Our daily look at stories and topics that are lighting up the Internets:
The AIG Anger Bandwagon
Yesterday we wrote that practically everyone and their mother was against AIG for the $175 million in bonuses its executives received. But since the news broke over the weekend, and outrage at AIG turned into a semi-populist ragefest by many in the media and on Capitol Hill, a few bloggers have changed their minds. Here's the debate that's shaping up:
CON: A number of bloggers see shameless populism at the heart of public tirades against AIG, and aren't happy with what they're observing. Let's start, for example, with Robert Stein's disapproval of Obama's "mob mentality" rhetoric on the bonuses: "It's disheartening to see Obama leading a pack of tinhorn politicians and media mouths when he should be confirming his stand against unfairness but emphasizing the positive steps he is taking for national recovery." The New York Times's Andrew Sorkin thinks that AIG needs the bonuses to keep its heavily recruited employees: "As unpalatable as it seems, taxpayers need to keep some of these brainiacs in their seats, if only to prevent them from turning against the company." Tyler Cowen agrees, drawing larger lessons from the media controversy. Lessons like this one: "This is another reason not to nationalize banks. It means politicizing every decision which ends up in the newspaper." And conservative Jonah Goldberg posts this letter from a friend on the inanity of the corporate bailout system.
PRO: Today, like yesterday, voices from the pro-pitchfork-wielding mob were much easier to hear (they were louder). Did we say pitchfork-wielding-mob? What we really meant to say was Congress. Liberal David Waldman covers the race to the hopper. Iowa GOP Sen. Charles Grassley got straight to the point—calling on AIG executives to commit hari-kari. That is, before he recanted. Perhaps Grassley was channeling last night's ranting Stephen Colbert (video). Allan Frank writes about who's really at fault for the AIG bonus scandal (spoiler: it's not AIG CEO Edward Liddy). Our very own Bonnie Erbe turns to the hypocrisy in Obama's rage: "President Obama could legitimately object to $165 million in wasteful government spending if he weren't simultaneously in the process of committing waste on a much grander scale." And former New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer writes about the real AIG scandal.
Mark Sanford, John McCain, and Little Bit of Sarah Palin
Bloggers pay special attention to two Republicans today: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and former GOP presidential candidate John McCain. First up: Sanford. The GOP governor requested that the stimulus money from Congress be used to pay off the debt, a proposal that was rejected by the Obama administration. In a move that's attracting further media scrutiny, Sanford sent yet another letter to the White House. Conservative Veronique de Rugy, who posts the letter here, thinks Sanford's proposal is reasonable. Conservative Jerry Taylor responds to growing comparisons between Sanford and Goldwater, attacking a much-used "big government" conservative talking point. Liberal Ali Frick thinks Sanford's tactics are a stunt, less about the real crisis in his state than about the political attention he's attracting. John McCain conducted a "Twitterview" today, to which bloggers like this one shrugged their shoulders and moved on after noting the novelty of the interview approach. Conservative Michelle Malkin wasn't passing up an opportunity to poke holes in McCain's tweets. Moving to new controversy surrounding Sarah Palin, this Portfolio piece on the Alaska governor had lots of bloggers talking today, and will, we suspect, continue to do so in the days to come.
... Meanwhile ...
U.S. OK's largest ever arms sale to India... This is what happens when spring break coincide with St. Patty's Day, and an angel's watching over you... Bobby Jindal will be in the nation's capital next week looking for green... And F-bombs go up as the economy bombs away.