Democrats, watch out.
The Republican Party and especially its Tea Party wing have just acquired a new weapon of mass destruction — and it has nothing to do with any of Congressman Wiener’s rogue body parts. If they deploy this weapon effectively in the next election cycle — a big if — then they have the biggest opportunity to move the country rightward since Ronald Reagan took the oath of office back in 1981.
The Tea Party WMD stockpile is currently stored in book form: Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. By Gretchen Morgenson, one of America’s best business journalists who is currently at The New York Times, and noted financial analyst Joshua Rosner, Reckless Endangerment gives the best available account of how the growing chaos in the mortgage and personal finance markets and the rampant bundling of dubious loans into exotically toxic securities plunged the world, and millions of American families, into the gravest financial crisis since World War Two. It is gripping reading as well, and its explanations are clear enough that readers without any background in finance will have no trouble following the plot. The villains? An unholy alliance between Wall Street, the Democratic establishment, community organizing groups like ACORN and La Raza, and politicians like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Henry Cisneros. (Frank got a cushy job for a lover, Pelosi got a job and layoff protection for a son, Cisneros apparently got a license to mint money bilking Mexican-Americans of their life savings in cheesy housing developments.)
Yep, all they have to do is convince voters that it wasn't Wall Street's fault at all, but Democrats and those damn minorities who ruined the economy. Goldman Sachs? Innocent as newly fallen snow. BooMan has fun with this.
Before we can get to any Democratic complicity in this, we first have to assign blame to the people who actually had the power to do something. Of course, Gretchen Morgenson served as Steve Forbes's press secretary and is known for writing hyped and slanted opinion pieces posing as analysis. She also likes to steal bloggers' work without giving attribution. We know how her bread is buttered. As for Rosner, he was prescient about the housing crisis, but he didn't blame Barney Frank and ACORN for the impending doom. He blamed the rating agencies and the SEC for failing to do due diligence on the collateralized mortgage bonds. If he now has found new villains, it just means he has a book to sell. But, in truth, I don't think Mr. Mead is giving a fair and balanced portrait of the book, which has won the praise of people like Bill Moyers. It sounds to me like it has a lot of villains that were conveniently left out of this review.
But, yeah, if the Republicans could convince people that they're underwater on their mortgage and out of work because the Democrats gave free houses to blacks and Latinos, the Democratic Party would be toast.
I've documented many, many times before that the whole "Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to give subprime loans to minorities who couldn't pay" theory was total and complete baloney. Loans given under the CRA were to minorities that were in better average financial shape than the average subprime borrower. If anything, minorities who had better credit than the average subprime borrower were forced by greedy banks into subprime loans, even though they should have qualified for better mortgage rates. In fact, the vast majority of mortgage lenders that went under in the subprime housing disaster were not banks large enough to be covered by the CRA at all, so they made zero CRA loans and still collapsed. In fact, banks went out of their way to foreclose on minorities who had good credit and fell victim to bad loans pushed by the banks.
So it's not like this is a "new" strategy at all, it's blame blacks and Latinos for the entire housing depression, and in turn the entire economic depression. Because yes, minorities wrecked the economy on purpose because they wanted an unemployment rate of 17% plus.
All the GOP has to do to win is convince voters that minorities caused the economic collapse and not Bernie Madoff and Jaime Dimon and Hank Paulson. Go for it, guys. If that's your big plan for 2012, let 'er rip.