Friday, October 10, 2008


25 Days Out -- Polls & Palin Problems

The left-leaning FiveThirtyEight and the right-leaning Real Clear Politics have similar projections on the electoral landscape.

FiveThirtyEight puts Obama at 348 electoral votes, McCain at 189; RCP has it Obama 277, McCain 158 (with 103 "toss-ups").

Even Fox News' poll gives Obama a 46-39 edge. Thirty-nine!! How can John McCain be polling at 39 percent in any poll!??! (Though, if memory serves, George H.W. Bush lost in '92 with 38 percent -- albeit in a three-way contest).

And, finally, it's a Friday evening and you know what that means -- time for bad political news to break. Unfortuntely (for the GOP), I don't think this story that will be "buried" over the weekend. There will be lots of back-and-forth on this development in the coming days, but one thing can't be argued: The Sarah Palin pick violated the first rule of vice-presidential selections: "First do no harm." Phrases like "abuse of power" don't sit too well a month out from an election.

Well, even though my overarching reason was more personal than political, I'm glad I elected not to be part of the conservative herd that rushed to coronate (or was it "consecrate"?) Sarah Palin as the love child of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

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A Buckley Decamps

William F.'s legitimate son, Christopher, goes for Obama (see here for the reason behind the necessary descriptor).

In the GOP "family departures" department, that now makes three:
Susan Eisenhower made her endorsement over the winter and Mrs. Chuck Hagel came out for Obama on Tuesday (Chuck has decided to stay neutral publicly).

Any others that come to mind?

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Open Thread

For the start, try to put non-Wall Street threads here -- leave the economic/financial chat for the previous post.

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Ragged Depressing/-ion Thoughts

Yeah, it's difficult to have the usual happy-go-lucky attitude when one wakes up to yet another day of Wall Street in meltdown, the outgoing President Clueless having no idea what to do to reassure either the markets or the public and the aspirants for his job don't exactly sound like they have magic bullets with which to fix the situation. And the stock market goes on its daily roller-coaster ride (a 1000 point swing today, from minus-700 to plus-300 before settling down "only" 128 points).

Though this is usally a politics-obsessed blog, I'm not going to just aimlessly talk about whether McCain is whipping up his crowds into an Obama-hating frenzy or whether Obama should have distanced himself from Bill Ayers 15 years ago.

Instead, even though (or perhaps, because) I'm not an economics or financial expert, I thought I would just post some items that have caught my eye in recent days touching upon the enormity of the problems facing the country (and world).

1) Iceland is bankrupt. In light of everything else, perhaps that's not a major issue (Pakistan's problems are far greater in the big picture). However, the fact that the United States is clearly not in any position to try to help -- but Russia (despite sliding oil prices) is -- really underscores the US's suddenly weakened poisition as an economic player.

2) Italy's Berlusconi says that the world leaders are considering briefly closing down the financial markets. I do believe that the Depression equivalent of this was a "bank holiday." Not good (as a sign, I mean).

3) My friend and former Newt-world colleague Rich Galen says all that needs to be said about A.I.G. and their spa-going junket partiers. In words of one phrase, f**k 'em. Here's a sad thought: Paulson made the wrong gamble -- the US arguably should have bailed out Lehman Bros. and let A.I.G. sink, instead of the other way around. Had that happened, the current crunch might have been averted (given that Lehman's demise had a greater ripple effect on the credit markets than A.I.G.'s would have).

Finally, in honor of the GOP's collective heads exploding over the boost that the bad economy is giving to Barack Obama's presidency, let's head into the weekend with this classic from Public Image Ltd:

Gotta love that great refrain, "Anger is an energy, anger is an energy, anger is an energy..."

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008


The Only Thing We Have To Fear... another one of these interminable debates.

The transcript of the second Obama-McCain debate is here.

I'll have a few updates as the night goes on. But the one thing that jumped out from the early part was John McCain's latest "Hail Mary" -- "Buying up bad loans to stabilize home mortgages" -- an idea that MSNBC describes (rightly, INMHO) as a "bailout for homeowners." Aside from that being a pretty outrageous pander (but relatively minor in a universe where $850 billion was just approved for Wall Street), a Republican should know that when presented with a real Democrat who wants to spend for "the little people" and a fake Democrat, the public usually votes for the real Democrat.

