Sunday, June 15, 2008

From Asses to Pachyderms and Dodd is not Godd

I guess Senate privilege is something special. But is it good for the country or just for the Senators?

Denigrating the Fed
Senator Dodd continues to hold up Fed appointments as he has procrastinated hearings on Fed appointees for nearly a year. Still, he took time to make a really feeble run for Presidency. Aren't you glad he didn't make it? This is not the kind of leadership we want is it? We hear that some deal may be in the works regarding a Fed appointment but who knows? Dodd already has soiled that process and denigrated Fed independence.

Special favors too
What we have recently learned is how Countrywide Bank (when headed by Angelo Mozilo) extended special treatment to Dodd and others because of their positions. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat is the chairman of the Senate banking committee. He was designated as a "Friend of Angelo,'' along with former Cabinet member Donna Shalala and other high-profile Washington insiders. Let me point out that these are FOA's not FAO's...

Still Chris has not had time to vet Fed appointees to plug the huge hole on the Board of Governors, as members have left and are not being replaced. While governor's terms are long, few serve them to the end. Moreover, Fed appointments are staggered, to spread out the appointments across administrations. When a governor leaves early whomever takes that place serves the remainder of the vacated term, not a new full term.

Tit for Tat - what's wrong with that?
Dodd's trying to wait until a 'democrat' is President to make the appointments sends all the wrong signals about Fed independence. Of course if the Fed could arrange a nice mortgage for him things might be different, eh?

Of course the Fed does no such thing.

Maybe Dodd's being under pressure and in the spot light for potential misuse of his position will open his eyes as to his duty. Or in political terms make hi vulnerable...

Ignorance of the flaw is no excuse.
It is possible that Dodd and others were unwitting in the receipt of benefits and that Mozilo did this all on his own to curry favor. But if that is so, it is all the more reason that when public officials deal for contracts or in their personal business they are assured that they are dealing on the same terms as the public at large. Dodd's saying that he would never use his position for personal gain seems pretty lame after the fact and since that is exactly the result of his action. Ignorance of the flaw is no excuse.

This caveat is especially true if a political figure is dealing with an institution that the a official could hold sway over.

Dodd is simply not a very sympathetic character in any of this.

Asses and pachyderms are the problem not the solution
Dodd is a prime example why I say I that I hate partisanship, I hate the electoral college The strangleholds that parties and their rules or tricks hold over us need to be abolished. The two-party system is called that because they are the only ones who get to party. Three's a crowd. In NY as a nonaligned voter I cannot vote in democrat or republican primary but my tax dollars pay for BOTH of them? Huh? Oh, yeah! Time for some kind of tea party don't you think?

Under current rules we have the 'tweedle dee' and 'tweedle dum' parties keeping potential competitors like Ross Perot and Michael Bloomberg off the map. Perot won nearly one-third of the popular vote in his presidential election and won NO STATES due to the electoral college. Bloomberg has been smart enough to not even run (despite rumors of his interest) because it is clear that partisan rules would shut him out.

Appointment blocking is not just good clean partisan fun...
Understand also that angry democrats, thinking that the republicans stole the election once before held up Bush appointees in much the same way after losing in Florida. They did just as Dodd is now doing. That left us as a country - not just a republican administration - more vulnerable to the attacks we actually suffered at 9/11. Key policy positions for national security were unfilled at the time of the attacks because appointees were being held up by angry senators. Democrats did that. Hate republicans for the war if you like, but the democrats played a role in this too. Partisanship is not good for this country. Dodd is just a good recent example of why.

When will we ever learn?

When will we fix the rules that trap us in political mediocrity?