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How the GOP gets away with it
  by Gene Lyons


Consider Mitch the Bitch. For weeks, McConnell has been trying to prevent action on pending 
financial-reform legislation by claiming that it would lead to "endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street banks."

In reality, the proposed law would do exactly the opposite: liquidating failed investment firms' assets through
a process like the one used by the FDIC to shut down insolvent savings banks. Management would be fired 
and shareholders given nothing until creditors had been paid. Wall Street firms would be required to pay into 
a fund underwriting the arrangement. Taxpayer dollars wouldn't be used.

Even Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who helped draft the legislation, has pointedly contradicted McConnell's 
mischaracterization. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has characterized it as "possibly the most d
ishonest argument ever made in the history of politics."

(Really, professor? More dishonest than Hitler's "stab in the back" charge that Jews and Socialists conspired 
to make Germany lose World War I? More dishonest than the Tonkin Gulf resolution that dragged us into Vietnam?)

Even so, Krugman's hyperbole is understandable. Say what you will about academia, in professorial debate 
so blatant a misrepresentation would be seen as a shameful confession of weakness. Somebody who can't win 
an argument without resorting to a simple "black is white" lie gets as little respect as he deserves.

Elsewhere, Krugman puts the question in an appropriately Orwellian context: "Has there ever been a time in 
U.S. political history," he asks, "when one of the two major political parties was so addicted to doublethink, 
so committed to pretending that it's advocating the opposite of its actual agenda?"

Specifically, McConnell came up with the "bailout" fiction immediately after meeting with Wall Street high-rollers who
a) want to keep placing risk-free bets with other people's money; and 
b) certainly don't want to pay for what amounts to bankruptcy insurance. 

Sympathetic to the McDuck point of view, McConnell evidently figures that if he can stall the bill for a while, 
he can get Uncle Scrooge (and eventually himself) a better deal.

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