Alan Greenspan has been Fed Chairman since 1987. In the ensuing 18 years he has earned a reputation as a fiercely independent — not to mention fabulously well-respected — thinker who speaks his mind.
Although first appointed by Ronald Reagan, he often found himself at odds with Republicans. He famously refused to drop interest rates in 1992, hurting incumbent George H.W. Bush and boosting Bill Clinton’s White House bid. He continued to aid Clinton, helping to block GOP-backed tax cuts and supporting Clinton’s efforts to reduce the debt. (Of course he also married NBC News personality and notorious liberal Andrea Mitchell, not earning him any points with the Republicans, either). Though the Democrats cheered and the Republicans groused, it all reinforced the legend of Greenspan as his own man, independent-minded and above reproach. Until now, that is.
Now, after 18 years of offering various opinions on a wide range of issues, Greenspan has incurred the wrath of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid by doing the unthinkable: He supported personal accounts for Social Security and seemed to side with the President in saying that the Social Security mess needed to be fixed, “sooner rather than later.” Heresy!
For his sins, Reid called the long-time voice of God on matters economic, “a political hack.” After all, Greenspan committed the ultimate mortal sin: he agreed with George W’s view of the world. In the process, Reid crossed a line that no one in this town had crossed in 18 years.
Reid no doubt is hearing from his constituents as well as from all the folks in town who have a pretty high tolerance for pain and rhetoric, but for whom even this was beyond the pale. Mark this down as the beginning of the Daschle-ization of Harry Reid.
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