Jim Geraghty's review of "Game Change" goes up on NRO today, but he provides the special friends on his email list a taste:
If you are a fan of Sarah Palin, you will loathe this movie. If you hate Sarah Palin, large swaths of this movie will be more thrilling than pornography. If you are somewhere in the middle in your opinion of Palin, you will find yourself wondering why you're watching big-name actors reenact extremely recent events, with limited new revelations, insight, or lessons from it all. It's kind of like watching a batch of Oscar-nominated actors performing a dramatic reading of a transcript of the last GOP presidential debate. (Colin Firth as Romney! Daniel Day-Lewis as Santorum! Philip Seymour Hoffman as Gingrich! Sir Ben Kingsley as Ron Paul!) The actors bring their best efforts, but in the end, you realize you've seen it before, and not even that long ago.
Think I'll pass on "Game Change;" but I'd stay up late to watch Colin Firth play Governor Mitt Romney.
UPDATE: NO! NO! NO! The full review is online, and coveted Quote of the Day honors go to his lede:
HBO director Jay Roach and screenwriter Danny Strong spent millions of dollars and cast some of Hollywood's biggest stars in an unparalleled effort to dispel the widespread misperception that John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign was a well-oiled machine.
Nick Gillespie has discovered that President Obama might not be a Libertarian!
Mega-props to our President Obama for yesterday's speechifying about simplifying and fair-izing the Infernal Revenue Service and all that.
Except for one small nitpicky thing: He's full of shit on this topic. How precisely is he or his Slugger's Row of policy mavens (you know, the idjits who can't even use Turbo Tax) gonna make the income tax more fair? As it stands, the top 1 percent of filers pay 40 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent pay 60 percent; and the top 10 percent pay fully 70 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent (5-0, Dano!) pay a whopping 3 percent of all income tax.
I'm glad Gillespie has figured it out by April and all. And I confess it is a funny post. But it may have been a little more helpful before the election.
Politics goes on, but I consider that the campaign ends with the Inaugural Address.
I don't want to ask anyone to put their chisels away or anything, but am I the only one who did not think the speech was that good? It is admittedly a failure of high expectations. The dark eight years of monosyllablism were to come to an end at noon on the 20th. A candidate known for gifted oratory was to assume a historic presidency in front of a record crowd.
I think it was one of those 52-10 Super Bowls. The scripted speech tried just a little too hard. Every sentence had an extra adornment. The delivery was good but it wasn't really punctuated with applause lines. I'll admit it was successful in establishing how terrible everything is today, setting a low bar for recovery expectations. He may have used Lincoln's bible but he clearly tried for an FDR address.
Of course I found much to disagree with, that was to be expected ("The debate between big and small government is over" Really?) But I was expecting a more splendid example of oratory.
The real crazy ones always point to another crazy person that thinks the same way as proof.
I saw a Pepsi Commercial and thought they were cashing in on Obama (it would be great if somebody could!) Evan Coyne Maloney agrees:
If Pepsi is invoking Obama’s campaign materials deliberately—and I have no reason to believe that they are—then maybe the folks behind it see some business sense in doing so.
Judging from the volume of painted plates and limited-edition coins being hawked on TV ads that gush about Obama’s “kind eyes and warm smile,” the Merchandising of the President-Elect might be the only growth industry left.
Here in NYC, you can’t walk a block in midtown without passing several street vendors pushing Obamawear.
Click through -- he's got pictures. Hat-tip: Instapundit
If you wanna get mad, watch this. William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn come out to share their views. And if you can watch it without yelling at the screen three times, you get the ThreeSources Calm Award of the day.
Apparently, Obama has changed his position from his speech at AIPAC. In early June, he told the Israeli-supporting political action group that Jerusalem “must remain undivided,” drawing thunderous applause and roars of criticism later from Palestinian groups. Within hours, Obama retreated to the Bush administration position — that Jerusalem should be left to the two sides to negotiate in the final settlement.
Welcome to Obama 3.0 on Jerusalem. Now he has switched sides to the exact opposite of what he argued at AIPAC. One has to wonder what all of those Jewish voters who supported Obama will think of this new position on Israel’s borders and security, but somehow I doubt it would get thunderous applause at AIPAC.
Leading Israeli Prime Minister candidate Tzipi Livni supports the plan (the Saudi peace plan) in the general, while it is opposed by her rival for the position former Prime Minister (and Pennsylvania native) Benjamin Netanyahu.
I usually ignore trolls and their comments, but this one made me laugh. Insty links to a smart piece on why Obama was smart to stand up for Sen. Joe Lieberman (Traitorous Wretch - CT)
Obama told Harry Reid last week that expelling Lieberman from the Democratic Caucus for his vocal backing of John McCain's candidacy (and trashing of Obama's) "would send the wrong signal after Obama's promises to set partisanship aside," as Paul Kane writes. Obama wants Lieberman to remain on the Democratic side of the Senate aisle. As of now, the situation remains unresolved[...]
One of the commenters, however, isn't ready for bygones:
This is the dumbest post ever. and that takes alot on this page. Lieberman didn't do squat whan he was in charge of homeland security. Now, when he's in position to stick it to Obama on everything Iraq, you think he'll play nice? Obama help LIEberman get re-elected, what did LIEberman do, call Obama a maxist, un-american. JOE MUST GO!!!!
“President-elect Barack Obama called Nancy Reagan today to apologize for the careless and off handed remark he made during today’s press conference," said transition spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter. "The President-elect expressed his admiration and affection for Mrs. Reagan that so many Americans share and they had a warm conversation."
Obama was asked at his press conference today if he'd spoken to all the "living" presidents.
"I have spoken to all of them who are living," he responded. "I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any séances."
Websense® Security Labs(TM) ThreatSeeker(TM) Network has discovered that malware authors are capitalizing on the recently announced results of the 2008 US Presidential election. Malicious email lures are being sent promising a video showing an interview with the advisors to the recently elected US President.
The email actually contains links to a file called 'BarackObama.exe' hosted on a compromised travel site at hxxp://*snip*.com/web/BarackObama.exe. This file is a Trojan Downloader with MD5 9720d70a5da9ca442ecf41e9269f5a27. Upon execution files called system.exe and firewall.exe are dropped into the system directory. A phishing kit is unpacked locally, and the dropped files are bound to startup. The hosts file is also modified.
Major anti-virus vendors are not detecting this Trojan Horse.
We'll spend a little time "fixing" the GOP on these pages -- there's a fun thread waaaay down the page.
But I'd rather fix the level of debate. And I bet I might get The Heretic and LatteSipper (mmmm, coffee) on board. Dr. Helen has a nice quote today. She's glad "It's the Economy Stupid."
Next election cycle, it will be something else. It might favor the Republicans or it might not. But to think that the entire philosophy of individual rights, small government, national security and gun rights is lost on a new generation of voters based on this one election is not only foolish, it shows a degree of cynicism that may not be accurate. The next two or three election cycles will need to be evaluated before we can say that America has rejected the ideas of free markets and free minds.
Does anybody think that was discussed this year? We had a superb differential in candidates' philosophy, a liberal democrat versus a conservative Republican. But the Democrat talked about "hope" and "change" and the Republican talked about Bill Ayers and experience.
McCain was right to propose the ten town hall meetings. I don't think our great nation has the attention span for Lincoln-Douglass debates, but we need the depth of debate we got in the comedy routines of the Al Smith Dinner. The media and debates and campaigns prevented any meaningful discussion.
Well, that didn't quite turn out as well as I had hoped
Congratulations to President-Elect Obama. He ran a superb campaign and won fair and square. Next January, he will certainly be "my President." He has surrounded himself with some pretty smart people and I hope that most of his campaign promises get thrown in the overheated rhetoric pile. A Treasury Secretary Summers and OMB chief Goolsbee would likely temper his "redistributionist" instincts.
AlexC might be right. The GOP might make Governor Palin the sacrificial lamb but I certainly hope they don't. Every GOP blowhard of the last three decades will now claim "if they had only listened to me..."
In truth, I think we (Republicans, kimosabe) are reaping what we sowed in the 108th-109th Congresses and enabled by the second Bush term. If you want corrupt, inefficient and bloated government, turn to the pros. The GOP should make a convincing case that less government is better. But they can't do that with Tom Delay, Dennis Hastert, Ted Stevens, Don Young and Jerry Lewis lining their pockets with largess. It's a cliche that "the brand is damaged" but you have to admit it has verisimilitude.
My predictions sucked and my hope was misplaced but I am claiming vindication on my discounting of the Libertarian Party and my suggestion that those who crave liberty find a more efficacious forum for their ideas. The "Star Trek Convention of Politics" recruited a well known candidate and benefitted from both a disgruntled and disillusioned GOP and residual interest from the Ron Paul campaign. With these head-starts, they made new, unprecedented surges into irrelevance. Turn out the lights when you're done boys.
We'll be okay. Rest up folks and remember that you love your country more than your party. Maybe, if we become France, we'll get some of that good cheese and chocolate. Not sure how it works, but that subsidized, protected stuff is really good.
"Hello, this is Jeff Blodgett from the Minnesota for Obama campaign. Our initial data shows this election is significantly closer than the polls predicted. We are putting out an urgent call for volunteers... We are organized groups to knock on doors at five P.M., or earlier if you can, for our final GOTV operation." This was followed by different numbers to call based on your residence.
the campaigns make estimations as the day wears on via exit polls. Lastly, in preparing for the next election's polling, some pollsters will use exit polling to help them. We know how well that's gone this year.
I have a hearty suggestion for all of us: seek out exit pollsters. Find them. Be willing to engage in the exit polling. And lie. Tell the exit pollsters you voted for Barack Obama. Tell them you are a diehard liberal. But tell them you voted for Barack Obama.
Then go home and watch the media realize there is something badly wrong with their data and make them have to watch the results come in with the rest of us.
Pennsylvania & Colorado are sure to have a TON of exit pollsters.
David Harsanyi -- gently and without malice -- accuses the Obama campaign of Socialism, because "when a candidate explicitly endorses a collectivist policy . . . well, words still have meaning, don't they?"
The proposition that government should take one group's lawfully earned profits and hand them to another group — not a collection of destitute or impaired Americans, mind you, but a still-vibrant middle class — is the foundational premise of Obama's fiscal policy.
It was Joe Biden, not long ago, who said (when he was still permitted to speak in public) that, "We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people." The only entity that "takes" money from the middle class or any class for that matter, is the Internal Revenue Service. Other than that, there is nothing to give back.
It's an excellent read, and not a bad article to mail to an undecided on the last day of the campaign. This is the argument I wish we had been having from the conventions on.
Not all have been assimilated. I heard from a lifelong Democrat -- union boss Democrat -- in Colorado yesterday, whose identity I will not divulge. This person was upset about Reverend Wright, un-democratic tactics in the Democratic primary, and the general arrogance of the Obama campaign. This person cast h[is|er] first 'R' vote of a lifetime, and voted the straight GOP ticket!
"I'm tired of being lied to." was h[is|er] final comment.
John McCain and his supporters have resorted to using the word ''socialism'' as if it is a bad word. Is he really against the police, firefighters, public school system, sewer system, safe toys, roads and bridges, Medicare and Social Security, to name a few? These are run by government to provide for the protection and needs of society.
Republican support for corporate capitalism and deregulation have led us to the current financial crisis. Ronald Reagan started us on this path with his oft quoted, ''We must not look to government to solve our problems. Government is the problem.'' Think about the state of our country today and keep in mind that government is only good for the people when we elect those who believe that with oversight, government is good.
Police? Firefighters? Schools? All local issues.... not federal govt... and those are actually legitimate government roles.
USA Today: (old story, but things haven't gotten better)
Social Security - $4 Trillion dollar unfunded liability.
Medicare - $33 Trillion dollar unfunded liability.
Scores of today's children will be paying out the ass for this.
But yeah, socialism is good if you're not the one on the hook with the tab.
I can't quite stir into full blown optimism, but I ain't goin' down without a fight. William Kristol brings us a superb quote from the first Republican Optimist (apologies to John Fremont):
On December 26, 1839, responding to the confident prediction of one of his political opponents "that every State in the Union will vote for Mr. Van Buren at the next Presidential election" and that Lincoln's opposition to the Van Buren forces was therefore bound to be in vain, Lincoln responded:
Address that argument to cowards and to knaves; with the free and the brave it will effect nothing. It may be true; if it must, let it. . . . The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. . . . Let none falter, who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But if after all, we shall fail, be it so.
As it happens, the Whig ticket Lincoln supported won that 1840 election. So might, against the odds, the party of Lincoln win this year.
UPDATE: I guess the punchline is that President Harrison died 41 days after inauguration, and was succeeded by President Tyler who held extremely different views. Most notably, Tyler was pretty much Jacksonian in his opposition to the National Bank. Poor Nicholas Biddle waited three terms to get rid on Jackson and Van Buren. Then, when "old Tippecanoe" was elected, he was not in office long enough to change policy.
Mary Katherine Ham offers Senator Obama a single sentence economics lesson, in response to this stump speech in Missouri:
It's not change when he (McCain) wants to give $200 billion to the biggest corporation or $4 billion to the oil companies when today, Exxon-Mobil announced that it had made the greatest profits of any corporation in the history of the world: $14 billion in one quarter. That's all your money. You are -- you are paying it at the gas station. That's not change when John McCain comes up with a tax plan that doesn't give a penny of relief to more than 100 million middle-class Americans.
Ms. Ham suggests: "Barack, once a person gives his money freely in a voluntary exchange of currency for a commodity, that money does not belong to him anymore. It's not surprising that the Prince of Redistribution does not understand this concept, but it is surprising that he openly talks about it, even in reddish states he'd like to win."
David Bernstein at the Volkh Conspiracy will be voting for Senator McCain this year. He provides a few good reasons, but my favorite is the first:
(1) Libertarians have been heavily involved in some of the most important constitutional Supreme Court litigation of the last two decades, either in terms of bringing the case, being among the most important advocates of one side's constitutional theory, or both. Among the cases in this category are Lopez, Morrison, Boy Scouts v. Dale, U.S. Term Limits, Grutter, Gratz, Kelo, Raich, Heller, and probably a few more that I'm not thinking of offhand. With the minor exception of Justice Breyers' vote in Gratz, in each of these cases, the ONLY votes the libertarian side received were from Republican appointees, and all of the Democrat appointees, plus the more liberal Republican appointees, ALWAYS voted against the libertarian side. The latter did so even in cases in which their political preferences were either irrelevant (Term Limits), or should have led them to sympathize with the plaintiff (Lopez, Kelo, Raich).
When Libertarians say "there's no difference" or "I could never vote for the author of McCain Feingold" or whatever excuse du jour they have for doing something pointless, I will trot out this observation. Democratic SCOTUS picks will certainly be anti-liberty; with a Republican you have almost a 50-50 chance!
Senator Obama's middle name must be "Humble" or "Humility." Like President Coolidge, he expects the Federal government to keep back and out of the way of the people. Well, except for a list of government priorities. Jake Tapper provides this list of promises from "Obama Claus:"
"give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day and get taxes taken out of their paycheck every week";
"eliminate income taxes on Social Security for seniors making under $50,000";
"give homeowners and working parents additional tax breaks";
not increase taxes on anyone if they "make under $250,000; you will not see your taxes increase by a single dime –- not your income taxes, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax";
"end those breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas";
"give tax breaks to companies that invest right here in the United States";
"eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-up companies that are the engine of job creation in this country";
"create two million new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, and bridges, and schools -- by laying broadband lines to reach every corner of the country";
"invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create five million new energy jobs over the next decade";
"reopen old factories, old plants, to build solar panels, and wind turbines";
build "a new electricity grid";
"build the fuel efficient cars of tomorrow";
"eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in 10 years";
"lower premiums" for those who already have health insurance;
"if you don't have health insurance, you'll be able to get the same kind of health insurance that members of Congress give themselves";
"end discrimination by insurance companies to the sick and those who need care the most";
"invest in early childhood education";
"recruit an army of new teachers";
"pay our teachers higher salaries, give them more support. But ... also demand higher standards and more accountability";
"make a deal with every young person who's here and every young person in America: If you are willing to commit yourself to national service, whether it's serving in our military or in the Peace Corps, working in a veterans home or a homeless shelter, then we will guarantee that you can afford to go to college no ifs ands or buts";
"stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq whole the Iraqis have a huge surplus";
"end this war in Iraq";
"finish the fight and snuff out al Qaeda and bin Laden";
"increase our ground troops and our investments in the finest fighting force in the world";
"invest in 21st century technologies so that our men and women have the best training and equipment when they deploy into combat and the care and benefits they have earned when they come home";
“You know what he did?” [Bill] Clinton said, heralding Obama’s reaction to the financial crisis. “First he took a little heat for not saying much. I knew what he was doing. He talked to his advisers – he talked to my economic advisers, he called Hillary. He called me. He called Warren Buffet. He called all those people, you know why? Because he knew it was complicated and before he said anything he wanted to understand.”
The President damning with faint praise. Or is it praising with faint damning.
"Why?" a moderate-to-right-of-center relative asks the other day, "are [enumerate three people, all of whom are intelligent, reasonable, and have voted for Republicans before] so captivated by Obama?"
On some level, many Americans -- heavily weighted toward "moderates" -- internally elect a king every four years. This person will be our face to the world, will represent us, and will affect our daily lives far more than envisioned in Federalist #10.
If you're after a king, Senator Obama is a good pick. He's likeable, confident, strong and intelligent. If your disposition is slanted more toward the Executive modeled in #10, you might still choose Senator O, but I think your predilection will run more toward Senator McCain.
I toil in the fever swamps of ThreeSources and meet precious few moderates. But Fouad Ajami reinforces my riff, if indirectly, in "Obama and the Politics of Crowds." Ajami sees the phenomena of large-crowd political rallies as being outside the traditional American political culture:
My boyhood, and the Arab political culture I have been chronicling for well over three decades, are anchored in the Arab world. And the tragedy of Arab political culture has been the unending expectation of the crowd -- the street, we call it -- in the redeemer who will put an end to the decline, who will restore faded splendor and greatness. When I came into my own, in the late 1950s and '60s, those hopes were invested in the Egyptian Gamal Abdul Nasser. He faltered, and broke the hearts of generations of Arabs. But the faith in the Awaited One lives on, and it would forever circle the Arab world looking for the next redeemer.
America is a different land, for me exceptional in all the ways that matter. In recent days, those vast Obama crowds, though, have recalled for me the politics of charisma that wrecked Arab and Muslim societies. A leader does not have to say much, or be much. The crowd is left to its most powerful possession -- its imagination.
"It must be nice for a candidate to have major news organizations looking after his best interests like that... Politicians would love to have a pet newspaper of their very own. In this case we have a newspaper willing to throw aside even the public's right to know in order to protect a candidate that its own editorial board has endorsed. And, if there's a Pulitzer Prize for excellence in kowtowing then the LA Times-- You're winning!"
Biden told a TV interviewer this week, “What we’re saying is that [our] tax break doesn’t need to go to people making . . . $1.4 million. It should go to [those] making under $150,000 a year.”
The Obama-Biden team isn’t even elected yet and already they are redefining that “middle class” tax cut. Remember how no one earning under $250,000 was going to get a tax hike? Well, the latest ad being run by the Obama campaign talks about “families” earning $200,000 or less would qualify for a tax cut. Well, which is it? Individuals or dual-wage families?
Really now... rolling back promises before you're even elected?
I completed my mail-in ballot on Sunday and drove it to the County office in Fort Lupton on Monday. Lest anyone be concerned, I voted for Senator McCain and Governor Palin, a straight GOP ticket downstream, and took the anti-union side of all the big referenda.
If you still harbor any doubts about the imperfect McCain, click over to Mary Anastasia O'Grady's comparison of their positions on trade:
The U.S. hasn't elected a genuinely protectionist president since Herbert Hoover, and for most of the last 80 years a rough bipartisan consensus has held that free trade is in the American national interest. The erosion of that consensus is reflected in the gulf between John McCain and Barack Obama on trade, which is probably the widest division at the presidential level since the 1920s.
UPDATE: Professor Mankiw notes that The Times of India gets it:
McCain is one of the few American politicians in either party with the courage and conviction to stand up to protectionist populism. By contrast, Obama embodies protectionism....
McCain has voted 88% of the time against bills creating trade barriers, and 90% of the time against export subsidies for US producers. Few other senators have such a splendid record.
