Bobo constructs a tale about the financial bail-out. Not about bailing out of jail its perpetrators or those few they saved at gargantuan cost, but about handing them bales of cash and cash equivalents. It’s a tale in which,
Good people were mobilized and were able to talk frankly about the many things they did not understand.
Bobo’s tale is not too hot or too cold, but just right. In it, three banksters – Bernanke, Paulson and Geithner ("a lone genius and a few loyalists") – did "a good enough job". They compiled just the right team, one that wasn’t too small or too big, but just right,
the same little platoon of about a dozen people shows up again and again in [David] Wessel’s account [In Fed We Trust] —a manageable community of decision makers with no single person dominating the proceedings.
It’s a pity that Mr. Brooks doesn’t inquire into either that gargantuan taxpayer funded cost or that unanimity of purpose, which was really to save Goldman and let its scions set government’s decisions and priorities. Nor does he inquire into his own psychology, revealed in his preference for rule by a small Straussian team willing to lie badly in a good cause – their own. He does inquire into the inability of Congress and the presidency to have done a better job than his Straussian princes:
This recession is happening at a time when many wonder if the political system is capable of addressing the nation’s problems. The presidency has become a gargantuan enterprise in which media-star leaders are surrounded by a permanent campaign apparatus. The Congress is both riven by ideology and dominated by parochial concerns.
Brooks studiously avoids the obvious. A presidency administered like a "permanent campaign apparatus" was a function of two things: Bush the Younger, who was incapable of governing, and Karl Rove, who was capable at running dirty campaigns, but hopeless at actually running government. And the party riven with ideology and dominated by parochial concerns is his own. Or rather the Republican Party he claims to have just abandoned for his new role as an "independent conservative". Read it and weep. It’s a grim fairy tale that will keep your children up at night, not calm them or you to sleep.