Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Marino, Sessions, ICBA, and Corker

Trump Admin Continues Bad Personnel Choices

There is absolutely nothing wrong or untoward about a President choosing close or early political supporters to join him in his Administration, serve as ambassadors, or fill other major posts.

Every President, Democrat or Republican, does it.

But most presidential campaigns—which evolve and become administrations—have fairly vigorous back office vetting procedures that, before the nomination occurs, weed out candidates for obvious flaws and foibles that make them (and the President) look bad when those awkward secrets come out, as often occurs “inside the Beltway.”

Nearly a dozen Trump appointees, post vetting, have pulled back their names or had them taken down for various incidents and issues which should have been spotted by the Trump vetting process.

The latest example of a very flawed Trump review process is Representative Tom Marino (R-Pa.) who this week “withdrew his name” from consideration as “Drug Czar” or head of the Office of Drug Control Policy.

“Withdrew his name,” is the polite way of saying the WH told the poor S.O.B never darken its doorstep, again.

Marino’s Trump-sin exploded in the news when the Washington Post and CBS revealed that Marino, legislatively, was pimping for the big commercial drug makers and succeeded in getting Congress to agree to slow down Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) corrective actions against the industry.

Despite the facts which caused the President to ax Marino, Trump gallingly uttered, "Rep. Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar. Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!" 

This all came on the eve of President Trump planning in the next few days to declare some major new opioid crisis and heralded White House response.

Never embarrass DJT.

Think “fox and chicken cops” when you contemplate putting Marino in charge of overseeing vast parts of the commercial drug industry-- sometimes called junkies in lab coats--and regulating those powerful companies’ role in the nation’s opioid crisis.

All makes this prickly president look bad and lame.

Previously, Trump defended Marino as “someone who early on supported me.” That’s not good enough. That simple standard has to be higher or Trump’s just adding to the “swamp” which he promised to drain.

DJT’s response about Marino reminded me of the terrible, terrible rumors about the junior Senator from Alabama, circulating Washington, when the POTUS chose Senator Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General and run the Justice Department.

Sessions, too, had been an early Trump advocate which—in retrospect-- got him a job he wasn’t and isn’t capable of performing—as the President himself suggested when Sessions rather than protect DJT recused himself from the Russia investigation, shortly getting the AG’s job.

The POTUS wasn’t happy then, either.

All of this in turn raises the question—especially given the dozens of vacancies in the Trump Administration and the several officials who have left this Admin or asked to have their nominations dropped--why has the DJT vetting operation gone so slow and why has it missed in the names of those sent to the Hill for Senate approval?
Could it have been an operational breakdown or weakness of the main nut behind the steering wheel?

Mortgage Interest Deduction and the Trades

Will the split in supporting President Trump’s plan to curtail part of or end the mortgage interest deduction (MID) cause trouble/hostility among the Washington housing/mortgage finance trade groups, which have split this year in contrast to their past solid opposition to MID changes?

Here’s one comment from a major Realtor opposing any changes about the Homebuilders who support the change.

“The National Association of Home Builders is all for [the GOP tax plan] because of the part about corporate taxes. If you own a corporation, you want to kiss [President Donald] Trump’s feet. We’re saving people money so they can use it to buy a house,” said Jeff Barnett, a California Realtor and vice chair of NAR’s large firm real estate services committee.

Meow, meow, should be Grrr! Grr!

The always conniving Mortgage Bankers Association also this year jumped from the anti-MID change coalition and hopes to curry WH favor on its broader agenda, i.e. pummel the GSEs, in supporting changes to mortgagors writing off their interest deductions.

But, a possible winner in the trade association wars could be the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and its Exec Cam Fine

The ICBA is strong on GSE issues and opposes the reduction or dissolution of the MID.

Always a potent ally of the GSEs and very solid in its support of preserving the Mortgage Interest Deduction, the ICBA’s lobbying skill and impact could make some in Congress dubious about riling up the small bankers and going along with the WH on something which could hurt homeowners and homebuyers.

It also could cause some of those smaller MBA members to consider leaving their trade group for warmer ICBA surroundings, if the MBA keeps taking positions contrary to small lenders’ interests to please its big bank members by opposing Fannie and Freddie and supporting MID changes.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) Resurrection?

I’ve been asked if, suddenly, I‘m a Corker friend and ally after what I wrote in my last blog about him looking good in his public complaints about the President and his Administration and more significantly, about Trump’s personal; shortcoming.

So, yes, I am happy Corker spoke out and as a citizen and a voter I appreciate his courage, driven by his Trump-anger and Sectorial perspective.

But no, none of that means Corker will do a 180 degree turn on his GSE animosity or legislative interests.

He still could insist F&F be wiped out and he still could oppose any type of GSE legislative or regulatory relief others might want to extend.
He’s the chairman of the Senate Foreign Committee and reportedly liked and respected by his colleagues.

Until he’s dropped crushing the GSEs as a high senatorial priority, the Trump presidency, Iran, North Korea, Russia, China,  and a host of other foreign policy issues, should take precedence over fixing a national mortgage finance system which many claim is not broken just needing some minor rehab.