Obama has served a much shorter time in the Senate, and avoided voting on many key issues. He has voted against trade barriers only 36% of the time. He supported export subsidies on the two occasions on which he voted, a 100% protectionist record in this regard.
In an email to Dirty Harry’s Place, the CIO of investment firm Dune Capital has pledged $150,000 for a digital or source copy of the tape showing Barack Obama partying with former Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman Rashid Khalidi and other enemies of Israel as well as toasting the former PLO mouthpiece according to the site.
It is further alleged that domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn were in attendance at the event, possibly seated as bookends to Obama and his angry wife Michelle.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows Barack Obama attracting 50% of the vote nationwide while John McCain earns 47%. This is the first time McCain has been within three points of Obama in more than a month and the first time his support has topped 46% since September 24 (see trends). One percent (1%) of voters prefer a third-party option and 2% are undecided.
Elaine Lafferty, "former editor in chief of Ms. magazine (and a Democrat) on what she learned on a campaign plane with the would-be VP."
It's difficult not to froth when one reads, as I did again and again this week, doubts about Sarah Palin's “intelligence,” coming especially from women such as PBS's Bonnie Erbe, who, as near as I recall, has not herself heretofore been burdened with the Susan Sontag of Journalism moniker. As Fred Barnes—God help me, I'm agreeing with Fred Barnes—suggests in the Weekly Standard, these high toned and authoritative dismissals come from people who have never met or spoken with Sarah Palin. Those who know her, love her or hate her, offer no such criticism. They know what I know, and I learned it from spending just a little time traveling on the cramped campaign plane this week: Sarah Palin is very smart.
I am used to disagreeing with people, but it has been a real disappointment to see/hear my lefty friends seethe or incredulously stare when I say that I like her. I know some very bright people who have bought into the stereotype of "Caribou Barbie." When you see her on Kudlow & Co., or listen to those who have spent time with her, you get a little different idea of her capabilities than does the Newsweek reader.
UPDATE: Forgot to hat-tip Bill Dyer at Hugh Hewitt
Dear Fellow Business Owners
As a business owner who employs 30 people, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barack Obama will be our next president, and that my taxes and fees will go up in a BIG way.
To compensate for these increases, I figure that the Customer will have to see an increase in my fees to them of about 8-10%. I will also have to lay off six of my employees.
This really bothered me as I believe we are family here and didn't know how to choose who will have to go. So, this is what I did.
I strolled thru the parking lot and found eight Obama bumper stickers on my employee’s cars. I have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off. I can't think of another fair way to approach this problem.
WASHINGTON - One of the nation's best-known retired Army generals, Colin Powell, described Sen. Ted Stevens in court today as a "trusted individual" and a man with a "sterling" reputation.
"He was someone whose word you could rely on," said Powell, secretary of state in President Bush's first term, who self-deprecatingly described himself as someone who retired as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then "dabbled a bit in diplomacy."
The General, like the Senator, has been in Washington too long.
I doubt that a lot of ThreeSourcers spend a lot of time worrying about the future inheritances of children of Harvard professors. But -- just for today -- tune in, this is pretty instructive.
Professor Mankiw suggests that his present personal needs are pretty close to sated, but that additional speaking and writing engagements would allow him to bequeath a little more to his three children. He compares the marginal effect of earning an additional dollar under the McCain, Obama, and Eidlebus '12 tax plans:
If there were no taxes [Eidlebus] so t1=t2=t3=t4=0, then $1 earned today would yield my kids $28. That is simply the miracle of compounding.
Under the McCain plan, t1=.35, t2=.25, t3=.15, and t4=.15. In this case, a dollar earned today yields my kids $4.81. That is, even under the low-tax McCain plan, my incentive to work is cut by 83 percent compared to the situation without taxes.
Under the Obama plan, t1=.43, t2=.35, t3=.2, and t4=.45. In this case, a dollar earned today yields my kids $1.85. That is, Obama's proposed tax hikes reduce my incentive to work by 62 percent compared to the McCain plan and by 93 percent compared to the no-tax scenario. In a sense, putting the various pieces of the tax system together, I would be facing a marginal tax rate of 93 percent.
Disincentives to additional work from most Ivy League professors mightn’t be such a bad idea, but I thank Mankiw for this illustrative example that will be reflected in every industry and sector: $1.28 out of $28.00
UPDATE: I'm a little late to the party, I see that Instapundit and Hugh have both linked to this. Just the same, I think it needs the weight of ThreeSources behind it.
My name is Joe Biden, and I don't like tough questions.
and of course this:
"There's nothing wrong with tough questions, but reporters have the very important job of sharing the truth with the public -- not misleading the American people with false information. Senator Biden handled the interview well; however, the anchor was completely unprofessional. Senator Biden's wife is not running for elected office, and there are many other stations in the Orlando television market that would gladly conduct a respectful and factual interview with her."
"This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election."
House Democrats recently invited Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor at the New School of Social Research, to testify before a subcommittee on her idea to eliminate the preferential tax treatment of the popular retirement plans. In place of 401(k) plans, she would have workers transfer their dough into government-created "guaranteed retirement accounts" for every worker. The government would deposit $600 (inflation indexed) every year into the GRAs. Each worker would also have to save 5 percent of pay into the accounts, to which the government would pay a measly 3 percent return. Rep. Jim McDermott, a Democrat from Washington and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, said that since "the savings rate isn't going up for the investment of $80 billion [in 401(k) tax breaks], we have to start to think about whether or not we want to continue to invest that $80 billion for a policy that's not generating what we now say it should."
A good friend of ThreeSources sends a link to a Jennifer Rubin post in Commentary -- and the suggestion that "it seems McCain has finally got his grove on."
So let’s try to get all this straight. My opponent says he’s going to cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans — including that miraculous reduction for those who aren’t paying any right now. Then he commits to more than a trillion dollars in new federal spending. And even after voting for the 750 billion dollar rescue package earlier this month, he won’t even specify a single cut in spending that he would consider. That leaves us with almost two trillion dollars in new spending to which Barack Obama stands committed, and no explanation at all of how he is going to pay for it.
Does anyone seriously believe that these trillions of dollars are going to come from only the very highest income earners? Even his supporters are skeptical. Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said of these plans, quote, “There is not enough money to do all this stuff.” An influential newspaper called his claims, quote, “neither politically nor economically plausible.” That critique came from the editorial board of The New York Times, and when Barack Obama loses them you know he’s gone too far.
I join Rubin in wishing that Senator Mac had stuck with this message throughout the campaign.
I meant to link to this yesterday and it got away from me. I went hunting for the link so that I could share it with blog brother ls. Randall Hoven is concerned that the media and punditry values debating skills over accomplishment.
I use Sarah Palin as an example. Throughout her life, she was chosen by her peers for leadership roles.
-- In high school she was chosen to be captain of the basketball team. Her team won the State Championship when she was captain. In fact, she sank the winning shot in the championship game - with a broken ankle.
-- In high school she was chosen as leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
-- When she showed up at PTA meetings in support of her own children's education, her peers said she should run for councilman. She did and she won.
-- As a councilwoman, her peers said she should run for mayor. She did and she won.
-- As mayor, her fellow mayors thought she should be President of the Alaska Council of Mayors. She won that election too.
-- The Alaska governor appointed her as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
-- Her peers thought she should run for governor. She did and she won.
-- John McCain selected her to be his Vice Presidential running mate.
Hoven points out that she rose to where she is on her own competence. He goes on to defend her experience vis-ŕ-vis Senator Obama, her intelligence, and her veracity vis-ŕ-vis Senator Biden.
Chatterbox isn't sure he's ever read a memoir quite so self-indulgent and morally clueless as Fugitive Days. (He's certainly never before read one festooned with glowing blurbs from respectable folk like Scott Turow--"a gripping personal account.") "Memory is a motherfucker," begins Ayers, establishing the book's literary tone and unreliability in one compact sentence. Throughout Fugitive Days, Ayers reminds his readers that he's had to omit or change many facts throughout his narrative because they describe actions on his part that are, well, illegal. -- Timothy Noah [Chatterbox] in a book review not likely to generate a lot of Bill Ayers book sales or Senator Obama votes.
Taken individually, most of them would create doubt about the readiness and honesty of any political candidate. Put together as a narrative, we believe this paints the picture of a man who has few real credentials for the office he seeks beyond the Constitutional minimum, and a politician who has succeeded in obfuscating his hard-Left ideology.
Perhaps if Barack Obama had taken more time to build his resumé – especially with executive experience – he might have made a more compelling candidate, and might have demonstrated at least a little of the moderation he has claimed. Instead, Democrats want America to support at once the most radical and least qualified candidate for President in at least a century. They have tried to conceal this with the complicity of a pom-pom-waving national media that has shown much more interest in the political background of a plumber from Ohio than in a major-party candidate for President.
America deserves better than that. Voters deserve the truth from the press, not vague cheers of “hope” and “change” while willfully ignoring or air-brushing Obama’s record. We hope to set that record straight with our essay.
During Barack Obama's recent event in Toledo, Ohio, "Joe the Plumber" asked a simple question and got a surprising answer from the Democratic nominee. When he asked why Barack Obama's tax plan was going to punish him for working hard and living the American Dream, Barack Obama responded, "When you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
In that brief exchange, the American people got to see what this campaign is all about ... a choice between honoring the hard work of everyday Americans like "Joe the Plumber" and increasing taxes to "spread the wealth." In these tough economic times, there is no doubt that John McCain and Sarah Palin stand firmly on the side of hardworking "everyday Joes" who understand the value of honest work and the American Dream.
That's why we want to hear from you and share your story with the American public. It's simple ... make an ad telling us why you are "Joe the Plumber" in 30 seconds and your video could end up on the air as a TV ad. Share your story of living the American Dream, working hard, or owning a small business to tell America why you're standing with John McCain and Sarah Palin.
Hello, my name is Rich Pearson and I have been active in the firearm rights movement for over 40 years. For the past 15 years, I have served in the Illinois state capitol as the chief lobbyist for the Illinois State Rifle Association.
I lobbied Barack Obama extensively while he was an Illinois State Senator. As a result of that experience, I know Obama's attitudes toward guns and gun owners better than anyone. The truth be told, in all my years in the Capitol I have never met a legislator who harbors more contempt for the law-abiding firearm owner than does Barack Obama.
Although Obama claims to be an advocate for the 2nd Amendment, his voting record in the Illinois Senate paints a very different picture. While a state senator, Obama voted for a bill that would ban nearly every hunting rifle, shotgun and target rifle owned by Illinois citizens. That same bill would authorize the state police to raid homes of gun owners to forcibly confiscate banned guns. Obama supported a bill that would shut down law-abiding firearm manufacturers including Springfield Armory, Armalite, Rock River Arms and Les Baer. Obama also voted for a bill that would prohibit law-abiding citizens from purchasing more than one gun per month.
Without a doubt, Barack Obama has proven himself to be an enemy of the law abiding firearm owner . At the same time, Obama has proven himself to be a friend to the hardened criminal. While a state senator, Obama voted 4 times against legislation that would allow a homeowner to use a firearm in defense of home and family.
Does Barack Obama still sound to you like a "friend" of the law-abiding gun owner?
And speaking of friends, you can always tell a person by the company they keep. Obama counts among his friends the Rev. Michael Pfleger - a renegade Chicago priest who has openly called for the murder of gun shop owners and pro-gun legislators. Then there is his buddy Richard Daley, the mayor of Chicago who has declared that if it were up to him, nobody would be allowed to own a gun. And let's not forget Obama's pal George Soros - the guy who has pumped millions of dollars into the UN's international effort to disarm law-abiding citizens.
Obama has shown that he is more than willing to use other people's money to fund his campaign to take your guns away from you. While a board member of the leftist Joyce Foundation, Barack Obama wrote checks for tens of millions of dollars to extremist gun control organizations such as the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and the Violence Policy Center.
Does Barack Obama still sound to you like a "friend" of the law-abiding gun owner?
By now, I'm sure that many of you have received mailings from an organization called "American Hunters and Shooters Association(AHSA)" talking about what a swell fellow Obama is and how he honors the 2nd Amendment and how you will never have to worry about Obama coming to take your guns. Let me make it perfectly clear - everything the A HSA says about Obama is pure hogwash. The AHSA is headed by a group of left-wing elitists who subscribe to the British view of hunting and shooting. That is, a state of affairs where hunting and shooting are reserved for the wealthy upper-crust who can afford guided hunts on exclusive private reserves. The AHSA is not your friend, never will be.
In closing, I'd like to remind you that I'm a guy who has actually gone nose to nose with Obama on gun rights issues. The Obama I know cannot even begin to identify with this nation's outdoor traditions. The Obama I know sees you, the law abiding gun owner, as nothing but a low-class lummox who is easily swayed by the flash of a smile and a ration of rosy rhetoric. The Obama I know is a stony-faced liar who has honed his skill at getting what he wants - so long as people are willing to give it to him.
That's the Barack Obama I know.
"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."
"I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate," Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. "And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you - not financially to help him - we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."
I'm at a loss to understand what you in your communities can do in the face of international crisis.
I suppose Obama supporters can keep an eye on the pitchfork and torch brigades.
What is he getting at?
Surely Biden argues for a more experienced hand, right?
It's nice to know that the Obama/Biden administration is going all Bush/Cheney on us.
Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right.
Wasn't that the argument about the War on Terror and Iraq? "Just give us time, you'll see."
The Wall Street Journal -- even under Rupert Murdoch's evil influence -- is still too good to use a scatological bovine reference in a headline. But I think they wanted to, and an editor changed it to Obama Makes It Up.
We actually had a discussion of free trade at the last debate. I'm not a big Bob Schieffer fan, but he was a better moderator than Lehrer, Ifill, and Brokaw put together. Senator McCain was strong, as this is an important issue to him and he has a great track record. Opponents may have thought it Gore-ish, but I liked his eyebrow hurdle when Senator Government -- I mean Obama -- called himself a free trader.
Senator Obama then made a very good case for his opposition to the Colombia Free Trade pact. Like Senator Mac, I thought it was a "no-brainer" but Senator O made a clever case about Columbia's failure to prosecute crimes against labor leaders. Heck, it even sounded good to me. Too bad it was Bullshit:
It is true that Colombia has a history of violence. But since President Álvaro Uribe took office in 2002, that violence has been substantially reduced. The homicide rate through the end of 2007 was down by 40.4% and the rate among union members was down almost 87%. There is nothing "consistent" about a drop to 26 union member murders in 2007 from 155 in 2000.
As for prosecutions: In union-member killings, there were zero convictions from 1991-2000 and one in 2001. But from 2002-2007, there were 80. According to the Colombian attorney general's office, 29% of those murders were "found to have been results of theft, petty crime and random violence unrelated to union activity." Mr. Uribe has nonetheless created a special investigative unit for crimes against union members, and he expanded a special government protection program for unions.
But, is Joe really a plumber? Don't worry the press is on it.
Has it been a year and nine days since Graeme Frost? My how time flies. It seems I wasn't the only one thinking about the poor lad and perceiving a little bit of media double-standard. K. Daniel Glover:
It has been almost a year to the day since journalists dropped the ball on telling America more about Graeme Frost, the boy who made the case for sinking billions of dollars more into the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. But when Michelle Malkin and other curious conservative bloggers did the legwork the press wouldn’t, they earned the scorn of their mainstream colleagues.
Indeed. And Joe Wurzelbacher didn’t give a speech or make a commercial. He asked a question. He stood on a rope line, and Obama picked him to ask it. The Tanning-Bed Media seems to feel that they have a duty to expose every last part of Wurzelbacher’s life, but that asking Obama to explain his political partnerships with Tony Rezko and William Ayers, and his long friendship and financial support of rabid demagogues Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger, are not just out of bounds but downright racist.
I think it's great. It keeps Senator Government's collectivist gaffe on the front page without the RNC's spending a dime. I'm hoping Rep. Waxman calls Joe the Plumber (or whoever the whatever he really is) in for hearings.
UPDATE: Can somebody please explain to me -- speaking slowly and using very small words -- what the "Tanning-Bed" meme is all about? I followed a link from Insty when it started but didn't see anything about tanning beds. I hate to be outside the blognoscenti.
It was reported that at a Sarah Palin rally today in Lumpluster, Ohio, some Palin supporters -- when Senator Obama's name was mentioned -- yelled "Bake him a lemon pie with only half the sugar!" and "Make him listen to Duran Duran!"
No, that's not Governor Palin's least favorite SCOTUS decision... It's John Rawls versus Robert Nozick.
That's Perfesser Greg Mankiw's description of how people respond to Joe the Plumber (I'm a fan of JtP on Facebook, BTW). Mankiw suggests Obama's "spread the wealth around" is "as good a summary of the Rawlsian notion of distributive justice as you are likely to find from a major political candidate." In contradicting him, Mankiw suggests that Senator McCain might prefer this passage from Nozick:
However, we are not in the position of children who have been given portions of pie by someone who now makes last minute adjustments to rectify careless cutting. There is no central distribution, no person or group entitled to control all the resources, jointly deciding how they are to be doled out. What each person gets, he gets from others who give to him in exchange for something, or as a gift. In a free society, diverse persons control different resources, and new holdings arise out of the voluntary exchanges and actions of persons. There is no more a distributing or distribution of shares than there is a distributing of mates in a society in which persons choose whom they shall marry. The total result is the product of many individual decisions which the different individuals involved are entitled to make.
Also see Mankiw's Who Wins the Rich Vote? (Spoiler: $1-10 million go McCain 75-15; $30M+, 66-33 Obama) Anybody surprised?
I stopped listening to Hannity in 2004, but he used to call people great Americans.
He's talking about men like Joe.
We are the greatest country in the word, stop apologizing for it. I mean really, I get real mad about that. I'm not sorry about being an American. I'm not sorry for having the things i have, I worked for them. I'm not sorry that I wish our borders were closed, and that you have to come through in a legal manner. I'm not sorry for any of those things. I'm not sorry that we're in Iraq. My friends in the military have come back from Iraq and told me of the thanks they recieved for being there. It doesn't get enough play. We liberated another country. Freedom. Things that everyone of you guys take for granted, Everything that Americans take for granted. I'm these guys havent had it, now they got it. That's an incredible thing.
I don't know whether Senator McCain "won" the debate last night and I don't know if his strong performance will be enough against severe Democratic headwinds. But, Merciful Zeus, he sure got me back into the fold.
He started out with "Greed and Corruption on Wall Street" and I grabbed my stomach for a long night. But he turned the corner pretty quickly and the final 89 minutes were very good.
McCain was strong on taxes and the proper role of government. His little slip of "Senator Government" was so perfect I'd love to believe it was planned. Either way, McCain was on the side of angels in that debate. Senator Government's solutions are government.
He still doesn't have his health care plan down, but he fit it into the context of market versus government. That's a great start.
Finishing up the debate on school choice? Yes. Yes. Yes.
He could have done a little better on health care and he could have punctured the 95% of you are going to get a tax cut myth. But he did a superb job. The McCain-Palin sticker goes back on the car today!
UPDATE: I mayhave to sue. The WSJ Ed Page steals my headline and, pretty much, my lede:
Whether or not last night's much-improved debate performance helps John McCain rally in the polls, at least voters finally got a clearer sense of the policy differences. For our money, the best line of the night was Mr. McCain's Freudian slip of referring to Barack Obama as "Senator Government." Neither candidate is offering policies that meet the serious economic moment. But Mr. McCain would let Americans keep more of their own income to ride out the downturn, while Mr. Obama is revealing that his default agenda is to spend money and expand the government.
The polls that “worry” Eeyores have Democrats at 45% or above in terms of party ID breakdown — with Republicans as low as 20%. In the last 20 years, Democrats have only had a 4% party ID advantage over Republicans. Why on Earth would that historic fact change in 2008 — and swing to a 25% or more Democrat advantage? That’s ridiculous. And everything Eeyores run around with, crazed over, is equally ridiculous if they’d just take the time to critically think through it.
Yes - the media is promoting Obama, to the point where media figures like Chris Matthews actually campaign for Obama in states like Pennsylvania (which he did, in person, the weekend of October 12-13)
Hillbuzz is the blog of Hillary die-hards who are for McCain.
The entire Democratic strategy in 2008 revolves around the unproven theory that polls do create reality. Otherwise, there would be no point in continuously striving to inflate Obama's perceived public support.
