Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dodd takes a beating

Sen. Chris Dodd took a beating in today's WRA... as has been happening all week.

At first I chose to avoid this topic because I wasn't sure if anything was wrong. But now I'm convinced that, at minimum, he showed very poor judgment... to the point of me doubting that his

two sweetheart refinanced mortgages — from Countrywide Financial

were really obtained in ignorance... but rather were obtained with the hope of using the old "plausible deniability" routine, if questions ever arose.

The WRA further explains:

Over the years, people have given him everything he's asked for, but technically never requested, not out of the goodness of their hearts, but because they knew he could make their lives more comfortable, or more difficult, anytime he damned well pleased. Because he's, well, Chris Dodd. This is how members of Congress peddle their influence and avoid indictment.

Personally, I think that's a bit strong. But I do tend to agree with the underlying point about "never requesting" anything... and I take issue with Dodd's lack of intellectual curiosity when he was told that he was a "VIP."

Regardless, the ethics investigation has already begun... which is good. I just hope they don't perform investigations like they do here in Cheshire... where it seems that the questions:

1) What did you know?


2) When did you know it?

get asked of only one party... while the other party can say or do anything without any questions ever being asked.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

Don't billion dollar banks and mortgage companies and lobbyists need representation in the Senate?

Why do we working stiffs think we have a right to be represented?

Anonymous said...

Just another POS that think they are entitled, VIPs and bigger than life.

People like this are the reason this country is in big trouble. They talk as if they want to solve problems, but are only after what they can get for themselves. And, we certainly have them in Cheshire.

Anonymous said...

Shame on him. He didn't learn a thing from his fathers mistakes.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty easy to see that he was unaware that the vip thing was related to who he was politically rather than who he was as a customer. Why would he bother putting anything at risk over a rate?

Dodd does a great job and I'm glad to have him working on our behalf.

Anonymous said...

'Dodd does a great job and I'm glad to have him working on our behalf"


Let's look at his record on the Banking Committee. He is doing such a great job we are now going for the second megabucks federal bailout of banks since he joined the commitee---first S&L's, now subprime mortgage lenders.

Plus, he spent most of 2007 in Iowa on a farcical campaign and has one of the worst attendance records in Congress.

The guy is spent and needs to leave before his dignity is completely gone.

tim white said...

I did appreciate Dodd's stance on warrantless wiretaps. But he also crossed a line when he actually enrolled his daughter in school in Iowa. (btw, I gave him a total pass when he moved to IA... it was the act of enrolling his daughter that irked me.)

IMO though, this "VIP" thing is serious and different... it's not about policy, it's about "good government." And it's all too reminiscent of the "plausibile deniability" routine that was used by both LBJ and GWB in their runups to war.

Did LBJ or GWB speak lies? No. I don't think so. But I also feel they lacked the intellectual curiosity to ask the right questions.

But these are Presidents. And there's no way you can get to be President and be that way... I don't buy it. That's why I think they knew the questions to ask, but also sensed the answers wouldn't support their goals... so they simply didn't ask the questions... and hoped that their denials of ignorance would be plausible.

I feel the same way about Dodd right now.

Obviously a mortgage and war are different, but there is a commonality that really troubles me.

Anonymous said...

There is a simple question: Given the meltdown in the financial markets would you rehire the chairman of the Banking Committee?

Chris Dodd ought to be fired for incompetence if nothing else

tim white said...

Given the meltdown in the financial markets would you rehire the chairman of the Banking Committee?

No. And while the bubble did build under the GOP, it continued building for several months under Dodd... before the collapse began in summer '07 (??).

Furthermore, I disagree with the Bernanke / Paulson bailout of Bear Stearns... and as far as I know, Dodd didn't make a peep about it... and that happened around Mar/Apr '08... and Dodd quit running for POTUS in Jan '08 (??)... which... even if you were content with Dodd running for President and ignoring his Banking Chairmanship for 2007... he should've been all over the Bear bailout... but wasn't.

Dodd's basic silence shows his support for the bailout of big business.

Anonymous said...

I think is worse than the sweetheart mortgage. Apparently Dodd let Bank of America draft his legislation for him

"The bill about to be voted on by the Senate would allow banks like Bank of America to pick their riskiest loans and dump them on the Federal Housing Administration. In exchange for taking just a 10% cut on the value of the loan, the banks would receive cold hard cash from U.S. taxpayers. Their risk would be eliminated, entirely shifted to the FHA and the U.S. government. Passage of the bill would make Bank of America’s acquisition of Countrywide much more profitable"

tim white said...

And this whole discussion reminds me why I believe Ron Paul was right in calling for an end to the Fed.

Not that I agree with him (because I don't understand it well enough), but this reinforces my belief that America should have a dialogue on the pros and cons of central banking... and more generally, what is central banking? And what does it mean to John Q Public? What are the pros/cons of returning to a gold standard?

First Bear, now Countrywide... and what do I get? $600 to stimulate the economy!

All while the USD is tanking, largely because of irresponsible fiscal & monetary policy.

Anonymous said...

The mechanism isn't the problem. It's the mechanics running the operation.

Notice with Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin and Phil Gramm around everyone thought the banking system was running like a top

Anonymous said...

Video on the "Friends of Angelo"

Anonymous said...

Phil Gramm is primarily responsible for the deregulation of laws (in effect since the Great Depression) that resulted in the mortgage "crisis". Note also that he was/is a paid lobbyist by the banking industry (immediately since retiring), which is above the radar of McCain (you don't see Gramm being expelled to be PC)and is McCain's likely Treasury Sec choice. Ooo boy.

The solution to these issues might be a rotation of oversight members with regard to our financial system. Too comfy.

Anonymous said...

Passing the Community Reinvestment Act probably did more harm than the deregulation. Actually, I think Al D'Amato did a better job as banking chairman than Gramm, but needless to say, folks think he's not on the up and up owing to his surname

tim white said...

UBS has written off tens of billions (USD) in the mortgage meltdown.

I was working at UBS when Gramm was named a Vice Chairman (there were 3 total at the time, if I recall correctly)... probably 2001 or 2002.