Monday, September 29, 2008

Why Honesty's Good

I'm sitting in front of a television watching the Dow drop 700 points as Congress announces its inability to pass a bailout bill. The president, who's gone full out to push this measure, has proven so unconvincing that even his own party has failed to pay heed.

Why did it fail? As the Washington Post just wrote
"Despite the fact that President George W. Bush and the leadership of both parties lined up behind the bill, the rank and file of both parties -- particularly on the Republican side -- rebelled in light of polling that showed the American public is deeply skeptical about a planned $700 billion bailout for the financial industry."
I've expressed skepticism about this measure, my layman's confidence boosted by hordes of distinguished economists who've come out against the administration's proposal. But in this politcal environment, I doubt even wiser solutions will be found, let alone implemented. The president is unable to make a persuasive case to the American people in the midst of a crisis. And that's dangerous.

I can't help but wonder if Misters Bush, Cheney, and Rove are, at this moment, considering the value of honesty. All politicians play fast and loose with the truth, but a politician must occasionally actually lead, rather than maneuver and grasp. At those moments, we are asked to take a leader at his/her word. But if all trustworthiness and credibility have been utterly squandered, the nation's left essentially rudderless in times of crisis.

I have one word for this administration:

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