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Thursday, December 18, 2008

corruption as a way of life

In view of the arrest of the Governor of Illinois and the ties which are showing to the incomoing Obama administration, I have to wonder if the new administration will bring back corruption as a way of life at the White House. Last time the Democrats were in charge, we were treated to scandal after scandal: Whitewater, Travelgate, selling of pardons, taking the white house furniture and, of course, Monica. All but the last of these involved money for the Clintons or their allies. They showed a clear lack of a moral compass in the Clinton administration. The Obama Administration has not yet even been sworn in, and there is already a scandal due to the repeated discussions of Rahm Emmanuel, the chief of staff, with the Illinois governor. During these conversations, the governor kept asking what he would be given in exchange for naming as senator Obama's replacement someone that Obama wanted. In other words, it was the old money money money scandal.

During the Bush administration, there were scandals. The purported Valerie Pflame scandal was the biggest -- it ended with Scooter Libby convicted and then his sentence commuted. It did not involve money at all, however. The issue was whether or not the administration violated the law by "outing" a purported CIA operative in order to discredit her husband's anti-war views. Of course, the conclusion was that she was outed by someone who clearly did so inadvertently and not to discredit her husband. Still, the key here was that no one ever claimed that self enrichment of any administration official or other republican was at issue. Another scandal was the firing of certain US Attorneys (who -- of course -- serve at the pleasure of the President and may be fired for any reason at any time.) Supposedly, these attorneys were fired for not going after certain issues the way Washington wanted. Again, this was not personal venality nor was there ever a charge that it was. So, the Bush scandals (to the extent that they had any basis in fact) were about disputes regarding policy and its implimentation. No one was even accused of acting for his own enrichment.

So now we come back to the Democrats. Charlie Rangel is under investigation for cheating on his taxes and granting tax law favors in exchange for millions of dollars. Congressman William Jefferson just lost his seat due to his receipt of funds which were alleged to be bribes in exchange for his vote. But the worst of all is the likelihood that the Obama administration is starting off with a heavy involvement in a pay for play scandal in Illinois.

Right now, the administration has authority on how to spend $700 billion in bail out money. There is no effective oversight here. Once the next Congress is in office, there will likely be even more money spent in this way. It is troubling to say the least to think of something like one trillion dollars passing through the control of the corrupt group that the Democrats will bring to power in Washington. How much will they steal? Let's hope it is not too much.

Monday, December 1, 2008

what next?

Let's see -- in the last month we have seen carnage in India met with incompetance, disaster on Wall Street met with socialism from Washington (with no advanced discussion of the merits of taking this course), election of a novice president, strengthening of the radical leadership of Congress, the rise of piracy to new heights, the near death experience of the auto industry with the anti-capitalist geniuses on Capitol Hill now put into a place of power to "reinvent" that industry (so as to be sure that it is never successful again), and a whole host of other tragedies.

One can only wonder what is next.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

GM / Ford

I was not surprised to hear this morning on the Sunday talk shows all of the talk about how the Republicans were blocking aid to GM and Ford. The Democrats control Congress and can pass anything that they want. If they are so hot to bail out the auto industry, they should pass such legislation an put it in front of George
Bush for signature. I doubt he would veto anything at this point. In any event, they can get things ready for January 21st when they can do whatever they want after their captive president takes office. One thing is certain, Obama will not veto anything that the congress passes.

By the way, it was nice to see the new bipartisan atmosphere that the Obama election has ushered in -- not.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

UAW is in favor of the workers?

In today's news, the head of the UAW says there will be no more concessions by the autoworkers. Brilliant! Maybe he should have said that there will be no more jobs for the auto workers.

Clearly, GM, Ford and Chrysler are in big trouble. The shareholders have already seen nerly their entire investments go down the tubes. For is worth about 4% of what it was a few years ago. GM is at its lowest level in 50 years. These folks do not have much more to lose. If the autoworkers file for bankruptcy, the labor contracts will be the first things to go. They will be able to renegotiate everything, and the creditors are unlikely to approve any deal that simply puts the big three back on course to business as usual. If the autoworkers are to preserve anything, they should negotiate now while there is still a chance of avoiding bankruptcy, not later after the debacle.

My suggestion is that the auto companies give the union equity in exchange for release of many of the most onerous provisions in the contract. For example, let the retirees pay for their own health insurance and let the company be able to lay off workers without paying them 95% of their wages for the remainder of the contract. Give the management back the flexibility to pare costs so as to become competative. Also, relax some of the work rules that drive labor and other costs up. Also, wages should be cut. At the same time, management salaries should be cut proportionately the same as any wage cut. If the workers take a 20% cut, so too should every manager. Indeed, for those making the big bucks, the cuts should be even higher. After all, it was these geniuses who got the companies where they are today. On second thought, maybe they should just be fired.

If the shareholders agreed to give 40% of their company to a fund that was owned by all the workers (labor and management proportionately) in exchange for a 25% cut in wages and salaries and reduction of benefits as well particularly for retirees, these companies might be able to survive. Otherwise, it is just the proverbial rearrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic. No taxpayer money should go to bail out these companies until they put themselves on the right course to prosperity.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Michael Steele

Tonight Michael Steele was on Hannity's show on FNC talking about why he is running for chair of the RNC. While I like Steele for his positions and his style, I wonder how effective he has been as chairman of GOPAC. I am not sure if he has shown much ability in that arena so that he would make a good national chairman for the RNC.

Still, it would be nice to have someone back in the chairman's position who made a good appearance on TV. We have not had a telegenic chair since Haley Barbour left.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What was the point of the debate?

When the bailout bill was passed in the middle of the election, it was debated as a measure to allow the feds to buy up questionable mortgage securities that were freezing the financial system by reason of their unknown values. Once the bill was passed, the Treasury quickly used on third of the total amount approved to invest in preferred stock of banks around the country to help them meet their capital requirements. Today, Paulson has announced that the Treasury will not be buying any of the mortgage securities which were the basis for the measure in the first place.

In short, the biggest expenditure in the history of the US was approved without any valid explanation of what was going to be done given to Congress or the American people. I realize that the situation is fluid and conditions have changed, but I still think that there is a need for someone to explain in detail to the public why this expenditure has changed to such a great extent.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ford, GM and toyota

The issue of bailing out Ford and GM and Chrysler is one which shows clearly the effect of the banking bail out. It is hard to make the case that there should not be a bail out so the market can work once the governement has already jumped into the market in a big way to save the banks. There is no clear logical distinction between the banks and the car companies except this: the banks were not failing due to poor products, just poor market conditions. Since a big chunk of the poor market conditions was due to the products pushed by many of the banks, namely sub prime mortgages, this is a small difference in my opinion.

The better test as to whether or not to try to save the car companies is this: are these companies likely to survive on their own if the government gets them over the current crisis. The answer is much less than clear when considering the car companies as compared to the banks. GM has been slowly failing for the last quarter of a century. The first problem is that it gave too much to labor in a series of contracts which have basically pushed it to the brink of bankruptcy. It can only compete in good times, not bad. And there surely will be bad time again in the future. The second problem is that it has built products that relied on lower fuel prices which are not likely to return. Ford is in the same boat to a slightly lesser extent. I doubt if GM will survive even if it is bailed out. I would prefer, however, if the market made that determination.

My guess is that the government will bail out GM and that it will fail down the road.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Here comes the fun

Now that the Obama administration is getting closer, we are being treated on a daily basis to what I call the disaster of the day. Today's disaster is the idea that John Kerry is the front runner for the job of secretary of state. This position is probably the third most important one in the cabinet after treasury and defense (in view of the economy and the war). It is one position where the identity of the secretary actually matters. It would be terrible to put a smug, self-important, bombastic fool in the office. It would be even worse to put Kerry in as Secretary of State where he would, no doubt, try to run his own foreign policy with as little direction as possible from Obama. Obama's lacks knowledge on foreign policy, but, at least, he may learn to do the right thing. We already know that Kerry will never act in America's national interests.

The best hope is that the latest rumors are just efforts made to mollify Kerry that he is being considered seriously, before he is bypassed in favor of some other luminary.

On the bright side, at least no one suggested bring back Madeline Albright.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Time for coperation

With the Obama administration getting organized, it is time for Americans to work together. Just like the Democrats worked together with President Bush. Indeed, I remember that day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President Obama

I certainly did not want to ever see Obama as president, but he won the election and he now deserves the cooperation of all of us. I would remind everyone, however, of the Democrats definition of patriotism: disagreeing with what the government wants to do. I think there will be a great many patriots in the next few years.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The 2012 Election campaign starts

Since tomorrow is election day, I thought it was time to take the first crack at the 2012 Presidential campaign. In truth, I am surprised that it has not been up and running already. Each time a new presidential election comes around, it starts earlier than the previous time. There are more polls. There are more stories about the mechanics of the campaign. Less is said about issues. In fact, for the most part, nothing is said about issues. Accordingly, it seems to me that we should start writing about the race between Bobby Jindal and Hillary Clinton as if it were going to be decided tomorrow. Each one will be running as the person who can rescue America from four years of Obama. In the end, the winner will be ..............

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The polls: McCain is pulling close or falling further behind.

Sunday's national polls once again are all over the lot. Nine polls are reported on Real Clear politics. They run the gamut from a 2% lead by Obama to one with a double digit lead for Obama. There are 9 polls with 7 different results. Only in two cases do polls agree. Again, with two days left until the election, one would think that the polls would cluster around the likely result. Instead, they continue to get further apart. The only realistic conclusion is that there is something more at work here than statistical variation. Indeed, the likelihood that these polls are varying as they do just due to statistical variation is infinitesimal.

