John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


The Era of the Big Screw-Up

Posted on February 4, 2009

The Era of the Big Screw Up


            The President said he screwed up when he trusted that Tom Daschle would get through the Senate with no problems on his way to nationalize health care.  He’s not the only one.


            Michael Phelps screwed up when he got photographed smoking a bowl of weed at a house party on a college campus.  Ashton Kutcher helpfully pointed out that Phelps’s strong lungs made it possible for him to inhale an entire bowl in one breath.  So, he’s got that going for him.


            Tom Daschle, Tim Geithner and that lady who was supposed to be the chief accountability officer all screwed up their taxes.  Geithner was lucky because he admitted his tax problems first.  Otherwise, his screw-up would have landed him in the private sector.


            President Bush screwed up by not admitting that he screwed up sooner.  Had he said that he screwed up right after the Mission Accomplished speech or right after Katrina, he might have left office with higher approval ratings.  Or so the conventional wisdom goes.


            Wall Street screwed up by betting that housing prices would keep rising forever.  They basically kept making that same bet, time after time, and now, we are all doomed. 


            Most Americans have screwed up through a combination of ways.  They have spent too much on, ate too much, or wasted too much.  But if this economy is going to survive, they will have to keep at it, according to the experts.


            Citi Group screwed up by trying to buy a corporate plane.  Obviously, the company that sold them the plane didn’t agree that this was a screw-up.  Neither did the workers who built that plane.  But, we are going through a period of great anger, so no plane for the hated fat cats.


            Wells Fargo screwed up by even thinking about taking a trip to Las Vegas with some of their top performers.  No word about those poor workers in Vegas who need visitors to keep their jobs.


            The House screwed up by passing a dumb spending bill masked as a stimulus.  Now, the Senate is going to have to fix it and fix it fast.


            Hank Paulson screwed up by giving the banks a bunch of money and not telling them to give that money to potential borrowers.   Next time, just give the money straight to the people, or so the theory goes.


            A lot of millionaires screwed up by giving their money to Bernie Madoff.  The judge screwed up by not putting Madoff in jail.  Madoff screwed up by stealing billions and then looking smug for the cameras.  He kind of looked like Jack Abramoff, didn’t he?


            None of us are perfect, and we all screw up on occasion.  But it sure seems like this is the era of the big screw-up.