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Apparently Harry Reid isn't intimidated by Alan Greenspan's mumbling, rambling, and dodging.  Instead of hailing Greenspan as the all-knowing master of the economy, he choose to take him head on.  
Reid ripped Greenspan during an interview on CNN's "Inside Politics." He said the Fed chairman has given President Bush a pass on deficits that have built up in the past four years and should be challenging Republicans on their fiscal policies, rather than promoting Bush's plan to introduce personal accounts into Social Security.
 Pull up a chair and pass the popcorn.

For a decade, politicians on the left and the right have treated Alan Greenspan as if he were a sacred cow.  No matter what nonsense he spewed in his latest visit to capitol hill, they all got down on their knees to praise the man.  So is Reid impressed?  Eh... not so much.
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 points out, quite rightly, that when Democrats were in charge, Greenspan acted like a deficit hawk, constantly harping on the budget.  Then Democrats got the budget under control, Republicans came to power, and suddenly Greenspan can't find a bad thing to say about how the Republicans have mismanaged the accounts.
Why doesn't he respond to the Republicans and tell them the big problem here is the debt that this administration is 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."
Have I mentioned before how proud I am of Harry Reid?  This is a man who won't back away from a fight and who won't take guff from anybody.  This is exactly the man we need leading the charge.

Go get 'em, Harry.  We've got your back.

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:15 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Harry Is So Right (4.00)
    Did you see the recent Pew Poll numbers?  Greenspan is second to the AARP as the most trusted source on Social Security.  His recent Congressional testimony is almost certainly related to that poll number.  Just as with Colin Powell at the UN, the administration trots out whichever figure they can to spout their lies, even if it demeans the office and officeholder.  

    Bringing the country together by turning every state Blue. Bluest State

    by Tim from VA on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:12:38 PM PST

    •  It's frustrating (4.00)
      How many times have you heard Greenspan saw the silliest, least comprehensible thing imaginable?  Do people run around saying "man, he's lost it?"  No.  Instead, they spend days trying to interpret what Greenspan said.

      It's as if he speaks in a mixture of corporatese and pigin-finance and Wall Street somehow finds that charming.

      TwoTaboos -- Politics and Religion.

      by Mark Sumner on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:16:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pidgin (4.00)
        and the press apologizes for it with homilies about how any way he sniffs makes instant and dramatic effects on the stock market.

        Has anyone ever noticed that making claims about what caused certain movements in stock prices on a given day is about as easy and accurate as reading tea leaves?

        Chaos theory, bitches.

        Yesterday we stood at the abyss; today we are taking a step forward.

        by peeder on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:24:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The only thing Greenspan sniffs (none)
          is glue.  That's the only thing that explains why he, a trained economist, could be supporting the ruinous policies of Dubya and the Reichpublican Party.
        •  bitches! lol (none)
          I was just thinking about exactly what Reid said. I cannot believe that a Democratic leader is saying what I am thinking. UNBELIEVABLE!

          It's about time Greenspan owns up to his culpability in this financial disaster. Fancy rhetoric and an air of infallibility gets you far when talking about money, but eventually someone knocks and you got to show your cards.

          It looks like there may be some flexibility in the labor markets at the FED these days, and that bodes well for the American Economy.

    •  Attack Greenspan (4.00)
      The AARP is trusted, so the Rethugs are trying to attack them to destroy their credibility (a la Swift Boat ads).

      We need to go after Greenspan -- just as strongly as the Right goes after us, but without the lies.

      •  I'd pitch in (4.00)
        I certainly wouldn't mind seeing a "worst of Greenspan."  30 seconds of his constant backpeddling, reversals, and sheer nonsense distilled down for a commercial.  It shouldn't even need any commentary to put a dent in his reputation.

        TwoTaboos -- Politics and Religion.

        by Mark Sumner on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:19:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe something like (none)
          "The Two Faces of Greenspan."

          Scene: The NASDAQ and DOW are at all time highs. Unemployment is at an all time low. Wages are starting to catch up with inflation. Then the music turns ominous, the screen is dark, the camera pulls back slowly to reveal the Devil Himself, William Jefferson Clinton.