It is true that some of the polls use a different bias in their samples. Those which have drunk the Obama cool ade and decided that hordes of young or new voters will appear at the polls have weighted their results to reflect those groups. Others have use a more conventional analysis. Still, this is not enough to explain the major variations in the results. We do not see two groups of clustered results, rather, the results do not cluster.

I cannot wait to see what actually happens on Tuesday and then watch as the pollsters explain how they were right all along.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

And then again maybe not

Following up the Zogby announcement of McCain leading for Friday in its polling, gallup has released its tracking polls showing a 10 point Obama lead. Once again, these two polls cannot both be correct. More results come from Rasmussen who says that the difference is 5% and from TIPP which gives Obama a 4.5% lead. Needless to say, three days before the election, one would hope that the polls would agree.

The amazing thing to me is that the polls are not even close. A ten point lead for Obama and a one point lead for McCain are not capabale of being conformed statistically. The four polling organizations in question plus Hotline (Obama plus 7) and Battleground (Obama plus 4) are all over the map. Nevertheless, they are respected polling organizations. We are not even including the pollsters whose bias is consistent like CBS (which usually seems to have Obama leading by 5 or 10% more than everyone else).

We can throw out Zogby and Gallup as outliers and stick to the 4-7% spread of the remaining four, but that seems wrong to me. There is no reason to assume that either Gallup or Zogby is in error. Obviously, one of them is, but who knows which one.

One thing this dilemma with the polls makes clear: even the exit polls on Tuesday will be far from perfect. We all remember how Kerry won last time according to the early exit polls. We will just have to wait for the actual election results to come in.

Friday, October 31, 2008

McCain ahead??

Drudge has a banner headline tonight which cites the Zogby poll Friday results which show McCain ahead by 1 percent. This sample of 500 folks is the first national poll since mid September that shows McCain ahead. Could it really be true? Is this a harbinger of the big swing towards McCain now that Obama has been outed as a true socialist? Most likely, this is nothing but statistical noise. McCain has been getting closer to Obama in the last week, but he has remained clearly behind.

My hope has always been that the undecided voters would break strongly towards McCain and that those who have waivered all through the campaign would also move back to support McCain. After all, the focus of the election for many months has been a yes/no vote on Obama. Did he have the experience? Could he manage foreign policy? Would his tax increases destroy what is left of the economy? For his part, McCain was a known quantity. People generally felt safe with McCain running the military and foreign policy even if they disagreed with him on Iraq. This means that those who remained undecided in the face of the massive and seemingly endless media campaigns for Obama were resistant to him as their candidate. Even those who at various times were for and then against Obama were also somewhat resistant to his candidacy. If the recent share the wealth pitch from Obama raises fears that he would make more moves towards socialism, it may prove to be enough to dissuade these undecided or wavering voters that they cannot vote for Obama. It would be a massive move in one direction at the last minute, just like the one that elected Reagan over Carter in 1980.

Let's hope it happens.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Klatu Barada Nictoh

This speaks for itself!

The Phillies!

In 1980, the Phillies won their first World Series after 104 years in baseball. Shortly thereafter, Ronald Reagan became the only presidential candidate since modern polling began to to trail in all the polls the week before the election but still win. Now the Phillies have done it again. That leaves it up to John McCain to come through on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In Barack we trust!

Today's TIPP poll has some truly remarkable numbers in the breakdown it provides. Obama leads McCain nationally by 3% in the poll with about 9% undecided. By itself, this is not of great moment. Most interesting, however, is that McCain leads among Protestants, Catholics and "Other Christians". Obama, however, leads by over 50% among "no religion". So the swing voters for Obama are the atheists. I have to say that I am not surprised.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The redistributive effect

The recently revealed statements by Obama regarding redistribution of wealth and his view that this should be a function of the federal government requires a note of reminder to everyone who ponders what Obama has said. The attempt by government to bring income equality in society always comes in the form of making the wealthy poorer, never making the poor richer. There are simply never enough resources to go around in a way that all people become well off. As a result, equality means equal poverty.

The US has prospered for centuries on the concept of equality of opportunity rather than equality of wealth. People began with nothing but opportunity and built large businesses employing thousands or millions. Think Bill Gates and Microsoft. How many hundreds of thousands (millions) of US workers hold their jobs because of that company? Just imagine now if Obama gets his way and makes sure that Gates cannot get rich so that it would not be unfair to others who are not as successful. Microsoft never gets going, the whole computer industry just limps along without much success, millions of jobs are never created, and the whole US economy suffers as a result. But Obama is happy -- ain't that great!

Polls apart

The polls out in the last two days prove one thing: some of the pollsters do not have a clue what is happening. Gallup has the lead by Obama narrowing to 2%. Zogby and Rasmussen also show a narrowing lead, albeit larger. Battleground has been steady for the last three days at 3%. Then you have Hotline at an 8% lead and Pew research at a 15% Obama lead. Clearly some of them are very wrong.

Of course, there are the usual excuses for the variations. Pew somehow has 10% fewer Republicans and uses registered voters rather than likely voters. Still, the results are too far apart for there to be an explanation other than some error in the numbers.

Right now, I have to believe that the race is tightening. Obviously, that would be my preference, but when you add yesterday's TIPP margin of 2.8% (which hopefully will go down today), there are too many polls with numbers in the 2-5% range to be ignored. In other words, I think that the big lead polls are outliers or biased/flawed samples. Right now the RCP national average is Obama over McCain by 6.8 %. I think that the reality is about half that amount. Indeed, the average of Gallup, Rassmussen, Tipp and Battleground is 3%. There are also an average of 5.2% undecided in those polls. My estimate is that the undecided will break for McCain. After all, these are folks who have not yet been able to bring themselves to vote for Obama, and since Obama has been the clear focus of the election, my guess is that those who have not yet chosen will go the other way towards McCain. If McCain wins the undecided by 2 to 1, he will cut about 1.7% off of the Obama margin, bringing the Obama edge down to 1.3%

Of course, none of these numbers mean anything in particular except for this: The election is still far from over. A late move up by McCain in which only 2% of the voters switch sides could put McCain over the top.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Apparently flawed constitution

In the latest peek into Barack Obama's purposefully obscured past, we discover that Obama considers the US constitution to be a flawed document. He also makes clear that Congress and the President need to work towards redistribution of wealth. This is a rather unusual point of view for an American presidential candidate. After all, the basic thrust of US political thought of the last hundred years is that liberty for all peoples and preservation of American liberty is the central goal of the United States. Think of John Kennedy's innaugural address where he stated that we would pay any price to preserve our liberties. There are countless other examples. On the other hand, the number of serious national candidates who advocated redistribution of wealth in the US as the main goal of our society is zero (wait, I forgot Obama)-- actually, one. For some reason, Obama's socialism is being ignored. I can only hope that with the latest revalations, even the Obama media will feel compelled to report his true views.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Alter should be altered

In the latest Newsweek, J. Alter puts forth his theoretical view of Why McCain Won. According to Alter, it was racism, racism, racism. Mr. Alter, your view is pure crap. If McCain pulls off an upset and wins, it will be because of the flaws of Obama the candidate. The Obama campaign has run a technically brilliant campaign. First, Obama got the nomination over Hillary because his camapaign prepared in depth for the caucuses and primaries that followed Super Tuesday while the Clinton folks worked on the assumption that Super Tuesday would end the campaign. By winning the string of states in February that followed Super Tuesday, Obama wrapped up the nomination. When Hillary began to compete in earnest after three bad weeks, it was too late to overcome Obama's lead. Similarly, for the general election, Obama's decision to ignore his earlier pledge to use public finanacing and to go with private donations has given him a substantial monetary edge over the McCain campaign. Even more so, the Obama campaign's decision to take all contributions whether or not legal has allowed him to amass many millions more -- while knowing that any punishment will be a minor slap on the wrist once Obama has already won.

Obama's problem is his message, not his campaign. If Obama loses, it will be because he plans to raise taxes and "spread the wealth around". Many millions of Americans will not accept that message -- and that has nothing to do with racism. The truth is that Obama has been helped, not hurt, by his race. Certainly, his level of support among blacks is higher than Kerry or Gore had. More important, many others are voting for him just to be able to say that they voted for the first black president. Strangely, no one ever polls on this question. After 25 polls on whether or not people are voting against Obama due to his race (in various forms), one would think that there might be a poll going the other way. But no. The pollsters all remember what happened to poor Geraldine Ferraro when she had the gall to say that Obama would not be where he was if he were not black. She was a racist! While that attack on Ferraro was clearly bogus, it was sufficient to ward off any polls that might help elucidate the real effect of race in the election.

Is it over?

The news media is spreading the story that the election is over and Obama has won. Who knows? Maybe they are correct. I do not buy it, however. Sure, Obama is ahead and has grabbed leads in many of the critical swing states. Nevertheless, there is still a clear path for McCain to win. Simply put, the question of the week is how many of the voters who pay no attention to the election until the end of the cycle will stick with Obama.

The use of Joe the Plumber may seem like overkill to those who watch the Republicans mention him again and again. Still, Obama's spread the wealth comment can be made to hurt him substantially. McCain needs to enunciate his own economic plan as one which will spread opportunity around so that all Americans have the ability through hard work and some luck to get rich. This is the traditional Republican message. At the same time, Obama should be portrayed as a sort of bizarre Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to the government. Equality of wealth will be achieved by Obama by making everyone poor. This has always been the result of socialist and communist policies which sound a lot like what Obama is now talking about.

