Former Obama official Cass Sunstein explains in a recent article what a “wing nut” is: anyone, right or left, with “a dogmatic commitment to an extreme political view” that is “false and at least a bit crazy.” Wing-nuts, he says, “impugn” the “motivations” or the “good faith” of people with whom they disagree, rather than confront their actual arguments.
Sure, you may say, that’s fair: an equal- opportunity definition of “wing nut.” Who wouldn’t want to join Sunstein in occupying the moderate middle and calling out the intolerant and the uninformed at both ends of the political spectrum, the people, as he says, who call Barack Obama a socialist or George W. Bush a fascist?
The question, though, is how does Sunstein use this even-handed rhetorical stand against “wing nuts”?
To know, we don’t have to look any further than Sunstein’s third example of a wing nut: someone who believes “that big banks run the Department of the Treasury.” Now,
The accolades for Timothy Geithner came on so thick and heavy in the last week that it’s necessary for those of us in the reality-based community to bring the discussion back to earth. The basic facts of the matter are very straightforward. Timothy Geithner and the bailout he helped engineer saved the Wall Street banks. He did not save the economy.
We can’t know exactly what would have happened if we did not have the TARP in October of 2008. We do know there was a major effort at the time to exaggerate the dangers to the financial system in order to pressure Congress to pass the TARP.
For example, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke highlighted the claim that the commercial paper market was shutting down. Since most major companies finance their ongoing operations by issuing commercial paper, this raised the threat of a full-fledged economic collapse because even healthy companies would not be able to get the cash needed to pay their bills.