Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Saturday, March 05, 2005

I don't get it
Written by: Beck

Why are the Democrats going after Alan Greenspan?

Oh, wait, you haven't heard about that one? You will. Some seriously big guns have begun rumbling--unprompted and seemingly unscripted--about Greenspan. Inasmuch as I don't believe anything that happens in politics is a coincidence, I have to assume that a decision has been made to go after Greenspan.

Or hell, maybe it is coincidence. Regardless, I am mystified.

Let's start with Senate Minority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (no, really, that's his nickname). Knight Ridder reports the following exchange:
Asked Thursday his reaction to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's insistence this week that Social Security must be transformed, preferably along lines urged by Bush, Reid replied:

"I'm not a big Greenspan fan. ... I voted against him two times. I think he's one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington," Reid said on CNN's "Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics."

Reid complained that Greenspan had decried budget deficits when Bill Clinton was president but he doesn't criticize Bush for turning a federal budget surplus he inherited from Clinton into trillions of new debt.
He voted against him two times? I assume one of those times was not one of the two occasions when Clinton nominated Greenspan to serve yet another term as FED Chairman. He has served under every president except Jimmy Carter (during which time he was a consultant to the Congressional Budget Office).

He's a political hack? That's just about the least accurate thing you could say about Greenspan. He's famous for not helping presidents out in election years--on both sides of the political divide. The man cares about economics, and pretty much nothing else.

Further, he DID criticize Bush--first for his tax cuts, afterwards for his profligate spending. Greenspan wanted to spend the surplus on paying down the national debt. Once again, Reid has his facts grossly--and embarrassingly--wrong.

What's more, in case Chairman of the FED weren't sufficient qualification to discuss Social Security reform, from 1981-1983 he served on Reagan's National Committee on Social Security Reform.

My best guess is that Reid ran out of steam with his whole "Clarence Thomas has poorly written opinions" schtick--which played out especially well when it emerged that the "opinions" Reid was citing weren't actually, you know, written by Thomas.

Next up we have DavidNYC writing at dailyKos who has declared open season on Alan Greenspan. The goal of the "research project" is stated most succinctly in an update to the original post:
We have strong reasons to believe that Greenspan's predictions and words are not credible, and clarify his credibility is critical to the health of the nation. Therefore we are looking for volunteers to join in a deep investigation into Greenspan's thinking and philosophy. We need to look back on all the things he has said and endorsed about economics and economic policy and compare those with the current policies he is advocating today.
I've heard a few nasty things about Greenspan before--associating with traders and finance types will expose you to ample examples of Greenspan criticism. Not once, however, have I heard even the faintest hint or whisper that Greenspan is not credible.

Prior to entering government service, Greenspan made a name for himself as an economic consultant--he basically turned himself into the one man in the US who knew more about the current state of the economy than anyone else. And that's before he had the resources and authority of the FED behind him. Oh, and you'll want to be sure not to miss this part:
And for those of you who want to really get down & dirty in the trenches, we can turn this into a one-degree-of-separation venture. That is, if you can find similar material for anyone who is closely linked to Greenspan, that's fair game, too. Good examples would be Greenie's idol, the nutbag "objectivist" Ayn Rand, and Andrea Mitchell, his NBC reporter wife.
That's right. While you're at it, don't hesitate to go after his wife. And while it would be impossible at this point to say something bizarre or nasty about Ayn Rand which hasn't already been said before, it's worth noting that Greenspan was regarded as the one member of her inner circle who managed to remain aloof from the weirdness.

I wonder how long until the famous picture of Greenspan, Nixon, and Rand starts making the rounds?

Regardless, the Democrats have somehow managed to latch on to the single most popular FED chairman ever--one more closely associated with Bill Clinton than George Bush.

(Hat tip: The Dead Pool, PW)

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