Most Americans would like to be rich. This is not some exciting revalation, it is an obvious fact. those who think that they have a chance will not want to let the government prevent them from doing so. Indeed, it is interesting to see that Obama consistently does better among those who have already achieved their goals of wealth than among those who are still struggling to amass wealth. Those who already have money feel that they will be able to keep it no matter what Obama does. Those who are pushing for it (a much larger group) do not want anyone standing in their way.

If McCain can clearly enunciate this message and if there is no other October surprise, he may be able to pull in enough votes to still win this election.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Is anyone listening?

To me, perhaps the biggest gaffe of the last two weeks was committed by Jack Murtha, a Pennsylvania congressman, who announced that his district was filled with rednecks and racists who would not vote for Obama due to his race. These are the so-called bitter clingers, the subject of one of Obama's major gaffes. Murtha, should have been in big danger of losing his seat as a result of his smearing of the marines who fought in Haditha. Murtha labelled the Haditha incident a massacre committed by US troops. Since Murtha's statement, all but one of the marines involved have been brought up before military courts and cleared of all charges. One remains to have his day in court. Clearly, Murtha, who is a senior member of the House Armed forces committee (and who should know better) just shot off his mouth (or his badmouth) to criticize the marines so as to make his own political point about the Iraq war. To Murtha, the reputation of the marines was secondary to his political ends. In my opinion, Murtha's slander of the marines should render him unfit for Congress. Still, Murtha is a fixture in the Pennsylvania delegation, and it looked like he would be re-elected in a somewhat closer than usual race, but one which he nevertheless won handily.

Now, however, we have the second Murtha major mistake. I think it is safe to say that all political consultants, be they Democrats or Republicans, would counsel their clients that it is unwise to label the voters as rednecks or racists. Most voters would not appreciate the name calling. That did not stop Murtha. Hopefully, there will be sufficient upset in Western Pennsylvania that Jack Murtha will finally be bounced from Congress. There is already enough hot air and idiocy in Congress. Maybe it is time to try someone new. Let's all hope that this is Murtha's swan song.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

a short vacation

Over the next two weeks, I will be away with my wife on a much needed vacation. New items should be posted again during the last week of the month.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tom Brokaw -- it's not about you

Last night's second debate was the best possible argument for never having Tom Brokaw back as a moderator. Brokaw managed to harp repeatedly about the time alloted for answers without doing anything to enforce those limits. The one time Brokaw tried to move on when Obama wanted to say more, Brokaw backed down quickly when Obama confronted the issue. Personally, I do not care if the time limits got followed closely. The issue is who would be a better President, not who follows the time rules more correctly. I did think it constantly jarring for Brokaw to raise the issue over and over.

Brokaw also interjected his own questions into the mix rather than letting the audience ask questions as should have happened. Brokaw also prescreened the questions, so that the totality of the questions were those that interested Brokaw and not those which interested the audience. That was not a town hall meeting. Rather it was Tom Brokaw following a script that he selected. Indeed, the funniest moment of the night came when the candidates blocked Brokaw's teleprompter and he was totally at a loss for words. It truly shows the level of Brokaw's intelligence and ability that he was unable to continue on to a conclusion without berating Obama and McCain for standing in the wrong spot so as to block his view.

One thing is certain: the contrast between Jim Lehrer in the first debate and Tom Brokaw in the second one was much more stark than that between Obama and McCain.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Time for a change

The one constant in this election year has been the lack of constancy. As a result, we are now at the end of the period where Obama pulled ahead. Most likely, there will be a further significant change. My prediction is that the race will tighten again as people get used to the economic news and start moving away from the fear that pushed them to Obama (for no valid reason in my opinion.) Of course, there could be a move to a landslide for Obama. It is interesting to see the McCain camp attacking Obama for his past relationships, a move that would normally be unlikely to move much of the electorate. It is also extremely interesting to see how poorly the Obama camp has responded to the attacks; instead of addressing them forthrightly, Obama has commenced lying and covering up. To say the least this is a big mistake by Obama. Few people will care about who Obama befriended in the 90's. Many will care if it can be shown that he is a liar.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Audacity of Lying

Well folks, we now have Obama's defense of his relationship with Bill Ayres and Bernadette Dohrn -- both unrepentant terrorists who bombed, maimed and killed Americans. According to the official story put out by the Obama campaign, Obama did not know that Ayres and Dohrn were terrorists when he befriended them in the mid-90's. In other words, since Obama implicitly admits that it shows poor judgment to be friends with terrorists who bombed the Pentagon, Capitol and NYC Police headquarters and who still claim that they did not do enough in that regard, Obama feels compelled now to lie about his knowledge of their activities. How can I say that it is a lie? Let's me put it this way: Either Obama and his wife Michelle are oblivious to essentially everything that went on around them for their entire lives, or one or both of them knew who Ayres and Dohrn are. These are not relative unknowns who just surfaced last week. Ayres and Dohrn were well known in the 60's and 70's for their terror activities. There was also a big flurry of publicity about them when they were finally arrested in 1980. This publicity continued for a few years as dohrn went to prison for a short time and Ayres beat the charges against him on a technicality. So this last flurry of publicity occurred when Obama was in college and law school. Obama, of course, claims to have missed this news at that time too. Of course, when Obama then joiined the Chicago Annenberg challenge board with Ayres in the mid 90's, we are supposed to believe that the organization did not put together biographies of its board or that Obama missed those as well. and when Ayres was interviewed in the New York Times in 2001 and quoted as saying that he regrets that he did not do enough bombing, I suppose Barack and Michelle missed this too.

Clearly, Obama thinks that he can say whatever he wants and get away with it. Look at what he did with Reverend Wright. Only a cretin would believe that Obama attended the church for 20 years but was shocked, shocked to hear the anti-american and racist garbage spewing from Reverend Wright. Now, we are supposed to believe that Barack did not know who Ayres and Dohrn are.

In my view, it would be in good taste for Obama to have acted like other presidents before him and waited until elected before he started lying to the American people. My guess is that after he saw how easily Bill Clinton got away with it, he decided that with the help of the media he can say anything he wants. It goes beyond lying. Obama has told such a whopper that it shows not only that he is dishonest, but more, that he does not even respect the American people enough to tell a lie that is at least plausible.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


After hearing CBS do its slanted coverage of Sarah Palin's remarks about Obama's relationships with William Ayres, I thought that no one could possibly do a worse job of coverage of the issue. I was wrong. The AP has put out a story about how Palin's words that Obama was "palling around with a terrorist" had a "racial tinge". What utter nonsense! Is the Associated Press so worried that McCain's campaign might score some points against Obama that it feels it has to call the remarks racist in order to innoculate Obama against their impact? Hey AP! Ayres is a white terrorist. Obama's friendship with him is interracial -- further proof that Obama is the post racial candidate -- he's a friend to terrorists no matter what their race! Oh come on! I do not see how someone had the nerve even to write the story let alone to put it on the wires.

Completely Biased Source

I was listening this morning to CBS radio news, something that I rarely do. I stopped listening over a year ago when I got angry at the constant slant to their coverage which was relentlessly anti-Bush, anti-Republican and pro Obama. I felt no need to hear the days propaganda, so I moved on to other sources that were more even handed. Still, this morning's short news report surprised me for the total bias that it exhibited. Ths subject of the report was Sarah Palin's remarks about Obama being a pal of the 60's terrorist William Ayres.

In any normal newspiece, the topic of the piece (the Palin statements) would have been covered and then reaction would have followed. CBS, however, followed a new paradigm. The piece began with a report on the reaction of the Obama campaign which, not surprisingly, called Palin's remarks shameful. CBS then itself discussed the merits of Palin's comments and dismissed them by pointing out that Ayres and Obama had served together on a board, but that Obama had consistently denounced Ayres for his past conduct. Again, not surprisingly, CBS did not mention that Obama got his start in politics in Ayres living room (Ayres ran a fund raiser at which Obama started his first campaign). Nor did CBS mention that Ayres was very active in Obama's early campaigns well beyond that fund raiser. Nor did CBS mention that the board in question was one which authorized Ayres to have a major role in disseminating tens of millions of dollars for "education" which Ayres directed to having children learn about "progressive" causes -- and that this authorization was done under Obama's leadership. Most important, CBS failed to mention that the purported "condemnation" by Obama of Ayres has never happened. In fact, during most of the years of their association, Obama never denounced Ayres or his conduct. Only when the association became an issue during the current presidential campaign did Obama say anything on the subject. His take on it was that what Ayres did happened when he (Obama) was only 8 years old. He did not condemn Ayres for saying that he was not sorry for bombing and killing Americans. He did not condemn Ayres for anything at all -- he only spoke ill of the bombings themselves. That is like saying that it would be ok to keep Osama Bin Laden as a friend while condemning the 9-11 attacks.

After we heard Obama's reaction and CBS's dismissal of the Palin criticism, we finally we allowed to hear what Palin actually said. This was about a five second segment at the conclusion of the piece.

Clearly, CBS stands for Completely Biased Source.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Frankly speaking

Drudge has the link today to last nights confrontation between Bill O'Reilly and Congressman Barney Frank. All I can say is thank God for O'Reilly. It is about time that somebody told off that jerk of a congressman.
Last week I listened to the 2005 hearings on Fanny and Freddie when Frank told his colleagues in the House that Fanny and Freddie were doing a greaat job and that there was no need for any additional regulation. Frank and the other Democrats were successful at that time im blocking any further regulation or oversight for Fanny and Freddie. Indeed, it was nauseating to listen to Maxine Waters lavishly praising the leadership of Franklin Raines at Fanny. Of course, not long afterwards, Raines was forced out at Fanny due to accounting scandals that he allowed to happen so that he could get his multi-million dollar bonuses as CEO. (It is also interesting to note that this same Franklin Raines is an Obama advisor on housing matters.)

