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AIG is the New Rush Limbaugh (Updated – This is Blowing Up!)

John on March 18, 2009 at 12:52 am

The public flogging of Rush Limbaugh had just about run its course. So what’s a desperate David Axelrod to do? Create a new, even worse dragon for Sir Telepromter to slay:

Some people are vengeful, calling for jail, public humiliation or even revolution over the decision by A.I.G. to award $165 million in bonuses to employees who were in part responsible for the insurance giant’s near collapse — though few go as far as Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who has suggested that company executives should “resign or go commit suicide.”

But it’s never good when the plebes in the cheap seats can see the strings on the puppets. In this case, Obama’s faux outrage is a little too convenient to be believable:

President Obama was informed about the $165 million in bonuses due to employees of the American Insurance Group the day before they were paid out last week, the White House disclosed late Tuesday.

[...]The president did not publicly express anger over the bonuses until after they were disclosed Sunday in The Washington Post.

So Obama knew days before he made his outrage public. But he should have known long before that. News of the bonuses, in general terms, goes back a lot further than Sunday.

Andrew Cuomo was walking this same beat back in October of last year. Harry Reid was complaining about AIG bonuses in mid-November. Lower tier Democrats got into the act complaining about “retention bonuses” being offered by AIG last December. In short, this is hardly news.

But it sure makes a satisfying villain for a White House that needed one.

[HT: Hot Air headlines for the "Obama knew" story. And HT to Morgen for digging up the old AIG bonus stuff]

Update: The Washington Post sees right through this:

[T]his has not been a stellar moment for the man who came into office arguing that “the time has come to set aside childish things.” With hundreds of billions of dollars in necessary repairs to the financial system still to come, Mr. Obama must find a way to explain those costs in terms that neither inflame the public nor insult its intelligence.

Related: The American Thinker notes that the dweeb who ran AIG’s financial services division — the one getting all the bonuses and also the one that led to AIG’s downfall — is a fan of mass murdering communist Che’ Guevara, and so presumably a leftist.

Second update: Ed at Hot Air put up a post based on some stuff that Morgen dug up yesterday. (Guess I should be quicker on the ball next time). Anyway, what Morgen found is that AIG isn’t the only company receiving bailout money to give out bonuses. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the GSAs at the center of the crisis — are giving bonuses too. What’s significant is that, unlike the AIG bonuses which were agreed to last year, these bonuses were approved recently. No one has the numbers yet because Fannie and Freddie haven’t put them in their tax filings, promising to do so in a supplemental filing.

If there’s a real reporter out there who wants a scoop, find out how much Fannie and Freddie gave out and who in Congress approved it.

Third Update: The Wall Street Journal has the numbers, some of them anyway. They’re paying around half a million each to the top guys. Probably quite a few more to come.

Fourth Update: Drudge has now linked the WSJ story. Rush has mentioned this on the radio already. Morgen’s scoop is going national!

Fifth Update: The plan to pay bonuses to Fannie/Freddie employees has been defended by James Lockhart, the director for the Federal Housing Finance Agency. So how does his statement square with Obama’s outrage exactly? Obama/Axelrod seem a bit flat-footed on this one.

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Category: Politics |

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