Tone Deaf?

March 19, 2009 6:04 am

Yesterday, Rahm Emanuel called the AIG bonuses a “big distraction.” Today, David Axelrod says: “People are not sitting around their kitchen tables thinking about AIG,” Axelrod said. “They are thinking about their own jobs.”

I honestly don’t get what up-side they see politically in taking this tack. Thoughts?

Late Update: Some of the responses, starting with TPM Reader MM:

Well, how about with the people that don’t follow all of this as closely as you guys do? I talk with my co-workers in the lunch room and THEY aren’t babbling about AIG or What-ever. We are talking about Sally’s husband that was laid off and Jane’s forclosed house and Pete’s daughter that needs a kidney and the insurance might not be adequate to even attempt a transplant if a donor is found. And then EVERYONE is worriedly talking about our hours cut to 31 hours a week from the usual 40 and how are we going to pay our bills.

You have to step away from the rarified air of the news bubble you are in, David, to see the big picture, here. I am glad Rahm and Barack are KEEPING THEIR EYES ON THE BIGGER PICTURE!

TPM Reader RM:

David Axelrod’s political radar is on the fritz and he better get it fixed in a hurry or Obama is going to lose the credibility he needs to continue leading us out of this abyss. There is no political up-side to this tack. Not one. Period.

TPM Reader AB:

Yeah, I read that Axelrod quote and thought he’d got it exactly wrong. People are sitting around their kitchen tables talking about AIG. It’s not an either/or situation where they discuss AIG or their jobs. The two are related. And the reason people are so mad about AIG is because their jobs and savings are insecure while AIG screw-ups are getting bonuses with taxpayer money.

Same thing goes for all the people who say we should be worrying about the counterparty payments. Yes we should, but the bonuses and counterparty payments are also related. Both are examples of AIG doing pretty much what it wants with government money while the people who should be in charge throw up their hands and say, “We didn’t know” or there’s nothing “We could do.”

The screwed-up oversight processes that allowed the bonuses is the same screwed-up process that allowed the counterparty payments. Either someone’s asleep at the wheel or their priorities are very, very wrong when it comes to addressing both these issues. In fact, the bonus issue is serving to focus attention on the bigger issues not draw it away. It’s the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Tons more reader responses here.

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