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Flotsam and Jetsam

Thomas Frank sounds the liberal refrain that markets aren’t so smart. Aside from ignoring the very real role that government institutions played in the financial mess, he ignores the obvious:  government (that would be the place inhabited by Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, and Alan Greenspan) is worse at producing wealth and employment than the collective judgment of markets. If you doubt that, wait until you see government-run car companies.

David Ignatius worries about a “bailout nation”: “If Wall Street investment banks can get away with it, why not auto companies? And if auto companies, why not the guy who bought a house he couldn’t afford, or who maxed out his credit cards without a hope of repaying the debt? What the heck? We’re all living in bailout nation. As a prominent foreign investor observes: ‘In America, loans have gone from ‘something to be repaid’ to ‘something to be refinanced.’”  But if he really believes we need to get back to taking our lumps, paying our bills, and living within our means, why favor the Obama stimulus plan?

Plan “B” for Harry Reid on the Illinois senate seat mess: stall. But that doesn’t really solve the problem — Burris has his selection in hand, and that’s his “ticket”–even if the issuer (Blago) expires.

Sen. Mitch McConnell seems rather delighted by the prospect of the Burris-Blago mess.

Tim Rutten doesn’t think much of the “blame the liberal media” defense of Chip Saltsman: “Does Saltsman really believe that Gingrich, current RNC Chairman Mike Duncan and the heads of GOP state committees in places as different as Florida and North Dakota — all of whom have pronounced themselves appalled by his bad judgment — are dupes of the liberal media’s double standards?” Saltsman would no doubt respond that it’s all a grand conspiracy to use the public outrage over his conduct to defeat his candidacy. The fact that there is public outrage, or at the least contempt for Saltsman’s cluelessness, even within conservative circles, doesn’t quite factor into his explanation.

This reminds me that D.C. representation is one of those issues which the Republicans lost a chance (while they still held the White House and could count on a filibuster in the Senate) for a better deal than what they are likely to get in the era of Democratic control. Immigration reform is another.

The Daily News pleads with Governor Paterson to end this thing. (If you are a betting person, you might want to sell short on Caroline on Intrade.)

Helping to spin the Gray Lady’s defense that it didn’t explicitly accuse Vikki Iseman of having an affair with John McCain, this reporter neatly omits mention of the Times’ own mea culpa. Public Editor Clark Hoyt had no problem acknowledging: “The newspaper found itself in the uncomfortable position of being the story as much as publishing the story, in large part because, although it raised one of the most toxic subjects in politics — sex — it offered readers no proof that McCain and Iseman had a romance. . . I think that ignores the scarlet elephant in the room. A newspaper cannot begin a story about the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee with the suggestion of an extramarital affair with an attractive lobbyist 31 years his junior and expect readers to focus on anything other than what most of them did. And if a newspaper is going to suggest an improper sexual affair, whether editors think that is the central point or not, it owes readers more proof than The Times was able to provide.” If I were Iseman’s attorney I’d put Hoyt at the top of the deposition list.



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