; Tea Party believers will find much in this book that confirms their worst fears.
Republicans of course have a few financial scandals of their own that Democrats can take out and rattle. But because Fanniegate offers a clear storyline, identifiable villains linked to specific disasters that have hit tens of millions of Americans in the pocketbook, and is overwhelming a story of Democratic abuses of Democratic ideas,