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Politics

Phil Angelides' Financial Crisis Panel Is In Crisis

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Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 2:15 PM

click to enlarge Phil Angelides can't catch a break
  • Phil Angelides can't catch a break
Remember Phil Angelides? He ran a "Revenge of the Nerds" campaign for governor in 2006 and got shellacked by a then-still-popular Arnold Schwarzenegger.

You'd think that experience might have soured him on public service. But no. He's back, and he's chairing the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the panel responsible for getting to the bottom of the 2008 economic collapse for those who may have missed "Too Big To Fail" and "All The Devils Are Here."

So how's that going? Not so well, it turns out. According to Shahien Nasiripour, it looks like the Republicans on the panel are going to write their own report, which means the commission won't achieve anything like a bipartisan consensus. So much for that.


From Nasiripour's account, it sounds like the Republicans are being slightly unreasonable. They are said to want to eliminate such terms as "Wall Street" and "deregulation" from the report, which would be like writing a book on World War I without mentioning the Kaiser or Germans.

But Nasiripour says that Angelides deserves some blame as well:

Angelides is described as a demanding boss who's said to be difficult to work for.
Not an uncommon quality in Washington, but there you have it. Angelides is expected to present the commission's report by Jan. 15. It sounds like the four Republicans on the panel won't have anything to do with it because they think the problem was all about poor people getting too many loans.

(Which -- to return to World War I analogy because it's convenient -- is like blaming that war exclusively on the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and completely ignoring the broader geopolitical dynamics that allowed such an event to turn into a global crisis. But anyway.)

Perhaps the commission was doomed from the start, stacked as it was with partisan hacks like Phil Angelides. But unlike the financial reporters who have already done a pretty good job of examining the causes of the crisis, the commission did have subpoena power. So perhaps something will yet come from that.

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