The Rah-Rah Boys

Dot-com CEOs, day traders and other leading icons of the roaring 1990s are passing from the scene along with the economic bubble that created them, but Baffler editor Tom Frank notes that "one group remains untouched: the public intellectuals of the bull market. The writers of Dow-worshipping books and commentators who handed down daring pronunciamentos from the silicon heights are still cruising from one posh gig to the next. If you tuned in to CNBC at any point during the long, slow meltdown of the last couple of months, you probably saw the news reader turn to a representative of Forbes magazine, formerly one of the world's most enthusiastic pushers of bull market optimism, now cast as an expert on a market in retreat. If you kept watching for a few hours, you probably enjoyed the surreal sight of James Cramer, one of the late boom's most prolific publicists, trying to feign outrage at the same forces he once cheered. And you undoubtedly gaped in disbelief when you recognized Cramer's co-host as Larry Kudlow, the hyperexuberant economist who once proclaimed from the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal that the free-market policies of the Reagan/Clinton years were so profoundly correct that they would one day cause the Dow Jones industrial average to hit 50,000. ... We are finally rid of the most egregious corporate swindlers of the 1990s. Why aren't the intellectual snake-oil salesmen following the dot-cons into oblivion?"