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Bush Administration Threatened Banker

For all of the chatter from the chattering right I'm sure they didn't see this one coming:

According to documents released Thursday by a top state prosecutor, the {Bank of America] chief met repeatedly late last year with federal regulators and the bank's board to discuss the deteriorating condition of Merrill Lynch, the struggling brokerage BofA had agreed to acquire in September.

At one point, according to an account released by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Lewis told then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that BofA was considering backing out of the Merrill deal -- only to relent when Paulson said regulators, fearing a financial sector collapse, might respond by removing Lewis and his directors.

The Obama administration's ouster of GM CEO Rick Wagoner was met with cries from the right about government usurping American business interests... as in this comment left by Wizbang author Michale Laprarie:

I think this is another move by Obama that deserves a "what if Bush had done this" hypothetical -- how would Democrats have reacted if Bush/Cheney had seized (or proposed to seize) entire sectors of the economy (auto industry, finance industry, etc.) and then set about "restructuring" them, firing corporate executives, etc. I would guess that there would be much hair pulling and hysteria, and not so many comparisons to "Iron Chef."

...and now we find out that in the final months of the Bush administration Bush's Treasury secretary was wielding the same heavy hammer on the banking industry to coerce them to do the Bush administration's bidding.

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Comments (7)

Christina Viering:

I suppose we will be hearing many stories like this for years to come.


and i condemn such action by the bush administration as well. pointing out that the other side did it too is not a reasonable justification. and contrary to what you think, republicans are not a bunch of lemmings who blindly follow along.


Ke, you say the republicans are not lemmings. Fact: From 94 until 06, the GOP had complete control of the Congress. From 01 until 06, the GOP followed the Bush Admin, passing bills, off the budget expenses for the Government.

Remember the K street deal, Delay, etc. That wasn't being a lemming? Man I sure would like to know what else it could be. Maybe we could call them crooks? We all know both parties are crooks, but more GOP are in trouble than the Demos are.

But I do know that the GOP keeps repeating lies and more lies (more so than the Demos) and then try and tell everyone those lies are the truth.

And why is it we don't hear the "family values" BS anymore? and why does every GOP who criticizes queer Rush, next day have to apoligize? So please don't tell me the GOP isn't lemmings!


umm, did you forget about the time when the dem's had control of the senate after jeffords switched parties?

i remember the K street deal. and delay. let's see, the K street deal was where the republican congressional leadership was trying to get lobbying firms to hire republicans as lobbyists in return for better access. not sure how this makes anybody a lemming.

and delay? let's see, he was involved in the texas redistricting, then he was the target of a politically motivated prosecution. funny how that happens to vulnerable R's, huh? again, not really backing up your lemming case.

are some R's crooks? absolutely. Nye, Cunningham, Stevens, Young. As far as numbers go, i would be very interested in seeing them. I suspect that if you went all the way down to the local level that D's would be more heavily represented. that's because there is a lot of graft at the local level, and generally D's do better at the local level.

as far as who tells more lies? i think D's tell more than R's. you think the opposite. but with so many lies being told by both sides, i don't think it really matters who is telling more. besides, who could possibly be a neutral arbitor of who is telling a lie, and who is telling the truth? certainly not any other politician, nor the press.

family values "BS"? i'm not a family values voter, so i'm the wrong person to ask. again getting back to that we're not all lemmings point.

well, the people who have criticized rush, also want his listeners. and he has a big audience. by insulting rush, they insult his listeners. but they want their support. so they apologize, hoping that will modify them. it is a normal political move. just like any democrat politician on the left criticizing a union, for example. again, i'm not seeing the whole lemming effect.

oh, and i noticed that you keep calling Rush queer. i've heard Rush called a number of things by the left. usually very insulting things. but, i've never heard him called gay before. what's up with that?


Yes, future, the Lefties love to use the word "gay" as an insult! Ironic isn't it - with all their posturing over tolerance and rights? I believe words speak louder than actions in this case.

I believe the fact that government has been overreaching its authority for quite some time (we all realize it isn't new within the last 100 days) is one of the major factors in riling up the TEA party protests. I was sick of the reach of Bush and the Republicans when they were in power (remember when all the Lefties used to be concerned about a president overstepping the boundaries of the Constitution ... the last I heard it was about 100 days ago) and I'm sick and FRIGHTENED now when the overreaching goes into overdrive! I was spurred to go to the local TEA party because I realize my voice is not being heard in Washington and if I stay silent much longer, Washington will be everywhere it's not supposed to be and then what?

You need to read these stories a little more carefully, Lee.

It was Obama himself who suggested that Rick Wagoner step down. In the case of Bank of America, Henry Paulson suggested that regulators might remove BOA's executives -- it was not a direct order from Bush himself.

And over a WizBang, we have also noted the Treasury Department's use of outright extortion to force banks to take TARP funds, during the final days of the Bush Administration. But again, this was a Treasury Department directive, not orders from Bush himself.

President Obama took government intervention via bailouts to an entirely new level when he personally asked Rick Wagoner to step down. Also, his administration has done nothing to rein in the powers of the Treasury Department that were dangerously (and unconstitutionally) expanded by Hank Paulson. The Paulson Treasury Department under the supervision of Bush did a lot of damage, but I still think our current situation is more worrisome.

Lee Ward:

Sorry, Michael -- your apparent reading comprehension skills may carry you far in the right wing blogosphere -- where twisting the truth and distorting the facts is the only way to come up with an audience these days, but that doesn't fly over here in the reality-based Progresso-sphere.

I'll highlight the pertinent points of the article you linked above.

"The Obama administration asked GM CEO Rick Wagoner to step down, according to numerous reports."


"The White House confirmed Wagoner was leaving at the government's behest..."


"And the Wall Street Journal adds more details:

Mr. Wagoner was asked to step down on Friday by Steven Rattner, the investment banker picked last month by the administration to lead the Treasury Department's auto-industry task force. Mr. Rattner broke the news to Mr. Wagoner in person at his office at Treasury, according to an administration official. Afterward, Mr. Rattner met one-on-one with Mr. Henderson, who will fill in as GM's CEO.

"On Friday I was in Washington for a meeting with administration officials," Mr. Wagoner said in a statement released by GM. "In the course of that meeting, they requested that I 'step aside' as CEO of GM, and so I have.""

In he course of telling me I needed to read more carefully, you linked to an article which doesn't support your contention one iota that Barack Obama personally ordered Wagoner to step down.

No doubt it was a decision made with Obama's input, just as Paulson made the decision to put his thumb down on BofA with Bush's input -- put if you had a point to make here the only point that stands out is the one on top of your head.

Silly conservatives think they can just lie and nobody will catch them. As I said, that works "over there" on Wizbang -- it doesn't work here.

You also said:

"The Paulson Treasury Department under the supervision of Bush did a lot of damage, but I still think our current situation is more worrisome."

You state a fact -- that Paulson and Bush did a lot of damge -- then state an opinion.

At least your facts are correct in this instance.


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