Once upon a time Douglas Holtz-Eakin was a reasonable professional economist, if of a conservative bent and clearly associated with the Republican Party. He served honorably during the period of GOP control of Congress when Bush, Jr. was president as Director of the Congressional Budget Office. There he resisted the relentless pressure from delusional supply-siding GOPster Congresspeople to declare that tax cuts pay for themselves with the proper "dynamic analysis." DH-E put this canard to sleep once and for all, at least in Congress, if not on Fox News and in the general Tea Party looney bin. Even though I did not support McCain in 08 (and by all accounts he knows little to nothing about economics), DH-E served respectably as one of his top economic advisers in the campaign, along with other such respectables as Ken Rogoff, who has managed to avoid making a fool of himself since then.
However, now Douglas Holtz-Eakin has fallen into lunatic pandering, I can only guess in the hopes of becoming an adviser to Sarah Palin or some other future GOP prez nominee who is equally out to lunch on economic matters. Accounts are given on Mark Thoma at http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/12/words-will-never-hurt-us-or-our-cronies-if-we-dont-allow-them-to-be-used.html a few days ago and today by Paul Krugman at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/17/opinion/opinion/17krugman.html?_r=1 .
As one of the four GOP members of the financial crisis commission he has joined with the others in voting to refuse to allow the words/phrases "Wall Street" or "shadow banking" or "interconnection" or "deregulation" to appear in its final report. While Dem commission member Brooksly Born (who had warned of the coming crisis ahead of time) has expressed sadness that some sort of reasonable compromise language to encompass competing viewpoints could not be arrived at, DH-E and company have absconded to issue their own report that blames it all on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act. As Krugman points out, the F's did not even get into buying subprime mortgages until 2004 and other countries without them or the CRA have had worse housing bubbles than has the US. This is just fantasyland stuff that is only taken seriously by, well, Fox News and the Tea Party crowd. Douglas Holtz-Eakin: shame on you!