Saturday, March 28, 2009

Crybabies, Petards, and Chilly Revenge

Jake DeSantis's public resignation letter from AIG is old news by now. Even so, it merits some comment, both on its petulance and its elegance.

The content of Mr. DeSantis's letter is spot on.

He's right that Edward Liddy sold his colleagues and him out. He's right that only a few of the people at AIG caused the problems, and that the public outrage at the ones who were left shouldn't have prevented them from getting paid. He's right to have chosen to give the money away (if not back) as an honorable move -- we have offered our comments on the team nature of corporations already.

He's right that the likes of Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd are flaming hypocrites (at least in one case), even though he didn't mention them by name.

Whose interests were truly served, though, by Mr. DeSantis airing his grievances in the "paper of record" (or Daily Worker, depending upon how you consider the shamelessly left-leaning grey lady)? The letter made AIG look bad and made the government look bad.

We don't mind either of those, their having done good jobs of it themselves.

Our beef is that Mr. DeSantis, by going public, looks like the whining-millionaire-who-is-sufficiently-rich-that-he-can-publicly-turn-down-a-cool-million-less-taxes that he apparently is.

He had lousy PR counsel in this regard. He's made a fool of himself nationally even if he's made a folk hero of himself at the local too-expensive-for-the-rest-of-us country club. We think the trade off is a poor one, and toss an idiot flag in his direction for this form of crybaby publicity.

We do admire one thing he did, though. He noted, correctly, in his criticism of the chief legal thugs of the states of New York and Connecticut, that the correct plural form of "attorney general" is "attorneys general," not "attorney generals" as we so frequently see written by the lunkheads who often pass for reporters these days.

On the topic of attorneys general, Messrs. Cumo and Blumenthal, who have both rattled their legal sabers at the unrepentant bonus recipients at AIG, are wise to consider the way in which other attorneys general (and former attorneys general) have been hoisted on their own petards (viz. Messrs. Dann (OH) and Spitzer (NY); we have the "privilege" of sharing alma maters with both of them). Sanctimony is a dangerous business, and one is ill advised to make rich enemies.

But back to our first point, Mr. DeSantis might consider the old French proverb: "La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid."

Or, as The Godfather offered it up in 1969: "Revenge is a dish best served cold."

1 comment:

Jacob's Mom said...

Thanks for addressing this. Jake DeSantis' resignation letter just demonstrated that many folks on Wall Street still don't get it and that the culture of entitlement is still pervasive. I was glad to see the public wasn't wearing blinders and was able to see past his whining resignation letter and put him solidly in his place. Unfortunately, unlike many people who are now unemployed, I am sure that Mr. DeSantis is probably already gainfully employed again by another Wall Street firm that agrees with his sense of entitlement.