Leave it to the Washington Post's Richard Cohen to apparently play both sides of the street. In an article in today's Post, Cohen tackles the Enron collapse, calling it "a (expletive deleted) outrage." This case most definitely is that. Of course, Cohen is a learned man and a highly-paid, highly-talented columnist, so he should have been able to come up with something better than "(expletive deleted)."
It does not matter that Bob Rubin called Treasury about Enron. He is the chairman of Citigroup's executive committee, and Citigroup had lent Enron at least $750 million. Rubin was merely doing his job -- as was the Treasury official who said thanks for calling. It does not matter that various Enron officials called the White House or some Cabinet department and warned that the company was about to tank. This, after all, was going to be the largest bankruptcy in American history and might have what economists call "macro" consequences. The Great Depression, for instance, was very macro.
No, this is not a political scandal.
Actually, Rubin's call to the Treasury Department on behalf of his new employer, Citigroup, asking Treasury to do something to help prop up Enron's bond rating, probably is the most scandalous thing involving the federal government. The claim that Rubin was just doing his job is bogus. I'm sure Citigroup had other highly-paid employees who are not former treasury secretaries who could've made the call. And, being a former treasury secretary, Rubin should've known that making the call was the wrong thing to do.
So, after saying that the Enron collapse isn't a political scandal, what does Cohen try to do? He resorts to the old guilt-by-association argument.
The fact remains that these guys -- these pals of Bush and Cheney and others in the administration -- made money off a shell game.
Yeah...they were also pals of Clinton and Gore. Lay played golf with Clinton, and slept in the Lincoln Bedroom during Clinton's term. Why the throwaway line Mr. Cohen?
But I am here to tell you what you already know in your gut: This is not a political scandal. It is not another Whitewater, where you can't figure out what happened. We all know what happened. A bunch of bastards picked the pockets of their own employees. That's not a scandal. It's a blinkin' outrage.
Well, you've got that much right Mr. Cohen.