Greenspan Hackery Watch: Democratic Leadership Edition

Harry Reid don't suffer no fools:

"I'm not a big Greenspan fan -- Alan Greenspan fan," Reid said when asked about the Fed chairman's testimony this week urging Congress to deal quickly with the financial problems facing Social Security and Medicare. "I voted against him the last two times. I think he's one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington."

Reid said that when Bill Clinton was president, Democrats had confronted the deficit problem by enacting a tax increase in 1993, which helped bring about a balanced budget and strong economic growth later in the decade.

"Why doesn't he respond to the Republicans and tell them the big problem here is the debt that this administration [has] created?" he said. "We had a $7 trillion-dollar surplus when Bush took office. Now we have a $3 or $4 trillion-dollar deficit. That's, in fact, what Greenspan should be telling people."

Update: Don't underestimate the power of this move. It looks a bit intemperate, and it'll certainly be judged so by the usual lineup of basic cable gasbags, but Reid has shattered the consensus that St. Alan is above reproach. Tomorrow, when everybody's buzzing about Reid's unexpected and reprehensible broadside, Greenspan will find himself in the middle of a partisan food-fight, with one side unearthing all his hackishness and the other side reiterating the terms of his canonization. As soon as that happens, he's fair game and the grave, opaque utterances he intones from atop Sinai will be reported as what they are -- partisan pronouncements that need to be balanced by a quote from a Brookings Institution Scholar. If Greenspan is going to insist on being a hack, he's going to have to give up his special exemption from the press's objectivity rules. Reid's just hurrying along the process.

Update 2: Check the RNC flack's response:

Brian Jones, spokesman for the Republican National Committee, which a few weeks ago sharply attacked Reid, called the minority leader's comments regrettable.

"It's unfortunate that at a time when the president is looking to engage Congress in a substantive and meaningful discussion on Social Security that Harry Reid is spending his time attacking the Federal Reserve chairman," he said.

So lame it could have come from a Daschle-era Democrat. Goddamn are we hitting harder these days!

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