          Cue Alan Greenspan. "Unreasonable exhuberance in the stock market Aiiiiigh!!!"

          Next scene: The stock market is stagnant. Job numbers are erratic. $200 Billion for a war in Iraq, Billions in tax cuts for the rich lead to the largest deficit ever. The economy is being propped up by artificially low interest rates. Borrow! Spend! Borrow! Spend! Happy go lucky, cheery and bright music plays while we see Bush clearing Brush on his "ranch" in Crawford.

          Cue Alan Greenspan. "We should privatize Social Security!"

          You could go on and on...

          -Dana in Santa Fe

      •  Well Let's Go Get Him! (none)
        His blatant partisan behavior in a non-partisan position is enough to warrant his removal. We should be attacking him, both bores. Not only will it take him out of the SS fight, we can also use it to put forth our issues (i.e. the wasted surplus, the out of control deficit, the
        reckless spending).

        I think maybe we should get the "art team" that brought us all those counters to the attack on AARP, and make a nice banner ad for what Greenspan's about. Something involving money going down drains, and red ink seems in order.

        I'm saying it here and now, the social security fight is our biggest battle since the election,
        and it's of equal, maybe even greater, magnitude. We're not only battling for the survival of the most successful government program in history, we're battling to show the American people we stand for something, and that we stand up and fight for that thing. We're fighting to show them that our way works, and that our way is the way that looks out for them.

        If we win this fight, it not only shows our way works, and that our message is a valid one, it hands Bush co. and Karl Rove in particular, a clear and stunning defeat -one that could cripple Bush for the rest of his term. It says to them they can only go so far bullying, and coercing, and inveigling and obfuscating to get their way. It says to them
        that at some point, they will be resisted, and they won't be able to strong-arm themselves to victory, no matter how many people they try to intimidate.

        The momentum is with us, and the public is on our side. We're winning this fight. But we can't back down. We need to not only stay on the offensive, but open a new front. If Greenspan wants to use the Fed to play cheap political games, then he's a combatant, and we need to go after him. We can't back down now, we need to go for the jugular.

        The bastards are drowning, so let's throw them a Goddamn anvil!

        How much will you lose with Bush's Social Security plan? Click to find out.

        by Goldfish on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:22:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  iron fist (4.00)
    in a velvet glove!  he knows his stuff & he ain't afraid throw it around.  boy, i bet greenspan is seeing stars.  & i bet frist has a load in his pants daily.

    i'm very happy with him, too.  

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. Abe Lincoln

    by x on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:15:08 PM PST

  •  CHARGE!!!! (4.00)
    thanks harry.

    these are the years we will understand again what it means to be strong, to find strength in principle.

    He will never be a tough competitor. He doesn't know how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Lou Piniella

    by alivingston on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:16:17 PM PST

  •  We finally have a senate leader (4.00)
    He and Pelosi make a great team.  Plus Dean, who I suspect is putting the lead into their pencils.  Whatever.  It's good to see our point of view getting out.  I liked Daschle. He was an honorable man among thieves, and the thieves got to him.  Reid knew they were thieves all along, and isn't afraid to say it.
    •  pelosi (4.00)
      could use some work, she's been too influenced by dlc bunk, imho.  harry will be good for her.

      You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. Abe Lincoln

      by x on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:25:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  fist-a-cuffs (4.00)
    That's what we need, and we've got it in my hero, Harry Reid.


    "If the Bush Crime Family were the Corleone Crime Family, then Dumbya would be Fredo Corleone."
    LJ's Blogorific

    by The 1n Only Leoni on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:23:41 PM PST

    •  Harry is my Senator (4.00)
      Jim "Plagerize This" Gibbons is my Congressman.

      Only in Nevada.

      •  Keep us posted, will you, (none)
        on the fallout, if any, in your district over his plagiarism.
        Have any local papers picked up on it?  Local TV?
        I'd love to see him humiliated.  

        I used to live in Nevada.  In Reno.  It was quite an experience after having grown up in the Bay Area.