The real question at the end of the day is this: Are people telling pollsters they're supporting Obama due to normative conformity (which is what I suspect) or due to informational conformity (which is what the Left is banking on)? We won't know until November 4. You can lie to a pollster. But you cannot lie to a ballot.
Maybe the McCain campaign and I could compromise. They could continue personal attacks against Senator Obama in lieu of a cogent economic argument, but could they please shift to ACORN instead of Bill Ayers?
The WSJ Ed Page has a devastating editorial today on ACORN, its structural problems, and Senator Obama's ties to it:
The Obama campaign is now distancing itself from Acorn, claiming Mr. Obama never organized with it and has nothing to do with illegal voter registration. Yet it's disingenuous to channel cash into an operation with a history of fraud and then claim you're shocked to discover reports of fraud. As with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, Mr. Obama was happy to associate with Acorn when it suited his purposes. But now that he's on the brink of the Presidency, he wants to disavow his ties.
It is almost inconceivable that Barack Obama should not have been grilled on this –either by his opponent or the media. (The latter is just beginning to cover the story.) Obama’s ties are deep and extensive with an organization that embraces goals and tactics well outside the political mainstream and that has engaged in a pattern of illegal activity usually seen only in RICO indictments.
Yes, I remain despondent about Senator McCain's failure to articulate a sensical, sentient message on the economy. But, let's do a little fair and balanced. Senator Obama is no better and likely much worse:
TOLEDO, Ohio - Democrat Barack Obama is calling for a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and a two-year tax break for businesses that create jobs as part of a plan to heal the nation's ailing economy.
Begs a couple of questions:
-- Why not just outlaw foreclosures entirely?
-- If a two year tax break is good, how about a permanent tax break?
One insider, who refuses to predict on the record, says privately that Obama will quickly announce his appointments to the cabinet positions of state, defense, treasury and attorney general. He believes Obama's cabinet is shaping up to look like this: retiring U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., as defense secretary; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick as attorney general; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a political independent, at treasury; Susan Rice as national security advisor; Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as secretary of state.
Mark Siegel, a former Democratic National Committee executive director, says Obama will want to make it immediately clear to America and to the world that "there's a new sheriff in town." He expects Obama to make that point dramatically by issuing several executive orders.
Siegel says you will see Obama immediately suspend all pending judicial nominations, close Guantanamo, then reassure the world that he will never permit torture.
If only we could hire Simon Doonan, but the NY Observer probably has him locked up.
You have to read this whole, fabulous, thing. Doonan offers fashion advice for hockey moms: "Ditch the Crocs and try sashaying down Main Street in a heavily fringed purple Louboutin boot." Haven't I said the same thing a hundred times on this blog?
You thought "Robert Bork's America" was bad:
In Sarah Palin’s America, there are no Diana Vreelands, hip-hop queens, Janis Joplins, Zelda Fitzgeralds, Gwen Stefanis, Edie Sedgwicks, Annie Oakleys or Babe Paleys. There is a chilling absence of stylish daring. In its place are hockey moms, masses and masses of hockey moms—all attired, one imagines, in those denim dresses, worn over turtlenecks. Uggs in winter. Crocs in summer. Holiday-themed sweaters. Quacker Factory, etc. Pass the cyanide capsules, please.
Stop it Simon, I can't take it...
And what about those “Joe Six-Packs” to which the vice presidential candidate alluded? Initially, this concept sounded quite promising: In my mind’s eye, I saw glistening David Beckham-ish blokes with fiercely toned abs. Then the penny dropped—a bit like the waist on a hockey mom’s denim dress—and I realized she was not referring to those lads in the Abercrombie ads, but rather to that genre of male that unwinds chaque soir by slurping and farting its way through six burpy cans of beer.
Paging Abraham Lincoln! Paging Liberace! Paging Tom Wolfe! Paging any American with a dollop of savoir-faire!
I take comfort from the certainty that Governor Palin’s vision is inaccurate. My America, I am happy to report, is bursting with swaggering boulevardiers and fashion-lovin’ divas. My “Main Street” is filled with showoffs who live to gird up their loins with a stylish garter or two.
And that’s the fashion news for Sunday, October 12 -- have a nice day! Hat-tip a commenter on Althouse.
To a mixture of boos and cheers, Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin dropped the ceremonial first puck at the Philadelphia Flyers' home opener against the New York Rangers.
The Alaska governor heard a few boos when she walked onto the ice Saturday evening. But that soon turned to polite applause as she walked out to center ice with Mike Richards of the Flyers and Scott Gomez of the Rangers.
Brian Tierney, owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer (and Daily News), this article is why your friends on the right don't care about and don't buy your paper anymore... yeah even though it's an AP story. It's still your paper.
Sarah Palin unlawfully abused her power as governor by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper, the chief investigator of an Alaska legislative panel concluded yesterday. The politically charged inquiry could imperil her reputation as a reformer on John McCain's Republican ticket.
Investigator Stephen Branchflower, in a report by a bipartisan panel that investigated the matter, found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain.
The inquiry looked into her dismissal of Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, who said he lost his job because he resisted pressure to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce with the governor's sister. Palin says Monegan was fired as part of a legitimate budget dispute.
The report found that Palin let the family grudge influence her decision-making even if it was not the sole reason Monegan was dismissed.
The report clears her, yet that is the lede of the story.
The summary report is here... page eight has the four findings.
Here are two most important.
The basis of the Democrats (and don't believe for a second this is not politically motivated) case is that she had acted improperly solely on the basis of familial spite, when clearly the report says was only a factor and Gov Palin had good cause
The reduces the Democrats case to one of mind-reading and penumbral divinations... precisely what percentage of the firing had been for cause, not spite? This is not revealed.
For the record, Mr Moneghan was dismissed from his job as Public Safety Commissioner, but given another job as director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he turned down.
Regarding the third and fourth findings... three was an HR issue and four was a complaint about Sarah Palin's emails... which found their way to the web. Nothing there.
Here we have classic Spitzerism -- without the attractive young sex workers. The indictment is the verdict. There is no plan to offer due process, the chance to confront one's accuser, to present contrary evidence. There’s a push to ensure habeas corpus rights for enemy combatants, but nobody wants to extend it to Dick Grasso, Hank Greenberg, or Sarah Palin.
The court of public opinion has spoken, and she must be destroyed.
It’s like Oakland according to Gertrude Stein, i.e., there’s no there there, Hollis, no smoking gun, no damning evidence, no nothing except 1) evidence of wasting the taxpayers’ money and 2) engaging in a clumsy smear campaign against Sarah. (Don’t you love the way Team Obama labels every criticism of The Dear One a “smear”: Google “Obama” and “smears”: 1,280,000 items in .13 seconds.)
A hasp and a hinge or two shy of a gate, as the Alaska Legislature’s bid to shaft McCain-Palin comes up a little short. Ethics violation alleged by partisan hacks in efforts to fire the trooper. No law broken in commissioner’s firing.
While Republicans can be happy that there is "no there" here, Alaska Republicans can smile a little wider knowing that chief Democrat inquistor and aspiring Alaska governor candidate State Senator Hollis French goes from Democrat hero a month ago, promising an October 31st surprise to zero today as his report falls flat on it's face.
A damning report would have redounded to the Senator's credit.... now, he's a tool.
[Pa GOP Chairman] Gleason said ACORN, a nonprofit, submitted 252,595 voter registrations in Philadelphia. There were 57,435 registrations rejected -- most of them submitted by ACORN, Gleason said.
The forms had faulty Social Security numbers, incorrect dates of birth, "clearly fraudulent" signatures, addresses that did not exist and duplicate registrations, Gleason said. A man was registered to vote 15 times since the primary, according to Gleason, and some people listed vacant lots as their addresses.
Other counties, from Delaware County in the Philadelphia suburbs, to Allegheny County have had similar problems, Newman said.
Strangely in the reports, it does not indicate the party of registration for those duplicates.
Yes, there are investigation all over the country into illegal registrations provided by ACORN. Look out for the real fraud now that every election official in the country is working overtime to purge the obviously false registrations donated by Obama’s supporters.
Indeed. It provides an opportunity to strike real voters from the rolls too.
Though I'm sure some of the "obvious" fakes are Independents (and a few Rs for good measure), I suspect that the vast majority of them are Democrats.
Would a county election official somehow be compelled to strike voters (valid, real ones) from "the other side" in order to maintain some perverse semblance of balance?
While it is true that a voter could ask for a provisional ballot, most polling places aren't really conducive to having perhaps even as little as a few dozen voters waiting around the polling place until the Judge of Elections figures out how to handle it.
From my former position as an election judge, I can tell you that even one or two people waiting to "check their registrations" can gum things up... and the phone lines at the County Courthouse checking those registrations were busy all day long with Judges calling from the hundreds of polling places.
They'd walk out... not come back... or even worse... the disorder inside the polling place would lead to longer lines and people driving past the polling place and not voting at all.
ACORN's actions have thrown the whole f'ing election system into a state of uncertainty. ... and I"m not just saying that as desperate McCain supporter. (though I'm not desperate, yet)
I don't know about this, but man... those Hillary voters are not laying down.
There IS a RICO investigation of ACORN and the Obama campaign underway - this has now been established by the mainstream media. Right now it’s rumored here in Chicago that Patrick Fitzgerald is heading it (confirmation on that has not come yet). There is a lot of activity in Chicago right now, with a lot of IRS agents looking into the finances coming in and out of this city, and across state lines (this was established on Monday when the GOP issued emergency press releases that much of Obama’s campaign contributions could very well be illegal foreign contributions - what appears to be deliberately poor record keeping designed to hide the true identities and monetary sources of online donors is at issue here). We see in 15 states now that ACORN is being busted for attempted voter fraud, and for fraudulent, illegal voter registratons in the hundreds of thousands, if not a million. The article below states, and we have confirmed this with people who know for sure, that the people who gathered evidence of Obama’s fraud and voter intimidation techniques during the primaries against Hillary Clinton are sharing everything they have with the Republican Party and the federal government.
What’s happening here is something we have never seen before: centrist Clinton Democrats and Republicans are working together to expose the DNC and Obama campaign’s illegal activities and orchestrated, coordinated fraud. Both parties are working with federal agents to investigate ACORN, which has been funded with upwards of $800,000 in questionable donations from the Obama campaign (in what appears to be the expressed and explicit direction to engineer voter fraud in the general election). The tactics being employed now in the 15 states currently under investigation are the VERY SAME TACTICS we saw on the ground in Iowa, Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, Indiana, and other states working for Hillary Clinton in the primaries.
Prosecutions for political activities is always very thin ice.
Okay, I'm totally in the tank for the Governor of Alaska and you have every right to question my opinion and motives. But may I do the same? Even the AP says it is all about the election:
It goes to anyone's hands who got a copy or clicks the link on the Web," said Democratic state Sen. Kim Elton, the chairman of the committee that released the report. "I can't tell you how the process ends."
Here we have classic Spitzerism -- without the attractive young sex workers. The indictment is the verdict. There is no plan to offer due process, the chance to confront one's accuser, to present contrary evidence. There’s a push to ensure habeas corpus rights for enemy combatants, but nobody wants to extend it to Dick Grasso, Hank Greenberg, or Sarah Palin.
UPDATE: Blog Friend Terri both takes a serious look at the report and manages to make lemonade:
I think this pretty much shows that Palin, once again, is not afraid of the “machine” that can be politics. She did what she thought was right knowing full well how it might look in the end. I think she’s ok on this.
Even my jokes about my predictable links to Kim Strassel on Friday have become predictable. Sorry, I have a problem. I must link to Potomac Watch. It is a little bit snarky this week, but so humorously dead on to be devastating.
Strassel becomes a barker for "The Great Obama" who "will defy politics, economics and gravity!"
To kick off our show tonight, Mr. Obama will give 95% of American working families a tax cut, even though 40% of Americans today don't pay income taxes! How can our star enact such mathemagic? How can he "cut" zero? Abracadabra! It's called a "refundable tax credit." It involves the federal government taking money from those who do pay taxes, and writing checks to those who don't. Yes, yes, in the real world this is known as "welfare," but please try not to ruin the show.
For his next trick, the Great Obama will jumpstart the economy, and he'll do it by raising taxes on the very businesses that are today adrift in a financial tsunami! [...]
Next up, Mr. Obama will re-regulate the economy, with no ill effects whatsoever! [...]
She even keeps a kneecap for his opponent toward the end:
We'd like to thank a few people in the audience. Namely, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who has so admirably restrained himself from running up on stage to debunk any of these illusions and spoil everyone's fun.
We know he's in a bit of a box, having initially blamed today's financial crisis on corporate "greed," and thus made it that much harder to call for a corporate tax cut, or warn against excessive regulation. Still, there were some pretty big openings up here this evening, and he let them alone! We'd also like to thank Mr. McCain for keeping all the focus on himself these past weeks. It has helped the Great Obama to just get on with the show.
To Smerconish's credit, he got Obama to say he thinks you (yes, you dear reader) are an idiot.
"I moved to Chicago," Obama recalled. "I didn't grow up in Chicago. And graduating from law school I was involved in a whole bunch of civic activities.
"The gentleman in question, Bill Ayers, is a college professor, teaches education at the University of Illinois and that's how I met him, was working on a school reform project that was funded by an ambassador and former close friend of Ronald Reagan's and I was sitting on this board along with a whole bunch of conservative businessmen and civic leaders and he was one of the people who was on this board. And he lives in the same neighborhood.
"Ultimately, I ended up learning about the fact that he had engaged in this reprehensible act 40 years ago, but I was eight years old at the time and I assumed that he had been rehabilitated."
You're kidding me right?
Liberalism distilled to it's purest essence.
But still, so let's assume he was rehabilitated. Assume for a minute... at some point he must have learned that, no, Bill Ayers isn't sorry about what he did. When was that?
When did Bill Ayers become the Bill Ayers he didn't know?
It would be ridiculous to suggest that being a pageant veteran alone qualifies Sarah Palin for public office. But she shouldn't be dismissed for it, either. And she probably has her pageant experience to thank for at least some of that unflappable poise and self-confidence. Trust me, once you've gotten up the nerve to walk past a panel of judges in a bathing suit, hostile reporters are child's play.
So, to paraphrase the old ad, "Please don't dismiss her because she's beautiful."
Because if attractive women need not apply for power positions in American politics, we just might end up with Rosie O'Donnell as our first female president.
Mr. McCain's health-care plan does indeed propose having employees pay tax on employer-provided health benefits, but that's only half of his idea. Let's say you're a middle-class family of four earning $80,000 per year, and your company provides a $12,000 health insurance plan (which is the same as what members of Congress receive through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, according to data prepared by the Senate Republican Policy Committee). Under Mr. McCain's proposal, this family would now pay income taxes on their $12,000 health insurance benefit, resulting in them owing $3,000 more in taxes if they were in the 25 percent bracket.
But here's the part Mr. Obama leaves out. Mr. McCain also proposes a $5,000 credit to offset any new tax liability. In the case of the family referenced above, they get a health-care plan, enough money to pay the additional $3,000 in taxes, plus an extra $2,000 in their pockets - not a bad deal for the middle class. So the Obama ads are both incomplete and misleading.
I'm glad we're finally getting into this. It's simply not credible that Barack Obama met Ayers in 1995. Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, and Charles Manson Fan Club Treasurer Bernie Dohrn all worked at the same f*cking law firm, whose managing partner had gotten Dohrn a job because he was friends with Ayers' father.
The Radical Quartet have been friends since the eighties. Not the mid nineties.
"We meet at a moment of great uncertainty for America," he said. "But this isn't a time for fear or panic. This is a time for resolve and leadership. I know that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis."
Obama ridiculed his Republican opponent, John McCain, for recently saying "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." But in his 35-minute speech on a muddy harness-racing track, he made a similar argument.
"America still has the most talented, most productive workers of any country on Earth," Obama said. "We're still the home to innovation and technology, colleges and universities that are the envy of the world. Some of the biggest ideas in history have come from our small businesses and our research facilities."
I went to sleep peacefully last night, thinking that Senator McCain had basically gotten another draw in the debate and that today everything would start again -- just eight or ten points down.
I woke at 3:15 and spun myself into a state of torpor. The blog pragmatist must admit that Senator McCain has only the minimum amount of ideological overlap to capture my vote. I will vote for him but he will lose and I am starting to piece together my sanguinity. It's A LOT like 1996, so I have a road map.
I finally realize that the reason McCain does not come up with my brilliant debate answers is not because he is not as bright as me, or that I somehow have better handlers. The reason McCain doesn't answer the questions like me is because he does not think like me.
He has an awesome idea for health care. To be fair, he articulated it last night for the first time and did it pretty well. But when Senator Obama counterpunched, there was no defense. When McCain talks about "greed and corruption on Wall Street!" he lights up. He lit up at the end about Global Warming. These topics excite him. As does honor, service and military strength to his eternal credit.
But he will never get as animated when discussing tax relief or health care because he truly has adopted those ideas out of the GOP Hymnal. If I may channel Mark Steyn he knows and mouths the words but he really doesn't know the tune.
No, Senator Obama certainly does not deserve to win, and this Prosperitarian fears for the prospects of recovery in an Obama-Pelosi-Reid-Franks-Dodd Empire. But my folks had their chance and whiffed.
One of Mr. Obama's gifts is his ability to glide over contradictions with the greatest of ease. He spent minutes explaining that we spend "$10 billion a month" in Iraq that should be spent here in the U.S. But a short time later he was promoting what sounded like a surge in Afghanistan, and vowing to spend even more money to assist "the economies" of Eastern Europe. He also proposes to provide free health care while claiming he'd cut more spending from the overall budget than his new ideas would cost. If Mr. McCain lets that last claim go unrebutted, he deserves to lose.
UPDATE III: It's really not just me. Instapundit's "Are the Republicans Doomed?" poll breaks the server! I'm not Karl Rove or anything, but that cannot be a good sign.
Dick Morris lays it out succinctly, like I've never seen it put.
Why did Obama put up with Ayers?
Because he got a big job and $50 million of patronage to distribute to his friends and supporters in Chicago.
Why did he hang out with Jeremiah Wright?
Because he was new in town, having grown up in Hawaii and Indonesia and having been educated at Columbia and Harvard, and needed all the local introductions he could get to jump-start his political career.
Why was he so close to Rezko?
Because he funded Obama’s campaigns and helped him buy a house for $300,000 less than he otherwise would have had to pay.
At least eight "Barack Obamas" who borrowed the Democratic presidential candidate's name to run in Brazil's local elections lost.
The defeat of the so-called Obamas came in municipal elections on Sunday that selected mayors and council members in more than 5,000 Brazilian cities.
The elections saw the ruling Workers Party and allies of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva make gains across the country.
Brazilian electoral law allows candidates to put any name on the ballot as long as it isn't offensive.
Some used the name Bin Laden, and others resorted to French soccer player Zinedine Zidane.
No one was known to use the name of McCain, the Republican presidential candidate.
"The name Obama definitely helped," said Claudio Henrique dos Anjos, who used it to run for mayor of Belford Roxo on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. "It opened the doors for me to talk about projects. It brought a positive result."
But official results show he didn't get a single vote, though he disputes the count.
I'm pretty kind to the WSJ Ed Page (perhaps you hadn't noticed) but less so for some bylined columns of the editorial staff. For a little fair-and-balance, I will call today's Bill McGurn piece an absolute stinker. His plan for a McCain victory? Tie Senator Obama to President Clinton. "Remember the last time a charismatic Democrat made such a promise?"
In some ways, we are today reliving the campaign of 1992. As in 1992, the Democrat is promising a middle-class tax cut. As in 1992, the Democrat is hammering the Republican as a tool of the rich. And as in 1992, the Republican doesn't seem to have an answer.
If we could repeal the 22nd Amendment, William Jefferson Clinton could run in 2008 and win 40 states. The banners may say hope and change, but Democrats and Independents are looking to Obama to bring back the 1990s. Will Buffy be back on?
To be fair, McGurn knows his recent history, and gives the Spirit of '94 GOP props:
Then came 1994, the "Contract with America" -- and a reform-minded Republican Congress. Robert L. Bartley, the late great editor of this newspaper, liked to note the bracing effect the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress had on the market -- and the Democratic president. After a few skirmishes, President Clinton would go on to embrace welfare reform, sign a cut in the capital gains tax, and even declare that "the era of Big Government is over."
