Surprisingly, the FannieMae/FreddieMac debacle has kind of faded from view, which is interesting. No one seems to be reporting on just how we got from Point A to Point B. What's the story?
There is an obvious political angle here. This article by Orson Scott Card,(I only knew him as an interesting sci-fi writer) should be required reading. It not only gives a fairly succinct summary of the origins of the crisis, but calls the media on the carpet for their less than honest reporting of the situation.
This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration. . . This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.
Guess which party is which.
"Isn't there a story there?" asks Card. Of course there is--inconveniently though it involves the wrong party. So, it becomes not-news; not now anyways. So, Card hammers the media:
Now let's follow the money ... right to the presidential candidate who is the number two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.
And after Fred Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate's campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing.
If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was.
But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an "adviser" to the Obama campaign -- because that campaign had sought his advice -- you actually let Obama's people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn't listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign.
You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican.
The job of a "journalist" (ugh--there's that word again) is to tell the truth. But in this case, the truth is ignored, or, at best, only selectively reported. Card mentions how Sarah Palin's life and family (and Joe the Plumber too) got extensive attention and scrutiny, yet John Edward's rather messy and tawdry extramarital perambulations were studiously ignored and perhaps even covered up.
Remember--Card is apparently a Democrat, so this insight is amazing:
This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.
If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe -- and vote as if -- President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.
If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats -- including Barack Obama -- and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans -- then you are not journalists by any standard.
You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a daily newspaper in our city.
And yet, with all of the media adoration, with the repeated mantra of change, Mark Steyn notes this:
This is an amazing race. The incumbent president has approval ratings somewhere between Robert Mugabe and the ebola virus. The economy is supposedly on the brink of global Armageddon. McCain has only $80 million to spend, while Obama's burning through $600 mil as fast as he can, and he doesn't really need to spend a dime given the wall-to-wall media adoration. And tonight Chris Matthews' doctors announced that his leg tingle has metastasized leaving his entire body like a vibrating cellphone whose ringtone is locked on "I'm In Love, I'm In Love, I'm In Love, I'm In Love, I'm In Love With A Wonderful Guy."
And yet an old cranky broke loser is within two or three points of the King of the World. Strange.