Leading from the Left

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Case for Not Squandering Credibility

The credit markets are drying up. It's not just 'chicken little' whining from the Bush administration. Last week both Wake and Durham Counties were rejected when they went to banks to borrow money for school construction and other community needs. Both have AAA bond ratings, both are very safe risks for credit. If that didn't get our attention, maybe this will.

In Europe several banks were nationalized over the weekend. Wachovia was saved from bankruptcy today when it was purchased by Citigroup. Other banks are reportedly on the brink of collapse. Read this.

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives failed to pass a rescue package. Republicans claim they lost more than a dozen votes after Speaker Pelosi made speech on the floor today that they viewed as partisan. Oh, puh-lease! As Barney Frank said this afternoon, "So they got their feelings hurt decided to punish the country?!" It's embarrassing that grown men would behave in such a petulant, selfish manner....particularly when the stakes are so high.

The stock market fell nearly 800 points after the rescue package failed. That's over $1 trillion in value, lost. Analysts are expecting more losses in coming days. Meanwhile, Congress has left town. David Gergen, speaking on CNN tonight, said Congress' failure to act was unimaginably 'irresponsible.'

I never thought I'd say this about President Bush, but I wish he hadn't squandered all his credibility. And that's exactly what he did--squandered every last bit of it. Look, right now we desperately need a President who can exert leadership, a President Congress respects enough to listen to, a President who can credibly communicate the magnitude of this situation to the American public.

But the stark reality is that no one listens to this President any more. Not the public, not Congress, and not even members of his own party. When we need him most, we're stuck with a President who tossed away his believability by misleading the country into war. He chucked American values into the trash bin by supporting torture and rendition. He ran up debt, mismanaged FEMA, abrogated Civil Liberties whenever he thought he could get away with it, and destroyed American leadership in the world.

And now, when the country most needs presidential leadership, we're stuck with a dunce who's limping across the finish line. January 20th can't come too soon for me.