Lou Dobbs’ rant about Treasury Secretary Paulson last Monday was way over the line. He did more than challenge Paulson’s policies and proposals, he attacked him personally with some of the most condescending and insulting language I have heard from a host on CNN.

“DOBBS: Well this Treasury secretary is the same buffoon who said a week ago there wasn’t a problem, two weeks ago wasn’t a problem, three weeks ago and really we don’t care what he wants. He is nothing more than an empty suit parading around as the leader of this administration’s economic team.

“So Mr. Paulson, get over yourself. Either we straighten out the corruption and the excess on Wall Street and indeed in every aspect of this economy or we’re going to have continuing, continuing crises, so get over your bad self, Henry Paulson.

“You’re hardly a genius and you’re in no position to even utter a word as to what you would prefer. Shut up, get on with the job and listen to the people for a change. You have no–absolutely no right to a view on this at all in my opinion. Thank you very much, Kitty. Kitty Pilgrim.

“Well it’s the subject of our poll tonight. As you might guess, Secretary Paulson I find to be an incompetent jerk. But we would like to get your opinion. Should Wall Street executives who oversaw the biggest market meltdown in American history be paid a dime of taxpayer-funded bonus money? Yes or no? Cast your votes at loudobbs.com. We’ll have the results here later in the broadcast.

“And yes, I said Henry Paulson, Treasury secretary, is absolutely an incompetent in a parading preening popinjay right now in the midst of crisis, not a lot of help.”

I am not a fan of Henry Paulson. I am not a fan of the Bush administration. I am not a fan of Wall Street and I am certainly no fan of Wall Street executives, but everyone who holds office in this country deserves a modicum of respect.

I happen to agree with the point that Dobbs was raising. The compensation of Wall Street executives certainly needs to be reduced if the federal government steps in to bail out the finance industry.

Dobbs could have made his point without the name calling and the insulting personal attacks. We need to clean up more than the sleaze and greed on Wall Street. We also need to clean up the sleazy demagoguery in the mainstream media.

Bruce Prescott is executive director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists. This column appears on his blog.

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