Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Debate reaction

I only watched the first few minutes of last night's GOP debate. Couldn't stand to watch much longer. The extent to which the GOP is living in a world of purely ideological invention is just stunning. In response to questions referencing the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations, the GOP candidates all affirmed the conviction that the housing bubble, collapse and subsequent financial crisis were all a result of government regulation. Michelle Bachmann thrust the CRA canard front and center, blaming a 30 year old law that prevents banks from redlining minority neighborhoods for the orgy of speculation and securitization of worthless mortgages that were the cause of the crisis. This talking point has been thoroughly rebutted by those who have looked at the data (I mean, the law's been on the books for 30 years wihtout caysing these problems, and most of the institutions that pushed sub-prime mortages weren't even subject to the Community Reinvestment Act) but if the last 3 years have taught us anything it's that reality and GOP fantasy rarely intersect.

And Michelle Bachmann's nonsense paled next to Newt Gingrich's answer to the question of whether anyone on Wall Street should have been jailed over the massive fraud that led to the economic collapse. No, Gingrich insisted, instead Barney Frank and Chris Dodd should be jailed. Yes, legislators who were in the congressional minority (and thus powerless) over the bubble years, and who only recently have proposed measures to restrain Wall Street from bringing about another financial crisis are the ones who should be jailed. I can't help but think of the events that are currently unflding in the Ukraine, where a rising despot is in the process of jailing the former Prime Minister and a leading opposition figure on trumped up charges related to her government's handling of a gas pipeline with Russia. If htere's any doubt that the GOP is a party with totalitarian tendencies, let Gingrich's comments lay those doubts to rest.

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