02/18/2009 06:18 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Missing President: PBS On The Crash

FRONTLINE last night was like JAWS.

First Bear Stearns, then Lehman, then AIG, then Freddy and Fanny.

The two most striking revelations (at least to me) were that (1) Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson seems to have let Lehman Brothers go belly-up after saving Bear Stearns because he personally had it in for Lehman's CEO from way back. And (2) the President of the United States was utterly uninvolved in the worst economic crisis since 1929. His name was never (or barely) mentioned. Every decision was made by Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and later, Congress.

No Bush.

I'm no Herbert Hoover fan. But he was involved in the post-1929 disaster every step of the way. His decisions may have been wrong (some of them were right) but he made the decisions along with his Secretary of the Treasury.

Not Bush.

There was one moment in the program where Bush was asked what he thought. His answer: "I'm not an economist."

Imagine President Obama in that situation. Or, in fact, any President since Pierce and Buchanan (our two most vacant Presidents whose indifference to the slavery/secession crisis helped produced the Civil War).


Who do we have to thank for this? God? No. The voters? No. Then who?

How about the Supreme Court and its decision in Bush v. Gore. I wonder if Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy can sleep at night. (if they have 401K's, they probably can't).