I give President Clinton credit for free trade and a pragmatic approach to working with a GOP Congress. Art Laffer boasts that he "voted for Bill Clinton twice." I voted for him zero times and would make it 0-3 in 08. But I'm not sure Mister McGurn has really thought this through.
The WSJ lead editorial today provides a serious and substantive discussion of where we are (economically), how we got here, and what will likely and likely not get us out. Reasonable folks can differ on individual points, but I think we all might agree about the lack of leadership from the two men who purport to extricate us:
Senator McCain could use tonight's debate to map out an economic argument for the final month of the campaign. He would explain to voters how we got here, and that he has a plan to calm the panic, rebuild the banking system and revive the economy. He could start by saying his economic plan was designed before this crisis, but given the panic he has scrapped it and is proposing a major and immediate across-the-board tax cut.
It ill serves voters if the two men running for the Presidency of the United States offer little more than campaign boilerplate amid a crisis of this magnitude. The whole world is focused on these sobering events. The time is now for the country's next President to match the moment.
UPDATE: NOW WOW. Here's the introduction from the president of LA's National Organization for Women, Shelly Mandel, who said what my darling bride says almost every day: "America, this is what a feminist looks like."
I wish the NYTimes and Katie Couric would shut up about this (personal, not official) endorsement. Man the way they go on and on about this, I fear people will tire of the story.
An analysis carried out by a language monitoring service said Friday that Gov. Sarah Palin spoke at a more than ninth-grade level and Sen. Joseph Biden spoke at a nearly eighth-grade level in Thursday night's debate between the vice presidential candidates.
To be fair, most liberal newspapers are written at a sixth grade level.
Here's the breakdown:
Grade level: Biden, 7.8; Palin, 9.5 (Newspapers are typically written to a sixth-grade reading level.)
Sentences per paragraph: statistically tied at 2.7 for Biden and 2.6 for Palin.
Letters per word: tied at 4.4.
Ease of reading: Biden, 66.7 (with 100 being the easiest to read or hear), versus 62.4 for Palin.
The analysis said Abraham Lincoln spoke at an 11th-grade level during his seven debates in 1858 against incumbent Stephen A. Douglas in their race for a Senate seat from Illinois.
I knew Abe Lincoln, Senator Biden, you're no Abe Lincoln.
It also used all that high-falootin' English too.
But higher grade level doesn't necessarily mean better sentence, Payack said. He pointed to Palin's second-to-last sentence in the debate, which the formula put at a grade level of 18.3:
"What I would do, also, if that were ever to happen, though, is to continue the good work he is so committed to of putting government back on the side of the people and get rid of the greed and corruption on Wall Street and in Washington," Palin said.
"When she said it, it sounded good, but on paper it's a completely different animal," Payack said. "It's like, what is that?"
But Biden had his own challenging moments, such as this 32-word gem, rated grade 15.6: "The middle class under John McCain's tax proposal, 100 million families, middle-class families, households to be precise, they got not a single change; they got not a single break in taxes."
I'm calling blog admin privilege and promoting this comment to a post. "The Heretic" answers Dagny's question of why her [Dagny's] friends and neighbors are voting for Senator Obama:
First off let me digress say that I am with this group when it comes to major economic policies -- especially elimination of Corporate and Personal Income Taxes. BR and I were exchanging e-mail the other day about a pipe-dream: Taxes based solely on consumption. I happen to know a state where it works, namely Dubai. Of course we can debate about civil liberties etc. but that is not the point.
Having said that, as much as Economic policies is at the top of everyone’s mind at the moment, First and foremost I believe that Foreign Policy will and should be the top issue. I believe that Pakistan becoming a failed state and the resulting consequences in Afghanistan is a very real possibility in the next Presidents tenure. What will complicate issues is a economically assertive China (the banker of the US), a politically resurgent and saber rattling Russia and Iran's influence in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. McCain other than name dropping hasn't even mentioned Afghanistan. He continues to insist that Iraq is the central battleground in the war on terror while al-Qaeda wasn’t even in Iraq until months after the US invasion. The real battle in Iraq is the Shia-Sunni conflict and the battle with al-Sadar’s Mahdi army, which McCain refuses to acknowledge. This wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time has significantly reduced not only our ability to take the war to the enemy’s home turf but also alienated many of our NATO allies -- who BTW we need to neutralize Russia. (We can debate McCain’s position on the NATO at another time). In the meantime, bin-Laden and the Taliban have had a chance to regroup in southern Afghanistan/Northern Pakistan enough to pose a threat to the Pakistani establishment itself. I am sure most commentators on this blog will disagree, but Biden is right on this topic.
Secondly, as a first generation immigrant, I grew up looking at the US as the beacon of freedom, be it personal and civil liberties or economic progress. In the 12 +/- years (which is all my adult life) I have lived here, I have seen us lose a lot of the moral fortitude be it gay rights or a woman’s right to choose. Debate over these issues is beyond the scope of what you have asked me.
Thirdly, I cannot in good conscience cast my vote for a lifetime member of the NRA, when every time I read about another shooting in yet another school, my stomach sinks in the thought what of a few years down the lane if my kid is the victim.
Fourth, on economic policies, I neither agree with McCain nor do I agree with Obama. However, I see hope in the fact that just like Bill Clinton, once the political rhetoric of an election settles, Obama will implement what is right for the country rather than sticking to a pre-election political agenda. On this note, I do hope while Obama wins the White House, the Democrats do not have absolute control over Congress. I would like to see the checks and balance built into the system work.
Last but not the least, you could argue that McCain in quite capable of adapting his positions to the circumstances and has gained a lot of political experiences over the years. And I am certain your arguments would be well founded. However, what scares me is the fact is Palin being a “heartbeat away from Presidency”. This notion with McCain is more real than with any other candidate I have known given his health problems. Negotiating with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia or President Zardari of Pakistan or containing Prime Minister Putin of Russia or President Ahmedinejad of Iran is not the same as driving kids to soccer practice. She is vindictive and naive. It would be irresponsible of me to vote for her under the current circumstances.
You could argue Obama's inexperience. But he is not naive nor is he vindictive. He is a very level headed person. Further, the ticket includes the foriegn policy expertise of Biden. Hence has my support.
The McCain campaign unveils a new get out the vote program....
Our campaign has launched an online "Voter to Voter" tool that allows you to download and print walking lists of targeted, swing voters in your neighborhood. It's easy to use, and I'm asking you to get involved today by following this link.
With "Voter to Voter" we've made it easy to reach out to fellow voters in your neighborhood in support of McCain-Palin.
Select the "Walk the Vote" Option
* Enter your home address
* Download and print your walking lists, walking directions and scripts
* Visit each voter listed on your walking list
* Return home to record your results online
Sarah was nervous at first, but improved as the night went on, but I think she fought well... certainly she looked better.... while Senator Biden was angry, like Obama of a week ago. Including a huge sigh during the Afghanistan exchange.
Why do Democrats do that? Like they can't be troubled by being on the dais with the Republican?
Most comfortable on energy, of course, but she gave a great answer on same sex marriage and the Iraq war. Stumbled around a little on climate change.
Strangely Biden was arguing silly Senate procedural interm votes, as if that "voted for it before i voted against it" worked successfully in the past.
How dare he accuse McCain of voting against the troops? Is he serious?
Overall, it was a great outing for Palin. Where the hell has she been for two weeks? Studying no doubt, but WTF John McCain? Unleash her!
The FEC has compiled a separate database of potentially questionable overseas donations that contains more than 11,500 contributions totaling $33.8 million. More than 520 listed their “state” as “IR,” often an abbreviation for Iran. Another 63 listed it as “UK,” the United Kingdom.
More than 1,400 of the overseas entries clearly were U.S. diplomats or military personnel, who gave an APO address overseas. Their total contributions came to just $201,680.
But others came from places as far afield as Abu Dhabi, Addis Ababa, Beijing, Fallujah, Florence, Italy, and a wide selection of towns and cities in France.
Until recently, the Obama Web site allowed a contributor to select the country where he resided from the entire membership of the United Nations, including such friendly places as North Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Unlike McCain’s or Sen. Hillary Clinton’s online donation pages, the Obama site did not ask for proof of citizenship until just recently. Clinton’s presidential campaign required U.S. citizens living abroad to actually fax a copy of their passport before a donation would be accepted.
With such lax vetting of foreign contributions, the Obama campaign may have indirectly contributed to questionable fundraising by foreigners.
Not that these things are to be excused out of hand, but Palin bends zoning rules — which I'm sure are stringent and a high stakes matter in Wasilla, Alaska — and gets a free facial. Obama gets a freakin' house with help from a someone indicted for money laundering, wire fraud, extortion and corrupt solicitation; has someone raising money for his campaign with well-publicized ties to organized crime; and the Illinois attorney general is currently looking into how Obama earmarked $100,000 for a former campaign volunteer who never spent the money for its intended purpose — and yet, I don't see too many "investigations" decrying Obama's transparently false claims he practices a "new" kind of politics. -- Mark Hemmingway commenting on this AP hit piece
And let’s not forget Biden, whose gaffes are the unavoidable byproduct of his limitless gasbaggery. Biden could shout on Meet the Press, “Get these squirrels off of me!” and the collective response would be, “There goes Joe again.” But if Palin flubs the name of the deputy agriculture minister of Kyrgyzstan, the media will blow their whistles saying she’s unprepared for the job. -- Jonah Goldberg
Professor Mankiw isn't much more impressed than I am with Senator McCain's suggestion of Andrew Cuomo for SEC Chair:
Andrew Cuomo, the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history, made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country's current crisis. He took actions that—in combination with many other factors—helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. -- Village Voice
I went out to lunch with my in-laws and came home to a string of gaffes from Senator Biden.
You guys are all a few steps ahead of me (although I had some really good hot and sour soup), but I enjoyed this exchange (video at the link try 3:30) between Senator Obama and Matt Lauer. They're discussing Biden's making similar statements to Senator McCain on the AIG bailout:
But it's the kind of thing that drives people crazy about politics," Lauer said. "It sounds like you were trying to score some political points against John McCain using his words, when your own running mate had used very similar words."
"No, hold on a second Matt," Obama said. "I think what drives people crazy about politics is the fact that somebody like John McCain who for 26 years has been an advocate for deregulation, for 26 years has said the market is king and then starts going out there suggesting somehow that he's a populist who's been railing against Wall Street and regulation -- that's what drives people crazy about politics."
Now I don't expect Lauer to go any further down the path of actual reporting or investigation than he did. Certainly not when the beneficiary would be a GOP candidate. But on what planet is John McCain a stalwart opponent of regulation? Man, if we could only actually have the candidates that Democrats accuse us of, I would be the happiest party man in the whole USA.
I cannot possibly improve on the subject line of a ThreeSources friend who sent me this link. I have been on HuffPo a lot this week. My niece sent me a couple links, now this one. I'll probably have to write Arianna a check if this keeps up.
The writer is Naomi Wolf, famous for dressing VP Gore in earth tones in the 2000 election. I saw that Insty linked as well, with a derisive comment along the lines of "Palin drives her crazy, but she's close enough to walk." You can knock HuffPo, and you can dismiss Wolf as a fringe character, but it's a mistake. She is well known, a frequent TV pundit, and I've no doubt her ideas have currency in the Democratic Party. In short, she is not a crazed lefty blogger over at Kos railing about Rove's AmeriKKKa. Yet she is no less unhinged. (My emailer suggests reading the whole thing to get the full sweep of it, but if your heart is not up to it, here's a taste:)
Reports confirmed my suspicions: Palin, not McCain, is the FrankenBarbie of the Rove-Cheney cabal. The strategy became clear. Time magazine reported that Rove is "dialed in" to the McCain campaign. Rove's protégé Steve Schmidt is now campaign manager. And Politico reported that Rove was heavily involved in McCain's vice presidential selection. Finally a new report shows that there are dozens of Bush and Rove operatives surrounding Sarah Palin and orchestrating her every move.
I'd give her half points for ending with a Sharansky reference, If she had spelled his name right:
Scharansky [sic] divided nations into "fear societies" and "free societies." Make no mistake: Sarah "Evita" Palin is Rove and Cheney's cosmetic rebranding of their fascist push: she will help to establish a true and irreversible "fear society" in this once free once proud nation. For God's sake, do not let her; do not let them.
Thanks to my signing several "support the troops" petitions. my inbox is loaded with the worst of right wing kookery every day: Obama will force gay marriage and grapefruit juice will cure Cancer. I just got something from Pat Buchanan.
But I see very little that compares with the ravings of Andrew Sullivan or this piece by Naomi Wolf. Our esteemed electoral opponents have some serious unhinged people on their side.
UPDATE: Fair and balanced, I clicked a link on the Human Events email I received while typing this, and this is certainly unhinged, but the guy is hawking an anti-Obama book. I posit that Wolf is a more serious player.
Would the mad
Soros run wild in an
Obama White House?
UPDATE II: JammieWearingFool gives the piece a more detailed fisking.
Extensive research was conducted by the Jawa Report to determine the source of smears directed toward Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Those smears included false allegations that she belonged to a secessionist political party and that she has radical anti-American views.
Our research suggests that a subdivision of one of the largest public relations firms in the world most likely started and promulgated rumors about Sarah Palin that were known to be false. These rumors were spread in a surreptitious manner to avoid exposure.
It is also likely that the PR firm was paid by outside sources to run the smear campaign. While not conclusive, evidence suggests a link to the Barack Obama campaign.
"I guarantee you Barack Obama ain't taking my shotguns, so don't buy that malarkey," Biden said Saturday at the United Mine Workers of America's annual fish fry in Castlewood, Virginia. "Don't buy that malarkey. They're going to start peddling that to you."
Biden told the crowd that he himself is a gun owner. "I got two," Biden said, "if he tries to fool with my Beretta, he's got a problem. I like that little over and under, you know? I'm not bad with it. So give me a break. Give me a break."
It's amazing how come election season Democrat politicians are suddenly church going gun owners. As Jake Tapper points out, Senator Biden regularly scores an F on gun issues from the NRA.
I don't understand why the Democrats are even trying to attempt to compete on the issue of guns. Obama and Biden are hoping the electorate simply believes their words (never mind deeds in Congress) vs a Republican ticket that features Sarah Palin who makes no apologies for killing big things with equally big guns.
Sportsmen aren't fools.
By the way, it's nice of Joe Biden to buy American.
Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., spent the past two days trying to win over Ohio voters, but he may have undermined that work in one quick dis of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team Friday morning.
Before boarding his flight from Wilmington, Del., to Washington, DC, the loquacious Blue Hen displayed some Fightin' Blue Hen alumni bravado in an impromptu airport meeting with the University of Delaware football team.
"I come today to speak on behalf of the forgotten man, and that includes some 50% of Americans that either own their home, or are renting . . . the 95% of homeowners that are making their payments on time . . . the 99% of Americans that did not behave irresponsibly . . . that ultimately will pay the price for this bill."
John McCain? Dream on. Those were the words of Florida Rep. Tom Feeney in May, as the House considered a housing bailout. If the flustered McCain campaign is looking for pointers on how a principled conservative can politically weather a financial storm, it might make a study of this Sunshine State Republican.
A typically awesome column about principles over demagoguery, the real cause of the turmoil, and a good political and economic response.
"The important thing to recognise is that politicians aren't typically good at out-and-out lies, but they are very adept at dancing around the truth," says David Skillicorn, a mathematics and computer science researcher at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. "The 2008 election has so far given us plenty of chances to see them in action."
Skillicorn has been watching out for verbal "spin". He has developed an algorithm that evaluates word usage within the text of a conversation or speech to determine when a person "presents themselves or their content in a way that does not necessarily reflect what they know to be true".
So what are the results for 2008?
Each of the candidates had made speeches containing very high and very low levels of spin, according to Skillicorn's program, depending on the occasion. In general though, Obama's speeches contain considerably higher spin than either McCain or Clinton. For example, for their speeches accepting their party's nomination for president, Obama's speech scored a spin value of 6.7 - where 0 is the average level of spin within all the political speeches analysed, and positive values represent higher spin. In contrast, McCain's speech scored -7.58, while Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention scored 0.15. Skillicorn also found that Sarah Palin's speeches contain slightly more spin than average.
So the analysis appears to back up McCain's claim that he is a "straight talker". However, for the purposes of political speech-making this may not be an entirely good thing for him. "Obama uses spin in his speeches very well," says Skillicorn. For example, Obama's spin level skyrockets when facing problems in the press, such as when Jeremiah Wright, the reverend of his former church, made controversial comments to the press.
"When you see these crises come along, the spin goes up," Skillicorn says. "Obama is very good at using stirring rhetoric to deal with the issues. And it seems to work if you look at what happens in the polls afterwards."
Running this analysis side by side with the Luntz-o-meter would make for interesting political TV.
Texas election code §192.031 requires that the “written certification” of the “party’s nominees” be delivered “before 5 p.m. of the 70th day before election day.” Because neither candidate had been nominated by the official filing deadline, the Barr campaign argues it was impossible for the candidates to file under state law.
“Supreme Court justices should recognize that their responsibility is to apply the law as passed by the Legislature, and the law is clear that the candidates cannot be certified on the ballot if their filings are late,” says Drew Shirley, a local attorney for the Barr campaign, who is also a Libertarian candidate for the Texas Supreme Court.
This complete lack of seriousness is yet another reason that this little-l libertarian will never capitalize.
Hat-tip: Samizdat Dale Amon who links approvingly. Amon has a point about ballot access, but I cannot condone this stunt.
I stand by my assertion that we should take Senator Obama at his word and judge him by the executive experience he has shown managing his campaign. You judge a CEO by profits, return on capital, and asset value -- right?
Let's give the Junior, part-time Senator high marks for revenue; he breaks a record for fund raising every time he turns around. But both Senators Clinton and McCain have achieved much higher poll-percentage per dollar. You can actually count delegates in Clinton's case. Divide the delegate counts by the revenue required and you'll see a real ass-kicking emerge.
So I question productive use of resources, Politico reports (Hat-tip: Insty) that he is still too cash strapped to share with the Democratic Senatorial Committee:
In rejecting a direct request from his Senate leader, Obama has put a fine point on the financial pressures he’s feeling as the presidential race turns toward the fall.
Obama raised a record-setting $66 million in August, leaving his campaign with about $77 million in cash now. Because he has turned down public financing, he can keep raising money through Election Day. John McCain, having accepted public financing, can’t do that — but he already has the $84 million in public money in his campaign coffers.
As for the equivalent of a stock price, I submit that their value on Intrade is a good proxy. McCain President 2008 trades this morning at 49.1. Obama's contract is 50.0 (McCain actually led last week) but you cannot doubt that McCain is getting better return on capital.
ThreeSources has taken a couple of whacks at Senator McCain for his poor response to the current ECWTASTGD (Economic Crisis Worse Than Anything Since The Great Depression). While it's deserved, I want to pass out two failing grades and suggest that Senator McCain might still be a better choice.
The requested Mac-a-Whack goes to the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page. His reflexive populism is bad politics and bad economics. After "getting in Obama's head" with his choice of Governor Palin, he allows Senator O inside his cranium:
We'll leave it to the debates to elicit just what each Senator regards as the "economic fundamentals" in a $13 trillion economy, but for our money the notable thing about the exchange was how fast John McCain let his opponent's sarcasm push him off message, such as it is.
One whiff from Barack Obama about "the mountain in Sedona where he lives," and by day's end Senator McCain was ranting about "corruption" and how he was going to "reform the way that Wall Street does business." Yesterday Senator McCain's inner populist had cooled enough to admit the existence of "honest people on Wall Street," but it still sounded as if this week's version of the McCain Presidency would be more about restructuring private financial markets he doesn't understand than fixing the Washington he knows.
To discuss Senator Obama's reaction, I'll yield the floor to Obama supporter Megan McArdle. She calls his reaction "high test hooey" and questions his reflexive blaming of President Bush:
What, specifically, should the Bush administration have done, Senator? Don't tell me they should have beefed up SEC enforcement, since this is not a criminal problem (aside from minor lies by Bear execs after the damage was already done). Perhaps he should not have reappointed Greenspan, or appointed Ben Bernanke? Both moves were widely hailed at the time. Moreover, to believe that a Democrat could have done better is to assert that a Democratic president would have found a Fed chair who would pay less attention to unemployment, or a bank regulator who would have tried harder to prevent low-income people from buying homes. Where is this noble creature? And why didn't Barack Obama push for him at the time?
