“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Monday, September 26, 2011

Regarding Ron Suskind's Confidence Men

Peggy Noonan's column in this past weekend's edition of the Wall Street Journal, entitled Amateur Hour at the White House, began with a reference to Ron Suskind's just-published book, Confidence Men.

She wrote,

"If Mr. Suskind is right, I have been wrong in my critiques of the president's economic policy. None of it was as bad as I said. It was much worse.

The most famous part of the book is the Larry Summers quote that he saw it as a "Home Alone" administration, with no grown-ups in charge. But there's more than that. Most of us remember the president as in a difficult position from day one: two wars and an economic crash, good luck with that. But Mr. Suskind recasts the picture.

He ran meetings as if they were afternoon talk shows. An unnamed adviser says the 2009 stimulus legislation was the result of "poor conceptualizing." Another: "We should have spent more time thinking about where the money was being spent, rather than simply that there was this hole of a certain size in the economy that needed to be filled, so fill it." Well, yes.

The decision to focus on health care was the president's own. It could have been even worse. Some staffers advised him—this was just after the American economy lost almost 600,000 jobs in one month—that he should focus on global warming.

Mr. Suskind's book is controversial, and some of his sources have accused him of misquoting them. The White House says Mr. Suskind talked to too many disgruntled former staffers. But he seems to have talked to a lot of gruntled ones, too. The overarching portrait of chaos, lack of intellectual depth and absence of political wisdom, from a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter at this paper, rings true."

It's worse than that. Last week stories ran regarding Anita Dunn and Christine Romer telling Wonderboy that the anti-female bias in the upper echelons of his administration was so bad it could trigger a lawsuit. Dunn denied the stories and claimed Suskind misquoted her.

Imagine how shocked she must have been when the New York Times wrote that Suskind played the tape of the interview and......he stands vindicated.

My question is, how arrogant must Wonderboy have been to allow such access to be granted, such stories to stream out of his White House. And just in time for the election cycle.

I'm not at all sure Noonan is correct in characterizing Summers' comments as the worst. But the coming weeks should bring more interesting tidbits along similar lines.

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