Thursday, March 19, 2009
Demagogue AIG? Lie about it? Use it to try to take down Obama?
John Kyl (R-Hypocrisy) decried using AIG for political purposes. That was a couple of days ago. This was today. And here's a rare admission that it has nothing to do with fairness or facts.
Frankly, I think the White House and many Congressional Democrats have mishandled it as well. There was an argument to be made that the bonuses had to be paid, by contract. In fact, while driving to a lecture by Scott Simon while listening to NPR (thereby doubly showing my liberal credentials), I heard someone being interviewed who explained:
The money in question was in the form of "retention bonuses." Those occur, so he said, when a company is in trouble and is worried about losing key people. They offer a specific amount of money to be paid if the person stays with the company for a specified period of time. Common practice in certain circumstances, he explained. The payouts were not tied to performance (there were contractual performance bonuses as well, which were NOT paid); rather, they were in the form of a contract, signed, sealed, delivered, to certain people, who did what it was they agreed to do; namely, they stayed. Nor is it, this apparent expert stated, unusual to leave after the contractual time is up: after all, the company would likely be in the dumps. Better prospects elsewhere. Finally, these contracts were made before the government money was received; or so I recall.
I wish this had all been clearly laid out by the White House, and let the chips fall. Had they done so, I have no doubt the people of ill intent (i.e., the entire Congressional Republican gang and their screaming supporters) would still have lied, cried, and tied up the process. John Kyl would still be a hypocritical assh*le. (How can politicians like him do that: say one thing one day and completely another on another? Without batting an eye or showing the least bit of embarrassment? Their perfidy knows no bounds, quite literally.) But it would have been cleaner.
As it is, marshalling all their cynical self-interest and abject mendacity -- which they have in shameless and unrepentant abundance -- the minority party will use this tempest to try to bring down the president, and lots of people, eager for simple focus, will eat it up. Just as I said.