Indeed, I ask the Senator to name one significant thing that Bush has done to create this crisis that couldn't also be laid at the feet of St. William of Little Rock. If Democratic policy is so good at protecting the little guy from asset price bubbles, how come the stock market crashed in 2000?
This kind of foolish grandstanding is not the change we need. It's just more of the same.
UPDATE: Michael Shear has a bylined WaPo editorial that smartly asks why McCain is embracing regulation "after many years of opposition. And there's video of the "greed" comments. Ouch.
Lynn Forester de Rothschild has said she thinks Democratic nominee Barack Obama is arrogant and has a problem connecting with average Americans.
Rothschild is a member of the DNC's Democrats Abroad chapter and splits her time living in London and New York. She was one of Clinton's top fundraisers, bringing in more than $100,000 for her presidential campaign. She built a multimillion-dollar telecommunications company before marrying international banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.
I'll do the Kos Kids' work for them today. Obama is too arrogant, and cannot connect to "the people" says Mrs. Rothschild. ROTHSCHILD!!!?? Controller of the world economy through the Masonic Lodge Rothschild? Splits her time between London and New York? ROTHSCHILD???
Senator Joe Biden (who? Is he running for something?) releases his tax returns. And -- like all collectivist, redistributionists -- he is a charity cheapskate:
Professor Mankiw shows that the Biden's giving is less than a quarter of typical Americans' and that they fit into a broad generalization (though less broad than the one I am making):
conservatives who practice religion, live in traditional nuclear families and reject the notion that the government should engage in income redistribution are the most generous Americans, by any measure. Conversely, secular liberals who believe fervently in government entitlement programs give far less to charity. They want everyone's tax dollars to support charitable causes and are reluctant to write checks to those causes
It's okay -- as long as he is generous with your money!
UPDATE: Byron York points out the story as well, including a correction to my too generous math (I compared Bidens' most generous year to the average):
“The average American household gives about two percent of adjusted gross income,” says Arthur Brooks, the Syracuse University scholar, soon to take over as head of the American Enterprise Institute, who has done extensive research on American giving. “On average, [Biden] is not giving more than one tenth as much as the average American household, and that is evidence that he doesn’t share charitable values with the average American.”
UPDATE II: The Bidens cry poverty (from the York story):
[Spokesperson David] Wade also suggests that Biden, who is famous for being the least wealthy member of the U.S. Senate, simply doesn’t have piles of money to give. “Like a lot of families that put three kids through college and have an aging parent move in with them, the Bidens aren’t divorced from the realities of everyday life,” Wade says. Still, Wade continues, “finding ways to give back is important to them.”
Put me down as pretty *^&*^ing tired of hearing about the Scrappy-Kid-from-Scranton-PA's indigentism. The dude makes over 300K, has the finest health insurance in the world (second to Castro I guess, but still), a pension that will give him a similar income and health plan for the rest of his life.
It must be very degrading for the other 99 Senators to not be a Kennedy. But you make lots more than me, friend, my less-than-gold-plated health plan is deducted, I have to divert funds to a 401K, and I bet I buy a lot more of my own lunches and plane trips. And, dude, I give a LOT more to charity.
Surely no ThreeSourcer would ever miss The Journal Editorial Report but, in case you wanted to see this one one more time, I YouTubed it. Mary Anastasia O'Grady perfectly nails Governor Palin as "The Anti-Obama"
Obama will lose because with less than two months remaining voters won’t be able to get comfortable with him. He can’t stay on message and he can’t avoid sending signals that interfere with the message when he does.
McCain, on the other hand, has been superb going back at least to Obama’s European tour. Mainstream America is comfortable with him and, with Palin’s selection, conservatives who had their doubts are onboard. The GOP is energized and suddenly an unwinnable election is reversed.
Obama got this far by winning small states and Southern states he has no chance of carrying in November. In Georgia, for example, the latest Insider Advantage poll has McCain pulling 56 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Obama, numbers that are not likely to change more than 4 percentage points in November. The undecideds and those who intend to vote for third-party campaigns are at 6 percent.
In this election, voters will decide early. Obama’s been in a yearlong campaign; McCain’s familiar. The two are sufficiently exposed and known for voters to make a decision now.
It’s not over. But it’s getting there — and Obama knows it.
Victor Davis Hanson may have been right all those months ago when he said, "There is a certain irony here. In a year that for historical and contemporary reasons should be a Democratic shoo-in, the Democrats have nominated about the only candidate who can lose in November, the Republicans the only one of their own who can still win it."
Jake Tapper points out that Senator Obama is questioning Senator McCain's patriotism:
"Just ask the machinists in Pennsylvania who build Harley-Davidsons," Obama said of McCain's record. "Because John McCain didn’t just oppose the requirement that the government buy American-made motorcycles, he called Buy American provisions 'disgraceful.' Just ask the workers across this country who have seen their jobs outsourced. The very companies that shipped their jobs overseas have been rewarded with billions of dollars in tax breaks that John McCain supports and plans to continue.
"So, when American workers hear John McCain talking about putting 'Country First,'" Obama said, "it’s fair to ask –- which country?"
Lovely. Protectionism = Patriotism.
Last week, Samizdat Dale Amon provided a (cherry-picked, I thought) list titled Comparing the Twins. Like every third party candidate and devotee from Ross Perot, Pat Buchannan, and George Wallce to Ralph Nader and -- I'm guessing Eugene Debs and Henry Wallace, Amon needs to prove that there is "not a dime's difference" between the major party candidates.
I enjoy reading and will always respect Amon, but he cherry-picks the list, then fails to score them accurately. Free trade and confiscatory taxation don't make the cut -- though his pet project "space policy" does. (I don't remember Lysander Spooner's position on government space exploration...)
I commented "Trade! Trade! Trade!" trusting the power of exclamation marks to carry my point. I cannot see any lover of liberty or prosperity ignoring this -- no matter how badly he or she would like to make a point.
I think they spent months trying to figure out how they can position Obama as better qualified than McCain, and basically came up with the fact that Obama can type. -- commenter "Village Idiot" at Ace of Spades HQ
In response to John McCain's statement that he preferred constitutionalist judges, Whoopi Goldberg responded, "Should I be worried about being a slave, about being returned to slavery because certain things happened in the Constitution that you had to change?" The line actually received some applause and McCain sort of brushed it off, telling Whoopi that he understood her point (Barbara Walters followed by assuring the black women on the show that "us white folk will take care of you"). My response would have consisted of a history lesson.
To the extent that the Constitution is flawed -- and certainly we all agree that the acceptance of slavery is a flaw -- the document can be amended, per Article V, by the legislature with two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate and the subsequent approval of three-fourths of the states legislatures. Thus, as outlined in the document itself, it is not the role of the judiciary to make changes to the Constitution therefore rendering Whoopi's point moot.
Now that the symbolic leadership of the party is shifting away from Bush and toward the suddenly popular Republican presidential ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin, things may be changing. This shrinks Bush's shadow over the Republicans, revealing more of the Democrats' own shadow stemming from high disapproval of Congress. The key question is how much of this is temporary because of the tremendous bounce in support for the Republicans on many dimensions coming right off of their convention. The degree to which the Republican bounce is sustained, rather than dissipates, in the weeks ahead will determine whether the 2008 race for Congress could in fact be highly competitive, rather than a Democratic sweep.
I read this Jeffrey Rosen piece on Senator Joe Biden, or as Rosen calls him "Civil liberties' greatest salesman." Pretty hard hitting stuff for the (once proud, I have to remind people) New Republic:
Moments after the September 11 attacks, as Biden watched his colleagues evacuate the Capitol, a reporter asked him whether America would have to revisit the way it protects our public institutions. "I hope that's not true," Biden replied, according to his autobiography. "[If] we have to alter our civil liberties, change the way we function, then we have truly lost the war."
Well said, I suppose (two nice things about Biden in two days, baby!) but to Rosen it is "a telling response, given the situation unfolding around him--and a perfect reflection of his career." I guess we contrast that to the other 99 Senators who were calling to reinstate internment caps and Adams's Alien and Sedition Act.
Rosen then goes on to praise Biden's civil-libertarian performance in the Bork and Thomas hearings. I don't like this locution, but the only thoughtful and intelligent response is "puh-leeze!" Biden was an embarrassment to the nation in both of those (his perfidy is well documented in Justice Thomas's book, My Grandfather's Son). Biden was a cupcake to Judge Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, and a complete bastard to Bork, Thomas, Roberts and Alito.
Well, "puh-leeze" may be the top of my intellectual riposte, but Tom Smith shows a little more heft. "Just Embarrassing," he calls it. Then he destroys it:
I was working in the White House on economic policy during the Bork hearings, and followed them closely. I would have thought a more grotesque perversion of justice would not have been possible, but the Thomas hearings had not occurred yet. The Bork hearings were one of those moments that permanently diminished our political culture, probably irrevocably. And of course, there would have been no need to stop Bork at any cost, had the Supreme Court not created such a vulnerable, because not founded in law, right in the first place. So to protect a made up law we had to throw what were the norms in the legal profession of fairness and civility (such as they were) out the window. Nor is it over yet -- ask Bristol Palin. It's a gift that keeps on giving. And 20 some years after the first Borking (at least the English language, that astute judge, is not deceived), we get to read a journalist piously calling the whole sorry, discouraging, embarrassing, and utterly unedifying mess a cherished moment of public education in the holy right of privacy. I'm sorry, but that's just revolting. Senator Joe was educating Americans on the constitution, all right, but not in the way Rosen thinks.
It is particularly ironic that this inspiring civics lesson that Rosen depicts on the right of privacy was accompanied and followed by so many grotesque invasions of privacy, starting with Judge Bork, moving on to Justice Thomas, and bringing us right up to the present day of what sex education was gotten by Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter. Funny how that works. You start destroying the village in order to save it, and pretty soon everybody is dead or covered in blood.
Thanks for the memories, Joe. But I guess none of the bad stuff was Biden's fault. He gave into calling Anita Hill (for her utterly perjurious testimony, but that's another story) as a witness, Rosen breathlessly informs us, only after the pressure became "irresistible." Brave, brave, brave Sir Joe.
I consider the Bork hearings to be one of the lowest points in American government. To deify Senator Biden over their handling is too much.
When McCain and running mate Sarah Palin appeared this morning at Van Dyck Park, in the city of Fairfax, Virginia, the people spilled out of the natural amphitheater, over the sides, out the back, and nearly all the way to the Old Lee Highway. The rally had originally been scheduled for Fairfax High School, but some school board members objected. With controversy brewing, the McCain campaign moved the event to the park. It was a good idea; the high school facility could handle 6,500 people, which would have been a huge crowd in pre-Palin days. But today, the school wouldn’t have been nearly big enough. After the rally, McCain officials told me 23,000 people had been there. Even if that estimate was a little high, it was still McCain’s biggest rally ever — and that, at mid-morning, on a weekday.
What happens if/when in a few days McCain goes to one part of the country and Sarah goes to another... and she draws crowds two or three times bigger than McCain?
Professor Mankiw finds a ranked list of recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac political contributions. Expectedly, Senator Dodd (D - Countrywide) tops the list; unsurprisingly, Democrats get the top five and seven of the top ten. I'm a little concerned how the Junior Senator from Illinois scored the number three spot
FOX News Sunday is required viewing for the VRWC, but on the off chance you missed, Power Line has a noteworthy transcript. Wallace is talking to Obama Campaign manager David Axelrod, asking when did Senator Obama ever really stand up against his party. Axelrod answers and Wallace follows up:
Wallace: But David, because you guys always talk about ethics legislation and the nuclear non-proliferation deal with Dick Lugar, I went back and looked -- both of those measures passed by unanimous consent. They were so accepted by the Senate that there was not even a vote. In fact, ethics legislation was one of the campaign promises. These were not -- if I may, if I may. These were not areas where Barack Obama went up against the leadership of his own party nearly in the way that John McCain did on campaign finance reform, on limiting interrogation of terror detainees, on immigration reform. He did not go up against his own party on either of those issues.
Did he answer? Of course not. But this is a handy little fact for your next bar fight. Obama's courageous stances passed on a voice vote! Ohh, the courage literally oozes off of him...
WASHINGTON — The Republican National Convention has given John McCain and his party a significant boost, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken over the weekend shows, as running mate Sarah Palin helps close an "enthusiasm gap" that has dogged the GOP all year.
McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by 50%-46% among registered voters, the Republican's biggest advantage since January and a turnaround from the USA TODAY poll taken just before the convention opened in St. Paul. Then, he lagged by 7 percentage points.
The larger context is that the Democrats are losing, or have already lost, their claim to represent a populist national coalition that includes blue-collar and rural whites as a matter of course. Gun rights are the canary in this coal mine. Bill Clinton understands this, and has repeatedly told the Democrats straight up that their kulturkampf against guns has been losing them national elections since 1994. The folks in Duryea — and Thomas Frank’s what’s-the-matter-with-Kansas — understand the larger disconnect at gut level. And the Democrats just confirmed it by rejecting Hillary Clinton, who at least faked her heartlander populism well enough to fool anyone who really wanted to be fooled by it, in favor of a candidate who is above even being bothered to pretend.
Bill Whittle (when did he start writing for NRO? That was a stroke of genius.) Has a Whittlesque essay defending Senator McCain and his acceptance speech. He claims that Palin stole the Glamour and McCain stole the message. He details how McCain the patriot and McCain the reformer sealed the deal from a skeptical Republican. And along the way, he has some nice words about the Governor of Alaska:
She is so absolutely, remarkably, spectacularly ordinary. I think the magic of Sarah Palin speaks to a belief that so many of us share: the sense that we personally know five people in our immediate circle who would make a better president than the menagerie of candidates the major parties routinely offer. Sarah Palin has erupted from this collective American Dream — the idea that, given nothing but classic American values like hard work, integrity, and tough-minded optimism you can actually do what happens in the movies: become Leader of the Free World, the President of the United States of America. (Or, well, you know, vice president.)
We watched Palin's speech again this morning (yup, regular folk, my wife and I) and I was struck by two things: her gifts of timing and expressional punctuation, and also contra Sen. Kerry or Sen. Gore, she didn't live her life to be President. She went from the PTA to City Council to Mayor to Governor -- as they say -- to do something, not to be something.
Ann Althouse found this ad distracting because of its quality of music and visual effects (oooookay).
Then she is able to collect her irony: "Oh, suddenly the irony of it all hits me. What I think about the ad is what the ad is trying to say about Obama! The style is fabulous, but what, really, is the content?"
I like Althouse a lot, but it is an election year and I am a partisan hack. Professor, the irony is that Senator Obama represents MoreOfTheSame®, that he will ally with a very liberal 111th Congress, and that we'll have less of the fresh ideas that the youthful Junior Senator promised in the primaries and more of the tired ideas of Senators Dorgan, Schumer, Reid, Dodd, Leahy and Biden.
I was thinking of my home state this morning. Though nominally red, the Centennial State has been trending blue and seemed well poised for Obama. I think it was Karl Rove who joked that "when Senator Obama counts electoral votes, he counts Colorado three times." This morning, I suggested (talking at the kitchen table as all politicians posit) that Obama might count it zero times. I think Governor Palin might take it to trending red if not out of play.
I have talked up Ryan Sagar’s book. He talks about the libertarian leanings of the Mountain West GOP to contrast them with the more evangelical populist South. There's a lot of truth to his characterization of the Mountain West. Palin will have wide appeal to many Coloradans on Second Amendment and other freedom issues. And I think she makes Senator McCain more attractive as well.
Todd Zywicki covers the libertarian and western angle:
What is the "western" vibe? This is purely subjective, but to me it is the feeling of no-nonsense, self-reliant, egalitarian, outsiderism, sort of Barry Goldwater-ish. Is it libertarian? Not exactly, but it does have that sort of feeling to it, to me at least. It feels like Goldwaterism. And I think this trickles through to the worldview of the candidates and then to policy. It seems pretty clear to me (especially after last night) that John McCain sees himself as Gary Cooper riding into to town to single-handedly clean-up corruption and gun down the rascals.
I hate to be simplistic, but if she truly took Colorado (and maybe Nevada) out of play, that would be an electoral game changer.
One of my favorite whoppers chestnuts from the Obama campaign is that the Senator's experience running his Presidential campaign count toward his experience deficit. (Taranto jokes that Lyndon LaRouche is thus the most qualified...)
It occurred to me that the Obama campaign can easily be described as a humungous failure. Seriously, he has record revenue coming in (not based on executive experience) and he is riding an anti-Republican wave against an extremely unpopular President.
So how's the CEO of Obama Enterprises doing? I call the board meeting to order.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I move that the board replaces Mr. Obama. He has been given record revenue and resources and he still runs double-digits behind the generic Democrat. He has considerable benefit of his own star power, and is the beneficiary of many complementary (in both senses of the word) videos from major music and film stars.
I like Mr. Obama personally, we all do, but Milton Friedman has said that we exist to create value for the shareholders, and our current CEO has clearly failed.
Based on his charisma and his personal ties to Obama, Inc. it would be wrong to remove him from office. I therefore propose that we give him an honorary title of "Chairman of the Board." This will allow him to make appearances on the Corporation's behalf.
And we will find somebody more competent to execute day to day operations. Perhaps a bright woman...
Supposedly Sarah Palin has 20/20 vision and only started wearing glasses when she ran for election. Her thought was that it made her look smarter. I've seen pictures of her without her glasses but most pictures from the past cpl years she always has glasses on.
Does anyone have confirmation if Sarah Palin really needs glasses?
But you're right, "Kerry C" as long as we don't have confirmation from an opthamlogist, let's lean toward "forty year conspiracy to wear glasses to looks like a hot smart librarian in the hopes that she gets to run for high political office."
when asked if she was ready to be vice president Specter hedged: “I think she has the potential … so let’s see what she says” during her speech to the Republican National Convention, scheduled for tonight at the Xcel Energy Center.
Although Specter said that he was surprised by the Palin pick, he defended the McCain campaign’s vetting process.
“I wouldn’t sell John McCain short,” he said.
I rode on an elevator with Senator Specter this morning at the Crowne Plaza where this interview was done. He seemed a little distracted.
If McCain wins, look for a full-fledged race and class war, fueled by a deflated and depressed country, soaring crime, homelessness - and hopelessness!
Plenty of Americans would rather stay in their dream state than to recognize the poverty sweeping across the country, right here, right now.
Obama understands that people are suffering. Every week, prices go up at the supermarket, and people are unable to feed their families. It already is dark and stormy for millions, who can't even afford pencils, book bags and lunch money for their children.
But when Obama wins the White House, we may just see a revolution that can turn the tide and improve this nation for everyone, not just a select few.
I spend far too much time enjoying Al Gore's invention. Perhaps I am not alone. The internet has exposed the left-wing kooks (I should note that these kooks are not confined to the left-wing, but the Bush presidency has sure brought the lefties out of the woodwork). Case-in-point: The Kos kids are claiming that Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin's youngest son is, in fact, her grandson (see here and here, if you must). They have absolutely no facts to go on, as their "evidence" is centered around a picture of Palin's daughter that they claim was taken in March that supposedly shows her with "baby bump." However, I did a quick search for the picture that they reference and, according to the newspaper where the picture was published, the photo was actually taken in 2006! (You can verify that I am referencing the correct picture as I refuse to post it here.) While I am not an OBGYN, I can hazard a guess and say that it is unlikely that a girl who was pregnant in 2006 would give birth in April 2008. But then again, facts are not important to the Kos kids.
I'm a partisan hack, but I laugh every time I hear about Senator Biden having "stared down dictators." I cannot imagine -- okay, find it hard to imagine -- a person I would less like to have representing the United States in a tough negotiation than Biden (D - MBNA).
Michael Rubin has a guest editorial in the Washington Post today. He questions the fearless comb-over as well:
In selecting Joseph Biden as his running mate, Barack Obama acknowledged the importance of foreign affairs to this year's election. His Web site trumpeted Biden as "an expert on foreign policy" and a man "who has stared down dictators."
As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden is well versed in policy debates and carefully choreographed trips. But his record on the Islamic Republic of Iran -- perhaps the chief national security threat facing the next president -- suggests a persistent and dangerous judgment deficit. Biden's unyielding pursuit of "engagement" with Iran for more than a decade has made it easier for Tehran to pursue its nuclear program, while his partisan obsession with thwarting the Bush administration has led him to oppose tough sanctions against hard-liners in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Professor Mankiw links to an interesting web application on the CATO site that rates each legislator -- based on his or her voting record -- on a two dimensional grid of opposition to trade barriers and opposition to subsidies. The corners are labeled "Isolationist, Interventionist, Internationalist, and Free Trader."
