February 05, 2004

More Thuds and Screams From Inside the Topkapi Palace

A correspondent directs us to a column by Michael Lewis, in which he thinks he hears another set of midnight rustles, running footsteps, thuds, and screams from inside the Topkapi Palace. Lewis believes that Ron Suskind's book about Paul O'Neill, The Price of Loyalty, is at least in part a move by Alan Greenspan against the Cheney-led camarilla of evil viziers who control access to the naive, underbriefed, simple, but well-meaning sultan who is George W. Bush.

That makes three grownup Republicans trying to bring the Bush administration back from the Delta Quadrant--Baker, Scowcroft, and Greenspan. (Maybe four, if you count Powell.) But where are all the others? Now is the time to make their move, while the disasters and deficiencies of the Bush policy process are clear to all and before the campaign begins in earnest.

Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg Columnists: We all know that Paul O'Neill just sent his old friend Dick Cheney a nasty message. It's interesting to think that Alan Greenspan co-signed it, even if he did so in disappearing ink.

Posted by DeLong at February 5, 2004 02:20 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post

Scowcraft and Baker equal Poppy and the Carlisle money machine. Must be getting nervous about losing access and riparian rights to exchequers of the powerful. Much like the potty mouth Washington Post's Weinstein. What a sniviler.

Posted by: G Ward on February 5, 2004 02:38 PM


Off-topic, but it came up at lunch: Does Stanley Roach have a political affiliation?

Posted by: Goldberg on February 5, 2004 02:43 PM


Do you mean Stephen Roach?

Posted by: Kosh on February 5, 2004 02:54 PM


Yeah, the Morgan Stanley guy. Is Stanley Roach anyone? my bad.

Posted by: Goldberg on February 5, 2004 02:54 PM


Greenspan "used" O'Neill to send a message? Gives O'Neill to little credit. That said, Greenspan is among Washington's busiest thinkers, so surely dismayed at the decision making process he has witnessed these past three years.

Is the book a way for one or both men to make up for past sins? O'Neill was Treasury Secretary when Bush began to whiz away the surplus. Greenspan offered cock-eyed intellectual cover for cutting taxes, but must be sickened at the result. Greenspan's fiscal rule has always been simple: taxes are bad, deficits worse.

Posted by: K Harris on February 5, 2004 03:01 PM


Given Roach's failure to tow the Bush economic line, his political affiliation must be with al-Qeida.

Posted by: Asymmetric Inflammation on February 5, 2004 03:01 PM



Posted by: Goldberg on February 5, 2004 03:07 PM


My take on the Scowcroft/Baker/Greenspan story is perhaps relevant only to those of us over 50 who will remember the same fairy tales told about Nixon ... he was misled by bad advice, he was kept in the dark, if only he had known what was going on, etc, none of these terrible things would have happened. It is the same story with W.

Posted by: Murray on February 5, 2004 03:08 PM


I'm sorry, but no matter what happens, after Alan Greenspan and the fed choked off the entire economy in 2000 because "Jobs weren't being lost fast enough" or something like that, and then went on to sign off on and endorse the Bush tax cuts, I just don't trust him or his opinion on really anything.

Of course, I've mostly tried to avoid using Paul O'Neil as a source either, becasue after that whole debacle with the SEC commission on accounting or whatever it was called, he's pretty low on my trust list too.

Posted by: Balta on February 5, 2004 03:30 PM


If I recall correctly, Stephen Roach was an advisor on economics to the presidential campaign of Bill Bradley in 2000.

Posted by: Daniel Lam on February 5, 2004 04:18 PM


"the naive, underbriefed, simple, but well-meaning ... George W. Bush."

I'll give you "naive," "underbriefed" and "simple", but why do so many writers insist that Bush is "well-meaning"? Truth to tell, there are so few people who fall into the opposite category that I cannot immediately think of an antonym to "well-meaning."
"Evil-meaning"? Nah.. nobody says that.

Well, this well-meaning simpleton rather relished his god-like role as executioner in Texas, fantasizes that he is some kind of macho war hero and has an almost limitless sense of entitlement (this last being pretty true to his experience to date). Can we give this a name? Such as "narcissistic personality disorder"?

Posted by: Handy Fuse on February 5, 2004 04:25 PM


Then I guess he's a Democrat. But I guess, also, that his main concern now is to be neutral so Morgan Stanley can use his advice to, you know, make as much money as they can. Thanks.

Posted by: Goldberg on February 5, 2004 05:10 PM


I find it intensely depressing to be sitting here hoping that CIA director Tenet or James Baker will save us. Baker is a "moderate", sure, but he's a really nasty piece of work.

Posted by: zizka / John Emerson on February 5, 2004 05:36 PM



Posted by: big al on February 5, 2004 05:40 PM


Lewis's article is a well-written little piece ( esp the vampires), but the AG connection is a little tenuous, No?
Anybody else find "his finger prints all over it"? Here is another guy ( like Roach) who doesn't need to do anything for the money so we can expect some integrity, No?
If AG wanted to tell us BushCo is not behaving, he could just come out and say so, No?
Of course it would need several analysists/interpreters and a few weeks before consensus could be reached on what he actually said. But I'd wait for that.

Posted by: calmo on February 5, 2004 06:10 PM


Handy Fuse says,

"I'll give you "naive," "underbriefed" and "simple", but why do so many writers insist that Bush is "well-meaning"? Truth to tell, there are so few people who fall into the opposite category that I cannot immediately think of an antonym to "well-meaning."
"Evil-meaning"? Nah.. nobody says that."

How about "unwell-meaning"? The idea, possibly not original, came to me from the title of a book on my shelf, rarely referenced, called "101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions". Anyone who has ever seen this book will probably recognize the strong similarity between the Republican Party and what the Japanese call Chingodu-- inventions that fail completely, but heroically, magnificently, and beautifully-- except take away the heroism, magnificence, and beauty.

Hmmm, maybe malevolent was the right word afterall.

Posted by: dennisS on February 5, 2004 06:37 PM


You're not pushing hard. "Well-meaning" is better characterized as "dysphrenetic", as in, "The naive, underbriefed, simple, yet dysphrenetic ... Grandee George W. Bush."
'Dysphrenetic' being a word coined in much
the same as Shrub maligns them, an amalgam of 'dysphasia' and 'phrenetic'. King George
is a dysphrenetic if there ever was one.
You heard it at Brad DeLong's Journal first!

Posted by: Dys Phrene on February 5, 2004 08:36 PM


Malevolent would be evil-wishing or desiring; our sultan goes beyond that; I suggest evil-intentioned.

Posted by: M. Tullius on February 6, 2004 08:31 AM


"That makes three grownup Republicans trying to bring the Bush administration back from the Delta Quadrant--Baker, Scowcroft, and Greenspan."

First you have to get past the Borg. Tricky. Helps to have quantum slipstream drives and stuff.

I sense danger, captain.

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