Sunday, September 14, 2008

Not R vs D, it's Congress vs Executive

Yesterday I commented on the WaPo's piece that showed the Bush administration blaming Congress for the Fannie / Freddie bailout.

Today, MSNBC & the WaPo are showing the Clinton administration blaming Congress for the Fannie / Freddie bailout.

Gary Gensler, an undersecretary of the Treasury, went to Capitol Hill in March 2000 to testify in favor of a bill everyone knew would fail...

The bill failed...

Blessed with the advantages of a government agency and a private company at the same time, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac used their windfall profits to co-opt the politicians who were supposed to control them. The companies fought successfully against increased regulation by cultivating their friends and hounding their enemies.
(By Binyamin Appelbaum, Carol D. Leonnig and David S. Hilzenrath)

So it appears to me that the Fannie / Freddie blame game is not shaping up to be R vs. D. Rather, it's the Congress vs. the Executive. It's not the first time I've seen this and IMO it is something of a pattern.

For instance, look at the 2002 vote to "authorize the use of force" in Iraq. To me, watching HRC vying for the Dem nomination, while never seeming to give a clear answer on the meaning of her vote... THAT is exactly what the Founding Fathers wanted to avoid when they explicitly reserved the power to declare war for Congress. The Founding Fathers wanted our elected Representatives to put their John Hancock on the dotted line... so we could hold our elected officials accountable.

Instead, we now have an atmosphere in which many members of Congress seem to prefer feeling important... but avoid "troublesome" votes... such as declaring war... and dealing with Fannie / Freddie.

As far as I'm concerned, some people in Washington have badly skewed priorities and have been around too long.

Tim White

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