        "Pro-life" really means "pro-criminalization"

        by Radiowalla on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:27:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Go Harry! (4.00)
    Dear Harry Reid:



    P.S. What will Andrea Mitchell do?

  •  Who is Alan Greenspan? (4.00)
    I remember years ago reading a Greenspan essay in a compendium of essays edited by Ayn Rand entitled "Big Business: America's Persecuted Minority". Greenspan has a past history associated with the Austrian school of Economics known for its opposition to Central Banks on principle.

    As a matter of actual monetary policy, Greenspan has been mostly a policy pragmatist. But one wonders if there isn't a deeper agenda underlying his pronouncements. Perhaps there are two Greenspans: the public, responsible policy pragmatist and the ideologically driven free market fanatic.

    Now he's come out in favor of shifting from an income tax to a consumption tax.

    We need to take note of what Greenspan does. As of now, I agree- the guy has revealed himself as a partisan hack rather than a policy pragmatist. So we should treat him like the partisan hack he is.

  •  Way to go Senator Reid! (4.00)
    Every day gets better and better with Sen Reid! It's nice to see him take on the babbling Greenspan and the deficits.

    A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier. H.L. Mencken

    by SallyCat on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:31:58 PM PST

  •  Whoa!! He said that? (4.00)
    Reid: "I voted against him the last two times. I think he's one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington."

    All right Sen. Reid! Way to go!

    Between hearing Sen Reid say this, Sen. Byrd standing firm against the little fascists trying to take away the people's voice, and DNC chair Dean touring the South I'm starting to feel some real pride. Keep it guys! Keep it up Sen. Boxer too. We've got your backs!

    That we are to stand by the president, right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. ~Teddy Roosevelt

    by assyrian64 on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:48:17 PM PST

  •  The passion has returned (4.00)
    I've have never been prouder to be a Democrat in my entire life than I have since, ironically enough, the Nov. 2 election loss.

    The fighting spirit has returned to my beloved party and it warms my heart.

    "Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for."

    by DriftawayNH on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:56:56 PM PST

    •  I was seriously dispirited (4.00)
      after by the loss, however I was more dispirited by the thought of, in 2005, the Democrats not acting as the OPPOSITION party they must be, that they would once again try to be gentlemen while the thuggish, lying Repugs beat the stuffing out of them again, and, more importantly, us.

      It has been a pleasant surprise, to say the least, to hear Reid say this and stand up on other issues against the power-whore Repugs in Congress and in the WH.

      Special kudos to the new Steel-Spine wing of the Democratic Party: Boxer, Reid, Dean, Byrd.

      That we are to stand by the president, right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. ~Teddy Roosevelt

      by assyrian64 on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:15:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Steel-Spine wing (none)
        "the new Steel-Spine wing of the Democratic Party: Boxer, Reid, Dean, Byrd"

        I like that :)

        "Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for."

        by DriftawayNH on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:18:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks...Y'know its s-ooo nice (none)
          to be inspired by political leaders for a change, rather than dissapointed. I think those flowers Sen. Boxer received when she took her bold stances may be having some effect!

          That we are to stand by the president, right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. ~Teddy Roosevelt

          by assyrian64 on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:23:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Is Greenspan Chauncy Gardener? (4.00)
    Greenspan is sadly looking like Chuancy Gardener in Peter Sellers movie Being There.

    Thanks Reid for having the spine to say so.

    Back in 83 Greenspan raised the social security tax to "Save" Social Security. It really hit the lower and middle class, but has left Social Security healthy for the next 40+ years.

    Now Greenspan is conveniently forgetting this. Proof he is working for the corporations not the people.

    Thoughts from Connecticut

    by ctsteve on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:58:01 PM PST

  •  Props to Reid (4.00)
    It is refreshing to see a Democratic Leader say the truth, even against something that is popular.

    I'm proud that Reid is intent on moving poll numbers instead of following them.

    Good old fashioned leadership, about damn time!

    •  He is a refreshing (none)
      cool drink of water, in these crazy times we live in!

      I can't thank him enough. He knows what is at stake here and my respect for him is enormous.

      Why can't Biden have guts like this. I guess we can tell by his votes who is financing his campaign....could it be the credit card companies?