I've been a little hard on Will on this blog for being too representative of Washington Conventional Wisdom. I must confess that the man has superior erudition, has been a good voice for free markets for many years -- and knows a lot about baseball.
He takes some good whacks at Senator Obama's energy policy today (more to like) in a column delightfully titled Little Rhetoric Riding Hood.
Obama has also promised that "we will get 1 million 150-mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids on our roads within six years." What a tranquilizing verb "get" is. This senator, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, is going to get a huge, complex industry to produce, and is going to get a million consumers to buy, these cars. How? Almost certainly by federal financial incentives for both -- billions of dollars of tax subsidies for automakers and billions more to bribe customers to buy cars they otherwise would spurn.
Great stuff. I'll suggest the whole thing but excerpt the last paragraph in case your mouse hand is sore:
In 1996, Bob Dole, citing the Clinton campaign's scabrous fundraising, exclaimed: "Where's the outrage?" In this year's campaign, soggy with environmental messianism, deranged self-importance and delusional economics, the question is: Where is the derisive laughter?
Biden, 65, is a veteran of more than three decades in the Senate, and one of his party's leading experts on foreign policy, an area in which polls indicate Obama needs help in his race against Republican rival John McCain.
The official who spoke did so on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to pre-empt a text-message announcement the Obama campaign promised for Saturday morning.
The green kind, not the illegal undocumented kind.
When we asked you which presidential candidate could better handle an alien invasion, over 46,000 of you had an opinion. The race was close, but in the end, 58 percent of you wanted former POW McCain, not Barack Obama, in charge when the little green men show up.
President McCain would take no shit from them.
Unless of course they crossed the Rio Grande or overstayed their Visas. Then they'd be welcomed.
Of all the bad things in our political system, one of the worst has got to be "walking around money" for traditional machine politics for use on bribes, or gas, or phone calls, or bribes or food for volunteers, or even bribes. Ed Morrissey in HotAir:
Last April, I complimented Barack Obama for his principled stand against the corrupt practice of providing “street money” to political organizers in Philadelphia. He insisted that his new kind of politics didn’t allow for the cash-on-demand tradition in Philadelphia, and that his organization would remain voluntary. Even with ward bosses playing the race card against him in response — claiming that Obama spent his money at “white” television stations instead of on black volunteers through street money — Obama held firm.
It'd be nice for the Obama campaign to get their act together.
John Fund's Political Diary:
For its part, the Obama campaign officially says it now assumes both candidates were equally unaware of the questions and isn't interested in pursuing the matter. Interestingly enough, Mr. McCain's campaign is and has written a letter to NBC News citing Ms. Mitchell's ruminations as evidence of bias in its campaign coverage. "Instead of taking a critical journalistic approach to this spin, Andrea Mitchell did what has become a pattern for her of simply repeating Obama campaign talking points," wrote campaign manager Rick Davis. "This is irresponsible journalism and sadly indicative of the level of objectivity we have witnessed at NBC News this election cycle."
So it turns out that Pastor Rick Warren, in an effort to increase the candidates’ comfort level with his pioneering format, gave each of them a heads-up on several of the hardest questions he asked Saturday night during his “the Saddleback Civil Forum on the presidency.”
A source close to Warren tells Playbook that the candidates knew in advance they would be asked their own greatest moral failure, America’s greatest moral failure, and the three wisest people in their lives.
The source said Obama also knew he would be asked if he’d be willing to commit to an emergency plan for orphans, like President Bush has for AIDS. GIVE OBAMA CREDIT FOR ANSWERING CANDIDLY: “I cheated a little bit. I actually looked at this idea ahead of time, and I think it is a great idea.”
It does take the air out of the McCain grand slam performance, but makes the Messiah look even more like a tool. So it's still a net win for McCain. Woo!
I was incredibly impressed with the "Saddleback Church Civil Forum." Saddleback is a humongous mega-church (not one of the small mega-churches) in Orange County, California. And its Pastor, Rick Warren, sat down with each candidate separately and asked the same set of questions.
Warren called for civility in political discourse both to begin and close the event. The pastor practiced what he preaches [I don’t care who you are, that’s a good line] giving each candidate a friendly, non-confrontational platform and a lot of latitude to set the pace and tone of his segment.
Senator Obama went first, by coin toss (I wondered if McCain won, but wanted to sit in the green chair, but I cannot get an answer) and McCain was offstage in a "cone of silence" (Warren's joke) so that he would not hear the questions.
Senator Obama was awesome in every way. As a McCain supporter, I have been lulled into the he-can't-speak-without-a-telepromter meme. You guys can put that away, now. Senator O was engaging and charming, showing off equal charisma and intellect. His answers were long and discursive. If my lefty brother were watching, he'd be thrilled at the nuance. There were no 57 state gaffes. A member of a FOXNews panel thought that a super-nuanced answer on abortion was a gaffe. I didn't see it that way.
As he left the stage, I thought "if this man shows up at the debates, he'll win 40 states."
Then Senator McCain came out and bested him. Where Obama was thoughtful and discursive, McCain was pointed and principled -- not brusqueness but moral clarity. Even on issues I disagree with Senator Mac, I had to appreciate his clarity. He hit several questions out of the park, and was gaffe free as well. And -- as well - a FOXNews pundit said that he had gaffed with an answer to "what defines rich?" McCain refused to answer, saying that "I'm not going to tax the rich, so I don't need to define them." Fine with me, Senator. Then he laughed and said "$5 million/year" -- quickly pointing out after that the point will be taken out of context and used against him. Home run, clear the bases. Four RBIs.
As McCain left the stage I said "If that man shows up at the debates, he'll win 40 states."
Lastly, I would like to see more of this type of forum. I was queasy to see a big-church big-money pastor leading this, but Warren did a great job and the venue was ideal. The crowd leaned a little right but was very supportive of both.
Why not follow this with the same deal at the NYSE? An economic focus, with a panel of CEOs and financial journalists. Race relations at the MLK memorial? It provided more insight than any of the debates I've seen. It was a little aggravating that there were no follow ups or attempts to stop misdirection, but at the same time, viewers can and will judge the candidates by their evasions as well as their answers.
If you missed this and get another chance, run this one down; it was on all the cable networks and I imagine it will be rerun.
If, like me, you find yourself suffering from Kudlow withdrawal (sorry, the Olympics does not hold up to a good K&C), you can get a little relief on his blog. Today, Kudlow posts a long and thoughtful response to the Furman/Goolsbee tax plan posted in the WSJ this week.
He opens that it represents a "flip-flop" toward supply side thinking. That is a common -- but I think overly generous -- view. Many on the right seem surprised that he might leave some money in private pockets. Over the course of the post, however, he knocks down much of the premises:
Nonetheless, it appears the Obama people acknowledge at least some effects from supply-side incentives. And perhaps they are implicitly recognizing the likelihood that higher tax rates on cap-gains and dividends will generate lower revenues and a higher budget deficit.
It also seems clear that the Obama tax plan is not a growth policy, but a social policy that uses tax fairness as a means of redistributing income. There’s a long history of failed redistributionism, and this is where the Obama plan falls apart.
Read the whole thing (in between Men's basket weaving and tiddly-winks).
Professor Austan Goolsbee keeps telling anybody who will listen that Senator Obama's tax cuts won't hurt because he will be raising them to near or below the rates of the 1990s (fish jump; cotton high). If he won't listen to Milton Friedman or Art Laffer, I'd suggest he might give a little weight to Heraclitus. Heraclitus said "you don't step into the same river twice."
Since President Clinton presidented over prosperity, the rest of the world listened to Friedman and Laffer and lowered their tax rates. James Pethokoukis points out that the direction of rate change and the state of the economy is as important as rates. The Wall Street Journal Editorial page (I sense Stephen Moore's hand in this) points out that the relative rates of world countries is important:
Back to Heraclitus, you can't step into that 1998 river in 2008. You're going to increase the uncompetitive differential of locating business in the United States.
When Senator Obama selected Professor Austan Goolsbee for his economic team, the news was well received. Even some supply siders recognized Goolsbee as a serious economist, and many were comforted by the University of Chicago. Though never mistaken as one of the "Chicago Boyz," guys like me thought that Milton Friedman's water fountain had magic powers.
As I've complained here before, Goolsbee quickly found hidden talents as a partisan hack. His appearances on Kudlow & Company produced far more talking points than economic commentary. Today, Goolsbee and Obama Economic Policy Director, Jason Furman, pen a guest editorial in the WSJ. The piece purports to calm the business community about the Senator's economic proposals. But it's surprisingly defensive and unsurprisingly (look who's talking) full of partisan hackery. Check the lede:
Even as Barack Obama proposes fiscally responsible tax reform to strengthen our economy and restore the balance that has been lost in recent years, we hear the familiar protests and distortions from the guardians of the broken status quo.
Jeez, you can't argue with these guys. They propose a massive restructuring in the tax code and substantial hikes in marginal rates and in revenues off capital. When people rightfully question that, they get called names.
The rest of the article declares the Obama tax plan as being not as bad as what you have heard or suspected, and the familiar comparison to tax rates in the 90s, when fish jumped and cotton grew high. They provide a few specifics, but when it becomes time to compare their plan to Senator McCain's we get back to name-calling. McCain == Bush:
"The McCain plan represents Bush economics on steroids...Sen. McCain has put forward the most fiscally reckless presidential platform in modern memory. The likely results of his Bush-plus policies are clear...America cannot afford another eight years like these."
The familiar protests and distortions from the guardians of the broken status quo, signing out!
UPDATE: Jimmy P thinks it more significant: With Polls Close, Obama Blinks on Taxes. I'd say that they had never really released details and are now drawing the lines to look more reasonable on taxes. Mister Pethokoukis thinks it a big change in position -- and does a great job fielding the line about how good the economy was in the 1990s with these rates:
Look, it is not just the level of tax rates, it's the direction. Second, the Clinton tax hikes happened after the economy had built up a tremendous head of steam. When Clinton signed his big tax increase bill in August 1993, the economy had been expanding for nine consecutive quarters—more than two years—and was able to power through the negative economic impact of the hikes.
In 2009, the United States might be just emerging from a nasty downturn, only to get hit by a tax increase. Also, recent research shows that tax hikes may be less harmful if accompanied by spending cuts. Yet Obama is planning huge and specific spending increases matched by often vague spending reductions. Clintonomics was all about balancing the budget. This is not a priority for Obama.
When I suggested that Atlantic's Megan McArdle fit into that narrow intersection in the great Venn Diagram of politics, it was suggested that that was something of an oxymoron (or perhaps somebody called me a moron, I forget).
I replied that the good people at Reason Magazine -- though they have many good reasons to question Senator McCain’s bona fides -- seem too easy on Senator Obama, whom I consider a greater threat to liberty. I offer yet another example. The always worth watching Drew Carey project on Reason.tv:
There's Senator Mac, first and foremost among the Ethanol jockeys. Because he enumerated the energy sources he thinks should be investigated, and mentioned corn-based ethanol at the end of the list. In fact, he was courageous, opposing ethanol subsidies during the Iowa primaries. He has been a foe to the subsidies, fought against and voted against the farm bill. I think Carey confuses support for ethanol, which is okay with support for ethanol subsidies, which he and I would oppose.
There is another fellah running for President from a major party. The name escapes me at the moment, but he advocates a complete government takeover of the energy industry, has been a consistent supporter of ethanol subsidies, and voted for the farm bill.
Yet the good folks at Reason seem awfully reluctant to portray this other guy in a negative light. As a subscriber to Reason, I of course have a conspiracy theory: the Libertarian game this year is to steal votes from McCain. This will "prove" that Libertarians matter, and they will parade their spoilerhood for four years, until they get trounced again in 2012 (I'm guessing Ted Stevens will get the nomination).
UPDATE: I attributed this to Drew Carey as it is listed under the Drew Carey Project on the Reason.TV website although he does not appear. I'll leave it to other Reason readers to come up with a conspiracy theory for that.
Just a thought -- I haven't heard his name come up. Texas fatigue?
He has a nice guest ed in the WSJ today blasting ethanol:
Texas is leading the nation in this movement. We are a top contributor to the nation's domestic fuel supply, and a leader in wind, biofuel and solar energy production. We harness the benefits of clean and efficient nuclear power,
and are investing considerable resources in developing nonfood bioenergy such as algae, switchgrass, jatropha and camelina—all of which have minimal impact on food production and the environment. The U.S. would be wise to follow Texas's lead.
The EPA needs to stop using bureaucratic definitions of what constitutes "severe economic harm" and take a look at reality. American families are struggling to put food on the table because of rising food prices. Without a doubt, the destruction of the Texas livestock industry—the nation's largest beef producer—constitutes severe harm to our country's economy. Forcing Texas ranchers to close their doors because they can no longer afford to feed their
livestock takes food off the table for millions of Americans. If that's not "severe economic damage," what is?
Senator Obama deflects every criticism of his projected tax hikes with the claim that he is going to cut taxes on the middle class. On FOX News Sunday, Rick Davis was confronted with a non-partisan study that claimed Obama's plan would cut taxes for workers making $45,000 far more than Senator McCain's plan.
A graphic from a superb, must read in full, AEI article in the American Magazine gives a visual look at the Obama tax cut:
That's right, kids, if you're a one-eyed Venusion working part-time on odd Tuesdays in the service sector, have between two and three children and rent your home, the Senator is going to cut your taxes! Everybody else? Well, we all want to be fair don't we?
Governor George W Bush ran in 2000 against these wacky vertical lines in marginal tax rates. He called them "toll booths to the middle class." And he was right. The poor fool who qualifies for an Obama Tax Cut had better hope that he never gets a raise or that her spouse doesn't find a job -- they could be wiped out!
Although Obama is offering a new series of tax breaks, they undermine rather than improve economic incentives. First, whether or not you get those breaks will depend on your income. In Washington, taking away tax breaks as families work harder to make more money is called a “phase-out.” Economists have a different name for it—we call it a tax. Reducing a person’s tax credit as his income goes up also reduces his incentive to earn more income.
The supply-side mantra is to cut marginal rates. I cannot believe Professor Austan Goolsbee drank from the same water fountain as Milton Friedman and then signed off on this monstrosity.
No, not about the Pigou Club, dang it. But the good Professor suggests -- nicely -- that some of his earlier praise of Senator Obama "for having a good grasp of economic principles" might have been a tad too generous.
Obama is right about the amorality (not immorality) of oil companies. But he seems to suggest that oil markets are fundamentally different than others. In fact, in all markets, reduced production capacity would increase prices and, sometimes, would increase profits as well. That is why farmers can benefit from policies that induce them to leave land fallow. (I can't say about widgets--empirical studies of that market are hard to come by.)
Maybe Obama is saying that the forces of competition are absent in the oil market and that the deliberate decision by oil companies to keep capacity below competitive levels is the reason for today's high prices. That would be a logically coherent story, but not an empirically plausible one. It is not lack of competition that is keeping oil prices high but, rather, the basic forces of supply and demand. Even if you blame OPEC for noncompetitive behavior, that fact would hardly provide a rationale for taxing domestic oil producers, as Senator Obama is proposing.
Senator Obama is married to his windfall-profits-from-oil-compainies-to-finance-a-$1000-rebate idea. It makes a nice TV commercial (I guess) but in a debate or a serious Sunday interview, it is difficult to explain why you can tax an industry based on its unpopularity.
"You interlace your hands in a circle, the interlacing being a symbol of different types of people coming together and the circle a symbol of unity," he says. Their design, unlike Fairey's, is free, and Husong is urging people to download it and print it on posters and T-shirts. "We want to see it everywhere, but more importantly we want this sign to take the world by storm."
I did the "W" salute in 2004 when I saw another car with a Bush bumper sticker. I'd like to believe this is as good natured as that. I'd like to believe that it's not at all creepy. But those rays in the illustration...
Last Wednesday, Larry Kudlow had Mike Maiello of Forbes magazine as a guest on his TV show, Maiello was a bright and earnest young man with more hair than the rest of the guests (and host) combined. In an ocean of supply-siders, Maiello took the task of explaining the great boon that the Obama Presidency would be to the economy.
Maiello (who also supports a surfeit of vowels) was pressed on how raising taxes on capital was going to create jobs for the poor. While other guests chortled or rolled their eyes, Maiello explained that Obama would rebuild the nation's infrastructure, and he cited (honest to NED) President Roosevelt's WPA as proof of what a great idea this is.
I don't think the ThreeSources faithful need a sermon on the folly of this, but it strikes me that we might start hearing a lot about it. I think it could well appeal to moderate voters: "Golly, we sure need to fix our roads and bridges" and "the electrical grid needs modernizing to power his million hybrids" -- you get the idea. It's a government thing already, so it sounds very reasonable.
Right after watching Larry, I switched the old TiVo over to watch a special I had recorded on FOXNews last Sunday. Porked: Earmarks for Profit. Anybody see it? They offered a DVD after the show. At the very least keep an eye out if they re-run it.
Chris Wallace hosted, and the show bashed/humiliated/massacred two Republicans (one sitting) and one Democrat (33% fair and balanced). In an expose that would make Wallace's dad proud, they detailed these lawmakers' not just lining their campaign coffers but actually lining their own pockets. Speaker Hastert pushed through a huge earmark to build a road that went from nowhere to nowhere, but passed right next to some property he had just purchased. The sitting California Congressmen lobbied for a transportation hub that was close to seven properties he owned. The Democrat set his nephew up with $9 million of largesse and a venture that went bust quickly.
The segue -- you guys are ahead of me, aren’t you? -- is that Senator Obama's call to restart the WPA/CCC and supercharge government investment in infrastructure projects is a call to do 435 of these every year.
Well, 434. Jeff Flake was interviewed at the end and joined in ridicule of GOP leadership that will not give him decent committee assignments. He's the one honest man in Washington that Diogenes was seeking. I got all excited: "Jeff Flake for VP!" It's perfect. Alas, he and McCain are from the same state, so it is Constitutionally prohibited.
I was disappointed to see Glenn Reynolds and a good part of the right-of-center blogosphere spin down a road of practicality. Senator Obama decrees a million plug-in hybrids by 2015, and all the geeks ask "could the grid handle this?" and "what will the power requirements be?"
Those questions are interesting, and well worth exploring when the head of General Motors, or T. Boone Pickens calls for a million hybrids. When a major candidate for POTUS calls for a million hybrids, the more correct question is "Who the hell do you think you are?"
This is not yet the Soviet Union, and even with a House, Senate and Executive sweep it will be a few years before the Federal government is explicitly charged with production planning of automobiles (how many red convertibles, President O?) It is an affront to anybody who believes remotely in liberty that the President would proclaim a date, quantity, and style of vehicle.
This fits right in with Reynolds's attraction to the Zubrin mandate of flex-fuel vehicles and L. Gregory Mankiw's devotion to the Pigou Club. I agree with both the good professors 88.47% of the time, but am disturbed by their ability to drop first principles when a clever technical idea catches hold of their imagination.
And yet there's more miracle work to do. Mr. Obama promises to put at least one million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015. That's fine if consumers want to buy them. But even if technical battery problems are overcome, this would only lead to "fuel switching" -- if cars don't use gasoline, the energy still has to come from somewhere. And the cap-and-trade program also favored by Mr. Obama would effectively bar new coal plants, while new nuclear plants are only now being planned after a 30-year hiatus thanks to punishing regulations and lawsuits.
Problems like these are the reality of "alternative" energy, and they explain why every "energy independence" plan has faltered since the 1970s. But just because Mr. Obama's plan is wildly unrealistic doesn't mean that a program of vast new taxes, subsidies and mandates wouldn't be destructive. The U.S. has a great deal invested in fossil fuels not because of a political conspiracy or because anyone worships carbon but because other sources of energy are, right now, inferior.
I'm rarely the one around here calling for full frontal philosophy, but spending too much time describing why Senator Obama's plan cannot be done plays into his hand. He can call for a Manhattan project to fix the grid, financed by windfall profits from the oil companies.
Has anyone ever challenged the Senator on the propriety of government involvement? Senator McCain is not the ideal man for the task, but I think it would be a winner to occasionally suggest that there are actually some areas where government involvement is not a good idea.
