“We have a besetting sin today in our politics where people think that you show your depth of commitment to a cause by rigidity, not just by rigidity, but impugning the motives of those on your side who try to get something done.” –Barney Frank
There is some universe where Hank Paulson’s nudge to the hedge funds managers and their ilk is not criminal conspiracy and collusion, but not in this one. The fact that Bloomberg broke the story makes it seem even more egregious — obviously, someone confused the roles of Secretary of the Treasury with Lord High Protector of Plutocrats. Interesting approach to doing business. Unfortunately, how exactly does the Congress respond? How does the White House respond? We’ve given the Bush administration a pass on things that degrade and demean the nation; won’t the Obama administration apply the same “professional courtesy” to this guy and his minions?
This is why we need public intellectuals like Elizabeth Warren, Paul Krugman and ultimately Barney Frank. Frank’s retirement isn’t terribly surprising — I’d rather hang out in Cambridge and the South Shore than DC, and he’s showing why he’s been there so long while showing the good sense to leave on a high note. For him, this will be a high note, one instance where Cassandra can crow…Frank is probably incapable of appearing to gloat even while gloating. Still the thought of the former Secretary of the Treasury and the former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors perp-walking into a Congressional Oversite Committee to force meaningful action on derivatives and finanical instruments without Representative Frank’s presence on the committee is sad. We’d love the show.