Better late than never, the saying goes. But as Alan Greenspan is proving this week, when it comes to the words of influential commentators, the difference between late and never seems awful small.
In Greenspan's new biography he finally airs some criticism of the Bush Administration. The New York Times reports it this way: "Though Mr. Greenspan does not admit he made a mistake, he shows remorse about how Republicans jumped on his endorsement of the 2001 tax cuts to push through unconditional cuts without any safeguards against surprises. He recounts how Mr. Rubin and Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota, begged him to hold off on an endorsement because of how it would be perceived. 'It turned out that Conrad and Rubin were right,' he acknowledges glumly. He says Republican leaders in Congress made a grievous error in spending whatever it took to ensure a permanent Republican majority." (nytimes.com, 9/15/09)
I'm glad to see Greenspan is finally showing regret about that. The trouble is that it is precious too little, too late. Greenspan is a canny political operator, and couldn't possibly have been so naive as to fail to realize how his endorsement of Bush's tax plan was going to be taken. Greenspan had his chance to stand for fiscal discipline, and he blew it.
Greenspan seems to be following in the footsteps of Bob Woodward, another influential writer who could have shaped Washington opinion on the early Bush policies, but lacked the backbone. Pity.