Master of Low Expectations
Posted by Alice Chasan on May 16, 2008
Whether or not you’re convinced by Reich’s argument, it’s indisputable that Congress is engaged in a stylized exercise in futility as they craft this response to the foreclosure crisis, given George W. Bush’s disconnection from the needs and priorities of the public. It’s a kind of kabuki theater that’s become the hallmark of 43’s second term.
Sure, it’s been documented that the president and his inner circle don’t live in the reality-based community. But it appears he’s entered a particularly scary new sector of the Twilight Zone as the curtain rises on the first trimester of the last nine months of the reign of Bush the Obtuse.
The New York Times reported on the bipartisan consternation caused by Bush’s vow to veto the House foreclosure bailout legislation:
After administration officials engaged in talks with House Democrats over their measure, President Bush said on Wednesday that he would veto it. The Democrats say they made several changes sought by the administration in an effort to gain its support. But in a statement of administration policy, the White House said the legislation was burdensome and prescriptive. ‘It would force the Federal Housing Administration and taxpayers to take on excessive risk, and jeopardize F.H.A.’s financial solvency,’ the statement said.
Republicans as well as Democrats have expressed exasperation over the president’s incoherent messages on the foreclosure crisis.
Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who was secretary of Housing and Urban Development in Bush’s first term, said, “I was surprised by the White House threatened veto… . The While House message has not been consistent.”
In an article in today’s Wall Street Journal
diagramming the contradictory messages coming out of the administration, Damian Paletta and Henry J. Pulizzi report:
On April 24, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told Reuters that he was ‘behind the objectives’ of the House bill. ‘We have not issued a veto threat,’ he said. Two weeks later, the White House issued a veto threat, roiling Capitol Hill.
The most generous explanation of the administration’s incoherence in the face of this national crisis may be found in one of Bush’s many malapropisms — his boast in 2003 that “I’m the master of low expectations.”
Correct me if I’m wrong — or just suffering from a bad case of Bush melancholia — but it seems that there’s little that members of Congress or the rest of us can do to alter the disastrous course on which he’s determined to lead the nation before he heads for Crawford in January ’09.
About the author more Â»
Alice Chasan served as editor and associate publisher of Shelterforce magazine, nhi.org, and shelterforce.org through 2008. During 29 years as a journalist, Chasan has won awards for her investigative and political reporting and public-policy analysis. Her magazine posts have included the chief editorship of World Press Review magazine, executive editorships at Tikkun and The American Prospect, and the chief editorship of New Jersey Reporter, a monthly magazine of politics and public policy. She also served as program and editorial director at the Committee to Protect Journalists, the New York City-based international press freedom advocacy organization.