      People vote for sunshine, not for gloom and doom!

      by missliberties on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:06:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let the Greenspan idol-worshipping stop... (4.00)
    ...while we're on the topic of the 10 Commandments <snark>


    Yes, Greenspan is a real, flesh-and-blood, fallible human being, and just because some fresh-out-of-college, Gordon Gecko wannabe can say "Greenspan is a God" doesn't make it so.

    Go Harry!

    "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence." Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by grannyhelen on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:04:38 PM PST

  •  Harry Reid (none)
    should call for Greenspan to retire.  That would get some notice.

    What is essential is invisible.

    by bebimbob on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:04:58 PM PST

  •  Boxing Orator of the Flats? (none)
    Not quite as catchy as Boy Orator of the Platte, but a nice fit none the less.  What's wrong with Kansas?  Nothing a miner's son who grew up in a tin roofed shack can't fix.
    If he can figure out how to get a Sen. Comittee to investigate some war profiteering... Reid '08?

    Might and Right are always fighting In our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning. Might can hardly keep from grinning. -Clarence D

    by Myrkury on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:11:59 PM PST

  •  Give 'em hell, Harry (4.00)

    My state is Red, but I am Blue

    by tooblue on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:13:28 PM PST

  •  Give 'em Hell, Harry! (none)
    and to think that four short months ago we were doubting this man. Every time I read one of his statements it makes my day better. "Hack"! I love it!

    As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

    by sidnora on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:13:39 PM PST

  •  once again (none)
    a good job by Harry Reid. I think he deserves at least partial credit in the drop in support for SS enronization over the last month. He came out pretty firmly and said "The plan aint happening." Now, I'm sure that might have been posturing and we still need to fight to keep some of the fainthearteds on, but just by doing that he took a firm stand. I'm sure by now Tom Daschle would be meeting with Bush to work on a compromise.

    Inside every rural Republican is a Democrat trying to get out.- David "Mudcat" Saunders

    by jj32 on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:16:56 PM PST

  •  Knock 'em out, Harry! (none)
  •  Down w/ Greenspin N/T (none)
  •  Krugman first called Greenspan political hack (none)
    in his NYT column Three-Card Maestro on February 18.


    Krugman has been criticizing Greenspan in the past years, in particular for his shill for Bush on tax cut and social security and it was said that Greenspan thus refused to speak with him.

    With his economist's insights, Krugman always hits the nail on the head.

  •  I am proud of Harry! I saw this quote on Sludge, (none)
    I'm sure the Right will be squawking, screaming and bloviating about this tomorrow - in the midst of their Martha Mayhem (she's leaving prison, right now).
  •  Transcript of CNN interview of Reid (none)
    I am posting this in its entirety.  Reid was wonderful.  Not only did he call Geenspan the political hack I always thought he was, but he said the Social Security crisis was just like WMD, created by Bush.  And that Social Security was not in crisis and was good for 50 years.  

    When it came to reframing the debate around Social Secuirty he was masterful.  It was like he was channeling Lakoff and Luntz.


    I called his office and just kvelled, (YIddish for oozing with praise and pride) his staff loved it.  Call and congratulate him

    WOODRUFF: Welcome back. The White House said today that President Bush is making important progress in his campaign to sell Congress and the public on his Social Security plan. But new polls out today suggest otherwise. A "New York Times" survey shows that 63 percent of Americans say they are uneasy about the president's ability to make the right decisions about Social Security. And a Westhill Hotline poll shows 42 percent of Americans say they trust Democrats more to protect Social Security. 18 percent say they trust Republicans more. 16 percent put more trust in the president.

    The Democrats are trying to cast further doubt on the president's plan. The DNC is going up with 60-second radio ads on Social Security, tomorrow in New Jersey and Indiana to coincide with the president's swing through those states.

    Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid not only disagrees with the White House plan to overhaul Social Security, he also disputes the idea that the program faces a funding crisis anytime soon. I spoke to Senator Reid just a short while ago and I started by asking him if he thinks the just-announced 60 day P.R. blitz, designed to build support for the president's proposal, is a waste of time.


