Monday, September 29, 2008

Fallows' Bell Tolls for Holtz-Eakin

James Fallows asks who will be most harmed for having associated with McCain 2008. His choice is Sarah Palin (and that part of the post is well worth reading, if only for the summarizing "No, they're not.") You really should read the whole post, but here are the nut graphs (professional journos: can you have nut graphs, plural?):
But closing fast on her is the once-estimable Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former head of the Congressional Budget Office (ie, Voice of Responsibility) and member of the Council of Economic Advisors. Just now, he appeared on MSNBC to discuss the market crash and failure of the bailout bill, and in the subtlety and fairness of his remarks he was indistinguishable from Tom DeLay in his prime. 

"Once again we see the failure of Barack Obama's Democrats to address the nation's true needs," was (approximately) the first thing out of his mouth, when discussing a bill that two-thirds of the members of his own (and the president's) party voted against. He led not what this means for the real economy; not what the possible solutions were; not the need to work something out fast; but pure spin-room flackery. 

This kind of bluster is what flacks are for, on both sides. Their reputations go up when they can say such things with a straight face! Even better, with a face contorted in partisan outrage. It is not the right role for the main economic advisor to a campaign. Somebody from the campaign may need to say this, DH-E. Not you.
As bad as Holtz-Eakin's economic blabbering has been this year, It's this stuff that has really wrecked him among people who still work as economists.


Richard H. Serlin said...

It depends how you define harmed, but the Republican patronage machine has a tremendous amount of money. There are advantages to being of, by, and for the rich, at least for them. I would expect Sarah Palin to be very rich as a result of all of this with fellowships at their "think" tanks, conservative propaganda books, maybe a Rush Limbaugh type show, or a job at Fox. I think she'll be very happy in a bubble of people who never disagree with her or make her think, with millions of dollars.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100 percent with your comments about Holtz-Eakin. I saw the interview with Dave Suster on MSNBC yesterday. I've always respected H-E's view as an economist, and thought he did a good job at CBO. Unfortunately, he has taken on too much of the pure "politics." He should leave the spin to the spinners and behave more like Goolsbee and company. Some of his behavior might be explained by the recent drop of McCain in the polls -- an all-hands-on-deck, throw everything out there, and hope something sticks strategy.

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Ken Houghton said...

Sarah Palin hasn't been harmed at all. She's been revealed to be dumber than Katie Couric, but she's now the New Face of T/o/n/e/d/-/D/o/w/n/ P/o/r/n/ a/c/t/r/e/s/s/ the Republican Party.

Never having read a newspaper is a POSITIVE in that milleu.

Holtz-Eakin, otoh, would have been—until about three months ago—the Exception to the Rule (Mankiw, Hubbard, Rumsfeld, and maybe Paul O'Neill are the obvious examples; Rice is arguable, because you have to have been stupid to take her seriously in the first place, but Stanford did) that no one came out of service in the Bush Administration with their reputations intact.