Barack Obama was on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" today, and he answered a question, inspired by the Bernie Madoff case, about his administration's policy in dealing with a serious fraud case like this. Here's what he said:
Pretty shocking, huh?
OK, I lied.
Obama didn't say "Ponzi schemes," he said "interrogations, detentions." He didn't say "Wall Street," he said "the CIA," and instead of "keep the American economy moving," he said "Keep Americans safe." But other than those three changes, that is exactly what Obama said. Why does it sound so outrageous if he's saying we wouldn't investigate fraud. but it's OK to suggest we should just move on from torture, the banning of which used to be one of the things that made America special and a role model for other nations?
Seriously. Madoff's fraud is in the past and it won't happen again, just like the Bush torture policies. He seems like a docile elderly man. What's the point of putting him behind bars? Wouldn't our time be better spent making sure that fraud doesn't happen in the future, rather than dredging up the past. So a few people were hurt by Madoff -- they'll get over it.
Just like torture, right? Just keep moving. Nothing to see here.
Dahlia Lithwick had a good op-ed on this subject in the Times this weekend.