Frank, however, was not finished. He has spent the last two years as committee chairman in Congress covering up the problems at Fanny and Freddie and now he wants to blame others for his own failures. The clip that O'Reilly played from an interview by Frank this past summer was a real eye opener. There was Frank actually telling people that while Fanny and Freddie may not have been the best investments in the past, they were strong going forward. Of course, two months later, both are bankrupt and taken over by the governement. While I can see why others may not have known the full extent of problems at Fanny and Freddie, Frank has no such excuse. He got full information on these companies which were directly under his committee's purview. So Frank misleads investors on the fate of the two companies and when O'Reilly calls him on it, Frank goes into classic political doublespeak. It's not his fault, he claims, but rather it stems from 1994. Bill calls that bull -- which it was. Frank blames the Republicans and talks about how he tried mightily to put further regulations on Fanny and Freddie. Once again, Bill properly calls that bull. In fact, Frank is the one who blocked further regulation.

Right now, Barney the purple dinosaur has more credibility on the economy than Barney the congressman.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sarah Palin wins!

Tonight's vice presidential debate was extremely interesting and concluded with a clear winner: Governor Palin. She was cheerful, Biden was not. She was folksy, Biden was not. She connected with the audience, Biden did not. She understood the issues before her, so did Biden. She was honest in what she said, Biden was not. This point deserves some elaboration: Biden did his riff on how McCain wants to do away with regulation and blamed the current financial market mess on that attitude of McCain. Of course, Biden well knows that it was McCain who proposed stricter regulation of Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac three years ago (regulations that might well have avoided most of the problems now faced by the economy). Biden also knows that both he and Obama were against enactment of these regulations. Strangely, even in the face of the Obama Biden ticket jointly opposing a strict regulatory structure proposed by Mccain, Biden felt no shame in falsely claiming that it was the lack of regulation at the behest of McCain that caused the problems. Another howler by Biden was his claim that when he voted for the resolution authorizing war in Iraq, he really was not voting for war. Palin was very good in pointing this out -- the whole before it before being against it line. The truth is that I counted seven instances where Biden made up the facts as he went along (That's the nice way to say that he was a liar).

It was very nice to see Sarah Palin get this chance to speak to America without having the mainstream media edit her comments and slant the coverage. Sarah unfiltered was the same Sarah Palin who gave that barn burner of a speech at the convention.

Vice presidential debates have never moved the polls in a Presidential contest. Palin so clearly outshone Biden despite the pre-debate crap put out there by the media about how she was just a buffoon, that this may be the first time when these VP debates really have an effect on the outcome of the election.

The vice presidential debate

Tonight we will all be treated to the spectacle of Joe Biden and Sarah Palin debating. Since Biden has 35 years in the Senate, he ought to do well. In 35 years, he has run in six senatorial elections and made countless speeches on the Senate floor. He has attended thousands of committee hearings and appeared on countless TV shows and at other forums. Simply put, he has enormous experience in publice speaking. This debate, however, may prove somewhat different that his previous experience. Hopefully, people will listen to what he has to say tonight. That is a big danger for Joe. This is a man who never puts one foot in his mouth when he can fit in two. The is a reason that Biden had the reputation as the dumbest man in the Senate. He has a great grin and a warm personality, he is just as dumb as a rock.

On the other hand, Sarah Palin has very little speaking experience compared to Biden. True, she has been a governor, but that was in Alaska, not the media frenzy of Washington. No one knows if she is up to the task of debating Biden.

My prediction: Just like with her convention speech, Sarah Palin will astound the audience with her command of the material and cool demeanor under pressure. There is a one in four chance that Biden will make the sort of mistake for which he is famous. Finally, once the debate is concluded, there will be a rush by the Obama media to pronouce Biden the clear winner, no matter what happens.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Markets bounce back

While it remains to be seen what happens tomorrow, for today at least the stock markets were soaring following the rejection of the bailout in Washington. Financial stocks that were orphans yesterday were favorites of the crowd today, recovering much of what they lost in yesterday's panic. This behaviour by the market is very encouraging for the future. It means that market traders do not see all being lost in the frenzy of bad news and bank failures. Indeed, the sale of Wachovia to Citigroup and the likelihood that the mark to market rules will be changed give many the feeling that the crisis may indeed be manageable without the $700 billion bailout from the Treasury. After all, by changing the mark to market rules, the banks may well be able to avoid billions of dollars in paper losses that were the result more of frozen markets than of a long term loss in value. This change could reduce the amount needed for the bailout to a price much less than the original $700 billion.

Of course, everything may change tomorrow when the next round of trading begins, but for now, lets hope that the markets are able to continue on a cautious upswing or at least the end of the collapse.

Monday, September 29, 2008

And now for something completely different

Like the Monty Python slogan says, Congress today did something completely different: the House voted down the financial rescue bill that was supported by the leaders of both parties and the President. It may also have been supported by Senator Obama, although he has not said so in public to my knowledge. For his part, Senator McCain did say that there was a need to swallow hard and vote yes. In response to the defeat in the House, the Dow was down over 700 ponts in what may only be the first day of the reaction. Only time will tell.

One thing is certain, however. It is hard to imagine that a personal appeal from Obama would not have been able to sway 12 more votes from the nearly 100 Democrats who voted against the bill. Although no one is saying this, I give credit for the bills defeat to Obama's decision to go for political cover rather than leadership. Indeed, if he was against the bill, he should have said so. If he supported it, he likewise should have said so. Instead, he once again voted present. If he cannot take a position in the face of the most severe financial crisis we have faced in 80 years, how will he ever be able to be an effective President?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rezco redux

There is an article in today's Chicago Tribune that may be a harbinger of big stuff to come (link by clicking on entry title). According to sources close to the US attorney's office in Chicago, convicted felon Tony Rezco is cooperating with the feds in further investigation of the conduct of governor Rod Blagojevich and the junior senator from Illinois, one Barack Obama. If this is true, it could prove to be political dynamite. Imagine what would happen if it were to come out that Obama got Rezco his $14 million grant in taxpayers funds in exchange for the sweetheart deal on the purchase of the Obama home. According to the Obama campaign, it was a mere coincidence that Obama purchased one half of the property for $300,000 less than the asking price on the same day that Rezco purchased the other half of the property at exactly the asking price. In my opinion, that is a rather lame excuse. Nevertheless, until now, there was no hope of either Rezco or Obama contradicting it. Imagine if Rezco now states the contrary. A quid pro quo. Would the US attorney indict Obama for a felony in the weeks prior to the election. It would be a national disaster if he did, but it would be a national disgrace if he did not.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debate -- 1

The first debate of the presidential campaign took place last night and it was very interesting to watch. Each candidate had his mission and each made reasonable progress towards completing that mission. McCain wanted to paint Obama as naive, inexperienced and not ready to lead. Particularly on the foreign policy side of the debate, McCain clearly achieved this. Obama wanted to paint McCain as more of the same and out of touch. Obama was completely unsuccessful in the more of the same argument -- McCain made clear all of the areas where he differs from Bush. Indeed, it was funny when McCain commented that Obama's refusal to say that the surge was a good idea showed that Obama was to stubborn like Bush. On the out of touch point, Obama made some headway in my opinion. Obama made several unanswered points about his supposed middle class tax cut while McCain just spoke about earmarks.

Several clear answers to the Obama points were left untouched by McCain. For example, McCain said that business taxes in the US are the second highest in the world and too high. This high tax rate leads to a loss of jobs. Obama first said that McCain was right about the stated high tax rates, but he went on to say that because of loopholes, the effective tax rate for business is much lower. Later Obama said that he would pay for his programs by closing the tax loopholes for business. This seems like a clear contradiction in the Obama approach -- If a 35% rate is too high but, according to Obama it is actually lower due to loophole, won't closing those loopholes give us a 35% rate that will adversely affect job creation and economic growth? Obama was never made to confront this clear flaw in his logic.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mental health

With the on again off again bailout proposals that are being debated in Washington and the swirl of charges and countercharges that are being leveled by the politicians involved, it seems like a good time for a mental health moment. By this I mean that it would do all of these geniuses some good to take a moment for reflection, a deep breath and a reminder that the fate of the American economy is in their hands. Blame is not the issue -- preventing an imminent disaster is what is at stake. Rather than posturing for political points, these folks need to realize that neither party nor ideology is infallible. Sometimes we all need to put these things aside and just get moving with a rescue. Right now, it seems as if the economy is drowning and rather than saving it, the resident geniuses are arguing about whether to do the back stroke or the crawl.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Christmas already?

The Treasury plan before Congress is getting loaded up like a Christmas tree and it is doing the plan no good. Indeed, it may doom the plan before it gets going. The basic provision of the plan is that the Treasury will buy assets which are stuck in the system without a clear valuation and will price these assets by means of a reverse auction. This will allow the financial institutions to set prices that they can live with, while also forcing the prices to be low enough so that the Government will be able to buy the assets without overpaying. The extras that Congressmen like Frank and Pelosi are adding onto the bill will compromise the effectiveness of this basic pricing structure. First, the Democrats want the financial institutions to give the Government stock in their companies as part of the plan. This is a big problem for two reasons: it may convince certain institutions not to participate in the plan and it also will lead to the government paying higher prices for the same assets since the companies will add in additional costs for their stock. The end result will be higher cost for the governemnt, a bigger likelihood of losses for the American people and less chance of a successful plan. Second, the Democrats want limits on executive compansation at the financial companies. This may work, but the issue is what will the limits of compensation be. Set too high, this is just a public relations ploy by the Democrats. Set too low, this will undermine the effectiveness of the plan again. We will need to see where the level is set. Third, the Democrats want to add a program to help those homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes. Once again, the question is how will this be done. Many of these homeowners are in their homes only because of the structure set up during the Clinton years which pushed banks to lend to uncreditworthy buyers -- i.e., buyers who really could not afford the homes into which they moved. Why is it now up to the American people who lived within their means to protect those who did not. The obvious response to this question is why should we help banks and financial institutions that also screwed up in major ways by taking on debt backed by these questionable mortgages. The answer is that letting these institutions fail will bring down our entire economy and hurt everyone. The treasury plan is actually a plan to save us from a depression, not one that bails out banks. The help to the banks is incidental to the main purpose.

