How Did He Do?

Well, I think. I don’t know how many open-minded people watched President Bush tonight, but most of those who did must have thought he made good sense. When the current crisis hit, my instinct was to support the bailout deal, out of necessity. Over the past few days, though, there has been little sign of the threatened credit freeze-up, and I’ve wondered whether the taxpayers are being stampeded into a lousy deal.

Most Americans clearly share those doubts, based on poll data, and tonight’s speech may not have done much to dispel them. But if a buyout is crafted in Congress over the next few days and supported by both parties, a plurality of voters likely will go along with it.

What annoyed me most about Bush’s speech, as usual, was its bipartisan high-mindedness. He reviewed the history of the mortgage crisis without mentioning his own efforts to rein in Fannie and Freddy, the Democrats’ frustration of those efforts, the Democrats’ use of Fannie and Freddy as honey-pots, or other relevant historical details. It was a sanitized history, such as might have been related by anti-reform Democrats like Chris Dodd or Barack Obama.

No doubt Bush thought that such discretion was necessary to achieve a bipartisan solution to the problem at hand, but we can be sure that he will get no appreciation from the Democrats, who will misrepresent the historical record for their own political gain at every opportunity.

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