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Matthew Benjamin of Bloomberg on Greenspan's Memoirs

Alan Greenspan on the Presidents

Greg Ip and Emily Steel:

Greenspan Book Criticizes Bush And Republicans - WSJ.com: Mr. Greenspan writes that when President Bush chose Dick Cheney as vice president and Paul O'Neill as treasury secretary -- both colleagues from the Gerald Ford administration, during which Mr. Greenspan was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers -- he "indulged in a bit of fantasy" that this would be the government that would have resulted if Mr. Ford hadn't lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976. But Mr. Greenspan discovered that in the Bush White House, the "political operation was far more dominant" than in Mr. Ford's. "Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences," he writes.

From serving under so many presidents, Mr. Greenspan concludes that there's something abnormal about anyone willing to do what it takes to get the job. Mr. Ford, he writes, "was as close to normal as you get in a president, but he was never elected." The Watergate tapes, he says, show Richard Nixon as "an extremely smart man who is sadly paranoid, misanthropic and cynical." He recalls telling someone who had accused Nixon of anti-Semitism that he "wasn't exclusively anti-Semitic. He was anti-Semitic, anti-Italian, anti-Greek, anti-Slovak. I don't know anybody he was pro."

Ronald Reagan's ability to instantly tap one-liners and anecdotes in support of a particular policy represented an "odd form of intelligence." He describes Bill Clinton as "a fellow information hound" with "a consistent, disciplined focus on long-term economic growth" whose relationship with Monica Lewinsky "made me feel disappointed and sad."

Mr. Greenspan makes no mention of his successor as Fed chairman, Mr. Bernanke, other than in a caption accompanying a picture: "I was very comfortable leaving the post in the hands of such an experienced successor," it reads...

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