Obviously, it is a harsh rememdy to let those who cannot pay lose their homes to foreclosure. Indeed, many banks will lose far more by foreclosing than by renegotiating with their borrowers. That renegotiation, however, should be up to the banks and their clients, not Congress.

Monday, September 22, 2008

slime on

A very interesting investigation of recent web videos which contain false and sleazy allegations about Governor Palin has revealed that the videos were produced by a big Democratic PR firm with ties to David Axelrod of the Obama campaign. Not only were these Obama folks spreading lies and innuendo about Sarah Palin, but they were doing it in a way designed to hide their involvement. Indeed, according to the linked article (click on entry title), the Obama folks did not even comply with the minimal requirements of the federal election laws. It will be interesting to see if anything further comes of this. I doubt that the mainstream media will ever mention it, but it does show the Obama folks for who they truly are: not a new style campaign, but the lowest of the low old style machine pols who came from the gutter in Chicago.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Al Franken decade redux

The news today that Al Franken wrote the anti-McCain opening on SNL this week should not surprise anyone. During his campaign for the senate in Minnesota, Al has apologized for his past writings and stated unequivocally that he is out of the business of comedy writing. Guess what -- he lied. Then, when rumors surfaced that he had indeed written the opening to this weeks show, he denied it through a spokeman. Guess what -- he lied. When it was publicized that he had failed to pay both taxes and workers' comp expenses in New York for many years, he paid the nearly 100,000 dollars owed and said that neither he nor his wife had any idea about this debt. Of course, then it came out that the state of New York had been trying to collect this money for years and had sent a series of certified letters to Franken seeking payment. Guess what -- he lied again.

The list goes on, but the point is the same. Al Franken is a liar who will say anything to try to fool the people of Minnesota into electing him to the senate. My guess is that he will fail.

After all, what is Franken's main qualification for the Senate? He is a minor celebrity. Not Paris, but maybe a suburb. In my view, the only senator in history with less going for him would be Incitatus.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


This morning, my daughter cam home to visit from college; she travelled from Washington to Connecticut by Amtrak. I have to believe that the Amtrak budget is one which will benefit mightily from the high price of fuel. By my calculation, it is now a bit less expensive to make this trip by train than by car. Obviously, if you have many people traveling, the cost advantage still lies with the car. Also, if you travel on the super express trains or go first class, the cost is greater. Still, it has been a long time since I can remember it being less expensive to take the train than to drive.

One would hope that this change in the relative costs would lead to a marked rise in train ridership, and this appears to be the case. In July, Amtrak's revenue on the Northeast corridor (Boston-Washington) was up over 15% compared to last year. Who knows, maybe some day, Amtrak will be able to turn a profit.

Friday, September 19, 2008

When you have no idea what to do ------

"Given the gravity of this situation, and based on conversations I have had with both Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke, I have asked my economic team to refrain from presenting a more detailed blue-print of how an immediate plan might be structured until the Treasury and the Federal Reserve have had an opportunity to present their proposal." So says Barack Obama about the upset in the financial markets.

Amazing, isn't it? Obama has gone through this entire campaign without giving details on essentially any economic programs other than his tax plan -- and that tax plan has been changed so often that no one could truly know what Obama's "plan" consists of. The truth is that Obama himself does not know. Now, he has a new strategy: As a statesman, he is putting himself above politics as usual. We are to elect him without knowing what he would do. For myself, I still like Reagan's old Russian proverb, "Trust, but verify." Until Obama comes forward with some details, I have to assume that he has no idea what to do.

In his own words!

With all of the hubbub about the experience of Barack Obama, we need to pay close attention to what the candidate himself said about his own level of understanding of the government. After a year in the Senate, Barack Obama took to the floor and, in the course of his remarks, said the following: "I am accustomed sometimes to not knowing what is going on around here [in the Senate]." Congressional Record - Senate at S13091. How can anyone think that this man is ready to be President.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Congress adjorning?

In July, Congress adjourned for a 5 week summer recess despite the severe problem of the cost of imported oil. Congress did nothing, and the Pelosi - Reid axis of incompetance would not even let members vote on whether or not to drill offshore. As a result, nothing has been done on that front. No one in the US knows if the government will or will not allow meaningful offshore drilling (not just the silly limited amount put forward by the Democrats in their Potemkin village of an energy bill). In other words, rather than taking a position so that the people and businesses could respond to the conditions set by the government, the Democrats opted for the maximum paralysis. Should the oil companies get ready to drill? Well, no one knows if it will be allowed. Should the alternative energy industry crank up maximum output since there will be high oil prices due to low supply? No one knows since there still may be offshore drilling allowed that might make some of the alternative programs uneconomic. The Axis of Incompetance has stayed true to its name.

Now, Harry Reid, the Senate Chieftain of the Axis of Incompetance, has said that the best thing Congress can do with regard to the problems in the financial markets is to adjourn. Once again, Reid selects paralysis. Today's proposal for a new federal entity like the RTC to manage this crisis cannot go forward without approval by Congress. That would be hard to do if they are all home on recess. Other proposals to remedy this calamity similarly require Congressional action.

What is Reid's new campaign slogan going to be? -- "Let them eat cake?" At least Marie Antoinette was good looking. How can the Democrats have any claim to be able to solve this country's problems when their constant solution to everything is to avoid doing anything and then to blame Bush and the Republicans. The problem with this strategy is that the American people are not as dumb as Reid and Pelosi seem to think. They actully understand that one needs to deal with problems not to hide from them.

What's next? Will Reid and Pelosi propose a new reconstruction aid package for the Houston metro area consisting of cordoning it off and pretending that it does not exist? Or maybe the Democrats will hire Hollywood actors to play diplomats and hold some scripted UN sessions where all world problems are resolved. After all, who cares about reality. We can all get that from reality TV. The Democrats do not do themselves any favor by having the undynamic duo as their leaders. Surely, there must be someone better. Maybe someone with a brain who can actually tell the truth.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Georgia rules

The current international economic turmoil has one very interesting piece that is all but overlooked in the US press: one might say that Russia's chickens are coming home to roost (sorry Jeremiah). For the last two days, the Russian stock market has crashed and trading had to be suspended. In normal times, one would assume that US or Western European institutions would step in to help the Russian governmental institutions to steady this market. Because of the Russian invasion of Georgia, however, no such help has been forthcoming. Some will argue that the US and big European countries have enough on their plate already without assisting the Russians, but that misses the point. No one has even said anything about the Russian meltdown -- which, by the way, is substantially worse than anything happening in the West. The Russian economy is heavily dependant on oil revenues, and these have been plummeting with the decline in the oil price. As a result, there is little in the way of economic strength that the Russians have to cushion the shock of this economic upset. Hopefully, Putin and Medvedev will get the message that their invasion of Georgia had real and enormous costs to Russia. Maybe next time they will think twice before going ahead with the attack.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Financial markets -- what effect on the election

It has been interesting to see the unanimity of Obama and McCain with regards to the government intervention with Fanny and Freddie and the refusal to have government intervention with Lehman. Both candidates supported the government acting to save Fanny and Freddie from bankruptcy. Both also supported the refusal to act insofar as Lehman is concerned. I cannot wait to see what will differentiate the two in this area. So far, we have seen the predictable -- Obama saying the fault for the crisis lies with Republicans, but other than that nonsense, neither has much to say.

It seems to me that no one is making clear to the public what is really at stake here. Looking at Lehman alone, its stock value has gone down from about $50 billion a year ago to about 100 million dollars today. That $50 billion dollar loss is just a part of the losses that have resulted. Lehman's bonds and other instruments will be frozen by the bankruptcy and may not be paid at anything like full value. One never knows in a bankruptcy what will come out of it. In other words, the losses from Lehman alone to the economy will be as large as the amount pumped into the economy by the feds in the so-called "stimulus" package. The only difference is that the stimulus package gave everyone a small amount, while the Lehman failure will hit some people extremely hard -- meaning that the Lehman failure will hurt much more in human terms than the stimulus package helped. When you couple the Lehman loss with the losses to shareholders in Fanny and Freddie, the losses for Merrill shareholders, those of Washington Mutual, Bear Sterns and IndyMac and all of the other failing or threatened financial institutions, the losses to the economy are staggering. I have not seen anyone come up with a full total, but the number has to be above a trillion dollars. Couple that loss with the increased amounts that have been sent overseas for imported energy this year, and it is a miracle that the economy has still continued to grow.

So the question remains -- what will the candidates do about this? Obama's answer of raising taxes for the top 5% clearly will only make things worse. Obviously, when there have been major losses in the economy, it does not make sense to take more money out of circulation in the private sector. The net effect of those tax raises will be multiplied many times and will produce a material slow down beyond any already being experienced.

McCain's prescription of cutting business taxes may help, but it is far from a panacea. The question is how to heal the sick credit and housing markets.

