Uber Cynicism: Wall Street Meltdown - Where's George W. Bush? genre: Econ-Recon & Polispeak
Today, Chris Matthews is pushing an important meme in light of the ongoing financial meltdown. While Americans watch a free-fall that has resulted in a near double digit percentage drop in the stock market, Matthews is asking, "Where is George Bush and why hasn't he addressed the American people?"
At first blush, I found myself agreeing with Matthews in his attempt to answer his own question. The bottom line, according to Matthews' analysis, "This looks to be another Katrina moment." In terms of appearance, I agree; in terms of motive, I have another take. Look, I'd be the last to defend George Bush's competence...but I suspect his absence at this juncture has more to do with a political calculation on the part of John McCain and the Republican Party than a repeat of his Katrina blunder. Let me see if I can explain my contention.
First, one has to look at the event in question...a virtual financial fiasco that is likely being seen by voters as the attachment of an exclamation mark on an already questionable economy. Second, one has to consider we're in the middle of a hard fought election where the GOP presidential candidate is attempting to cast himself as anything but a Bush clone. Lastly, one has to recognize that the McCain campaign and countless other Republican candidates are running away from the Republican Party.
Apply that backdrop to Chris Matthews' question and an alternate answer emerges. George Bush is no where to be found because his party and its candidates don't want him in front of the American public...reminding them which party has been in charge for the last eight years and connecting him with every other Republican trying to navigate an uphill political climate.
Contrast this with the run up to the 2004 election and the fact that George Bush called a press conference to announce that the roses were in bloom and one begins to see the degree to which the GOP and George Bush have adopted the cynicism that characterizes the culmination of the conservative revolution. In Karl Rove's ambitious plan to establish the GOP as the dominant force in U.S. politics for the next generation, events of national significance are little more than opportunities for partisan advantage.
In this moment of financial uncertainty, George Bush is missing as the leader of the United States. Instead, George Bush remains the titular leader of a political party that places the perpetuation of power ahead of the problems of the populace. Should there be any doubt that John McCain is a full-fledged member of the GOP and the man anointed to succeed George Bush...and advance the politics of division for power and profit...one need look no further than the stunning silence from the man who proclaimed himself as "a uniter; not a divider."
Pardon my disdain, but the GOP has abdicated its right to lead. The GOP isn't deserving of our respect. John McCain may like to use the expression, "My friends"...but his actions and the actions of his party tells us he and his party are anything but a friend to the American public. The win-at-all-costs GOP must be rebuffed in no uncertain terms on November 4th. The next time someone asks, "Where is George Bush?" the answer need to be, "He is where he belongs...he is in retirement with his old friend, John McCain".
If the following letter to employees, from the chairman of Morgan Stanley, a company with reasonable profits in the last quarter, doesn't scream for the president to exercise his leadership role in the midst of crumbling consumer confidence, I don't know what would suffice?
September 17, 2008
To: All Employees
From: John Mack
I know all of you are watching our stock price today, and so am I. After the strong earnings and $179 billion in liquidity we announced yesterday-which virtually every equity analyst highlighted in their notes this morning-there is no rational basis for the movements in our stock or credit default spreads.
What's happening out there? It's very clear to me-we're in the midst of a market controlled by fear and rumors, and short sellers are driving our stock down. You should know that the Management Committee and I are taking every step possible to stop this irresponsible action in the market. We have talked to Secretary Paulson and the Treasury. We have talked to Chairman Cox and the SEC. We also are communicating aggressively with our long-term shareholders, our counterparties and our clients. I would encourage all of you to communicate with your clients as well - and make sure they know about our strong performance and strong capital position.
I'll be hosting a town hall tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. EDT to address any questions that you have, and would encourage all of you to participate in that discussion. Viewing details are available on Morgan Stanley Today.