Time to invest in U.S. foreign policy?

James "Dow 36,000" Glassman gets the nod to succeed Karen Hughes as Undersecretary of Spin. Should we laugh or cry?

Published December 13, 2007 4:20PM (EST)

The news that James Glassman, coauthor of "Dow 36,000," has been nominated by President Bush as the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, succeeding Karen Hughes, incited a predictable round of gleeful sniping by the usual suspects.

And why not? Few people encapsulated the madness of the 1990s stock market bubble better than Glassman, and the appropriateness of such a blithe purveyor of happy talk as the Bush administration's chief spinmeister for foreign policy seems both absurd and utterly unsurprising.

Blogging at the Atlantic, Matthew Yglesias remarks that initially he couldn't believe the news: "Obviously, the same George W. Bush who thinks public diplomacy is just about salesmanship wouldn't give the job to one of the least credible salespeople on the planet."

Brad DeLong, after documenting how Glassman strove mightily to pretend that his book had never predicted that the Dow would jump immediately to 36,000, calls him a "mendacious wacko of the right" and says "it would be an elementary point to say that somebody who cannot tell the truth about his own book shouldn't be held out as the public face of American diplomacy by any administration."

Michael Schaffer at the New Republic finds one silver lining: "Luckily, the America-hating masses of Pakistan probably never had the chance to follow Glassman's cheerleading into the stock market back before the bubble burst in 2000."

But here at How the World Works, the news gives me the opportunity to quote one of my favorite lines ever about "Dow 36,000," written by Mark Gimein for Salon way back in 1999.

The best thing that can be said about "Dow 36,000" is that while wrong-headed, it is not pernicious.

Reason to celebrate!

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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