Let's hope that we hear some clear answers (rather than finger pointing) from both candidates before long.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A most important poll movement

Today's Rasmussen polls state that from now until the election, the percentages of Republicans and Democrats in the electorate will be adjusted week to week rather than month to month as has been the case up to now. This is a fairly standard way of fine tuning the polling as the election approaches. The percentages used are the average responses of the previous six weeks of polling.

Right now, according to Rasmussen, the electorate is 33.2% Republican and 38.7% Democratic. This is substantially better than the figures from February through June of this year when the Democrats lead stayed at approximately 10%. Even more interesting are the figures from just the first two weeks in September. These compute to 34.4% Republican and 38.3% Democratic, a Democratic lead of only 3.9%.

There is no way to know if the trend in party identification will continue or move back the other way. What is essential to consider, however, is that the recent trend proof that all of the talk of Obama adding new voters to beef up the Democrats' base is just that: talk. For all of the efforts by the Obama folks in that regard, the number of self described Democrats in the electorate has been declining at an increasingly rapid rate. Yet another underpinning of the Democrats' mantra about Obama is collapsing.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The move has been big

The post convention bounce for McCain has vaulted him into the lead in the national polls, although not by much. Now, however, the state by state polling results are coming out, and they show a major plus for the Republican. Just today, a new poll from marist in New Jersey shows Obama up by 3% in that state. If that poll of registered voters is accurate, Obama is in real trouble in this very blue state. The shift to likely voters usually favors the Republicans, and there is always the issue of the Bradley effect skewing the poll results towards Obama. On the other hand, New Jersey always seems to be closer in polls with the Republican doing better in September than in November. Still, if Obama loses New Jersey, he will never be president.

Another interesting poll is yesterday's Rasmussen poll in Washington. Obama leads by 2% in this western bastion of Democratic presidential voters. (Washington last voted Republican in the Reagan landslide of 1984). If Washington is truly in play at this point in the campaign, Obama is in deep trouble.

It will be extremely interesting to see what happens to McCain's lead once the debates start. If he can increase his lead due to all of the Obama campaign miscues (lipstick on pigs, McCain can't e-mail because of his war wounds, serial sexist attacks on Sarah Palin), McCain may be able to put the election away in the next montht. Sure, events could still change things, but if the electorate comes to see Obama and his campaign as sexist bumblers, there will be no particular groundswell to put them in charge of the country. Obama needs to change the dynamic now -- and unlike the latest ad castigating McCain for his war injuries, Obama has to change the dynamic in his favor.

No, but he sure can type

The Obama campaign has hit a new low with its ad castigating John McCain for not being able to send an e-mail. The ad was pretty lame to begin with; millions of people in this country do not know how to send e-mails, and mocking McCain in this way may well offend them. More important, however, is the now-publicized fact as to why McCain is not computer savvy: the repeated beatings he suffered while a prisoner of war have left him incapable of using a keyboard. Nice one David Axelrod: spend millions to produce and show an ad that in essence attacks McCain as being unfit to be president because he was permanantly injured in the service of the USA. Obama's signature issue has always been the war in Iraq; Bush used poor intelligence and bad judgment in leading the US to war according to Obama. Obama claims that he would do better. Now, however, he has put forward an ad that uses bad intelligence (all they would have to do is use Google to find the reason for McCain's inability to use e-mail). If Obama knew that McCain could not type due to his war injuries, then Obama had displayed extremely bad judgment and venom. If Obama did not know, then he just made his decision without checking the facts -- again bad judgment in my opinion.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

what does AP stand for?...Always Political

After the Palin interview by Charlie Gibson, the AP disseminated an article with the headline "Palin open to War". That surprised me, since I watched the interview and actually knew what Governor Palin had said. Governor Palin said was that she favored NATO membership for Ukraine and perhaps Georgia. When Gibson asked if that would lead to war, the essence of her response was to explain the NATO treaty and then say that it does not have to lead to war or even a cold war. Obviously, she did not take any options off the table, but she was not promoting a war or anything close to that. Just a few days ago, in the O'reilly interview of Obama, Senator Obama said that he would not take any options off the table in dealing with Iran -- and Obama made clear that he included military options among those that remained on the table. Funny, isn't it, there was no AP article at that point with a headline "Obama open to War".

The bias in the media never ceases to amaze me!

The 9-11 Presidential forum

I have been watching McCain and Obama on the 9-11 Presidential forum at Columbia University in NY. I wonder who came up with the concept of this forum? My guess is that it must be Charlie Rose. After all, here we have two hours on a topic that could have been covered in twenty minutes, and we have in Judy Woodruff and her co-host people who make watching grass grow look exciting. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.........

Jews for Jesus

In a strange confluence of events, the attacks by the Obama campaign against governor Palin seem to have switched sides. In the last few days, we have heard from the Obama surrogates that Governor Palin was a religious extremist since there had been speakers from Jews for Jesus at her church in Alaska. While that attack had little traction (Jews for Jesus are hardly extremists), things seem to have turned around. One talking point put out by the Obama campaign is the claim the "Jesus was a community organizer while Pontius Pilate was a governor." This has been the tag line of a great many e-mails and blog entries. Now, the slogan has made it off the web. Congressman Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, used the slogan in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives. Cohen, who is Jewish, stood in the House and compared Obama to Jesus and Governor Palin to Pontius Pilate (messiah complex anyone?). Forgetting for the moment that Jesus was a carpenter and not a community organizer, the irony of the Obama campaign using representative Cohen as its own Jew for Jesus is great. Honestly, don't they have anything better to do with their time?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Whose idea is this?

The accepted wisdom among Democrats is the John Kerry lost because he did not hit back hard enough or fast enough when his military record was questioned by the Swift Boat Veterans. As a result of Obama trying to pounce immediately on any possible swift boat type matters, we are seeing a rush by the Obama campaign to respond to all news. So far this week, this policy seems to have caused a series of mistakes.

There is no need to repeat the recent problems of the Obama campaign. Still, one has to wonder how Obama would function as a President if he is in such a rush to respond to McCain that he cannot wait to get the response correct. Also, is it fair to expect an Obama White House to be able to get its political program through when the same political types are failing so miserably to control the campaign. There was no need for Obama to question McCain's honor. Nor was there any need for the lipstick remark. These are silly mistakes for seasoned politicians. They show that the campaign has been rattled by McCain's success and the Palin selection. What will these folks do if Obama is elected and there is a surprise by Iran or North Korea rather than by the McCain campaign. To use the old SNL name, Obama and his people are not ready for prime time. Obama can belittle experience and claim judgment is more important, but since Obama seems to be exhibiting neither, he is undercutting any basis for his candidacy.

It just gets worse and worse

Amid the lipstick on a pig uproar, the Democrats have decided to up the ante. This morning the chairman of the South Carolina Democrat party said that McCain picked a candidate whose chief qualification is that she did not have an abortion. That remark is a typical put down for a left wing Democrat (and a woman) who simply cannot bring herself to admit that there might be a conservative Republican woman who has actual accomplishments and a record to be proud of.

It is truly amazing to see the Obama folks engage in such blatant sexism in their barrage against Governor Palin. After years of Democrats telling America how they were the party which fights against racism and sexism, we have seen both emanating with great frequency from the Democrats in this campaign. The Republicans (who Democrats never tire of painting as sexist and racist) have had none of this.

It is good to remember the primary season and the reaction to the statement by Geraldine Ferraro that Senator Obama has gotten to where he is because he is a black man. Remember the outcry from the Obama folks and the media that Ferraro was making a racist comment? And all she said was that Obama was helped by his race. Now, Obama calls Governor Palin a pig and the woman who leads the Democrats says that Palin was chosen just because she did not have an abortion. Is the outrage as great as with the Ferraro statement. It certainly does not seem so. Certain of the media, like MSNBC, are busy explaining and justifying Obama's statement. A fast review of the reaction to the statement by the SC party chair shows that it is not even being mentioned by CNN or MSNBC. After all, why mention a stupid sexist smear when it hurts the candidate that you support.

Hopefully, the Obama folks will pay a price for their conduct by losing the support of the American people. Senator Obama claims that he wants to move beyond the old style politics that is so divisive. He can start by getting the S. C. party chair to resign. Still, the best way for America to move beyond divisive politics is to elect the only candidate who actually campaigns and governs that way: John McCain.

Pigs, Honor and Hypocracy

This morning Senator Obama shouted "Enough" to the press and the world in a bid to stop the ongoing controversy surrounding his comparison of Governor Palin to a pig. According to Obama this entire controversy was a creation of the McCain campaign designed to take the attention of the American people from the pressing issues in the campaign. What utter nonsense! Obama just doesn't get it.

It is safe to say that most people hearing the Obama remark thought that he was refering to Governor Palin as a pig. I know that I did. Still, let's assume for a moment that Obama actually did not mean to refer to Governor Palin. The exchange still shows that Obama lacks the judgment to be president. First, if Obama did not mean the remark, all that he had to say was I certainly did not mean to refer to Governor Palin and if anyone misunderstood me and was offended, I apologize. That non-apology apology would have sufficed to take the steam out of the story. Obama did not understand the dynamic of the campaign well enough to know to do this.

Second, if he is elected President, Obama will be meeting with world leaders in meeting where his words will have particular weight. Surely, Obama should have realized that his lipstick on a pig remark would be construed as referring to Governor Palin. Indeed, his claims to the contrary seem clearly contrived. If, however, Obama never perceived the insult in his words, then he surely should not be president. Will he slip up when speaking to Putin or to the Iranians? Will he fail to recognize the import of his words repeatedly?

