Hagiography Alert

November 19, 2008 9:52 a.m.

From today’s Page 1 canonization of Henry Paulson by the Washington Post:

As he pored over the books of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he discovered that they were about to collapse and that the financial markets would experience what he called “a meltdown to end all meltdowns.”

The federal government would have to seize the firms. But the law said their management would have to agree, and his own staff had reservations about whether Paulson had the legal authority to force them to surrender.

“Trust me,” came Paulson’s curt answer. “I’ll get it done.” …

As financial firms tumble and traditional oversight agencies prove impotent, Paulson has filled the void with his 6-foot-1 frame, summoning the rest of Washington and Wall Street to get in line. …

“[I]f you take charge, people will follow,” Paulson said in an interview. “Someone has to pull it all together.”

In the next installment, our green eyeshade-wearing superhero gets tangled up in his own cape when he is suddenly forced to reverse course and abandon his initial bailout plan. And don’t miss the stunning conclusion! In a gripping cliffhanger, the runaway locomotive of financial crisis hurtles toward certain destruction while our superhero is busy polishing his reputation in interviews with the local press.

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