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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Obama, ACORN, and the Current Crisis

(Weekly Standard) - The extent to which Rep. Barney Frank, Sen. Chris Dodd, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama himself are avoiding blame for this crisis despite symbiotic relationships with those who caused it is truly amazing.

The nerve with which they hold forth about "unbridled capitalism" and "deregulation" while conveniently forgetting their culpability in government interference in the market, which first pressured banks (via Community Reinvestment Act) and then incentivized banks (via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) to make risky loans to people with troubled credit history.

Obama has been heavily involved with a certain group of community organizers that encouraged such behavior since the very beginning of his career— ACORN. I'm going to pull out a little bit of Stanley Kurtz's piece on this connection, but read the whole thing. The details are devastating, even if you know the basic outline already:

[Prominent Chicago ACORN activist Madeline] Talbott continued her effort to, as she put it, drag banks "kicking and screaming" into high-risk loans. A September 1993 story in The Chicago Sun-Times presents her as the leader of an initiative in which five area financial institutions (including two of her former targets, now plainly cowed - Bell Federal Savings and Avondale Federal Savings) were "participating in a $55 million national pilot program with affordable-housing group ACORN to make mortgages for low- and moderate-income people with troubled credit histories."

What made this program different from others, the paper added, was the participation of Fannie Mae - which had agreed to buy up the loans. "If this pilot program works," crowed Talbott, "it will send a message to the lending community that it's OK to make these kind of loans."

Well, the pilot program "worked," and Fannie Mae's message that risky loans to minorities were "OK" was sent. The rest is financial-meltdown history.

IT would be tough to find an "on the ground" community organizer more closely tied to the subprime-mortgage fiasco than Madeline Talbott. And no one has been more supportive of Madeline Talbott than Barack Obama.


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