Richard Burr’s Bobbing and Weaving on Bank Runs

The North Carolina press is starting to deliver a little heat to Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) over his irresponsible comments that could have sparked dangerous bank runs. But instead of just admitting he messed up, Burr is spinning weird and nonsensical rationalizations. Here he tells WTVD from Raleigh that he was right to risk sparking bank runs but covers himself by saying that now is not a good time to panic:

Eyewitness News spoke with Burr Thursday, and he said the comment was misconstrued. He reacted to his Democratic critics and says he meant what he said 6 months ago, but times have changed. “That was done long ago. That part of the economic crisis is over. And it was I think helpful. I think to people who heard me speak to give them a firsthand understanding of my frame of mind in that early week,” he said.

Still unclear here is why it’s ever a good time for political leaders to be sparking runs on banks. But it’s nice that Senator Burr is acknowledging that we’ve brought some additional stability to the financial system. Under the circumstances, I wonder if he regrets his vote against a key element of the financial stabilization package?

Meanwhile, talking to WGHP Burr offered a somewhat different take and “said his point is every American should keep some cash on hand and not be totally dependent on ATMs and banks.” That bears no resemblance whatsoever to his original comment, “Tonight, I want you to go to the ATM machine, and I want you to draw out everything it will let you take . . . And I want you to tomorrow, and I want you to go Sunday.” You’d have to be pretty dumb to mistake those remarks for a pragmatic warning that you should keep some cash on hand in case of a blackout or something.


I’m not sure I understand why it’s so hard for Burr to just admit he made a mistake and try to move on. It’s a kind of unseemly arrogance.