Sunday, June 06, 2004

Corrupt absolutely ...

The New York Times > Magazine > The Maestro Slips Out of Tune (Krugman)
... The less generous interpretation is that Greenspan simply abused his position to help his friends. Kenneth Thomas, a finance professor at the Wharton School, has calculated that Greenspan visits the White House about once a week, as The Christian Science Monitor reported last month, and that is almost four times as often as he did when Clinton was president.

Part of the genius of George Bush's political operatives is their ability to persuade people (Colin Powell, Tony Blair) to betray their principles, to say and do things they will later regret, in support of a presumed shared cause. Paul O'Neill, Bush's first treasury secretary, falls into the same category: he was a moderate Republican who for a time played good soldier, defending the Bush tax cuts despite private qualms, to help the new president -- a man he thought shared his values -- by giving him an early political victory. And guess what: O'Neill was a close friend of Greenspan's.

What is the secret of Bush's capacity to corrupt those around him? Is it the combination of great power together with a cult of absolute loyalty and ruthless punishment?

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