2012: One “Frontrunner”, Lame

Here’s the new Esquire interview with Creationist Tim Pawlenty, one of the GOP frontrunners (allegedly) for 2012. Nothing on where he stands on evolution, but the governor’s views (such as one can make them out amid the waffle) on the bank bail-out also seem to be the product of something very akin to magical thinking:

ESQ: You’ve been very critical of the bank-bailout bill, a number of times, a bill that was passed at the urging of a Republican president. Let’s role-play. I’m Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson. I come to you on a Wednesday in mid-September 2008 and I say, “Mr. President, we’ve got to pass this bill, because if we don’t, we won’t have an economy by Monday.” What do you do?

TP: Well, they did say that at one point, and the bill failed.

ESQ: Yes, it failed once but did then pass.

TP: And that Monday the economy didn’t collapse.

ESQ: Well, that depends on your definition of collapse. The Dow went into free fall and the American economy went into the toilet, where it remained for the next year.

To claim that the bank bail-out was a thing of beauty is nonsense, and it is easy to find fault with the way it was put together, but I remain convinced that something had to be done.  The wheels were coming off, and to leave the answer to “the market” would have been to make a very big bet on a very pure view of economic theory.  Reasonably enough, therefore,  the reporter from Esquire presses Pawlenty some more on what he would have done. The answer? Yet more waffle and a conspiracy theory.

ESQ: I have a lot more I want to get to. But I really want to know what you would have done. That critical week, mid-September 2008, with President Bush’s men describing the credit crisis as an oncoming freight train for the global economy, there was a cohort of Republican congressmen, led by Jeb Hensarling of Texas, whose position was rather dogmatic. They said, “We must let this economy find its bottom.” If you had been president of the United States, would that have been your position?

TP: Well, I read an account recently of the Sunday night before one version or another of Hank Paulson’s TARP bill passed. In this story, Paulson, former Goldman Sachs CEO, was meeting with other Goldman Sachs executives, trying to figure out what to do, and surprise, surprise, they came up with the conclusion that the federal government should bail out Goldman Sachs. So I don’t take as an article of faith that the financial world would have come to an end if we had let more of these institutions fail.

This guy is a frontrunner?

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