Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bonfire of the Bailout

Click on the image to read the revised tagline.

Toxic R Us
Published: March 21, 2009

Maureen Dowd's fury at the titans of industry that have wrecked the economy has not abated and she blames Barack Obama for not being tougher on them. We get a nice little Dowdversion® aimed at the robber barons.
Barack Obama prides himself on consensus, soothing warring sides into agreement. But the fury directed at the robber barons by the robbed blind in America has been getting hotter, not cooler.
And she places a share of the blame on Timothy Geithner for being too cozy with the Wall Street weasels.
And that’s because the president and his Treasury secretary have been coddling the Wall Street elite, fretting that if they curtail executives’ pay and perks too much, if they make the negotiations with those who siphoned our 401(k)’s too tough, the spoiled Sherman McCoys will run away, the rescue plan will fail and the markets will wither.
Sherman McCoy is the famously benighted and clueless hero of Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities made into a bad, bad movie starring Tom Hanks. And as part of the Movies Wiht Maureen®, she takes from the film one of its catch phrases only substituting 'shafters' with 'masters'.
The shafters of the universe have been treated with such kid gloves that they remain obnoxiously oblivious.
Ending that line with an Alliteration Alert™. And she says Geithner is a little to sympathetic to said masters.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who grew up as a Republican and was head of the New York Fed for five years, sees things from the point of view of that wellspring of masters of the universe, Goldman Sachs.
In the bonuses, Maureen sees not only bad movies about the excess of greed, but also a fair amount of the theater of the absurd, citing its premiere writer.
Fannie Mae, the mortgage finance behemoth that had $59 billion in losses last year when the government was forced to take it over, and since has asked for $15 billion in taxpayer money, brazenly intends to give $1 million apiece in retention bonuses to four top executives, even though the word retention in a depression is pure Ionesco.
My guess is that her favorite play of his is La Lacune or maybe Frenzy for Two or More.

And it wouldn't be a decent Dowd rant on corporate excess without a Bling Report©:
Vikram “Pandit the Bandit” at Citigroup, which received $50 billion in bailout money, is pulling a Thain, spending $10 million to renovate his Park Avenue offices, complete with a Sub-Zero refrigerator and premium millwork (whatever that is).
While the grifters are remodeling in New York, the gardeners are planting an upscale vegetable patch at the White House.
It’s an image that could have come straight out of a McCain campaign ad: Barack Obama growing organic arugula at the White House.

But there was Michelle on Friday, the first day of spring, with a bunch of fifth graders, digging a veggie garden on the South Lawn.
Dowd says that perhaps Barack Obama needs the weapon Michelle is wielding.
The tableau of Michelle Obama hoisting a pitchfork on Friday with her sinewy arms and warning that the commander in chief would be commandeered into yard work left me wondering if the wrong Obama is in the Oval.
I can hear the howls now that Maureen is again emasculating Obama. But until he plants some blame on the bonus babies, he is going to keep getting rolled. Maybe Maureen can talk Michelle into taking a break from gardening and marching pitchfork in hand on the masters of the bailout.


mark hoback said...

On first read I thought Maureen was befuddled by the Sub-Zero, but now I see that it's premium millwork that has her confused.

Mo MoDo said...

Right. She wants to know what makes some millwork better than others.

Grace Nearing said...

MoDo's feigning ignorance here; she knows what premium millwork is. Even I know what premium millwork is: it's the kind of carpentry work you will not find in my home.

Maybe I missed it, but in the news coverage of the WH victory garden I watched, I did not see Michelle Obama hoisting a pitchfork. I did see her using a rake and having a hard time with it too because she was basically trying to bust sod.

If the WH PR people let the First Lady handle a pitchfork, they're not earning their money -- especially after Stephen Colbert's funny pitchfork-sharpening segments.

Mo MoDo said...

And Michelle's sinewy arms were kept completely covered.

Anonymous said...

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