Sunday, July 30, 2006

Fannie Mae's Auntie Phil

I was searching Techorati for blog posts on the Fannie Mae fraud scandal, when I came across a posting "There will be one byword for the Bush Admin" by one calling himself Auntie Phil. In Auntie Phil's mind, the byword will be "unaccountability", as illustrated by the Fannie Mae fraud.

On the most charitable construction of this post, we have to think that Auntie Phil is ignorant of the fact that those at the helm of Fannie Mae during the scandal were Democrats, not Bush cronies:

So far, the Fannie fiasco has cost Chief Executive Officer Franklin Raines and several other top executives their jobs. The stock has dropped from nearly $80 a share to around $50 -- roughly $30 billion in lost value. And the company recently settled with the federal government and agreed to pay $400 million in fines, stemming from allegations the firm fiddled with the books to ensure bigwigs got performance bonuses.

To top it off, the Fannie Mae leadership was quite well-connected in D.C., especially to the Democratic Party. The Washington Post on May 23 made this all clear in black and white. The front page of that day's Business section showed how James A. Johnson, a former campaign manager for Walter Mondale's presidential run, had created "a political powerhouse."

That story had a photo of Mr. Johnson, who had been chairman and chief executive of Fannie Mae, flanked by two other photos -- both other prominent Democrats. On one side was Mr. Raines, a former head of the Office of Management and Budget under Bill Clinton. On the other was Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick.

While the rest of the graphic listed other prominent Democrats and Republicans, the titanic captains at Fannie Mae were clearly Democrats.

["A $40 billion scandal", by Dan Gainor, Washington Times, June 21, 2006]

I commend to Auntie Phil the whole of this article for his edification and delectation. In fact, there is a lesson in it not only about the bipartisan nature of corruption, but also about media bias--or does Auntie Phil wish to propose different explanation for why the mainstream media seem to have overlooked the fact that the key players in the fraud were Democrats?

I have to say that this post of Auntie Phil's is no worse than the others I've read of his. The ones I read are all characterized by a superficial presentation of the issues they purport to deal with, mentioning only the points relevant to the conclusion Auntie wants his readers to draw, and pretty much lacking in cogent argumentation to support his conclusions. This superficiality doubtless led to his ignorance of the deeper story in the Fannie Mae fraud.

Further recommended reading: