I agree with Cenk Uygur and David Sirota: something smells very strange here. To crib from Charlie Wilson’s War, why are Congress (and the Obama administration) saying one thing and doing nothing? Tradition, mostly? Here’s Cenk (full post is worth reading, btw):

It is the favorite excuse of losers – no one could have seen it coming. Condoleezza Rice said it about 9/11 after she had been handed a memo saying, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the United States.” George Bush said it about the levees breaking during Hurricane Katrina after he had sat through a presentation on how the levees would break during Hurricane Katrina. CNBC said it about the crash of the market and economy as they bragged day in and day out about how well they knew the market.

And now the Obama administration is saying it about the AIG bonuses, as they damn well knew it was going to happen. In fact, they pushed for it to happen. Several times, Tim Geithner argued that companies receiving bailouts should be allowed to give most of their executives any damn bonus they like. And he won that argument.

Every time a bill came up to limit executive bonuses they watered it down. They said the companies couldn’t retain top “talent” without it. They said they were afraid of a “brain drain.” And the list of dumb excuses goes on and on.

So, they were wrong. I can abide by that. What I cannot abide is the fake shock and outrage. The claim that no one could have seen this coming. I saw it coming! Read what I wrote here and here and here. How clear was it to me – and anyone paying attention – that they were going to give away our money to executives who did not deserve it? Crystal clear.

Obama has now stepped in to distance himself from Geithner and Summers’ incompetence. From Sirota at Open Left:

Wall Street and Washington insiders like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner have spent the last few weeks telling America there’s supposedly nothing that can be done to stop bailed out banks from using our taxpayer money to subsidize executive bonuses. As the New York Times reported this morning, Summers specifically “suggested that there was little if anything the government could do to stop [AIG’s bonuses], seconding the conclusion of Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.” Now, President Obama has publicly contradicted them, signaling a major schism in the new administration.


By the way, I once thought this all might be a super secret pony plan whereby Obama is good cop and Summers/Geithner are bad cop/stupid cop. Now, I don’t think that at all. When the Summers/Geithner insist that nothing can be done, and Obama insists that they better do something, that’s not good or smart messaging, and therefore likely not pre-planned strategy – it’s just having no message at all, and that’s bad.

This is all really bad biznazz and it’s civil service in the interest only of short-sighted, desperate greed with American taxpayers (and Obama’s reputation) picking up the tab. Still. Change? — looks like same ol’ same ol’ to me. Memo to Barack Obama: clean your house and TCB.

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