Obama’s Courage, and “Courage,” on GM

April 1, 2009


(Guest post by Greg Forster)

On Monday, Jay praised the president’s “courage” because the media were reporting that the administration was talking about bankruptcy for GM. I posted a comment to the effect that the media reports cited unnamed sources, and nobody should be praised for “courage” until somebody stood up and said “bankruptcy” in front of TV cameras.

Right after that, what does the president do but get up and say “bankruptcy” in front of TV cameras?

So, credit where it’s due. It was a bold move.

But there are two kinds of courage: the courage of the man who is resolved to do a hard thing because it’s right, and the courage of the man who is resolved to do a hard thing because it’s necessary to save his own skin.

We’ve yet to see which kind of courage this is. In today’s Journal, the indispensable Holman Jenkins makes the case that the president is bluffing because he needs to create the impression that he’s serious about bankruptcy.

Whatever else we may say about the president, he knows one thing the Clintons don’t: even if the only thing you care about is your own survival, you still have to take risks periodically. If you always do the “safe” thing, you’ll end up less safe.

New Evidence Against the Bailout

October 22, 2008

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

As the evidence piles up, I’m moving closer to abandoning my studied neutrality on the bailout and joining Jay and Matt in opposing it. I still lack the expertise to evaluate the claims that there’s a credit panic, that markets behave irrationally during a panic, that panics turn into crashes, and that it is possible for government to prevent the crash by acting as a sort of substitute rational investor during a panic. But whether or not government intervention can counteract a panic, it’s looking more and more like that isn’t what’s happening.

Today’s datum? GM is buying Chrysler partly so that it will be considered “too big to fail.” (HT Jonah Goldberg)

Since I first saw this in The Corner, I’ve been meaning to post it, but haven’t gotten around to it. Glad I waited – now I can also direct you to America’s MVC (most valuable columnist), Holman Jenkins, whose Wall Street Journal column this morning discusses the case.

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