Don't Ever Lend Money to Politicians

I don't have a problem with someone who has had a bankruptcy in the past.  Bankruptcy is not some Scarlet B that should ruin one for life.  Ideally, its bad enough that folks should want to avoid it but forgiving enough that people can move on and get a fresh start.  Via TJIC

"¦ moderator Tim Russert asked former senator Mike Gravel about Gravel's
somewhat troubled financial history. A condominium business started by
Gravel went bankrupt, and Gravel himself once declared personal
bankruptcy. "How can someone who did not take care of his business,
could not manage his personal finances, say that he is capable of
managing the country?" Russert asked.

Here would be my answer:  "Bankruptcy does not necessarily mean that one has managed finances poorly or that one is somehow guilty of malfeasance.  It can mean those things, but it can also mean that one took a risk on a business vision, did the best job possible, but the vision turned out to somehow be wrong.  Some of the greatest names in American business backed Internet ventures that went bankrupt.  Some were just poorly managed, but many just made poor bets as to what would and would not work over the internet.  When people look at Enron, they assume that there must have been malfeasance for the company to go bankrupt.  And while folks were indeed breaking some laws there, those actions had nothing to do with Enron's bankruptcy.  Enron died because they made some huge bets on things like broadband that didn't pan out."

Here, in contrast, is Gravel's response:

"Well, first off, if you want to make a judgment of who can be the
greediest people in the world when they get to public office, you can
just look at the people up here," Gravel said in a nod to his fellow
candidates.

"Now, you say the condo business," he continued. "I
will tell you, Donald Trump has been bankrupt 100 times. So I went
bankrupt once in business.

Doesn't this guy sound like some overweight guy wearing a wife-beater and sitting in his trailer with a cheap beer watching a baseball game on his old black and white TV, railing against all the rich guys that never gave him a chance?  But the best is yet to come:

who did I bankrupt? I stuck the credit card companies with $90,000 worth of bills, and they deserved it "“ "

People in the audience began to laugh.

"They
deserved it," Gravel repeated, "and I used the money to finance the
empowerment of the American people with a national initiative."

That sound you hear is the dying gasps of individual responsibility.  And what the hell is that last part about "empowerment of the American people?"  Sounds like Gravel is channeling Lee Hunsacker.

  • Zach

    "but many just made poor bets as to what would and would not work over the internet."

    While I'm sure there were plenty of poor bets, sometimes even good bets don't work out.

    Even pocket aces get cracked 20% of the time.

  • http://dicentrasgarden.blogspot.com dicentra

    You shouldn't laugh at someone who is Sticking It To The Man. That's like shoving Rosa Parks out of her bus seat and onto the floor. No class. :D

  • markm

    Stickin it to da man??? He is da man.

  • Anon

    Gravel wanted to say something else, but Time Russert, with a newly discovered sense of empowerment, skipped him. Not fair, really.

  • la petite chou chou

    So what did he do....rack up 90k in credit card debt and then declare bankruptcy? Sounds...shady.

  • tribal elder

    No shame. America has a guilt-and-shame shortage.

  • Barrett

    Actually, reading that reminded me more of Eugene Lawson, the Wisconsin banker from Atlas Shrugged, rather than Lee Hunsacker.