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Politico writer Richard E. Cohen published a story yesterday about Texas Republican Congressman Pete Sessions, who is pictured at right posing with some grateful beneficiaries of the H1B visa program, okay not really just strippers but seriously anything is possible in this country.
The Republicans have been touting Sessions as their Rahm Emanuel, so skilled is he at fundraising. Now, I know what you’re thinking: That guy? Can host the kind of party that succeeds in getting billionaires to part with a couple Gs to fund the party of no taxes for billionaires? What an exhausting job that must be, it makes firing lazy schoolteachers look like a total cinch by comparison, right readers? But sure enough, fellow Republican congressman Greg Walden of Oregon says Pete Sessions is so tireless he is like an “Eagle Scout.”
But wouldn’t you know, the anonymous hating Demorats are saying Session’s is not so awesome. In fact, they are calling him a “moron” who is “more lucky than smart.” (Mercy mercy me the PARTISANSHIP of these people!) Totally mean and mean-spirited and partisan as they are, though, do their criticisms have any merit?
Politico doesn’t say, of course. They mention a supposed “gaffe” of Sessions’s about the Taliban that makes no sense, obviously, except maybe if you are high, which is why I might give him the benefit of the doubt, if I had not actually once paid attention to a Congressional hearing in which he settled that question.
Here he is, on October 2, 2008, before the first botched TARP vote, after hours of testimony in which Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke and Barney Frank had attempted to explain why the insolvent global financial system needed another bailout.
SESSIONS: Mr. Frank and Mr. Bachus, I just have one simple question. That is, if you look at the stock market, it’s pretty easy to tell by turning on the TV whether it’s up or down. Is there an indicator that tells us by some value about the credit agencies and ratings and what has that activity…
FRANK: Well, there were…
SESSIONS: … historically? What has it turned into and how can we look at that…
FRANK: There were some indicators. For instance, there was the London Interbank Offering Rate, LIBOR, which is at historic highs right now. That’s the amount that banks charge each other for loans, and, of course, the amount the bank charges another bank, that’s the starting point for what the bank loans. We’ve got a lot of anecdotal evidence about credit being — drying up and if you look at, as I said, the LIBOR rate, I think it’s at historic highs. There’s on one indicator like — but the anecdotal evidence and such indicators that we have are the credit is really deteriorating. It’s even worse than the stock market.
BACHUS: And those are overnight lending rates.
SESSIONS: So in other words, you would draw the conclusion, if we were, two years ago, not in this circumstance that we’re in, you would say if it’s very high, that that’s an indication of a credit problem.
Now, it is not exactly an accident that there was (and is) no easy way of turning on the CNBC and being able to gauge from a fancy graphic out whether the financial system is functioning as normal or by contrast, hoarding everything it can in offshore tax shelters. Mike Bloomberg is a multibillionaire in large part because he controls the cartel on vital information like this. But anyone with a rudimentary understanding of how modern wealth operates knew this. And anyone who had ever given a passing thought to what is involved in “running a business”, as Republicans are supposed to do, knew/knows that being able to sell stock to Jim Cramer-worshiping suckers is sort of like a really cool all-American “privilege,” but having a line of credit to fund day-to-day operations is more like a Constitutional right (as long as you are a Real American Small Business Entrepreneur and not a lousy freeloading foreclosure queen.) And surely Pete Sessions had at least one fatcat donor, lobbyist mistress or constituent who might have explained this to him, he was probably just too dumb to listen. (And he was definitely too dumb to understand one word of Barney Frank’s explanation.)
All of which is to say: Pete Sessions is decisively stupid, and not simply in a run-of-the-mill card-carrying GOP philistine way but an exceptional, wow-he-really-doesn’t-understand-how-money-works-even-a-little way. “Luckily” for him, the media is too stupid* to call him on it.
*Or just dishonest!