My overall reaction: Both candidates were OK, with hardly any standout moments. (Though I cringed hearing McCain refer to his opponent as "That one." Geez. Imagine if Biden had said that about Sarah Palin.)
The problem for McCain is that he can't afford draws at this point, given that he's running behind. Using the current annoying catch-phrase, there was no "game-changer" in this debate for the Arizonan.

UPDATE: The more I think of it, the more I believe McCain's "That one" remark may haunt him the way Obama's "You're likeable enough, Hillary" line did in the New Hampshire debate (the one time Obama nearly slipped into a "Rick Lazio" moment). It had an air of condescension and dismissiveness that is disturbing just between two individuals of similar stature and background, but when the age and ethnic reality of the two men who actually are on stage are acknowledged, it really becomes troubling. On the upside, McCain did avoid telling Obama to, um, "sit down."

UPDATE II: Andrew Sullivan does an overview of debate reaction. Consensus: No "game-changer" for McCain -- and a "tie" round isn't helpful to a boxer who is behind in points. A few people noticed "That one" too.

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NBC Bails on the Bailout Skit

See details here on the missing SNL bailout/subprime video.

UPDATE: NBC restores the video, albeit slightly edited. Go to this blog to find the original and compare and contrast (right around the 5:05 mark). Basically, the "People who should be shot" chyron has been removed, as well as "Mr. Sandler" thanking Barney Frank "and many Republicans as well for helping block congressional oversight of our corrupt activities."

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Monday, October 06, 2008


Progress Of A Sort...

Ben Smith reports on the odd case of the "undecided" racist voter.

Of, course, as a commenter to Ben's post puts it, another way of looking at this is that McCain's running such a bad campaign that he can't even count on racists voting for him.

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SNL "Bails" On The Democrats --UPDATED!!

ADDENDUM (10/7/08): Had to take this post down to do some fiddling with it. NBC has taken the bailout skit video off its site and its co-owned HULU video portal (see below). However, Michelle Malkin provides transcript and videoshots.


While Saturday Night Live did offer up another great Tina Fey-as-Sarah Palin skit this week (with Jason Sudekis doing a rather hilarious Joe Biden), it also included a lengthy, complex, skit on the bailout and the subprime policies that precipitated the crisis. It was not exactly flattering to congressional Democrats:

Whoever wrote this skit knows their stuff, because there are details in it that would go over the head of all but the most intense political junkie.

UPDATE: The scrubbing of this video has been pretty complete. In addition to it vanishing from NBC and Hulu, all versions of it posted to YouTube return the following message: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by NBC Universal." Interestingly, many other SNL skits from this season -- particularly the Palin/Fey ones -- are still up there on YouTube. Now, there may be legitimate legal issues involved. Two characters lampooned happen to be real-life couple Herbert and Marion Sandlers who made billions off of subprime mortgages they sold to Wachvia. A caption on the skit reads, "People who should be shot." Ooops

Anyway, Michelle Malkin takes that and adds the Soros factor to assess what may have happened.

UPDATE II: Shh...don't tell anyone, but right click on this link and "Save As" to your computer.

Stay tuned.  

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Sunday, October 05, 2008


The Perfect Circular "Mean"

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers shares (and her mother's) problem with Sarah Palin.

The reader refers to Palin as,

a female archetype we've had to deal with for years. In modern vernacular, she's a "mean girl," who is ambitious and has no trouble stabbing people in the back to get what she wants. This type of woman is terribly divisive, splitting women between adoring acolytes who want to be "just like them" and women who see clearly what's going on and can't believe that no one else (especially males) can see through it.
(This letter, by the way, follows one from another Sullivan reader who feels that Palin compares very unfavorably to other political women such as Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice or, especially, Margaret Thatcher.)

What is quite amusing is that, of course, there was a movie just a few years back precisely about that modern archetype. It was actually called, Mean Girls and was the first successful film script by (and starring) of course, Tina Fey, whose dead-on comedic cloning of Sarah Palin has launched her already ascendant career even higher into the stratosphere.

In the movie, Lindsay Lohan, is actually the "good" new girl at the school, while Rachel McAdams plays the top "mean girl" Regina George (no relation). Of course, in modern Hollywood, McAdams is seen as a "good girl" while Lohan has had a more problematic "role" in the tabloids.

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