This is not the first time that Obama spoke and then claimed he meant something else. His speech to AIPAC when he proclaimed his support for an "undivided" Jerusalem as capital of Israel comes to mind. The use of the word "undivided" is clearly understood as support for the Israeli position regarding Jerusalem. By two days later, Obama had taken it all back. He would not admit to a mistake, he just claimed that he meant something else.

Third, we got to see Obama deal with the firestorm that arose after he made these remarks. How did he respond? First, his campaign released a statement in which it accused John McCain of not being honorable. That was just stupid. Now he is out petulantly cricizing the media and the McCain campaign for making the pig remark into an issue.

Senator Obama: Why not address the issue directly and apologize? Is it so hard for you to admit you were wrong?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Obama hits a new low

I wrote earlier about how deep the despair of the Obama campaign must be for Obama himself to accuse publicly that McCain is a liar for calling himself a maverick. In short order, however, Senator Obama has gone even further. Tonight's Drudge Report carries a headline story in which Senator Obama, speaking of governor Palin says that you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. Wow!

So according to Senator Obama, Sarah Palin is a pig. Has he lost his mind? He can disagree with her policies, but to call her a pig is just nasty. Insults like that are not presidential and the public does not like them, no matter what the netroots crazies think. Does anyone remember 1992? At the end of the campaign President Bush was closing the gap quickly with Bill Clinton. Then, at a rally a few days before the election, President Bush called Clinton and Gore "bozos". The resulting upset quickly derailed the Bush momentum and Clinton won easily.

If there were a course called Campaigning 101, all of the recent Obama mistakes would be covered-- they are that obvious. One can only hope that they continue. If Obama is so upset by no longer being in the lead that he is melting down, we could see the makings of a major Republican landslide. If that happens, Senator will have no one to blame but himself.

Troop withdrawals -- more predictable reaction

In reporting the news of the impending troop withdrawals announced by the President today, ABC News immediately pointed out that the withdrawals will do nothing to help "beleaguered" troops in Iraq. Apparently, ABC has missed the news that casualties in Iraq have fallen to all time lows. In fact, most injuries are now related to accidents not combat. ABC still has to portray the troops who won this war as victims rather than the heroes that they are. They need rescuing since they are "beleaguered" not congratulations for all that they have achieved.

If anyone ever wanted to understand why the ratings for mainstream media news shows are falling off a cliff, they need only see the clear bias in this report which will be anathema to an enormous segment of everyday Americans.

Doubling down on defeat

With President Bush's announcement of further troop withdrawals from Iraq, the instantaneous response from Obama and his Democrat allies is that Bush is not withdrawing fast enough. Too little, too late is their new mantra.

I find their response predictable but still amazing. The surge worked, the war is going very successfully, victory is at hand. These troops will be coming home victorious and the American people know it. A sensible candidate would applaud this success and congratulate the troops for a job well done. I guess since Obama based his candidacy on audaciously hoping for a US defeat, he cannot now be seen to admit he was wrong. Maybe he should just adopt a new campaign slogan. How about "Defeat you can believe in" or "Country last".

Monday, September 8, 2008

Accusations of lying -- Obama must be comming unhinged

It is an unwritten rule in presidential politics that opponents do not question each other's honesty. More precisely, the rule is that if the occasion arises to question the honesty of the other candidate, this is done through the use of a surrogate -- some Senator or Governor or other party leader who goes out and castigates the purported liar. Now Senator Obama has broken this rule and has called McCain a liar on an issue where he should be doomed to fail. Obama's latest ad calls McCain a liar for calling himself a maverick. After all, says Obama, McCain has lobbyists working in his campaign and has voted with Bush 90% of the time. This is a shocking position for Obama to take, and it is made even more shocking since the Obama campaign has been so sharp and on target through this election cycle. Perhaps the sting of Palin's attacks and of falling behind in all of the national polls has brought on this mistake.

Simply put, McCain is a maverick and has been known to be one for many years. McCain took on his party on immigration, on campaign finance reform, on the appointment of judges, on the environment, as well as on other issues. He also took on the entrenched opinion with regard to his long advocacy for the surge in Iraq. Each time he worked for a position that he believed to be right for America, no matter what the party leadership wanted. He worked with Democrats repeatedly and was almost written off as a potential presidential candidate because of his apostasy. How much more clear could his "maverick" status be?

On the other hand, Obama's idea of change is to speak about reaching across the aisle to the other party, but never to do so. I never tire of watching the Obama spokemen try to answer the question as to when Senator Obama actually went against his party on anything. At the Saddleback forum, Senator Obama himself said that he worked against his party and with a Republican when he cooperated with Senator McCain on a particular piece of legislation. Of course, Senator Obama was far from complete in his retelling of the story. Indeed, after initially telling McCain that he would support the legislation, Senator Obama was told by his leader, Harry Reid, that he needed to oppose it. Senator Obama, the dutiful party hack, changed his position and announced his opposition. In other words, the instance cited by Obama as the time when he opposed his party ended with his abandoning his position and going along with the party leadership as soon as he was told to do so. Some maverick! Obama also cannot point to any legislation that he pushed through or even attempted to push through the Senate where there was significant division in his own party. Of course, that is because Senator Obama has never authored any legislation in his short career in the Senate. So he has no achievements either with or without the support of his party.

I have to believe that millions of Americans will perceive this name calling attack by Obama as just old style gutter politics. Particularly since the Obama campaign has taken on McCain on his strongest attribute, it is likely that the attack will fail and Obama will just lose in the process. Is Obama a post partisan candidate? Millions more will come to see him as just another machine pol and this will wound him more than he knows.

My guess is that the Obama campaign is in full panic mode. After leading for months in the polls and opening a large lead after the Democratic convention, the Obama folks probably felt reasonably comfortable that they could hang on to get a victory, particularly given the various trends which favor the Democrats this year. To fall behind so quickly must have shaken them up. But even more so, to fall behind and to lose the position of "star" of the campaign to Sarah Palin, must put the Obama folks into a tizzy from which they did not see themselves recovering.

Many pundits have said that the Palin selection was a hail mary play by McCain. While some of this was just the usual media snobbery against Palin (how could she be anything but a desparation choice?), this latest ad by the Obama folks really is a hail mary. They are trying to regain their position as the true candidate of change. Instead, they have managed to get Obama portrayed as the true candidate of slime and deceit.

Covering the economy's fanny

The takeover of Fanny and Freddie by the federal government announced over the weekend has been described relentlessly in the media as a bail out. This is a major distortion of what has happened. First, these are private companies owned by shareholders, and these owners are essentially being wiped out. Stock that was worth $70 about a year ago is now selling for 70 cents. that means that 99% of the value held by the shareholders has been erased. It is hard to call this a bailout.

What actually has happened is that the debt structures built by Fanny and Freddie have been recued by the feds. This debt serves the function of supplying liquidity to the mortgage market. In English, this means that Fanny and Freddie function to make sure that there are ample funds available for mortgage lending in the US. The result is that mortgage rates are lower, the effects of individual defaults are spread so that they are not unduly burdensome to the original lender, housing prices are supported and the home construction industry has more sales with the resulting increase in jobs and incomes. So, putting it clearly, the feds stepped in here not to bail out the owners of the companies or Wall Street, but rather to protect the US economy from a possible disaster of major magnitude.

It is worth remembering that in 1929-1932, the depression was brought on by the failure of a large number of banks and the resulting contraction of the banking system which dried up investment and liquidity. Indeed, at one point, a bank called the Bank of the United States failed and Europeans, thinking that the US central bank had failed, pulled billions of dollars from the US banking system. The American government did nothing but watch as the banking system collapsed. Actually the plan of then President Herbert Hoover was to raise taxes to make sure that there was no federal budget deficit, a plan not too far from the current plan announced by the Obama campaign. In any event, the price of doing nothing to save the banks was a depression, the likes of which had not been seen before or since.

I find it strange that the media insist on calling this a bail out when it is not. but then, I guess I should know better. The level of economic knowledge displayed by the media is so low that one wonders where they find reporters that ignorant.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

As the polls change, will the story change too?

Following the Republican convention, the polls are all moving towards the McCain Palin ticket. Today's Gallup tracking poll shows McCain ahead by 3, while the Rasmussen tracking poll shows a tie. By tomorrow, they both should have the full Republican bounce and will probably both show a McCain lead. For months now, the media story has been how this is a Democratic year and how Obama has had a lead albeit reduced. Few stories have mentioned the fact that pre-convention polls are notoriously inaccurate. When Obama's convention bounce was smaller than normal, the stories spun that rise as being more in keeping with recent experience; in other words, the bounces from conventions have been getting much smaller.

Now, we have a bounce out of the Republican convention which is not small. Just before the convention, Gallup had Obama up by 8 and now he is down by 3 and the full bounce is not yet manifested in the results. That is an eleven point bounce with more to come. What will be made of the fact that McCain got a much larger bounce from his convention than Obama did? My suspicion is that we will now see a raft of stories in the media discussing how the debates will be all important for the race to settle into a pattern and how the polls after the convention are of little value until the first debate has happened. We will see what happens.

The truth is that polls really are of little value at this point except to show the trend of the race. Begining with the Democratic convention, however, the worth of the polls began to rise, and this increased relevance will grow until mid October. At that point, with essentially all likely voters paying attention, the polls will be truly predictive. Still, it is extremely impressive and a positive indicator for the Republicans that they have been able to move ahead at this point. The real message to take away from these polls is this: Senator Obama may have great oratorical skills, but he still has not been able to close the sale with the American people. Indeed, right now, it looks like a substantial number of those previously sold are standing in the "returns" line. By playing it safe with the Biden pick and his convention speech, Senator Obama has put himself into a hole. He may be able to get out of it, but he needs to do something soon or he will simply sink deeper and deeper. After all, despite the seemingly endless campaign, millions of Americans know little or nothing about Barak Obama. If they come to see him as the Republicans portrayed him at their convention, his campaign will be toast.

