Fineman Loses an Argument With Himself [Stephen Spruiell]
Howard Fineman has written an op-ed asserting that the convictions of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling mark "the end of the Bush era in American life." A Media Blog reader looked for evidence to support this assertion and found that Fineman didn't really provide any:
This is one of the most astonishing opinion pieces I've ever read. The title is "How Enron Tarnishes the Bush Era." I read it expecting (hoping?) to at least see some evidence and argument supporting the title. Fineman starts out well with caveats about how President Bush was not close to Enron's executives; how the Bush administration didn't bail out Enron before it collapsed, and how Enron started cooking the books during the "go-go Clinton years." Caveats out of the way, what do we get as evidence supporting the piece's title? The following:
As Texas governor from 1995 to 2000, Bush and consiglieri Karl Rove cultivated the Enronites for their vast connections and money; more than that, Bush linked arms with Lay in the belief that market forces alone should guide the production, distribution and use of energy. But the theory ran riot at Enron, giving license to corporate buccaneers who blithely screwed consumers, employees and shareholders alike.
That's all we get supporting Fineman's viewpoint: cultivating relationships with a major corporation in the state you govern and supporting a free-market approach to energy policy makes you part and parcel of the corruption at Enron. And according to Fineman, it is the free-market beliefs that are worse than the fund-raising/connections stuff ("...more than that, Bush linked arms with Lay in the belief that market forces...") I eagerly await Fineman's next piece on how Enron's lobbying for the regulation of carbon-dioxide emissions (Enron wanted to make a market for trading carbon dioxide emission permits) tarnishes Al Gore's efforts to combat global warming. (Fun facts from opensecrets.org: Al Gore got $14,000 from Enron in the 2000 election and Chuck Schumer was the leading recipient of Enron donations in 1998. Bush of course got over a $100,000 from Enron in 2000 but over time, Enron gave almost a third of its donations—29%—to Democrats.)
Perhaps even more amusing, Amy Ridenour added up
the caveats at the beginning of Fineman's op-ed and discovered that they outnumber his supporting facts 2 to 1. He lost the argument to himself.
05/26 06:12 PMShare