The Shakespearian tragedy of Fannie Mae

Bob’s book is full of information, but in addition, it represents an underlying drama—in fact, a Shakespearian tragedy in five acts:

                                     Rise, Power, Hubris, Fall, and Humiliation

On Power—many people in Washington and in the mortgage business were truly afraid of Fannie Mae and the retribution it meted out to those who crossed it.

On Hubris—Fannie often claimed it was the center of “the best housing finance system in the world” (a belief so instructively ironic in retrospect)—this echoed by former-Senator Dodd’s exclaiming that Fannie was “one of the great success stories of all time”!  So it was, until the Fall.

All five acts are very well chronicled in Bob’s book.

But which Shakespearian tragedy is this?

Thinking of the Fear of Fannie—perhaps it is Richard III, with Fannie as the ruthless Richard, brought down finally at Bosworth Field by Henry Paulson, playing Henry VII—

Or—thinking of then-Fannie CEO Dan Mudd, pathetically presenting financial plans to a Treasury Department which had already decided upon and was scheduling his fate—is it the great abdication scene, full of pathos, from Richard II?—with Dan Mudd playing the deposed king, handing over the crown to Henry IV, played by James Lockhart—

Maybe—but I think the best Shakespearian analogue is Julius Caesar, with the dictator of mortgage finance cut down in the capital city, with Henry Paulson this time playing Brutus.  I am thinking especially of the great scene where Marc Antony addresses the murdered body of Caesar.  Here we have Marc Antony played by Bob Hagerty, standing over the fallen Fannie:

          “Oh, might Fannie!  dost thou lie so low?”

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Alex J.
Pollock

What's new on AEI

Four years of Dodd-Frank damage
image Dodd-Frank, financial institutions, and public opinion
image Time for an Anwar Sadat moment in the Middle East
image Freedom of the skies at risk
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Event Registration is Closed
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Event Registration is Closed
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.