UPDATE: To be fair, I missed an update. An Instapundit reader did a great job shooting this down:
1MM pluggable hybrids is nothing. It is less than 10% of cars sold per year. It should happen in a few years naturally without government intervention. As you note, the grid can easily absorb it. In fact, plugging hybrids (and their large batteries) into the grid might actually help stablize our creaky old grid if the charging is managed by the utility. It is likely that pluggables will largely replace 'spinning reserves' in that they can put power back when needed. I know of at least one startup that is marketing this capability. Network enabled energy storage elements will make the grid way better than it is now.
Obama's energy plan is lame for other reasons. At best, it mandates and subsidized things the market is already doing on its own. At worst, it will become yet another pork vehicle that crowds out true innovation. The best thing the government can do is remove barriers to permitting nukes (and maybe also to selling retrofit kits for older vehicles so they can become PHEVs) and otherwise get out of the way. Clever, greedy people will take care of the rest. Obama can then villify and tax them.
Professor Mankiw links to Ernesto Zedillo's article in Forbes. Zedillo is concerned that people are blaming globalization for food shortages, and says "Blame Policies, Not Markets."
It is clear, however, that the most damaging distortions in agricultural markets originate in rich countries. There's little doubt that the present spiral in grain prices is closely linked to U.S. and EU policies enacted to boost production of biofuels. The American and European governments subsidize the production of biofuels, limit their import and mandate their use. The exact extent to which these policies have impacted food prices is still a matter of contention, but not even the most enthusiastic proponents of ethanol can deny that by inducing a greater allocation of agricultural resources toward biofuel production, the amount of grain available for food has been reduced.
Mankiw then reminds us to "Remember where the two presidential candidates stand on ethanol and the farm bill."
Don Luskin links to a great NY Post editorial by former WSJ reporter and frequent TV guest Charlie Gasparino. Gasparino is not a favorite of Luskin's and I have had my differences with him, but we both give him props for this superb piece.
Wall Street traders are a gloomy lot these days given all the writedowns, losses and layoffs, but Obama makes them especially queasy. Many traders I speak to think the markets have yet to fully digest the impact of Obama's economic plan on stock prices. The guess is that it will hit after Labor Day, when the campaigning picks up and traders stop taking Fridays off to hit the Hamptons.
In others words, the markets could fall further from their already beaten-down levels once the street begins to focus on an Obama presidency.
Wait, you say: Wall Street's woes don't necessarily translate into Main Street problems. The markets can go down, but people still go to work.
Sorry, those days are over. Never before have Wall Street and Main Street been so intertwined: Nearly every American has a 401-k plan to save for retirement. Here in New York, city and state budgets rely on Wall Street bonuses for tax revenues like never before - just ask Gov. Patterson, who last week warned of budget disaster, largely thanks to the Wall Street slowdown.
One trader recently reminded me of another president who raised taxes and clamped down on free trade, as Obama seems set to do - just after the stock-market crash of 1929: His name was Herbert Hoover. And you know what happened next.
Worth a read in full. In case you don't make it, let me highlight one other line. Gasparino addresses the fact that Warren Buffett and a pile of other industry titans are supporting the tax raiser. Altruism? Nope:
I'm sure there's some noblesse oblige involved in all these CEOs' backing one of our most liberal pols for the White House. But I suspect the real reason the Wall Street elites like Obama so much is that it really doesn't cost them anything: They've already made their fortunes.
At bottom, Obama is about taxing wealth creation - not the piles of cash these guys have already accumulated.
While we're handing out kudos, Gasparino was also the perfect pick for a CNBC feature on Wall Street types who box over their lunch hour for stress relief. Big Charlie was the perfect pick. Maybe he'll get a pugnacious, pugilist Pulitzer...
I had once suggested (I'm too embarrassed to provide the link) that -- in spite of his philosophical faults -- Senator McCain might be a good candidate/president because he was a good communicator, specifically that he could express the importance of the war in ways that President Bush has been unable.
I'm not alone in being disgruntled with the McCain campaign, but I thought I was being harsh in starting to remember Dole-Kemp '96 with fond nostalgia... But I think Dan Henninger puts things in perspective today. In his weekly Wonderland column on the serious WSJ Ed Page, today’s is titled: Is John McCain Stupid? The answer is not encouraging.
This week, Senator McCain delivered differing statements on payroll taxes about which Henninger says "This isn't a flip-flop. It's a sex-change operation." He called Speaker Pelosi "an inspiration to millions of Americans." About VP Gore's certifiably insane energy Jeremiad:
Recently the subject came up of Al Gore's assertion that the U.S. could get its energy solely from renewables in 10 years. Sen. McCain said: "If the vice president says it's doable, I believe it's doable." What!!?? In a later interview, Mr. McCain said he hadn't read "all the specifics" of the Gore plan and now, "I don't think it's doable without nuclear power." It just sounds loopy.
As Shakespeare said, "Sounds loopy? Nay, Sir, is loopy." Senator Obama's flaws are sufficient that McCain still has a chance, but neither Henninger nor I see many hopeful signs.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Democrat Barack Obama, the first black candidate with a shot at winning the White House, says John McCain and his Republican allies will try to scare voters by saying Sen. Obama "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."
A pedant's first thought is "Was he referring to President Hamilton or President Franklin?" But I guess I am just a racist. As Ludacris would say "paint the White House black and I'm sure that's got 'em terrified."
I could not be more disappointed with the lengthening list of topics that are "off-limits." (Chris Muir nailed it in a Day by Day cartoon.) I have cut some slack because it has been done mostly by subordinates and because it is too effective a tactic to expect them not to use.
But this is a direct statement by the candidate, making post-dated charges of racism, and I think it is time that we all called "Bullshit" on it.
UPDATE: I have been out pedanted -- er, pedanticized -- er, Glenn Reynols is worse:
Er, all those other presidents? Isn't there just one President on the dollar bill?
Mondo-heh! I am starting to wonder if -- in a reverse-uncertainty-principle -- Senator Obama might actually not exist unless there are cameras or crowds to observe him. If so, how would you prove it? If not, is he Constitutionally eligible for the presidency?
Why should I vote for McCain over Obama? I've been reading a spate of those articles and posts in libertarian leaning magazines and blogs. And while you can paint me as one of the well documented less-than-enthusiastic McCain voters, my pragmatic side is starting to kick in pretty hard. I've long championed his foreign policy ("win") and trade policy ("yes.") Last week, I linked to a great OpEd of his on Freddie and Fan.
Today, I will add "EDJUKASHUN!" to the list and link to the lead WSJ editorial which offers a stark contrast. Here is Senator McCain:
"When a public system fails, repeatedly, to meet these minimal objectives, parents ask only for a choice in the education of their children." Some parents may opt for a better public school or a charter school; others for a private school. The point, said the Senator, is that "no entrenched bureaucracy or union should deny parents that choice and children that opportunity."
It's well known that the force calling the Democratic tune here is the teachers unions. Earlier this month, Senator Obama accepted the endorsement of the National Education Association, the largest teachers union. Speaking recently before the American Federation of Teachers, he described the alternative efforts as "tired rhetoric about vouchers and school choice."
Mr. Obama told an interviewer recently that he opposes school choice because, "although it might benefit some kids at the top, what you're going to do is leave a lot of kids at the bottom." The Illinois Senator has it exactly backward. Those at the top don't need voucher programs and they already exercise school choice. They can afford exclusive private schools, or they can afford to live in a neighborhood with decent public schools. The point of providing educational options is to extend this freedom to the "kids at the bottom."
A visitor to Mr. Obama's Web site finds plenty of information about his plans to fix public education in this country. Everyone knows this is a long, hard slog, but Mr. Obama and his wife aren't waiting. Their daughters attend the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where annual tuition ranges from $15,528 for kindergarten to $20,445 for high school.
One more issue where the liberty minded can feel good about pulling the 'R' lever in November. The editorial closes: "When the day arrives that these two candidates face off, we hope Senator McCain comes prepared to press his opponent hard on change, hope and choice in the schools."
I hope the NYTimes faithful were not too disappointed in getting David Brooks instead. I bet they were, for Brooks was on a tear. He admits that when he first Senator Obama's soaring [C'mon people now] rhetoric [smile on your brother] in Iowa [Everybody get together] "I have to confess my American soul was stirred. It seemed like the overture for a new yet quintessentially American campaign."
The Berlin blockade was thwarted because people came together. Apartheid ended because people came together and walls tumbled. Winning the cold war was the same: “People of the world,” Obama declared, “look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together and history proved there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.”
Yet, now, the paucity of substance is becoming problematic:
But now it is more than half a year on, and the post-partisanship of Iowa has given way to the post-nationalism of Berlin, and it turns out that the vague overture is the entire symphony. The golden rhetoric impresses less, the evasion of hard choices strikes one more.
When John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan went to Berlin, their rhetoric soared, but their optimism was grounded in the reality of politics, conflict and hard choices. Kennedy didn’t dream of the universal brotherhood of man. He drew lines that reflected hard realities: “There are some who say, in Europe and elsewhere, we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin.” Reagan didn’t call for a kumbaya moment. He cited tough policies that sparked harsh political disagreements — the deployment of U.S. missiles in response to the Soviet SS-20s — but still worked.
If Senator Obama's view of the past does not quite mesh with reality, is it any surprise that his view of the future is similarly clouded?
The great illusion of the 1990s was that we were entering an era of global convergence in which politics and power didn’t matter. What Obama offered in Berlin flowed right out of this mind-set. This was the end of history on acid.
Since then, autocracies have arisen, the competition for resources has grown fiercer, Russia has clamped down, Iran is on the march. It will take politics and power to address these challenges, the two factors that dare not speak their name in Obama’s lofty peroration.
Now that's a quote of the day: "It will take politics and power to address these challenges, the two factors that dare not speak their name in Obama’s lofty peroration."
Hang on Timesers, Krugman will be back soon. I am certain of it.
And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.
The rest is below the fold (lest The Times comes calling).
The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.
When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”
In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.
And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth - for the first time - to bring the light unto all the world.
He travelled fleet of foot and light of camel, with a small retinue that consisted only of his loyal disciples from the tribe of the Media. He ventured first to the land of the Hindu Kush, where the
Taleban had harboured the viper of al-Qaeda in their bosom, raining terror on all the world.
And the Child spake and the tribes of Nato immediately loosed the Caveats that had previously bound them. And in the great battle that ensued the forces of the light were triumphant. For as long as the Child stood with his arms raised aloft, the enemy suffered great blows and the threat of terror was no more.
From there he went forth to Mesopotamia where he was received by the great ruler al-Maliki, and al-Maliki spake unto him and blessed his Sixteen Month Troop Withdrawal Plan even as the imperial warrior Petraeus tried to destroy it.
And lo, in Mesopotamia, a miracle occurred. Even though the Great Surge of Armour that the evil Bush had ordered had been a terrible mistake, a waste of vital military resources and doomed to end in disaster, the Child's very presence suddenly brought forth a great victory for the forces of the light.
And the Persians, who saw all this and were greatly fearful, longed to speak with the Child and saw that the Child was the bringer of peace. At the mention of his name they quickly laid aside their intrigues and beat their uranium swords into civil nuclear energy ploughshares.
From there the Child went up to the city of Jerusalem, and entered through the gate seated on an ass. The crowds of network anchors who had followed him from afar cheered “Hosanna” and waved great palm fronds and strewed them at his feet.
In Jerusalem and in surrounding Palestine, the Child spake to the Hebrews and the Arabs, as the Scripture had foretold. And in an instant, the lion lay down with the lamb, and the Israelites and Ishmaelites ended their long enmity and lived for ever after in peace.
As word spread throughout the land about the Child's wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.
And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.
The Great Prophet Algore of Nobel and Oscar, who many had believed was the anointed one, smiled and told his followers that the Child was the one generations had been waiting for.
And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again.
Black gold gushed from the ground at prices well below $140 per barrel. In hospitals across the land the sick were cured even though they were uninsured. And all because the Child had pronounced it.
And this is the testimony of one who speaks the truth and bears witness to the truth so that you might believe. And he knows it is the truth for he saw it all on CNN and the BBC and in the pages of The New York Times.
Then the Child ventured forth from Israel and Palestine and stepped onto the shores of the Old Continent. In the land of Queen Angela of Merkel, vast multitudes gathered to hear his voice, and he preached to them at length.
But when he had finished speaking his disciples told him the crowd was hungry, for they had had nothing to eat all the hours they had waited for him.
And so the Child told his disciples to fetch some food but all they had was five loaves and a couple of frankfurters. So he took the bread and the frankfurters and blessed them and told his disciples to feed the multitudes. And when all had eaten their fill, the scraps filled twelve baskets.
Thence he travelled west to Mount Sarkozy. Even the beauteous Princess Carla of the tribe of the Bruni was struck by awe and she was great in love with the Child, but he was tempted not.
On the Seventh Day he walked across the Channel of the Angles to the ancient land of the hooligans. There he was welcomed with open arms by the once great prophet Blair and his successor, Gordon the Leper, and his successor, David the Golden One.
And suddenly, with the men appeared the archangel Gabriel and the whole host of the heavenly choir, ranks of cherubim and seraphim, all praising God and singing: “Yes, We Can.”
We've been a little hard on the GOP nominee around here. It's worth pointing out when he does something right. Larry Kudlow links to this Op-Ed and has some kind words for Senator McCain:
Senator John McCain hit a grand-slam homerun today with an op-ed piece (“Take taxpayers off hook for rot at Fannie, Freddie”) that debunks the federal worship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and takes off the table the possibility that these GSEs will get a strong dose of steroids if he is elected president. This is a dramatic statement that completely differentiates his view from the go-along, get-along policy of Sen. Obama.
I think McCain is probably right that some intervention will be required. And more right to call for reform in exchange for exercising the Federal put.
What should be done? We are stuck with the reality that they have grown so large that we must support Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through the current rough spell. But if a dime of taxpayer money ends up being directly invested, the management and the board should immediately be replaced, multimillion dollar salaries should be cut, and bonuses and other compensation should be eliminated. They should cease all lobbying activities and drop all payments to outside lobbyists. And taxpayers should be first in line for any repayments.
Even with those terms, sticking Main Street Americans with Wall Street's bill is a shame on Washington. If elected, I'll continue my crusade for the right reform of the institutions: making them go away. I will get real regulation that limits their ability to borrow, shrinks their size until they are no longer a threat to our economy, and privatizes and eliminates their links to the government.
Conan is a little past my bedtime, but this clip made me laugh:
Senator McCain has a good sense of humor and sits through the bad jokes pretty patiently. Senator O is starting to make Nixon look like a laugh riot. (Are we rioting in the streets yet over the New Yorker cover?)
Good Libertarian Party campaigns put a likeable gadfly into the race to remind voters about our vanishing freedoms. It also provides a nice safety valve to disgruntled voters who are disappointed with the major party candidates.
Rep. Barr is hell bent on throwing the race to Senator Obama. This will vindicate his candidacy: "See, we matter, we drew enough votes to change the race."
You may accuse me of practicing pop psychology but I think this is the real game plan. I offer two recent articles to back my theory. The first is Matt Welch's introductory/masthead piece in this month's Reason. It's not online yet, but Welch spends a good bit of the article bragging that if the planets align just right and the weather is nice that the LP might be credited this year with throwing the race to the Democrats. Aim for the stars boys!
Today, the candidate himself takes to the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. The thesis of his piece is that Senator McCain cannot be trusted to make "Conservative" judicial nominations. With Senator McCain being a cosponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act to Repeal the First Amendment, this is what our British friends would call "a fair cop."
But, you’re thinking, what about Senator Obama's judicial picks? Might those be worse? Bob? Rep, Barr has anticipated your question and includes this howler:
Nor is it obvious that Barack Obama would attempt to pack the court with left-wing ideologues. He shocked some of his supporters by endorsing the ruling that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own firearms, and criticizing the recent decision overturning the death penalty for a child rapist. With the three members most likely to leave the Supreme Court in the near future occupying the more liberal side of the bench, the next appointments probably won't much change the Court's balance.
But even if a President McCain were to influence the court, it would not likely be in a genuinely conservative direction. His jurisprudence is not conservative.
Because Senator Obama's most deeply held convictions change with what he had for breakfast this morning, maybe he'll have a bran muffin and renominate Robert Bork. McCain's "jurisprudence is not conservative" but Obama's will likely be fine. Justice Duvall Patrick will be the next Clarence Thomas.
I have no objection to an LP candidate saying "I don't care if I take votes from the GOP, that's not my concern." I do wonder about a candidate who doesn’t want to throw punches at the Democrats as well.
Excellent reporting from the International Herald Tribune:
Senator John McCain's trip to Iraq last spring was a low-key affair: With his ordinary retinue of reporters following him abroad, the NBC News anchor Brian Williams reported on his arrival in Baghdad from New York, with just two sentences tacked onto the "in other political news" portion of his newscast.
But when Obama heads for Iraq and other locations overseas this summer, Williams is planning to catch up with him in person, as are the other two evening news anchors, Charles Gibson of ABC and Katie Couric of CBS, who, like Williams, are far along in discussions to interview Obama on successive nights.
And while the anchors are jockeying for interviews with Obama at stops along his route, the regulars on the Obama campaign plane will have new seat mates: star political reporters from the major newspapers and magazines who are flocking to catch Obama's first overseas trip since becoming the presumptive nominee of his party.
The extraordinary coverage of Obama's trip reflects how the candidate remains an object of fascination in the news media, a built-in feature of being the first African-American presidential nominee for a major political party and a relative newcomer to the national stage.
But the coverage also feeds into concerns in McCain's campaign, and among Republicans in general, that the media is imbalanced in their coverage of the candidates, just as aides to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton felt during the primary season.
We have not talked much about Rep. Barr's candidacy. I don't think we have a lot of LP folk, but I am curious how many agree with Samizdat Dale Amon:
Bob Barr is looking more and more to have been an excellent choice to carry our banner this year. He is getting the sort of serious media coverage we have only dreamed of despite us working towards it for decades. Ron Paul's run for the Republican ticket earlier this year has probably had a great deal to do with it.
I'm a long time fan of Amon, but I left a (n overly snarky) comment that I don't see Rep. Barr as the great libertarian savior. He is neither dynamic nor charismatic -- and his message of purity seems to be undercut by his very un-libertarian career in the House.
The Wall Street Journal Ed Page borrows my meme. Their lead editorial opens "We're beginning to understand why Barack Obama keeps protesting so vigorously against the prospect of "George Bush's third term." Maybe he's worried that someone will notice that he's the candidate who's running for it."
This week the great Democratic hope even endorsed spending more money on faith-based charities. Apparently, this core plank of Mr. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" is not the assault on church-state separation that the ACLU and liberals have long claimed. And yesterday, Mr. Obama's campaign unveiled an ad asserting his support for welfare reform that "slashed the rolls by 80 percent." Never mind that Mr. Obama has declared multiple times that he opposed the landmark 1996 welfare reform.
It's okay Paul. It's okay Rupert. I have grabbed a few from you guys over the years. Fair is fair.
CHICAGO - Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans to expand President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and — in a move sure to cause controversy — support some ability to hire and fire based on faith.
Next week, he'll suggest that "Brownie" is restored to his post at FEMA...
Pardon me if I am being redundant. This article in today's Washington Post describes -- in excruciating detail -- the McCain voter.
But with their pride came a nasty undercurrent, one that Obama's candidacy has exacerbated: On College Street, nobody wanted anything to change. As the years passed, Peterman and his neighbors approached one another to share in their skepticism about the unknown. What was the story behind the handful of African Americans who had moved into a town that is 93 percent white? Why were Japanese businessmen coming in to run the local manufacturing plants? Who in the world was this Obama character, running for president with that funny-sounding last name?
"People in Findlay are kind of funny about change," said Republican Mayor Pete Sehnert, a retired police officer who ran for the office on a whim last year. "They always want things the way they were, and any kind of development is always viewed as making things worse, a bad thing."
This article should be clarifying for today's Paulene Kaels: who are these mysterious "others" who plan to vote for Senator McCain?
Flag Wavers! Retired Air Force (you did see American Beauty didn't you?) and friends who outdo each other in displays of patriotism.
Bigots! A handful of African Americans! In our city?
Homophobes! Here are the rumors going around Flag City, USA: "Barack Obama, born in Africa, is a possibly gay Muslim racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance" Gay Muslim presidents! Jeeezus H!
