Thursday, March 19, 2009

The biggest difference between Bush and Obama…

"I know Washington's all in a tizzy and everybody's pointing fingers at each other and saying it's their fault, the Democrats' fault, the Republicans' fault.”

“Listen, I will take responsibility. I'm the president."

"We didn't draft these contracts. We've got a lot on our plate. But it is appropriate when you're in charge to make sure stuff doesn't happen like this. So for everybody in Washington who's busy scrambling to try to figure out how to blame somebody else, just go ahead and talk to me, because it's my job to fix these messes even if I don't make them."

That’s what President Obama said regarding outrage that his bailout plan contained loopholes allowing tottering financial giant AIG to pay $165 million dollars of taxpayer money as bonuses to its employees.

Congress drafted that bill.  A whole bunch of supposedly smart people looked at that bill and helped develop the plan.  Those loopholes should have been found and fixed.

Regardless, the president signed it.

It was wrong.

It shouldn’t have happened.

The President made a mistake.


Now, lets compare:


The demonstrated George W. Bush response to error:

The Intel was bad.


Tax Rebates for everybody!


The Obama response to error:

I made a mistake.

It’s my responsibility.

It’s my job to fix it.

And I will.

Now, stop trying to fix blame, quit acting like children, and lets get back to work.



You know what? This is what real leadership looks like.

We, my friends, are going to be OK.


  1. Ahhh, my personal favorite so far on this: Senator Dodd, (D) Connecticut , I had nothing to do with the loophole that AIG used. OK that’s not correct, I did but the administration made me do it.
    Dodd, from Connecticut, where AIG is based, AIG which donated $103K to him (he did say he was going to return it).

    A little personal accountability would be nice. Actually, it sounds like the end of a life long politician’s career. Boo hoo.

  2. yeah, I caught that too, Thordr. I'm sure it's just a coincidence. ;)

    I love that Dodd comments he was "completely unaware" that the company who's bailout he was working on had given him $100,000. Totally unaware. Totally.

    Up here, we call that the Ted Stevens defense.

  3. "$103,000? What $103,000? Oh, thiiiis $103,000. Um. Yeah. About that. It, uh, it... it... it was a gift for you baby. That's how much I love my very best country. That's right. You know you're the only one, baby. How could you even think different. You're not angry, are you, baby? Come give daddy a little sugar."

  4. Dodd: 103K? What's this then?
    AIG: It's a bonus.
    Dodd: Cool...

    Christ, next people will be complaining about big companies paying off senators with bailout money. Fuck, how's a company supposed to do business in this kind of climate?

  5. You guys beat me to the Dodd-worship.

  6. Well, yeah, Nathan, I was already here. You came in from what? New York?

  7. Hmm, let's see. A then-public company entered into contracts with its employees promising them considerable bonuses - an industry-wide practice. Later on, when the bonuses appeared as a considerable waste of public money (only about a quarter of a percent of what was infused into the company, but still a sizable amount in absolute terms), the President of the US personally assumes the responsibility for them. I suppose he's going to be personally approving every contract in the industry from now on.

    With all due respect, Jim, this is not an example of the President distinguishing himself from his predecessor by accepting responsibility for a calamity. This is an example of the President feeding into the industry-bashing hysteria and positioning himself for claiming full credit when crowd-pleasing measures are passed.

    Whether those measures currently being aired cause a large exodus of better people, which seems likely from my insider point of view (purely a personal opinion, nothing that I say here can be construed as being endorsed by my employer), remains to be seen. I'll withhold my judgment on how true your closing sentence is, for the moment.

  8. Actually, Ilya is mostly correct, these bonuses should be paid out, by should I mean by the contract, which is legal and binding. Shrub did enough damage to the Constitution with his antics. We don’t need to run around trying to ex post facto or bill of attainder them out of the money, both of which are prohibited by the Constitution. Please keep in mind that does not exonerate those who gave them these contracts, and loopholes to collect this money. Those people (like sen. Dodd) are accountable and should resign/get fired, personally, I like Mr. Grassley’s idea. I will even go out to the forge and make them some tantos.


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