Man Without Qualities

Friday, June 28, 2002

Al Gore: Stand Up Comic!

UPDATE: Could Al Gore be planning a "Punch-and-Judy" type show with Paul Krugman? Among several hilarious things Mr. Krugman says in his column today is his observation:

"I'm not saying that all U.S. corporations are corrupt. But it's clear that executives who want to be corrupt have faced few obstacles."

That may have been true during the Krugman-beloved Clinton-Gore years, but with all these investigations and prosecutions launched by the Bush-Cheney team, such corrupt executives seem to be having a pretty hard time of it now.

Mr. Krugman builds his column around the conceit that different kinds of fraud are like different flavors of ice cream.

But somehow Mr. Krugman neglects to mention Clinton-Gore Tutti-Frutti - the most elaborate flavor of them all!

Word is Hillary is still selling it as filler for special sweet treats made with her own home-baked cookies - right there on the summer sidewalks of New York!


Amid a growing series of public company scandals now emerging from the Clinton-Gore era, Al Gore himself appears to have taken to stand up comedy!

Many people thought Messrs. Clinton and Gore were running the federal government - including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department fraud division - until January 2001. That would mean they were in charge while most of the alleged Enron chicanery went on and while Tyco did its questionable thing. Today we learn that Xerox Corp. will restate its Clinton-Gore years (1997-2000 in this case) results to reclassify more than $6 billion in revenues. This restatement resulted from the April 2001 settlement between Xerox and the Bush-Cheney SEC. Even the more recent corporate irregularities in the news clearly began in the Clinton-Gore era. For example, between September 2000 and year-end 2001, WorldCom extended its CEO, Mr. Ebbers, more than $430 million in unsecured loans to buy company stock -- of which $343 million were outstanding at the time the Bush-Cheney SEC announced it was opening an investigation. It is remarkable how many Clinton-Gore era irregularities Harvey Pitt and his new SEC have uncovered in the brief time they have controlled that agency.

But, with perfect comic timing, at a Democrat fund raiser in New York, "Mr. Gore blamed the nation's economic scandals — from Enron to WorldCom — last night on President Bush's economic policies." Mr. Gore almost seemed to suggest that the Bush-Clinton tax cuts somehow retroactively caused fraud from the Clinton-Gore years. What a card!

Having helped preside over eight years of non-feasance that allowed and inspired exactly the abuses now filling the news, Mr. Gore argued as persuasively as he dances the Macarena: "You see now what it means to have an administration that's that committed to fighting and working on behalf of the powerful, and letting the people of this country get the short end of the stick."

Mr. Gore also said the Securities and Exchange Commission isn't doing its job, and he called on its chairman, Harvey Pitt, to resign, suggesting Pitt is too cozy with captains of industry.

The article says that Mr. Gore was sounding likely Democrat campaign themes for November, but it does not say whether any of the 200 people in attendance were injured by convulsive laughter.

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