The Obama Administration Is Trying To Have It Both Ways on Bank Bailouts (Guest Voice)

The Obama Administration Is Trying To Have It Both Ways on Bank Bailouts
by Kathleen McKinley

When the Obama administration is not even fooling the most liberal of magazines, you know they have a problem:

The Obama administration wants Americans to realize what a good job they and the Bush administration did saving the economy from a second Great Depression. But they’d prefer not to make this case directly. They want journalists to do it for them.

The journalists in the room justifiably focused their questions on things that the Obama administration and the Treasury Department have not done well enough: helping struggling homeowners, lowering unemployment, and moving towards a financial order where these sorts of crises are no longer inevitable. The Treasury folks mostly wanted to talk about how successful the bailouts were. But they made that argument in a no-direct-quotes, no-television, you-can’t-even-say-our-names briefing for twenty or so journalists on a Friday afternoon. In other words, in a manner that would not associate them too closely with this argument. They did it in this fashion because they want to influence our future reporting (a fair-enough desire). But they don’t want to take on the political challenge of directly defending their massively unpopular actions in the public eye.

Senior Treasury officials clearly believe that the financial sector bailouts were a brave choice that worked out as well as anyone could have hoped, and they said as much on Friday. I’m bound by the agreement not to quote any of them directly.

The Treasury Dept has these “semi regular” invitation-only background press briefings for liberal journalists like Politico’s Mike Allen, Huffington Post’s Shahien Nasiripour, the American Prospect’s Tim Fernholz, the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, Reuters’ Felix Salmon, the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson and ThinkProgress’ Matt Yglesias. But no quotes are allowed. They trust these liberal foot soldiers to their job, but sometimes some real backbone emerges among these journalists.

So, as you can see, the Obama administration put on a power point presentation to “influence future reporting.” One has to laugh at Mother Jones injecting in there “a fair enough desire.” As usual, Obama wants his cake and eat it too. He wants to assure everyone that the bank bailouts were SO necessary and saved us all, but we don’t really need to talk about or report about it in any other way. Just report the Obama spin, and leave the truth out of it. And, of course, there is the continuation of the “blame Bush” theme that Obama still uses, even as runs for re-election. As if the last three years never happened. As if Obama hasn’t been our leader for three long years.

But when asked about the bank bailouts in public, Obama and top administration officials usually mention that the Bush administration launched the bailouts

Mother Jones points out how in Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address he talked about how he “hated” the bank bailouts, but they were simply “necessary,” but that’s not the spin from the Treasury Department this last week:

….senior Treasury officials spoke about the bailouts on Friday: a wise choice that worked out better than anyone could have anticipated, and a program that makes the administration proud. That appraisal is not on the record.

Even the most liberal magazine on this planet can’t help but point out the ridiculous nature of this administration of trying to spin something both ways.

Kathleen McKinley is a a conservative activist. She blogs at The Houston Chronicle, RightWingNews, Newsbusters, and her own site. She co-hosts SmartGirlNation on FTRadio for SmartGirlPolitics, an organization of conservative women to promote issues that are important to them. This is cross posted from her Houston Chronicle blog.

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Author: Guest Voice

  • StockBoyLA

    This post seems more like a rant. A rant similar to one of mine (though mine would be from a more liberal view). :)

    I really don’t understand this, “Obama wants his cake and eat it too. He wants to assure everyone that the bank bailouts were SO necessary and saved us all, but we don’t really need to talk about or report about it in any other way. Just report the Obama spin, and leave the truth out of it. And, of course, there is the continuation of the “blame Bush” theme that Obama still uses, even as runs for re-election.”

    When just beneath that is this, “But when asked about the bank bailouts in public, Obama and top administration officials usually mention that the Bush administration launched the bailouts.”

    So the author must know that Bush started the bank bailouts. In which case why does the author say this, “Obama wants his cake and eat it too. He wants to assure everyone that the bank bailouts were SO necessary and saved us all…”?

    If Obama is defending the bank bailouts as being necessary then he is really defending Bush, who started the bailouts. I really don’t now how defending Bush allows Obama to “have it both ways”.

  • merkin

    The Obama administration and conservatives have different reasons to want the country to accept that the bank bailouts were necessary and desirable even.

    The bank bailouts were required to save the socially desirable and required banking functions, making loans, protecting and encouraging savings, etc., from the socially undesirable banking activities of creating nation threatening financial crises by engaging in risky and largely illegal investment schemes. This situation came about through the largely conservative idea of deregulation, removing regulations that were in place for good reasons, not plunging the nation and the world into financial crisis induced recessions every decade or so being one of the major reasons. Good campaign slogans don’t always make good policy. Conservatives don’t need the country realizing that deregulation caused the massive recession that destroyed 7 trillion dollars of the country’s net worth, putting 25 million people out of work and requiring that the nation bailout the very people whose greed and irresponsibility were the proximate case of the crisis, rewarding the bad behavior and guaranteeing its happening again.

    The Obama administration, with its apparent mandate to divide the baby, wants the bank bailout to stand as the penultimate recovery act hoping that the country ignores their failures to enact any meaningful stimulus, to enact any meaningful regulation to prevent future problems, to prosecute any of the criminality that lead to the problems and to enact any meaningful mortgage relief, the most direct path to recovery.

  • Rcoutme

    Merkin gets it right. There are no meaningful reforms since the melt-down. The biggest banks are bigger than before the crisis. The rules designed to curtail the most egregious acts have been watered down and nearly obliterated by the lobbyists for the very institutions that destroyed the economy. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-17/derivatives-lobby-has-u-s-regulators-on-the-run.html

    Another financial melt-down will occur. Since there is nothing in place to stop it, there is a virtual certainty that it will happen again. Meanwhile, the foreclosures that are occurring are often illegal. The title for the properties was not handled correctly (they used the MERS system instead of going to the county keepers of records). The Attorneys General of 49 states signed off on an agreement to ALLOW the illegal foreclosures to continue (just so long as there are not too many of them and that egregious violations don’t happen two quarters in a row).

    Did you read that parenthetical? If financial institutions commit foreclosure fraud, they will not be held accountable unless they have done it too often for two quarters in a row! Meanwhile, the only requirement they have is to prove that they have a POLICY in place to prevent robo-signing (that is, people signing documents they have not read nor understand).

    Once again, the words make all the difference. The regulators are not supposed to ensure that the robo-signing does not happen. They are only supposed to make sure that the financial institutions have a policy against it.

    Yeah, that ought to be enough…