If someone had spent hours writing it as a comedy script, they couldn’t have done better. Not that it is funny exactly, it seems more like tragedy today, but I am sure it will all seem very funny someday. Isn’t that how true comedy works? The jokes that seem funny right away are just slapstick, like the slipping off banana peel ones (unless, of course, you are the one slipping, then it’s tragic).
I wasn’t expecting comedy when I canceled all my evening plans to watch Obama’s press conference last evening. Not that my evening plans were anything much, they mostly consist of libraries and groceries. But anyway, cancel my plans I did, and sat through the Professor patiently explain credit crises and asset bubbles in words of three syllables. Of course, each mini-speech took about seven minutes, but then what do you expect when you elect a sometime Professor as President? He probably lectures to his colleagues each day too.
But you must admit, if you haven’t fallen asleep, you’ll find his speeches interesting. And he does come across as someone who really understands what he is talking about. Which is not something you can say with conviction about the predecessor.
Anyway, I did manage to stay awake throughout his speech. And I found that every other minute, he was dropping hints about what a bombshell Tim Geithner was going to throw on us tomorrow – a Plan that would set everything right. A Plan, no doubt, to end All Plans.
I was all excited that I would now have some real action about the economic crisis. Apparently Tim Geithner was going to make a momentous announcement the next day, much more important than the Second Coming. We were going to have a New Deal, or at least a Newer Deal, or an Old Deal-that has-been-refurbished-and-is-as-good-as-new. History was going to be Created.
Even R looked impressed and predicted that stocks would rise the next morning.
Of course, I did notice that Obama refused to disclose any details of the Geithner Plan, but I was willing to wait another day with bated breath.
So today morning I spent hours watching CNBC. I even willingly sat through Dodd’s speech, which seemed to be even longer than Obama’s, while waiting for Geithner.
And what does dear Tim say after all this? He talks about how he has started a new website. Then he talks about a “public-private investment fund”, whatever that means. You mean a public company that behaves like it is answerable to only a few people? Don’t we already have many of those ?
Well, anyway, I kept waiting for Geithner to reveal his Plan. He seemed to be making a fine speech without saying anything, but no doubt he was just building up the suspense. But perhaps he lingered too long in the build-up. After he finished advertising his new website, he must have ran out of TV time, for he never got around to talking about the Plan.
I could see the markets suffering a cardiac arrest even as he was speaking. Where was the Plan? Did he forget a few pages of his speech? Perhaps they dropped in the car? Or did he get stage fright and forget his lines?
Thankfully, the markets didn’t completely collapse (I mean, what’s a mere 380 points?) No doubt, because it was a sunny day in New York. Or maybe because the markets have now become used to getting heart attacks. After you get more than a half-dozen heart attacks, I suspect you get used to them. Don’t ask me, I don’t want to know.
R is now very nervous, and talks about selling all our investments and rushing back to India.
The folks at CNBC are more hopeful. No doubt something came up between yesterday evening and today morning, they think. It must be the only reason. Maybe they suddenly realized they hadn’t finalized all the details of the public-private investment fund yet. Or any of it. You know, something.
I have a better idea. I think Tim Geithner and Obama were trying out a new talent – comedy. We know Obama can make great speeches, that he can dance and play basketball (hopefully, not simultaneously) but did you know he has a talent for practical jokes?
Now we know.