Trust me, I’ve had my differences with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
And a couple of frosty interviews, if memory serves me right, to boot.
I didn't support these financial rescues he orchestrated last fall, although I fully appreciated the crisis he was almost single-handedly dealing with last fall.
But for Congress to play high and mighty and drag him before it today to farump-farump their indignity at his strong-arming Bank of America into that Merrill Lynch acquisition... Well, that's beyond the pale.
Again, say what you will of Hank Paulson, the guy was working his ass off last fall. I don't remember Congress doing much more than yapping last fall. He was working every weekend – oh wait, so was I. Sending briefs to Congress every day. Cobbling together rescues he thought were paramount those days.
Again, we can argue that. No arguing this.
He wasn't flying in the dark. And he wasn't leaving anyone in the dark.
He briefed. They bellowed.
But for them to bellow that he never briefed, well, let me be brief. Shut up.
Congress knew what was at stake and was clearly briefed on what was at stake. They signed onto rescues that themselves needed rescuing...but they signed onto 'em.
Back then I alienated Mr. Paulson, and I guess much of the Bush financial team, when every day, I was ripping these rescues and the dangerous precedent that they were setting. But I was clear then, and I hope I’m clear now.
Mr. Paulson wasn't ramming anything down anyone's throat without anyone else knowing. Without his very questioners feigning ignorance today...knowing.
They all knew. They knew his temperament, they knew his do-it-or-screw-it approach. Everything.
So for them to say otherwise is a lie. It's a lie. And they're liars.
Criticize Hank Paulson on anything you want. Being brutally frank and honest with the stooges dare second-guessing him back then shouldn't be one of them.
He deserves better. Because watching this kangaroo court today, they proved the very worst.
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