    SEN. HARRY REID, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Well, that's up to the president. We know that as Democrats, we're united. We do not support his privatization plan, his cutting of benefits and running up this deficit so much that we simply have said you got to do it the right way. And that's why, Judy, we're going to send a letter to the president today. And that letter will say if you take privatization off the table, we'll be -- we'll have to sit down and talk to you about the problem with Social Security, now ears.

    WOODRUFF: Why are you doing this right now?

    REID: Well, because, first of all, Social Security is not in crisis. It's a crisis the president's created, period. If people -- if we did nothing, people would draw 100 percent of benefits for the next 50 years. If we still did nothing, it would draw 75, 80 percent of the benefits. We can work on the problems 50 years from now, and we'll be willing to do that right now. But we ought to get privatization off the table, because it is a touch word for destroying Social Security and the American people have come to understand that.

    WOODRUFF: Well, let me quote to you what one of your colleagues in the Senate, Senator Chuck Grassley -- he said, "This controversy has really given the Democrats," he said, "an opportunity to focus on the personal accounts and avoid," what he says is the "responsibility that we all have about the solvency of it." Is he right about that?

    REID: Well, he's exaggerating the solvency. I've indicated that the Social Security program is strong, it's viable, it pays 100 percent of benefits for the next 50 years. We want to do something so it's a strong, sound program after 50 years. And that's why we're willing to sit down and talk to the president about it, as long as he takes privatization off the table.

    WOODRUFF: But even Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, in testimony yesterday, and again this morning, is talking about how Social Security does have long-term fiscal -- or rather fiscal issues that he says need to be addressed urgently.

    REID: Judy, you understand, I hope, that I'm not a big Greenspan fan -- Alan Greenspan fan. I voted against him the last two times. I think he's one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington. The fact of the matter is, he told us when we were in power and Clinton was president the biggest problem facing the American people was the deficit. And we did something about it. We, during the Clinton years, paid down the debt by about a half a trillion dollars.

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

    WOODRUFF: Well, he has mentioned the deficit, I know, but I guess the question is, is it responsible? Is it responsible for Democrats to say we're not going to deal with this long-term solvency question?

    REID: Democrats are saying as long as privatization is on the table, which is a word for destroying Social Security, we are not going to take the bait that the president has shown to us. The president wants to run up the debt, he's already acknowledged that privatization will not help the stability of Social Security. He's indicated he's willing to make benefit cuts, he's willing to run up the debt. We're not willing to do that.

    WOODRUFF; So, when House Speaker Dennis Hastert says -- he looks at what the Democrats are doing right now and he says the Democrats have become the party of no. Just, you know, obstructionists.

    REID: This is interesting. The president has never seen a crisis he hasn't created. Social Security, judges. So the next thing I assume I'll be hearing from Republicans, they want to change rules some way, as they do on the House when you get a problem with ethics, they just change the rules. That's what they're threatening to do here on judges, maybe that's what they should try to do on Social Security. Change the rules.

    That's what they seem to be wanting to do, rather than face the situation we have before us. The situation is Social Security is not in crisis. Social Security is not in crisis. The president understands that and that's why he wants to privatize it, to destroy it.


  •  God Damn! (none)
    F*ckin' eh' right! THIS is the type of leadership I want to see. It's been so long since we put the hammer down on these fools, so long since we've had some f*ckin' truth from our politicians...I almost forgot what the truth felt like. God damn, this is good stuff!

    Hammer. Hammer. Hammer.  

    The truth shall set US ALL free.

  •  Great Diary! (none)

    In the future people will wonder why most didn't challenge Bush's excesses
    The truth? Complacency was easier

    by lawnorder on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:33:30 PM PST

  •  The Freepers are Feeling the Bite (none)
    They're talking about the same story as us.

    I havan't read into the comments. I just had a really good night out with my girlfriend, and I don't want to spoil it. But feel free to mine out some of those golden Actual Freeper Quotes(tm) if you're feeling masochistic.

    How much will you lose with Bush's Social Security plan? Click to find out.

    by Goldfish on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:31:53 AM PST

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