Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Letter to Ezra

Dear Ezra,

You know we love you--hell's bells, we wouldn't exist if it weren't for you.

But as one of the resident word-wonks around here, I am compelled to at least attempt to parse your use of certain words regarding that which, since yesterday afternoon, I've taken to calling A Wailing Boehner of a Failed Bailout.

It wasn't a "failure to communicate". It wasn't a "failure of leadership". And--hear me out, as I have a fair bit of ad agency and marketing experience to back me up here--it most certainly was not a failure to package things nicely.

[Let's say someone gives me birthday present (it's October 11th--thanks for asking!), and when I tear open the wrapping paper, I see before me a horrible, scratchy, puce-colored sweater that's not only several sizes too big, but also riddled with moth holes, splattered with unidentifiable stains, and suffused with the unmistakable odor of rotting rubbish. Well, let's just say I'm unlikely to be any happier about my "present" if all said gift-giver does is re-fold the sweater, wrap it in pretty gilt-colored tissue with a satin bow, and hand it back to me.]

No, what we saw yesterday was actually--in terms of politics if not economics--a success of sorts. Call it A Success of Democracy, if you like.

Do I think the House Republicans were really representing the much-vaunted will of the revered People? Oh for goodness' sake, of course not--not in the pure sense that they care so much about the people, they simply had to stand their ground, contributors and their portfolios be damned. No, it was a success of democracy in the broader sense. To paraphrase an old movie title: Fifty Million* e-mails Can't Be Wrong.

Did all of those cranky constituents have Economics degrees? I'm guessing no. But they did, and do, have voter registration cards. And they expect their representatives in government to listen to their concerns, even if they have to subtly (or not-so-subtly) threaten those representatives with the loss of their jobs in order to get their attention. In short, democracy worked.

And now, if it's to keep working, Congress must go back to the workbench wherein a decent, already-built armature awaits its clay layering and a bit of kiln time; confer with the experts; craft something muscular and task-specific that benefits the whole country as opposed to a moneyed few--meaning, leave out any capital gains tax crap for now and focus on building in not only the safeguards and oversight, but also some serious provisions for enforcement of the law; and create a program to help homeowners avoid foreclosure (which will, in turn, keep those debt instruments nice and healthy).

Stop by and visit the left bank sometime soon, Ezra. Life is sunnier, artsier, and infinitely more enjoyable over here.


* Give or take a few

Also at Cogitamus.

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