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Is Matt Taibbi speechwriting for the White House?

Remember when Matt Taibbi made waves for calling Goldman Sachs "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity"? Well:

Last night, at a fundraiser in Florida, President Obama demonstrated just how hard he plans to take it to the banks in the coming months. He compared bank lobbyists to flesh-eating fish. No joke.

To be fair, "flesh-eating fish" sounds more aggressive than what Obama actually said, which was "piranhas."

By Ezra Klein  |  April 16, 2010; 1:50 PM ET
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No, but I wish he would. That guy cracks me up. Even when I disagree with him I find him funny.

Posted by: nisleib | April 16, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse


Ask your dad some time in what context they call someone a piranha in Brazil.

Posted by: Randinho | April 16, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I got an e-mail today from a Greek news site that touted a speech by the "FinMin." As if FinReg wasn't bad enough. I blame Ezra.

Posted by: Hopeful9 | April 16, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

He almost sounds unhinged at this point, so demagogic has he become. The constant targeting of people or entities to hate. Read history, people.

Posted by: truck1 | April 16, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

It's worse than that, truck1. Obama actually pronounced the word "piranya", like those damn foreigners in Brazil do, rather than "pirana" the way decent Americans do. I'm pretty sure O picked up Portuguese while hiding out in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro with Che and John Brown. It's right there in the history books.

Posted by: geoffcgraham | April 16, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Obama should totally use the phrase "flesh-eating fish." That sounds terrific.

Posted by: Isa8686 | April 16, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

It's an interesting point. Piranha's are just doing what comes naturally. Are they bad for being fish? And, frankly, it ain't like the movies. You can scare piranha's off. If you're moving and conscious, you're fine. Just don't collapse, unconscious, or find yourself paralyzed in a body of water with them. Then they'll eat you alive.

A similar principal applies to investment bankers. The main problem with investment bankers is the same problem I have with government bankers or almost anyone else: if you're a hammer, then everything else looks like a nail.

For politicians, legislation is the answer to everything. If you're an investment banker, new financial instruments are like magic. You shuffle some paper, and, tadah! You've magically made money. It's alchemy. Only the gold turns back to lead at some point, but they forget that.

It becomes hard to believe, in retrospect, that the great majority of these people weren't trying to destroy the economy, but actually thought that derivatives and credit-default swaps built out of a bunch of crappy mortgages could, with the correct amount of Michael Donahue-like financial acumen, magically shower the world with free money.

But they did.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | April 16, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"He almost sounds unhinged at this point, so demagogic has he become. The constant targeting of people or entities to hate."

had you noticed that extravagant rhetoric is the ONLY way to get your point of view on t.v. these days?

in the meantime, let me know the first time you catch matt on a serious error of fact or interpretation, mkay?

Posted by: stoat1 | April 16, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I think it's more that the White House is speechwriting for Matt Taibbi.

Posted by: tomtildrum | April 16, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Things you should hate, per the President: insurance companies, big banks, wall street and those who work for wall street firms and get bonuses, big drug companies, doctors (tried that for a brief moment but it didn't fly), the State of Israel, Netanyahu, Jim Cramer (Mad Money), Fox News, CNBC unless they fire Cramer, the Supreme Court of the United States.

Posted by: truck1 | April 17, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Obama's just familiar with Canadian Ken Finkleman's "The Newsroom," a phenomenal satirical-intellectual sitcom whose pilot begins with a debate over the comparative connotations of "piranhas" vs. "flesh-eating fish" in the title of a TV news segment:

"Perhaps one Canadian may have been eaten by flesh-eating fish."

Posted by: kevinhilke | April 17, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

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