Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
At its core, the current crisis stems from two problems. Regulators, starting with Alan Greenspan, assumed that a real estate bubble couldn’t happen and that Wall Street could largely police itself. And households, struggling with incomes that haven’t kept up with inflation in recent years, said yes when those lightly regulated banks offered them wishful-thinking loans. No bailout can solve either problem.I agree with that basic assessment.
However, the prominence of Alan Greenspan's role, of course, raises a question that hasn't been asked enough (if at all) among media watchdogs. Instead, a liberal blogger had to raise it here:
Why is Mrs. Alan Greenspan allowed to anchor the coverage of the financial crisis at the Very Liberal MSNBC, considering the part her spouse played in this mess? Why does she never mention her conflict of interest?For those who don't know, Mrs. Alan Greenspan goes by the name of Andrea Mitchell when she reports for NBC and MSNBC (hmmm...since she uses her maiden name, maybe she IS "Ms. NBC").
Whether she should have such a prominent role in reporting this story is for NBC execs to answer. However, offering a disclaimer or two should be a no-brainer on her part.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Thought For The Day
Talk about the pot calling the...uh, never mind.
Is Jim Crow voting?
Some may dismiss Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius notion that race is the reason that the presidential polls are so close as pure rhetoric. But does she have a point?
What would the blogs and media say if Michelle Obama had stolen drugs from her charity and made her employees write fake prescriptions?
What would we be talking about if an Obama child was pregnant while still in High School? Where would the Conservative Family Groups be on that issue? What would the reaction be if the 17 your old male was a black kid with low slung jeans who listened to Young Jeezy instead of a gun toting, self professed "F*#*ing Redneck"? These are interesting questions to think about. Will views on race tilt this election to John McCain?
Michael Grunwald has an interesting piece on what he calls the Elephant in the Room in this week's Time magazine.
Are words such as "elite", "flashy", "aloof", "exotic", "good talker" code for uppity black man and do these code words play in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Indiana? I called a well respected black lobbyist in Washington, DC, who was Chief of Staff to two black members in Congress and sits on the Congressional Black Caucus Institute Board. He headed a large transportation company's congressional office and has worked with congressional delegations of those states and has been in many of them on site visits over the past 10 years. He assured me that those code words would have a detrimental effect on a certain type of voter. Usually a White Male above the age of 47, non urban, and blue collar. He said it could be telling in parts of Ohio and West Virginia but hastened to point out the new registration voter numbers in Virginia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Colorado.
Bickerstaff wonders if the younger new voters, who never knew busing, the Civil Rights movement, or rotary phones for that matter, will be a counterbalance to an almost certain voter cognitive dissonance on voting for a black man? Is the race issue a tactic that will be subversively used by Republicans this election?
Monday, September 15, 2008
John McCain's Learning Curve from 2000
The interesting part of this election is not the slogan of the week or the fundraising numbers. The most interesting issue is how much John McCain has learned from his 2000 Presidential run.
McCain was running as the candidate of change, eschewing the Religious Right as agents of intolerance, thumbing his nose at the Conservative establishment, and had his merry band of press pranksters ala Ken Kesey on the Straight Talk Express. He shot from the hip, spoke with unbelievable candor, and soundly got his clock cleaned in South Carolina by a whisper campaign and a few dirty tricks that derailed him and sent his campaign packing.
John McCain has learned from those lessons. He watched as campaigns either imploded or did not start in his own party's primary. The greatest thing he has done is employ tactics that may tarnish his 2000 reputation but could handily win him the White House. He has populated his campaign with Bush/Cheney/Rove campaign staff who now how to hit hard and fast and divert attention from the issues. Lipstick on a Pig sexism. a 26 year outsider in Washington. It was with amazement that a Democratic Senator told me that John McCain spoke at the convention like Barack Obama was the incumbent and McCain was the challenger to the past 8 years.
One could almost hear the gasps of the Washington Establishment combined with the sheer amazement of the Upper East Side elites at the picking of Sarah Palin. A mother with a pregnant daughter who graduated from the University Of Idaho. Absolutely unthinkable. I was actually told that if she at least went to a better school it would have prepared her -- for what, I do not know. Does Harvard and Yale truly treat you to a better view of America? Judging by my family that matriculated from such fine institutions, the answer is no. But many in what are called the fly-over states can relate to her and her family.
I am not certain if all of these machinations will yield a victory for McCain. Colorado and Virginia are running very strong Democratic Senate Candidates. In Virginia, Mark Warner leads by 30-35% in almost every poll. In Colorado, the Republican Party has funding issues. The Colorado Springs Republican Party has laid off staff and is purportedly out of money. Not exactly a rosy picture for GOTV.
Obama has also raised an outstanding $66 million in August and his numbers in CA, OH, and PA are good to fair in descending order. Can the Obama team return the questioning to judgment, the economy, and who relates to better to your needs? He does exceedingly well in polls that ask who you trust in leading the economy and who relates best to needs and priorities. The Wall Street crisis will probably be a win for Obama.
Bickerstaff thinks that the Debate will be the poll break. That is when most voters will focus.
When two Wall Street giants collapse (or are bought out) and an insurance giant is about to topple, not to mention ongoing housing woes, having the Republican presidential candidate -- who has previously admitted not knowing much about the economy -- say that the "fundamentals are strong" is an exercise in walking in fantasy land. This is the same candidate who had an adviser not too long ago saying that the nation is simply in a "mental recession."
The point is, there seems to be a disconnect between McCain and reality here. It wasn't too long ago that one of the major Republican Party talking points (often used to advance the idea of helping privatize Social Security) was pointing out that 50 percent of American households were now invested in the stock market. Well, if that's the case, Republicans must know that the market's recent rocky ride isn't just hitting wealthy people, but many middle class folks.
In other words, even if McCain doesn't believe the economy is in such a bad shape, perhaps this would be a good time to go with the public mood. Given the pounding he's been taking from the press from misstating Obama's record, he might as well "lie" about something that most people actually believe to be the truth: The economy is in a bad place and something needs to be done about it.
One More Bickerer
Labels: Isaac Bickerstaff