Anti-Change! One guy says "He's a good speaker, but you've got to dig deeper than that for the truth. Politicians tell you anything. You have look beyond the surface, and then there are some real lies." Burkean Bastard! He dares to deny the veracity of a politician?
You get the idea (good thing I was around to translate the subtlety for you -- I doubt most ThreeSourcers would have picked up on it).
Really, you can't really blame them, the Cooper Tire plant closed and they're a little bitter...
Ralph Peters has an awesome, awesome column in the NY Post today. It is adorned with the most unflattering of Madeline Albright ever -- be careful before you click. Peters debunks six "whoppers" about the war on terror "We're not safer. Al-Qaeda is stronger. Ya dda yad da." But I have to give quote of the day honors for #6: "As president, Barack Obama would bring positive change to our foreign policy - and John McCain's too old to get it. "
Hmm: Take a gander at Obama's senior foreign-policy advisers: Madeleine Albright (71), Warren Christopher (82), Anthony Lake (69), Lee Hamilton (77), Richard Clarke (57) . . .
If you added up their ages and fed the number into a time-machine, you'd land in Europe in the middle of the Black Death.
More important: These are the people whose watch saw the first attack on the World Trade Center, Mogadishu, Rwanda, the Srebrenica massacre, a pass for the Russians on Chechnya, the Khobar Towers bombing, the attacks on our embassies in Africa, the near-sinking of the USS Cole [...]
You couldn't assemble a team in Washington with more strategic failures to its credit.
In an interview with Fortune to be featured in the magazine's upcoming issue, the presumptive Democratic nominee backed off his harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn't want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA.
"Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified," he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA "devastating" and "a big mistake," despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.
Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? "Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don't exempt myself," he answered.
Obama says he believes in "opening up a dialogue" with trading partners Canada and Mexico "and figuring to how we can make this work for all people."
My highest hope for Obama was that he might be another President Clinton, governing from the center, caring more about power and likeability rather than pursing any beliefs or philosophy.
If he can pick up Professor Goolsbee from under the bus that quickly on this, this man has no beliefs. That would normally be an insult, but Senator Obama's purported beliefs were sooooo bad, I'll take lust for power as a plus.
I wish Karl Rove were still in his hideaway, pulling strings, and running the world. Is it just me, or was life better then?
In his WSJ column today, he takes a major whack at Senator Obama for illiterate economic nonsense, but he lets Senator McCain have it as well for saying "I'm very angry, frankly, at the oil companies not only because of the obscene profits they've made, but their failure to invest in alternate energy." Rove provides a little mini-lesson in Schumpeterian Creative Destruction:
Mr. McCain's angry statement shows a lack of understanding of the insights of Joseph Schumpeter, the 20th century economist who explained that capitalism is inherently unstable because a "perennial gale of creative destruction" is brought on by entrepreneurs who create new goods, markets and processes. The entrepreneur is "the pivot on which everything turns," Schumpeter argued, and "proceeds by competitively destroying old businesses."
Most dramatic change comes from new businesses, not old ones. Buggy whip makers did not create the auto industry. Railroads didn't create the airplane. Even when established industries help create new ones, old-line firms are often not as nimble as new ones. IBM helped give rise to personal computers, but didn't see the importance of software and ceded that part of the business to young upstarts who founded Microsoft.
So why should Mr. McCain expect oil and gas companies to lead the way in developing alternative energy? As with past technological change, new enterprises will likely be the drivers of alternative energy innovation.
Messrs. Obama and McCain both reveal a disturbing animus toward free markets and success. It is uncalled for and self-defeating for presidential candidates to demonize American companies. It is understandable that Mr. Obama, the most liberal member of the Senate, would endorse reckless policies that are the DNA of the party he leads. But Mr. McCain, a self-described Reagan Republican, should know better.
The Straight Talk Express came to Philadelphia today, and I was there with my family (and neighbor).
After an introduction by Pa GOP Deputy Chair Renee Amoore and Cindy McCain, the Senator gave a brief stump speech, and then turned it over to a town hall style Q&A that he excels at.
Questions ranged from malaria treatments in Africa, to inner city crime to budget policy and unfunded mandates.
Rather notably, he was asked about opening ANWR. The questioner was roundly applauded at the mention of it... (myself included).... and continued through the rest of the question. He replied with his drilling in the Grand Canyon / Everglades comparison, but stressed that drilling off shore was not off-limits.
Picture below includes my neighbor (and fellow GOP committeeman) Matt Tucholke at top right.
Here's some video via FoxNews with me (pink shirt) and my family (curly blonde girl & wife in blue shirt) in the background.
I got to know Rep Bob Barr as one of the House Managers during President Clinton's impeachment and followed his career through his Borat cameo.
The NYTimes has an interesting piece on the Libertarian convention and the electoral significance on both big L and little-l libs.
Michael Kinsley, writing in Time magazine last fall, predicted that voters with libertarian leanings are going to be “an increasingly powerful force in politics.” The auguries come even from Hollywood, where a film adaptation of the libertarian writer Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” is planned for release next year starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, both of whom are said to be Rand fans.
Our hopes lie on Brangelina, do they? I appreciate voting one's conscience, but the article, and everyone in it make clear spoiler is the highest to which Barr's candidacy can aspire.
Mr. [David] Boaz of the Cato Institute said he already detected some movement to Mr. Barr. “I’ve had friends e-mail me over the last few days and say, ‘I want Barr to keep McCain out of the White House,’ ” he said. “So there definitely are some libertarians who object to McCain and want to see Barr siphon votes away from him.”
This proud, pragmatic, little-l will stay in the McCain camp. thank you.
I don't link to Newsmax.com a lot, but I do get their email alerts and this story caught my eye. Former NYC Mayor, Ed Koch, says that he might back McCain against Obama.
In an exclusive Newsmax interview, Koch says McCain “has no equal” when it comes to opposing Islamic terrorism. Though Koch says he disagrees with most of McCain’s positions on domestic issues, he could support him because of his strong national security credentials.
Koch carries significant weight with many Jewish Democrats in New York and across the country. He also has a history of playing the maverick and crossing party lines.
He has backed several New York Republicans, including Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg for New York City mayor, Al D'Amato for the U.S. Senate, and George Pataki for New York governor. In 2004 he endorsed his first Republican for president, George W. Bush. Koch actively campaigned in several states, including Florida and Ohio.
Bush won both states.
What a mensch! Seriously, one has to wonder how many even überliberal American Jews will be comfortable backing Senator Obama with his perceived weakness in opposing Israel's enemies and his years in the pew of an anti-Semitic church.
As the sun shined down, the warm air was decorated with a cool breeze. A sea of faces stretched as far as the eye could see. Approximately seventy-five thousand faces, in fact, each waiting in eager anticipation for the greatest orator in a generation to grace their presence. Even the speaker, Sen. Barrack Obama, seemed astonished by the size of the crowd. To some, the crowd signified a new interest and optimism toward American politics. In reality, however, the size of the crowd reflects what is wrong with politics and the voting public.
It should be clear that what is wrong with politics is not Sen. Obama himself. I have not a horse in the race. Thus a heavily populated speech by Sens. McCain or Clinton would be abhorred just the same. The problem is not the person that the public fawns over, but rather that such a person exists in the first place.
It is not surprising that Sen. Obama has emerged given the current circumstances. The war in Iraq has been mired in mismanagement, housing prices are plummeting, inflation is rising, and globalization is causing uneasiness among laborers who must now compete with cheaper and qualified competition. Perhaps equally important is the fact that Obama is the anti-George W. Bush. He speaks well, oozes charisma, and promises a new dawn in Washington.
Yet turning to an individual is nothing more than misplaced hope. One can give speeches about change, hope, and optimism, but so long as these promises are predicated on the expansion of government, they are unfounded and unhealthy for the future of our nation. Take, for example, the recent “crises.” The food crisis has largely been the result of farming subsidization in developed countries and trade protectionism. The invasion of Iraq went smoothly, but the mismanagement in the aftermath has been disastrous. Critics have been quick to place this blame on the incompetence of the Bush administration, but in reality the fact remains that central planning – no matter how smart the planners – is impossible. No single mind (or group of minds) in the United States government or amongst its populace is equipped with the combined knowledge (cultural and otherwise) of the Iraqi people and businessmen. The housing crisis is also a result of interventionism. A Federal Reserve that kept rates too low for too long and a legislature that pushed for easier standards for those who were not deemed credit worthy by the market test artificially increased the demand for housing only to come crashing down when interest rates returned to more accurate levels. Even the adverse effects of globalization derive from the fact that the government had previously created artificial job security.
The problems that we face are largely the result of government intervention. Nevertheless, the American public is in search of a messiah to lead a government to correct for the previous failures. I am afraid that no matter whom they choose, they will be disappointed.
Nice to have our friend LatteSipper back 'round these parts. I'm a cappuccino man myself, but it's good to get another point of view.
I'll cross the aisle on this insane outrage that accompanies every opponent's statement. I did not appreciate Senator Obama's umbrage when the President dared to disparage the great tradition of appeasement. Let me roll my eyes at one of Senator McCain's spokesmen:
A McCain spokesman said Harkin's remarks were offensive and showed that Democrats are out of touch with Americans' values.
It's a hard fought and only-partially--partisan competition for biggest Senatorial Whackjob and the great State of Iowa fields two solid contenders. I think Senator Harkin was wrong to disparage the McCains' military service. And I agree that it speaks to Democrats' being out of touch with American values.
But Senator Harkin's comments were not offensive. Faux outrage is not conducive to debate and I hate to see it used to impede expression on either side.
The only way you overcome the Obama effect is not with atmospherics—he’s going to outdo you on eloquence and that kind of thing. The only way you can do it is with substance. That is, sharply contrast taxes. [Obama] wants to raise them, McCain wants to cut them. Social Security—Obama wants more taxes, McCain wants to allow private accounts to supplement Social Security. Healthcare—more patient control, which McCain wants, versus Obama having Katrina-like bureaucrats run the system. These are very basic differences. And if people recognize them, I think not only can McCain beat Senator Obama, but also inoculate even a Democratic Congress from going down that road.
"Katrina-like bureaucrats" running the health care system. That's a good grace note -- the kind of line collectivists seem so good at using.
Now that the nominees are set (even if Hillary won't admit it), the talk of vice presidential nominees will begin to pick up. So ThreeSourcers, who should get the nod in each party? Who will actually be chosen?
For a man whose heterodoxies have no doubt triggered GOP heartburn, John McCain delivered another speech yesterday on health care that offered a sophisticated set of policies that could lead to some of the most constructive changes to the system in decades.
It is good news for his candidacy if Mr. McCain is making space now for political creativity and policy risks. Last week he laid down an economic plan, even venturing to Democratic redoubts like Youngstown, Ohio, and New Orleans's Ninth Ward. Now he has returned to his health-care reform, based on market principles and increased consumer choice, which he first outlined during the primaries.
The Senator is also starting to enfold these ideas in a larger narrative that will be indispensable in the philosophical fight that is so clearly ordained for the general election between private and government health care.
I missed the speech. I did watch a commercial on the McCain website, and I did not get the sweeping narrative. I certainly hope they are right.
While you're trolling around Mister Murdoch’s free opinion page, read Karl Rove's guest editorial, Getting To Know John McCain. It contains even more heroics from his Hanoi Hilton days. (Hat-tip: Terri)
For those of you who don't know, I'm a Judge of Elections in my precinct in Central Montgomery County...
Basically it entails :
a) get up at crack of dawn for donut run
b) start the machines
c) do paper work
d) crash course the high school kids helping out
e) spend most of the day calling voter services checking registrations & BSing with neighbors & friends that vote.
f) curse those that I know didn't vote
g) count the votes
h) lot more paperwork
i) haul the fate of our Republic to a regional voter station
All while living in radio silence.
We ended with 840-ish voters.
Despite a 46/36 registration advantage, it was all Democrat extravaganza today.
Hillary 319 - 50.8 %
Obama 308 - 49.2 %
I don't know what that means. Demographically, we're upper middle classish.
On the other hand, I can say that I managed to snag 120 votes of my own for county committee... 100% of the vote. :)
I saw yesterday that Senator Obama had assailed Senator McCain for his taking a "wait and see" attitude like President Bush on the <JAWS Soundtrack swells up>housing crisis!</JAWS Soundtrack swells up>
On one hand, I am happy to have an ideological election. Senator Kerry hid his liberal light under a bushel in 2004 and neither VP Gore nor Governor Bush ran as firebrands in 2000. No doubt Obama will try to tack to the center in the general, but he has laid markers in the debates. We can really discuss the role of government this fall.
On the other hand, part of me is worried about the choice our nation will make. There is an American drive to do something. I cannot believe that lasseiz faire does well in focus groups, even though I am a big fan. The Wall Street Journal Ed Page nails the situation today, in a lead editorial that looks at the differences.
The media coverage of Mr. McCain's speech has portrayed his approach as laissez-faire, and the Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns quickly assailed it on those grounds. But that's true only in the sense that Mr. McCain didn't endorse any vast, new government rescue of bankers or borrowers. If this is laissez-faire, we've come a long way from Adam Smith.
I'll suggest that McCain offered as close to lasseiz faire as is practicable, and very likely went too close. Hands-off is not the press' first choice. And look at what awaits on the other side of the aisle:
Mrs. Clinton called this week for "immediate, bold" action "to unfreeze our mortgage markets." To that end, she would immediately freeze our mortgage markets. She wants a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures coupled with a five-year rate freeze on adjustable-rate mortgages.
This would amount to the broadest price controls in the U.S. economy since the Nixon Administration. Mr. Obama has said this abrogation of contracts would do nothing to help the market clear and would only drive up borrowing costs. For this accurate observation, the Clinton campaign said Mr. Obama was "to the right of the Bush Administration."
Here's to clear choices -- here's to the right ones.
Senator Obama has never been vetted by any conservatives or faced a serious challenger on his right. As Senator Clinton starts to take off the gloves and some in the media start to take off their blinders, it seems there are a lot of vulnerabilities:
There has been a lot of blog chatter about the Pastor at his racial hatemongering super center church. Ronald Kessler has a succinct and damning collection of Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. quotes as well as a recap of the Obama's extensive and long lasting involvement with the church and its "controversial" pastor. (Controversial would be Senator Obama's word).
He may be pushing a lot of transcendent, new politics, but it doesn't look a lot different from the "old" Chicago politics. Jim Geraghty finds "In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that Mrs. Obama’s compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office." In 2006, Hubby requested a $1 Million earmark for the hospital. That's pretty good Return On Investment.
Rezko trial, indictment?
I think when you bundle this with Michelle's negative comments and his refusal to wear a flag pin, the Senator will be a tough sell against a war hero. Y'know, if he wears an American Flag on his lapel, people might misconstrue it, but attending a church that blames America for 9/11, we're supposed to be able to filter it out.
UPDATE: John Podhoretz makes a good point that Senator Clinton is staying in the race just in case of an Obamaplosion (HT: Insty)
When Hillary and her people talk about Obama’s lack of experience, they are not just talking about foreign policy and Washington voting. They are, implicitly, talking about his lack of experience with a hostile media. He has never been subjected to the withering examination of a reportorial or even punditorial pack — not in his service in the Illinois state senate, not in his 2004 Senate race, and not even when it came to his well-reviewed books. One never, ever knows how someone will hold up under such circumstances, or how quickly a reputation can be damaged.
UPDATE II: A relative who does not read blogs just called and said "he's toast." This is actually getting some play in the MSM.
Blog friend Perry at Eidelblog finds a jewel on Senator McCain's website: a letter to Senator Obama dated February 6, 2006.
I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadership’s preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable. Thank you for disabusing me of such notions with your letter to me dated February 2, 2006, which explained your decision to withdraw from our bipartisan discussions. I’m embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble. Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won’t make the same mistake again.
(Like everything else, barely distinguishable from Senator Clinton's)
1) Bomb sovereign allies without approval;
2) Abrogate commitments in the Middle East;
3) Piss off trading partners;
4) "Restore America's Standing in the World!"
Daniel Drezner notes that Canada and Mexico are not so keen on "renegotiating" NAFTA, and links to an FT story:(WARNING: British spelling)
Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s ambassador to the US, told the Financial Times that the US, Canada and Mexico had all benefited from Nafta and warned against reopening negotiations.
“Mexico does not support reopening Nafta,” he said. “It would be like throwing a monkey wrench into the engine of North American competitiveness.”
Mexican diplomats believe a renegotiation could resurrect the commercial disputes and barriers to trade that the agreement itself was designed to overcome.
Jim Flaherty, Canada’s finance minister, also expressed “concern” about the remarks by the Democratic candidates.
“Nafta is a tremendous benefit to Americans and perhaps the [candidates] have not had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the benefit to Americans and the American economy of Nafta,” he said.
Senator Clinton assured, in a recent debate, that "the world will breathe a sign of relief when George Bush leaves office." I'm not sure that's as universal as her health care mandates.
I like Megan McArdle's writing in the Atlantic. That's one big name blogger they were wise to pick up.
She's guest blogging at Instapundit this week, and she's still leaning toward pulling the lever for the Junior Senator from Illinois.
In the general? I might not vote for Obama; I will not vote for McCain. There are some things more important than the economy, and free speech is among them. Yes, I don't like Obama's stance on the Second Amendment, but the difference is, the president has little wiggle room right now on the second, while McCain might do serious further damage to the first, or the fourth. I dislike the steps Obama is willing to take in order to achieve his goals of economic equality. But these are as nothing to the notion that citizens have to be protected from information because Big Daddy John thinks we'll get bad ideas in our heads.
I conclude that Ms. McArdle is not a Prosperitarian. She gives this paragraph in response to an absolute thrashing of Senator O by Michael Tanner at CATO.
And it's not just businesses that would feel the regulatory hand of an Obama presidency. Consumers too will have to pay, as he imposes new costs on products ranging from homes to automobiles and appliances. In almost everything we do, Obama sees a need for the government to intervene.
A President Obama would mean a much bigger, more intrusive, and costlier government. Indeed, when considering his policies, one searches in vain for any break with liberal orthodoxy. Personal accounts for Social Security? Entitlement reform? School choice? Obama rejects them all, calling such proposals, "Social Darwinism."
I'm not too keen on McCain-Feingold, but it pales in comparison (read the whole CATO piece).
"Be wary of giving advice," begins an old saying, "wise men don't need it and fools won't heed it."
There are not too many wise men or women in the race for President this (or any) year, but John Stossel offers them all some advice, cribbed from Hayek: Presidents Can't Manage the Economy
The candidates see the global economy as an arena in which countries compete against one another -- an economic Olympiad with winners and losers. Politicians love to promise they will keep America No. 1, as if that matters in a worldwide marketplace.
America as a nation does not compete against China or South Korea or Japan. American companies compete against companies in other countries, but that's something else. The purpose of production is consumption, and American consumers prosper when foreigners compete successfully with American companies.
A president who sees the global economy as a competition among nations will be tempted to intervene on behalf of the "United States" and create "good American jobs." That's how governments mess up economies.
The wise man here is Rep. Ron Paul (who says I never say anything nice about him?) and the fools are, well, everyone left who has a chance, and Governor Huckabee.
I never tire of that promise from our Democratic friends. President Bush has inculcated such antipathy for our blessed nation. The world hates us. And Obama/Clinton/Edwards will repair the damage.
I'm sure your average BBC reporter or Guardian columnist will be happier on Day One, but this argument is specious on so many levels, anybody who says it -- or listens uncritically -- has just not been paying attention. Even Bob Geldof likes him!
The WSJ Ed Page brings up a good point as well. In addition to wooing the chattering classes on the European Continent and deciding whom and whom not to bomb, it seems that the President of the US has some pretty significant effect on foreign policy through trade. And Senator Obama will not be using this tool to "bring us together." At least not when the Union vote is up for grabs.
President James Hoffa bestowed the powerful union's [Teamsters'] blessing on Mr. Obama yesterday, not so coincidentally only days after the Senator declared his opposition to the pending U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. In a statement inserted in the Congressional Record last week, Mr. Obama said he believes the pact doesn't pay "proper attention" to America's "key industries and agricultural sectors" like cars, rice and beef. Opposition to free-trade deals is now a union litmus test, especially for the Teamsters and Service Employees International Union, which endorsed the Senator last Friday.
To be fair, I don't think anybody campaigning on "repairing the damage" has any more liberal view on trade. But that's how you make friends.