More Evidence That Newt Doesn't Want It
December 16, 2011
Um, anyone who actually wanted to be president and had made $1.6 million lobbying for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would have come up with a better defense of it by this point than Gingrich's two-pronged "government-sponsored entities do lots of good things" and "I was a national figure doing just fine so I couldn't have been a lobbyist" line of attack. Clearly it's more important to Gingrich to insist on his righteousness than to come up with a defense that might sound semi-plausible, even if it had the collateral impact of conceding he did something slightly dodgy.
December 02, 2011
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Newt surge is that the man’s past has yet to catch up with him. At first glance, Newt Gingrich seems like God’s gift to opposition researchers. There’s the $1.6 million fee he collected from Freddie Mac, the $500,000 line of credit he holds at Tiffany’s, and the climate-change ad he filmed with Nancy Pelosi. Like Herman Cain, he has a history of sexual improprieties. Like Mitt Romney, he has a less-than-perfect pro-life record. Most damningly in today’s Republican climate, he is the ultimate Beltway insider—and has been for nearly two decades.
Twelve Questions They Should Be Asking at Tonight’s Debate
November 22, 2011
Tonight’s GOP debate, co-sponsored by my own institution, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, will be focused on foreign policy, and, as is the nature of such events, the journalists moderating it will likely pose a lot of softball questions, with almost no follow-up and nothing that really cuts to the core. Here’s a list of questions that I would love to hear answers to (and I imagine many primary voters would, too), but that almost certainly won’t get asked in the dozen primary debates scheduled in the weeks ahead.
Newt Inc. And The Death Panels
November 18, 2011
Now that Newt Gingrich is taking his turn at the top of the Republican primary's Ferris wheel, reporters are wasting little time in digging into the vast depths of Newt Incorporated.
A Long List of Terrible Things That Newt Gingrich Has Done and Said
November 17, 2011
Newt Gingrich’s improbable surge in the polls for the GOP presidential nomination has surprised nearly everyone, including TNR, and given rise to an important question: How, exactly, should one cover a candidate who already possesses enough baggage to sink a small freighter? Though Gingrich’s ship may sail before reporters have time to unpack it all, the following collection of embarrassing words and deeds attributed to Newt will live forever: 1. Gingrich divorced his first wife for Marianne Ginther, whom he began courting while he was still married.
Newt And The Lucrative Field Of Housing History
November 16, 2011
Thanks to some good reporting by Bloomberg News, we now know that Newt Gingrich's consulting gig at Freddie Mac earned him not $300,000, as John Harwood’s question at the recent CNBC debate suggested, but $1.6 million.
Grading Obama's Home Work
October 26, 2011
Forty-eight hours later, what should we think about the administration's announcement of more help for people with underwater mortgages? To be honest, I'm still not sure. And that's partly because even the experts I trust seem to disagree. Just to review, the Obama Administration’s record on helping distressed homeowners is pretty shoddy, as even the Obama himself now admits. He came into office promising relief for homeowners with mortgages they could no longer afford, but his policies delivered very little of it.
When historians look back at this benighted moment in time, they may find themselves puzzled by how we refused to take the necessary steps to improve our economic situation. Depending on what happens in coming months, they may find that the best solutions—aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus here in the United States, bank recapitalization and debt restructuring in the EU—were left on the table, while millions unnecessarily suffered. A footnote in that history may be the decision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac not to do more to help the housing market recover.
Bring Residential PACE Program Back to Life
August 30, 2011
With job creation and the renewal of the moribund housing sector increasingly now at crisis levels of urgency, there seems to be a renewed push in Washington to inject new life into the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE)--a program that some had given up for dead after the Federal Housing Finance Authority created a major implementation hurdle last year. The newly introduced PACE Assessment Protection Act (H.R.
Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner just published a major book, Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. The book is excellent in explaining the misconduct of executives who ran Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack. Yet it goes off the rails by overstating the role of these firms (and understating the role of others) in creating the housing meltdown and the closely-linked foreclosure crisis.