It should go without saying that Michael Gerson has no business accusing anyone else of irresponsibility, considering the horrors that he played some small part in enabling. He offers this gems for our consideration:
The temporary government purchase of bad mortgage debt is not equivalent to the liquidation of the kulaks.
Well, in that case, it must be a good idea. I can already see the slogan: “This isn’t Stalinism, and it won’t lead to mass murder.” Obviously, this is an extremely compelling argument–we must admit defeat now that Gerson has weighed in with such an insight. It’s a shame the White House doesn’t still have Gerson’s talents at their disposal. Had he drafted the President’s speech on the crisis, the bailout might have lost by a hundred votes and be truly dead and buried.
Gerson has another insight:
But it is a reminder of why Republicans are no longer trusted as the congressional majority.
Actually, no. It’s hard to believe, I know, but Gerson is wrong. The reason they were not trusted any longer was that they had never said no to the President on a matter of consequence, no matter how horrible or mistaken his policies were, and because the policies that they (and Gerson) endorsed became deeply unpopular with the public. A large part of the public is once again furiously opposed to an administration plan, and this time, incredibly, the House Republicans refused to capitulate. It probably won’t last–the House will reconsider later in the week after the Senate takes up the measure today, and there is no realistic chance that the Senate will vote it down, which will put even more pressure on House members to flip.
What is remarkable about all of this is that the establishment is actually wrong and is pushing a bad plan, and for one of the few times in what seems like living memory the House Republicans are doing the right thing, regardless of their self-interested reasons for doing so, and we are being treated to a deluge of outraged commentary from the same miserable people who have been wrong about every major policy question for the last ten years. It is not strictly rational, I grant you, but opposition to any consensus that includes Michael Gerson and Tom Friedman must be on the right track.