One of the most valid complaints about the current administration is that it is woefully inadequate in communicating to the people. Granted, any GOP administration will have this problem ad infinitem, but there are some unmistakable lapses that any objective observer and even GOP partisans could notice.
One of the key themes of this administration has been to govern via crisis. If we didn’t attack Iraq soon we’d have cities under mushroom clouds, etc. Meanwhile, a real crisis starts hitting the country as early as 2007 and the response of this administration, and Ben Bernanke, has been to not register or acknowledge the problem in any meaningful way. Then, “BOOM”. CRISIS! Cue the Bullhorn, this time for Henry Paulson.
What kind of advice can a drug-addled lunatic like Raven give to Paulsen? Turns out, quite a lot. Raven is a wrestling savant, which is kind of like an idiot savant except far more idiotic, but with a knowledge of wrestling, and more importantly, conveying a life or death situation for a hero to an audience. Now that we know it’s fake, the wrestler must work that much harder to be convincing, that for maybe one second, this guy really is in danger…and that these guys really do hate each other, and that maybe I don’t know who will win this thing and which way will it go?
Here’s what Scott Levy (AKA: Raven) wrote about the wrestling business earlier this year; for a little context, the letter is part of a dialogue between Raven and another wrestler about how young wrestlers don’t “sell”, as in, when any move is performed, they act like it never happened.
He stated that these IWFs (Internet Wrestling Fans) are hurting the business and goes on to elaborate, that it is because they champion these non working cruiserweights who don’t sell and kill credibility. He claims they sell for eight seconds and stop, but I would venture to say that he is being exceedingly generous and three or four seconds is more likely. He also misses the boat by not mentioning that this supposed “selling” that they are doing is not actually selling. When they do stop running around, they go from registering to dying.
There is a whole entire range of emotion and body language on the selling scale that could be encapsulated let’s say for babyfaces as simply as 1)no selling, 2) registering, 3) selling a little, 4) selling some more, 5) selling a lot, 6) selling to the point of hopelessness for the fan that you will ever recover, 7)no hope of recovery,8)signs of life, 9)more signs of life, 10) the possibility that with enough fan encouragement, you can possibly turn this thing around, 11)fire, 12) more fire, 13)fighting back, 14) comeback, 15)the post comeback, pre-finish full body fire to signify to the people that you are back in control and the heel is gonna pay.
Henry Paulsen and the rest of this administration has gone from no selling to registering to dying. A few examples to illustrate:
On March 16th, here’s what Paulsen said,
“I have great, great confidence in our capital markets and in our financial institutions. Our financial institutions, banks and investment banks, are strong. Our capital markets are resilient. They’re efficient. They’re flexible.”
That’s an example of no selling. The banking system received a well deserved crack in the head, the government bails out an investment bank, and Paulsen runs around the ring doing cartwheels, saying how resilient the banking system is.
July 20th : “It’s a safe banking system, a sound banking system. Our regulators are on top of it. This is a very manageable situation.”
That is an example of registering. In July he acknowledges the problem, but dismisses it. That is like getting powerbombed, and being hurt for 10 seconds before getting up and doing the Hulk Hogan dance. It may be all fun and games for one night but it kills your long term credibility.
Because in this next quote Paulsen wanted and received $700 billion dollars in monopoly money, because, “I am convinced that this bold approach will cost American families far less than the alternative — a continuing series of financial institution failures and frozen credit markets unable to fund economic expansion,.”
And with that, he wants the fans, uh, rather, the taxpayers to bail him out. Previously, he wanted to reassure the fans that the American financial institutions were ok, they could handle this turmoil, because he and the administration felt this was a crisis of confidence, and to acknowledge any weakness would inspire a downward spiral. The media did no favors for GWB, that is true, but acknowledging some plain facts early, say, that banks are overleveraged, they could have gained some credibility. Instead, they chose to insult our intelligence and treat us like children. Any babyface (i.e. good guy wrestler) worth his salt would not ask the fans to step in and fight the heel (i.e. the bad guy) for him. But that’s exactly what Paulsen (and Bernanke) is asking us to do. And that is why, fair or not, the GOP is hurting so bad now. Their credibility is shot.
All this talk about Christians and Libertarians is window dressing. This arbitrary policy of not buying toxic assets, then buying all the toxic assets from Citibank, is part and parcel of what is wrong with this administration and the GOP in Washington.
“We don’t have a clue what to do, we’re making it all up as we go along. It’s a completely random crapshoot. Literally, we just roll the dice or look at a magic 8 ball and pick.”
Unlike most everyone, who seems to buy into the hair on fire approach on this, I don’t think the American economy is at the “dying” stage. Maybe at the “selling to the point of hopelessness” stage, but not dying, pin me, bail out all the banks stage. Consider this, that 171 banks are troubled, at least according to FDIC. Sounds alarming, but that is only 2% of the 8,384 banks in this country. So there is still some fire left in this economy, to be sure. Unfortunately for the GOP, Barack Obama (provided he doesn’t mess it up) will get all the credit for the “Signs of life” through the “Comeback” stage of this thing. If he uses this crisis to enact onerous regulations on employment and increases wasteful government spending, it will be to his detriment, and push this economy further into the doldrums. If he enacts modest banking reforms AND eliminates government guarantees of mortgage backed securities (he must do both or it won’t work) and brings home the troops on a good note, he may very well win reelection. Moreover, he’ll deserve it. Since is more prone to do the former, I will be stocking up on ammo and peanut butter.