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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.

Biggest mistake so far by Biden

Joe Biden made a major mistake today when, as reported by the Guardian and as picked up by Drudge, he confirmed that an Obama administration would prosecute "crimes" committed by the Bush administration. While his sentiments do not surprise me, his clear admission of them is truly a shocker.

Putting Biden's comments into English, he is stating that the "new politics" promised by Barack Obama in which Obama will work in a bipartisan fashion to change the way things work in Washington is, in truth, an old fashioned partisan witch hunt. Indeed, for the Obama team, it will not be sufficient to win the election and take control of the government. No, they will have to destroy their opponents by sending them to prision for purported crimes. Since the so-called crimes that Biden refers basically involve actions by the government to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists, Biden admits that Obama is really planning on prosecuting the Bushies for actually having the nerve to fight back against the Islamic terrorists in a way that might stop future attacks from taking place.

In the whirl of the Palin speech and tonight's McCain speech, Bidens shocking admission has not received much attention, but, once it does, it is sure to turn off the millions of cetrist independant voters who will decide this election. would any sane American actually want a new government that has a principal mission to destroy its political enemies? Can anyone at the DNC actually believe that the criminalization of opponents will win converts to their cause?

I believe that this admission by Biden is just more proof of how out of touch Obama and his campaign really are. They live, as Peggy Noonan puts it, in a bubble. They only speak to the others in the bubble who think as they do. Surely Jeremiah Wright would applaud the arrest of many in the Bush administration as would William Ayres. So would Harry Reid and the Pelosi crowd. Indeed, the Daily Kos crowd would probably make an exception and hope for capital punishment in this instance. Fortunately, these folks do not speak for common sense, normal Americans who, I beleive, will see this farce for what it is: a manifestation of just how far the Obama folks are out of touch. Political show trials belong in the Stalinist Soviet Union, not the USA. As enticing as a Stalinist society may be to Obama and his friends like Ayres and the others, it will not play in the USA. I think we will be hearing a lot more about this in the weeks to come.

Sarah -- Wow!

Governor Palin's acceptance speech to the RNC Wednesday night was, in my opinion, the most extraordinary vice presidential speech of any convention since televising the conventions began a half century ago. After all, the media has done all it could in the days since the announcement of her selection by Senator McCain to paint Governor Palin as a rube from Alaska, some kind of small-town trailer trash. She was a bad mother, a liar who faked her own pregnancy, a lightweight with no experience and a crazed religious fanatic rolled into one. Indeed, all of the liberal media establishment threw even the pretense of objectivity away and went after her like Kieth Olbermann on steroids. "Who cares about the facts -- we will just make stuff up as we go along" seemed to be their battle cry. All the years of stories about respecting the privacy of the children of public figures (Chelsea) or about the need to support women who chose to work outside the home were discarded as if they never existed. Sarah's statements to a church group that she needed their prayers and the help of the Almighty to govern successfully in Alaska was a dangerous confluencde of church and state. Apparently church attendance is appropriate for a political candidate only if the church preaches racial hate and denounces the USA as a racist state to be damned by the Lord.

Well, last night all that changed. I believe that even some in the media bubble will perceive that change. Oh, we will still be treated to a never-ending stream of anti-Palin stories and the double standard of the liberal press will still be much in evidence. Nevertheless, the audience will know the truth. Sarah Palin is a smart, confident, strong, informed, witty and relentless fighter. She will be a champion for America's common folks, not kowtowing to the self appointed elited in the newsroom and TV studios. She cares more what the people on main street think than what is being said about her at the parties in Hollywood or Georgetown.

In truth, the media frenzy to destroy Governor Palin may well turn out to be the most important weapon that the GOP has in its arsenal this year. Personally, I will never forget watching Sally Quinn being interviewed by Bill O'Reilly with regard to he repugnant argument that the governor's five children disqualify her from holding high office. Sally was actually confronted by someone who told her that her position was sexist and repugnant and she seemed completely at a loss as to how to respond to someone who was not genuflecting to her obvious (to her) superior intellect. It was, as they say, an emperor has no clothes moment.

The governor's speech was well delivered and well written. Indeed, I notice in watching the talking head on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and CBS that on each network, there was a discussion how the speech had been written for her. Isn't it strange that last week no one remarked on any of these networks that Biden's speech had been written for him. and no one commented the next day that Obama's speech had been written for him. Apparently, we are only to be kept informed about Governor Palin because she is (remember the talkng points) not smart enough to hold national office.

My take, however, is that liberal blowhard pundits better come up with a new plan. Right now, their fear of losing control is showing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Obama's new politics: Smear, Scare, Smear

Funny, isn't it, how the Obama campaign was going to be part of the "new" politics. Obama even warned America that the Republicans would try to scare everyone about him and his funny name and his being black. Today's news reveal, however, that it is the Obama campaign that is going all out to smear Governor Palin and to scare Americans. The AP discusses an e-mail sent by Obama Florida Spokesman Mark Bubriski who calls Palin a "Nazi-sympathizer" and claims, incorrectly that she supported Pat Buchanan for president in 1999 and 2000. Actually, Palin supported Steve Forbes during that campaign.

Will we see Senator Obama fire his Florida spokesman and apologize to Governor Palin. Obviously, there is no need to fire him because he couldn't be bothered to find out the truth before he announced that she supported Buchanan. But the Nazi-sympathizer crack is going way overboard. What will we hear next? Was Palin a grand Kleagle in the KKK -- Wait, no, that was Democratic Senator Byrd from West Virginia. Was Palin a long time associate with known terrorists? Wait -- no -- that was Obama himself. Did Palin spend 20 years listening to racist rants in her church each week? Wait, no, that was also Obama himself. Did Palin funnel $14 million dollars in federal money to a slumlord constituent who just happened to have subsidized her purchase of the family home (a clear ethics violation and probably a felony)? Wait, no, that was also Obama himself.