Uncertainty among the states

This morning's New York Times has a front page article discussing how the Palin nomination has shaken up the likely results in a number of states. Well, maybe. And then again, maybe not.

The truth is that the choice between Obama and McCain is not that different from the choice in 2004 between Bush and Kerry. On the one side we have a very liberal senator with fairly standard Democratic liberal positions. On the other side, we have a somewhat conservative Republican who has varied from conservative orthodoxy in a number of instances. Obviously, this is a broad brush comparison and there are particular differences between Kerry and Obama and many more differences between Bush and McCain. Still the overarching comparison is valid.

Voters who view national security questions as requiring a strong push against the terrorists will still gravitate to the Republican. Those who want to withdraw the use of American force from the world will still gravitate to the Democrat. Voters who favor wealth redistribution with higher taxes on the wealthy will favor the Democrat, while those seeking increased growth through lower taxes will go with the Republicans. Obviously, for those who view abortion as the most important issue, the choices are obvious.

There are many voters who hold particular views which fall rather uniformly into the issue basket of one party or the other. They are going to continue to vote for their favored party with no changes from 2004. The real question this time is how will the voters with conflicting positions make their choice. Those voters who favor the Republican view of national security but the Democrats view of the economy will need to choose on the basis of what they consider the more important issue. And it is these voters who will decide the outcome.

As an overlay on this stratification by issues, there is also the deciding factor of the candidate himself. the voters need to feel comfortable with the candidate and view him a someone who will able to handle the difficult position of President. Much of the McCain campaign has been focused (like the Clinton campaign was) on the issue of Obama's readiness for the presidency. Obama has done the same thing in reverse. His campaign tries to tarnish the McCain credentials by making him into a Bush clone. Thus far, McCain's efforts in this field seem to have been much more successful than those of Obama.

Putting all of this together, it seems unlikely that the Palin selection will really change the list of states that are in play in any substantial way. The true determinant will be which issues come to the forefront as we approach the election. If something happens which makes national security the focus of attention, McCain will likely win. If the economic news gets worse and pushes that issue further to the front, Obama will be more likely to succeed.

Obviously, there may be extraneous events that trumph all of these factors. A scandal involving the nominee, a major flub at the debate which swings the question of suitability for the presidency far to one side, or the like could easily swing this close election one way or the other. In truth, however, extraneous events seem most likely to be in control of the outcome here. Will Russia invade another country? Will there be some economic disaster? Will oil spike back above $140 per barrel? These are determinants of the outcome. Assuming no major disasters in the vice presidential campaign, these candidates are not determinative of the outcome.

One last note: Our enemies understand this. Both Al Qeada and Iran know that events between now and the election could be responsible for determining who wins. Al Qeada historically acts as if a terrorist attack will strengthen the hand of thos who want to retreat. Just before the last election in Spain, Al Qeada unleashed its bombers on the train system in Madrid, and the election results two days later swung strongly against the incumbent prime minister who had supported the worldwide efforts against the terrorists. With this as their experience, Al Qeada may assume that an attack against the US would cement the election of Obama and act accordingly. Similarly, we may see increased activity by Iran and its surrogates or total quiet on this front depending on the result that the mullahs in Teheran wish to achieve. One thing is certain: we best be on our guard.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

earmark nonsense

Obama is out on the campaign trail today cricizing Governor Palin for taking earmarks and then claiming to be for change. How strange. In the last three years, even when he was not in Washington most of the time, Senator Obama requested $740 million of earmarks -- far more than the small amount that Governor Palin's town and state received while she was in office. This $740 million figure is the official one released by the Obama campaign last Spring. the have been questions raised whether or not there actually were more requests by Senator Obama than these.

During the last three years Senator McCain requested no earmarks. During the twenty years preceeding this period, Senator McCain requested no earmarks. So McCain asked for no earmarks, Governor Palin took some for Alaska and Wasila, and Obama asked for three quarters of a billion dollars of earmarks in only three years. And Obama is the one cricizing the others for claiming to be for change when they were involved with earmarks. This is more than a case of the pot calling the kettle black (and no, that is not a racist remark). It is a case of Obama's hubris getting the better of him. If the ten percent of the media which is not in the tank for Obama publicizes the comparative records, Obama will clearly be shown to have put his foot in his mouth.

The money tree

Senator Obama attended two fundraisers in Northern New Jersey in the last twenty four hours. Admission at each was over $30,000 per person. It is amazing to me how fast Senator Obama has changed from a post partisan new style politician who was going to do away with all of the old ills of our system into the standard style pol who came of age in a machine controlled area. A year ago, Obama was pledging his loyalty to the public financing system which was intended to take some of the influence of money out of our politics. Here was a new kind of candidate, one who would rise above partisanship and the favoring of big contributors. Now, he broke his promise to take public financing and is raking in the money in $30,000 units. Indeed, many at these functions gave $60,000 or more with each spouse contributing.

Maybe I am just cynical, but I find it hard to imagine that those who gave in such large amounts will not get special treatment by an Obama Administration. The millions who gave to Obama's campaign in amounts of $25 or $50 in the expectation that they were funding someone who would do away with the old special interest money oriented politics as usual should be sorely disappointed.

My take here is that Obama was never a post partisan politician or even one who wanted to take the money out of the system. Like in many other areas, Senator Obama just said what he thought would get him elected. There is a reason the slogan is "Change you can believe in". One has to "believe" rather than rely on the fact that Obama means change. Bill Clinton was right -- the Obama position was just another fairy tale.

Obama needs to remember, however, that most people know the fairy tale of the Emperor's New Clothes. Obama cannot long continue saying one thing and doing another without the America people turning strongly away from him.

Friday, September 5, 2008

the changing nature of change

For most of 2007 and 2008, Barack Obama has been the Change candidate using his mantra of "change you can believe in" to woo voters unhappy with the way things have been going in the country. But what has his change message been? Basically, an Obama directed change breaks down this way: first, we will have a new president with a very different background and outlook from President Bush. After all, Obama does not look like those other presidents on the dollar bills (no I am not trying to scare you). Second, Obama will call on Americans to make sacrifices -- it will not be easy! Third, Obama will inject government into many more areas of American society and will move towards redistribution of wealth by raising taxes on those who can afford it and giving more to those in need (or at least that is the claim). Fourth, Obama will move the country beyond race and beyond partisan rancor. He will work in a bipartisan fashion to get the whole country working as one.

Now that the party conventions have concluded, it is worth revisiting the subject of change to see how it stacks up currently. In short, much of Obama's change message has now been lost or coopted by the Republicans. First, while McCain looks more like those guys on the currency, he clearly is not planning to govern much like George Bush. In my view, this is the necessary outcome of the RNC; the Palin selection alone makes this clear. In fact, for those who were voting for Obama to be part of an historic change, they can now do so by voting for McCain and Palin. It may seem mindless to vote for a candidate just to make history, but there are some who feel as if it will make their vote more meaningful if they elect the first black or woman. Palin is unlikely to win over many in the black community on this basis, but there should be many others who will opt for McCain now that this element of the selection has been neutralized.

Second, McCain also is now calling for sacrifices by Americans, but his argument is a more individually uplifting one. The mantra of working for something larger than oneself calls for direct participation by the people rather than by the government. It is a basic and time honored philosophical difference between the Dems and the GOP.

Third, McCain has made clear that Obama's push towards more government involvement is anathema to him and the GOP. However, this again is the time honored dispute between the parties.

Fourth, Obama has lost the post partisan claim for the foreseeable future, and he will probably not be able to reclaim it before the election. Obama's selection of a tired, old Washington insider to be vice president (one who has spent his life as an unyielding partisan) did extreme damage to the Obama claim to be post partisan. The RNC also had some success in portraying Obama as anything but post partisan. On the other hand, McCain and his "scars" have been presented as being above the partisan wars of Washington. Unlike Obama's, his claim has actual facts to back him up. As this plays out, the difference here could prove crucial to the outcome of the election.

Right now, McCain has established a significant claim to being the change candidate. The extraordinary prospect of the incumbent party winning the argument as to who is the party of change, gives McCain the possibility of sweeping the election. Still, even a relatively narrow loss by the Republicans on the change issue would be enough for McCain to win based upon his enormous lead in the character and experience questions.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Biden's new biggest mistake so far

Previously, we described Joe Biden's announced plan for an Obama administration to prosecute President Bush and members of his administration for criminal conduct, presumably for the fight against Islamic terrorists. Amazingly, Joe Biden continues to outdo himself. It took Jumpin Joe less than a day to come up with an even bigger blooper.

This morning on Fox and Friends, Biden was asked about why he would be threatening criminal prosecution against members of the Bush administration. His response was that he had said no such thing and, indeed, he does not know where such reports come from. What a Bozo! His original statement threatening prosecution is on both audio and video tape. I realize that some call Biden the dumbest man in the Senate. Still it is amazing to see him denying that something he said publicly only yesterday had happened. What does he think? Is it that he cannot help himself? Or is Biden so out of it that he expects the American people to simply accept his lies.

Amazingly, Rush Limbaugh player both the original tape and the subsequent denial today on his show. what can Biden do now? My guess is that he will tell us tonight that he was only joking. Or maybe he will tell us that Rush and his millions of listeners just do not exist.

We have just spent a week hearing about how Governor Palin's choice will destroy the McCain ticket. After last night's speech by Palin and today's statements by Biden, it looks like the VP pick will destroy a ticket but it won't be the Republican one.