Patty Dineen

The view from here

Archive for November 2008

Henry Paulson’s “I’m doing a heckuva job” column

As an ordinary citizen following – as best as I can – the country’s financial problems and attempts at amelioration, I found Henry Paulson’s column in today’s New York Times pretty unsettling.  After recapping the “here’s how we got here” part of his story, he spent the rest of the column space pointing out what a great job he’s done.  If the job had been as well done as he claims, this column would be written by someone else, or wouldn’t be needed at all.

In his column, titled Fighting the Financial Crisis, One Challenge at a Time, Paulson, current secretary of the Treasury, doesn’t hesitate to start a short list of all those who should be very grateful to him:

I am very proud of the decisive actions by the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the F.D.I.C. to stabilize our financial system.  We have done what was necessary as facts and conditions in the market and economy have changed, adjusting our strategy to most effectively address the crisis.  We have preserved the flexibility of President-elect Barack Obama and the new secretary of the Treasury to address the challenges in the economy and capital markets they will face.

I guess he’s saying we should all be feeling better but somehow it is not working.

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Written by dineenp

November 18, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Celebrating the day-after-the-election

I am going to call a friend to see if she will meet me at a coffee shop on Wednesday to help me celebrate the day-after-the-election.  I’ve decided it’s that day, more than any of the others leading up to, or after, the craziness we go through every four years, that holds the most meaning for me in this democratic process.

At this point, supporters of both main-party candidates have worked themselves to a near-exhaustion frenzy and have invested themselves– mind, body, and soul– into the effort to get their candidate elected.  The problem is that it is a zero-sum game.   The only way that someone wins is if someone else loses.  And in a political race it’s not just one person who loses. 

The day after a presidential election half the country wakes up feeling like winners, and half like losers.  It’s a wrenching feeling.  It’s a shame that it has to be this way, but for the foreseeable future it just is.  The thing that I most celebrate in all of this–and that in fact leaves me in awe–is that we handle it so well.  We get over it and we get on with it.  We don’t take to the streets with pitchforks and torches if we are on the losing side; we don’t gloat or threaten revenge and subjugation if we are on the winning side.

Change is coming.  I’m not worried about that– I’m looking forward to it regardless of who wins.  This Wednesday, the winning candidate’s supporters will be celebrating victory.   I will celebrate that in this country, the day after a presidential election isn’t all that much different than any other.

Written by dineenp

November 2, 2008 at 10:37 pm