The Obama campaign is out to paint Governor Palin as not being a regular America. They want people to think of her as a fringe kook. It's scare tactics, plain and simple. They should cut it out.

What's next for Palin

The onslaught against governor Palin and her family by the media, the Obama campaign and the left wing kooks is only four days old and already we have seen attacks against everything from her parenting skills to her honestly. In truth, while all this was to be expected, America had the right to expect better from these groups. Hopefully, the strident, baseless and nasty attacks will lead to a significant backlash which will help propel the McCain campaign forward. Still, there are certain attacks which deserve special mention.

First, one must look at Sally Quinn of the Washington Post. With her eminent resume, one would suppose that Ms. Quinn had some principles in which she believed other than political success. apparently not. She has now announced to the world that Governor Palin should not be vice president since she will be preoccupied with her new special-needs baby and also with her daughter's pregnancy. Noted feminist Sally now argues that Governor Palin should stay at home rather than working in a man's world. While the Washington Post could never be described as fair or open minded, one could have hoped that Ms. Quinn might, at least, be true to the principles of feminism which she claims to support. Women are now to be disqualified for office if they or their offspring have young children? Does Ms. Quinn think that John Kennedy performed poorly in office because his wife gave birth to a son and had a miscarriage during his term in office? Not surprisingly, we never heard that from Ms. Quinn. Indeed, when Bill Clinton was carrying on with Monica and then became preoccupied with covering up his acts, we never heard Ms. Quinn question if he was qualified for office. After all, these were men and Democrats.

Second, we should all pay special attention to the Daily Kos crowd for their particularly nasty attack on the governor. Without any evidence to support the charge, we are told that the Governor's young son was actually her grandson, the child of her daughter Bristol. This attack is just about as valid as the claim that Joe Biden is actually a women who underwent a sex change. Nevertheless, we see prominent media outlets repeating the charge and Andrew Sullivan is actually pushing it -- even after it has been proven false. Do we as a people really want our political agenda set by this crowd. what influence would these nut jobs have in an Obama administration. After all, these kinds of attacks are not new on the Daily Kos. Smears and hatchet jobs are the stuff on which the site thrives. Nevertheless, Obama still found it necessary and appropriate to speak at the Yearly Kos, the annual convention of these hatemongers.

Lastly, I think a special mention goes out to all of the libs who claim to be offended by the selection of governor Palin. First, they claim that McCain only chose her so that he could get the Hillary voters and then, they say that as women (or on behalf of women), they are offended. Funny, isn't it, that McCain never said he chose Governor Palin so as to reach the Hillary voters. Funny also, that the McCain camp must understand that most of the pro-choice angry women brigade would not go for a person of faith who is ardently pro-life (not to mention pro second amendment and otherwise conservative). No, McCain made a choice to appeal to both his base and to the independent or swing voters who want someone who actually understands their problems, someone who can discuss energy policy without being hemmed in by either the oil companies or the enviro-crazies, someone who has actually fought corruption, not (like Obama-Rezco) taken part in it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Gallup slants it commentary

Today's Gallup tracking poll shows Obama up six over McCain. Gallup announces its "analysis" that Obama got a "typical" convention bounce of 4% and McCain got a "minimal" bounce from the announcement of Palin as his vice presidential candidate. Strangely, Gallup does not explain why the "typical" bounce for Obama is so much less than the 17% that Bush got in 88, the 16% that Clinton got in 92, the bounce exceeding 10% that Bush and Gore got in 2000, etc. As Gallup understands it, all of the other convention bounces of the last 20 years were "atypical".

As far as the vice presidential bounce is concerned, Gallup does admit that the 2% increase following the Palin selection is "technically" better than the 2% decrease following the Biden announcement. Somehow, a 4% difference following the vp selection is just technical when it is in McCain's favor, but the same 4 % is material and typical when it follows the convention and, most important, is in Obama's favor.

I have to say, it makes me wonder why the Gallup numbers seem to show better for Obama than the corresponding Rasmussen tracking poll. Could it be that the commentary is not the only thing that Gallup is slanting?

The Main Stream Media strikes again

This morning, Yahoo is listing as a top news story an article from Bloomberg News entitled "Obama has Post Convention Poll Lead; Palin an Unknown". The news piece was released at 1:41 P.M. on Sunday. It focuses on the Gallup tracking poll and reports that the latest poll shows Obama with a lead of 8%. This, according to Bloomberg, shows that Obama received a major bounce from the Democratic Convention.

The article is just plain wrong. First, the Gallup poll on Sunday (released prior to the article)shows a 6% Obama lead not an 8% lead. A few days earlier, the Obama lead had, in fact, reached 8%, but that is now trending lower. Second, while the article mentions the other main tracking poll, Rasmussen, it just says that the Obama lead there is 3%. It buries the fact that this 3% lead is identical to the lead that Obama held immediately prior to the DNC. In other words, Rasmussen shows no Obama bounce. Third, the article makes a big point that only 40% of those asked thought Palin was qualified to be President. While this fits into the talking points of the Obama campaign, it ignores the fact that a large portion of those polled said that they did not know Palin well enough to form an opinion of her qualifications. In other words, Bloomberg used outdated information and selective segments of other poll results to come up with a narrative that supports Obama.

Is there ever going to be a time when the media tries to be objective again? Are the American people really going to be left with propaganda as their main news source?

By the way, e-mails to the author of the article asking for a correction have gone unanswered.


Connecticut Comments is meant to provide a place for me to post my thoughts about the passing scene. It will have a political and economic focus, but may cover anything at all. I hope you enjoy reading it!