When Speaker Nancy Pelosi took to the floor of the House on Monday to blame Republicans for the financial turmoil and charge them with a laissez-fare attitude toward regulation, it seemed like a calculated effort to shift attention and accountability from what Democrats have done to create the current conditions. Fortunately, we have YouTube so Democrats can run from their records, but they can't hide.
At a 2004 hearing of the Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee, then-Chairman Rep. Richard Baker, Louisiana Republican, predicted the collapse of Fannie Mae if nothing was done. Baker called for more regulation, something Democrats claim Republicans never wanted. In an editorial Tuesday, The New York Times got it wrong when it accused Republicans of engaging in "free markets-above-all ideology." That just isn't true. President Bush was calling for more oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in his first year as president, though he also praised efforts to expand minority home ownership at a time when bad credit risks were straining the system.
Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, said in a Sept. 25, 2003 hearing of the House Committee on Financial Services, "We do not have a crisis at Fannie Mae and in particular Freddie Mac under the outstanding leadership of Frank Raines." It was Raines who took close to $100 million in "compensation" from Fannie Mae during his tenure as its chief executive officer. In the 2004 hearing, Rep. William Lacy Clay, Missouri Democrat, called the investigation that found illegal activity at Fannie Mae a "lynching," an incendiary word, as both Clay and Raines are African American. Watch this eight-minute video and see who wanted to fix the problem and who did not.
There was something fishy about the Democrats' concern that the bailout process would be drawn out. Democrats and the Bush administration wanted to rush a bill through to avert further damage to Wall Street. As Rush Limbaugh noted on his Tuesday radio program, Democratic leaders claimed President Bush "rushed" the United States into war with Iraq, though Bush spent months building his case with Congress and the United Nations, both of which approved military action against Saddam Hussein.
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