Maloni, 10-18-2017


Anonymous said...

The government is so overloaded with useless waste that not filling some of these seats might just save the taxpayers some money.
The comments about Corker are so bizarre that if I commented on them it would insult you personally, hence I'll hold back. Because political ideology over rides common sense is why there are so many troubles.

Bill Maloni said...

Hey Anon, their compensation savings--which is being wasted elsewhere--doesn't make up for the public's business not being done.

(Of course, if they all are ideological slugs, you may be right.)

Since I said good and bad things about Corker, not sure which got to you?

Are you happy/unhappy he spoke up about DJT?

Anonymous said...

Corker seems to be setting a stage so if he gets indicted he will claim it political revenge. I read the GSE link information for years and by some very center people like Josh Rosen (who says it like it is on both sides) and if 1% of that information is remotely true, Sen. Corker is a "bad dude". I am pro F&F and would like to see the Law win. Period. It seemed like your views have been very consistent with mine until Corker made the remarks. Then, it seems, you bailed out on what is right and just for a Republican to slam Trump. That's very bizarre.
Remember, it was the progressive liberals who created the NWS and kept it in play for years. If you truly want what's right to be done, I would think your only hope is Trump. No other as you well know what Corker would do. As discusting as it was for eight years un Barry, we all waited and waited and waited for SOMEONE to do the right thing. Again, our hope now is in Trump Administration.

Bill Maloni said...


I truly get the "disgust with BHO" from conservatives. I shared some of that, particularly in foreign policy matters.

But, lest you/we forget, Obama suffered a lot of hassle from congressional R's--from Day 1, as per McConnell's favorite "make him a one term President" vow--and resorted to the "Executive Orders," when the no-nothings in Congress forget about US history and tradition.

If you read my early blogs when Trump's election was likely, I didn't like his campaign but hoped for a better President than candidate.

In his nine months in office, he hasn't shown that...just the opposite. And, I don't think it gets any better.

Have you ever seen a time of more hostility, anger, dumb statements made and retracted in less than 24 hours, belligerence, bizarre characters emerging as policy makers, nepotism, out and out lies, ridiculous assumptions, policies that outrage major domestic minority groups, and internationally create doubt and fear among our allies??

Our nation, its image, and standing have suffered since Trump's election victory and it's not just "fake news."

GSE issues are minor deals compared with possible shooting wars.

Anonymous said...

Could Corker's temper tantrum "possibly" be that he already knows the Trump Administration is not going to follow his Wells Fargo and TBTF Banking scheme against F&F?
If Trump exposes the corruption against "everyone" that clouded to put them in Conservatorship and the NWS, would your thoughts change?
Just curious.
As much as I disagree on some ideology I do enjoy and appreciate your GSE input.

Bill Maloni said...

Anon, I thought we were simpatico? ;-)

Of course, I don't know. But my opinion is that the two are unrelated.

In fact, every GOP Senator is crucial to DJT and until we see votes on tax reform, Iran, healthcare still, Dreamers, etc. from Corker (Flake, McCain, Murkowsky, Sasse, Collins et al) the Admin still will try to befriend him/them to get their support for the POTUS's big issues....which are not Fannie and Freddie.

If Trump cameout against all of the anti-GSE legal and political chicanery, "yes" it would change my mind but also I think it would be because someone told him setting the GSEs free might produce an extra $100 Billion or more (warrants) for what has to be a huge amoutn of Trump deficit spending.

Unknown said...

I think you tied yourself to a scoundrel with Corker, but then again you did support Killery. i can't know why a democrat would come out an suck up to such a crooked rep an bash a sitting president that at least is trying to get things done. it sounds as if you have just got on the bandwagon with the media, an Hollywood to help topple DJT so far nothing has stuck to the wall but ya'll keep tryin. Other than that i like your reporting on the developments concerning the gse's an hope that you have some good news next time.

Bill Maloni said...

Thanks JoJo--I'll work on it.

Yes, I supported Hillary because I thought her vision was better for the nation and while a weak camapigner, I still beliecve she would have been superior. (See my next blog, which I've only outlined but not written.)

A major sensitive point for me was that Putin hated her--GOOD for the USA--and lusted for a DJT victory--BAD for the USA!

Early on--even before his election last year--I held out hope, if Trump won, he would used his new pwoer rationally.

Now, he disabused me of that hope and everything from his appointments to his reckless tweeting scream irrationality and there "There is no Trump 2.0.)

What we see is what we have..

(Sorry I didn't catch your comment and respond sooner, but we've been pleasantly busy at our house for the past few weeks with positive family stuff, i.e. third son's DC wedding last weekend.

I have to ask you, what is it about Trump's first year that so positively excites you, besides him beating up on immigrants, minorities, the elderly (via his healthcare plans), and showing his historically uneducated ass to so many of our international partners?

What's he done for you and yours that gives you hope for a better more decent nation?

Remember, despite many of his supporters hopes, we can't turn back the clock--domestically or internationally--to the 1950's.

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