Saturday, September 27, 2008

Barack Obama Agrees With John McCain Again and Again and Again

John McCain and Senator Barack Obama particapated in the first presidential debate at the University of Mississippi on Friday evening. Once again, John McCain showed without a doubt that he is ready to be Commander in Chief from day one. Senator McCain's answers were clear, direct, and heartfelt. Barack Obama, by contrast, repeatedly evaded questions and directly contradicted previous statements that he has made.

One of the most telling aspects of the debate was how often Senator Obama agreed with John McCain. On major point after major point, Barack Obama said that he agreed with John McCain. Senator Obama even agreed with John McCain's call for reforming and eliminating earmarks, despite the fact that Obama has requested $ 932 million in earmarks during the past three years.

There should be a video interface just above, but I seem to be having trouble with it. If you can't see it, here's a link.

Vice Presidential Debate
September 27, 2008

First Presidential Debate
September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Presidential McCain
McCain's bold move could reframe the election--and win it.
by William Kristol
09/25/2008 12:00:00 AM

THERE'S A REASON voters in presidential races tend to shy away from electing senators. The primary skills of a legislator--talking, compromising, "representing"--are different from those of an executive--deciding, choosing, "executing." There are individuals who have the ability both to deliberate patiently and act energetically--but it's a rare combination. The best legislators tend not to be great executives, and vice-versa.

This year, for the first time in U.S. history, both major party nominees for president are sitting senators. The winner may be the one who can convince some portion of the electorate that he's less "senatorial," and more "presidential," than the other.

That's why McCain's action Wednesday--announcing he would come back to Washington to try to broker a deal to save our financial system--could prove so important. The rescue package that was so poorly crafted and defended by the Bush administration seemed to be sliding toward defeat. The presidential candidates were on the sidelines, carping and opining and commenting. But one of them, John McCain, intervened suddenly and boldly, taking a risk in order to change the situation, and to rearrange the landscape.

Of course his motives were partly election-related. But "the interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place." If candidate McCain, for whatever mixed motives, ends up acting in a way that results in a deal that is viewed as better than the original proposal, and that seems to stabilize the markets and avert a meltdown--he'll benefit politically, and he deserves to. For McCain will have acted presidentially in the campaign--which some voters, quite reasonably, will think speaks to his qualifications to be president.

As for the question of Friday night's debate, which some in the media seem to think more important than saving the financial system--if the negotiations are still going on in D.C., McCain should offer to send Palin to debate Obama! Or he can take a break from the meetings, fly down at the last minute himself, and turn a boring foreign policy debate, in which he and Obama would repeat well-rehearsed arguments, into a discussion about leadership and decisiveness. And if the negotiations are clearly on a path to success, then McCain can say he can now afford to leave D.C., fly down, and the debate would become a victory lap for McCain.

So the action of these few days becomes more important than the talk of that hour and a half Friday night. One could even say the contrast between the two men in action becomes the true debate over who should be president. The media, being talkers and debaters, love debates, overestimate their importance, and are underestimating the possible effect of McCain's dramatic action. In the debate itself, McCain should mock the media's greater concern for gabbing than solving our economic problems, and should associate Obama with such a talk-heavy media-type approach to politics. If the race is between an energetic executive and an indecisive talker, the energetic executive should win.
From the Florida McCain Campaign

As you know, John McCain's decision to suspend his campaign on Wednesday was made in the hopes that politics could be set aside to address our economic crisis.

In response, Americans saw a familiar spectacle in Washington, DC. At a moment of crisis that threatens the economic security of American families, Washington played the typical blame game instead of setting aside politics and working together to find a that would avert a collapse of financial markets without squandering hundreds of billions of taxpayers' money to bailout out Wall Street for their risky lending practices.

Both parties in both Houses of Congress and the Administration need to come together to find a solution that would deserve the trust of the American people. And while there were attempts to do that, much of yesterday was spent fighting over who would get the credit for a deal and who would get the blame for failure. There was no deal or offer yesterday that had a majority of support in Congress. There was no deal yesterday that included adequate protections for the taxpayers. It is not enough to cut deals behind closed doors and then try to force it on the rest of Congress especially when it costs thousands of dollars for every American family.

The difference between Barack Obama and John McCain was apparent during the White House meeting yesterday where Barack Obama's priority was political posturing. John McCain listened to all sides so he could help focus the debate on finding a bipartisan resolution that is in the interest of taxpayers and homeowners. The Democratic interests stood together in opposition to an agreement that would accommodate additional taxpayers' protections.

Senator McCain has spent this morning talking to members of the Administration, Members of the Senate, and Members of the House. He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that a framework has been established for all parties to be represented in negotiations, including both Republicans and Democrats.

John McCain is now in route to the presidential debate this evening in Mississippi. Following the debate, he will return to Washington to continue working towards an agreement that both parties can come together to support, and an agreement that is fair to and respectful to the taxpayers and homeowners of this country.


Many believe that McCain was grandstanding for political reasons when he suspended his campaign and notified Obama and the Debate Commission that he would not participate in the debate if he felt he could do more good in Washington working on the economic bailout.

Political reasons? Well, duh. He's a politician and I'm cynical enough to believe that there is no politician alive who doesn't first think about how his actions will affect his political career.

I have also heard, well, okay, Washington insiders who know him say that McCain is honest and as far as they are concerned (my translation of what they said), he truly means it when he says "Country First" and that he would rather lose an election than to put politics or his career first. They believe that McCain believes that he can make a difference by being in Washington and felt that this was an issue of such importance that he believed it was more important to the country than his campaign.

Obama himself has said that this issue is so critical that it could lead to economic disaster. I grant that he kept in "constant" touch with Washington regarding the crisis, but he felt that a debate was more important than going to Washington to work on a crisis that could lead to an economic depression. He's a sitting Senator, a presidential candidate and, if indeed he can multi-task, surely he could prepare for the debate and have personal input into a crisis he will have to deal with if he is elected. It's only my opinion, but I don't think too highly of Obama feeling that "speechifying" at a debate in Mississippi is more important that at least attempting to plug a hole in the national economy.

Personally, if I thought a economic crisis of such importance that it could lead to an economic depression to rival, if not dwarf, that of the 1930's would be dropped in my lap in four months time, I would want to have my fingers in the pot. I'm of the opinion that if a mistake is made now, I would be better off having personal knowledge of what was behind the thinking that lead to that blunder. I don't want to be blindsided by something I might have been able to forestall the disaster. I'm no economic genius, but sometimes, that's a good thing. Those who are too close, maybe have too much knowledge, just can't see the forest for the trees.

Ever hear the story of the semi that was driven under an overpass? Well, it seems the truck was just a bit taller, or the overpass just a bit lower than the driver realized. He got partway through and got stuck. Police were called to the scene. Tow trucks were called. Finally highway engineers were called in. They had about decided the best way to get the truck out from under the overpass was to remove part of the overpass. The engineers were getting ready to call in cranes to lift the part of the overpass immediately over the truck so that the tow trucks could pull it out. Talk was that it would take several days to dismantle the overpass and weeks, not to mention possibly millions of dollars, to repair it.

Along came a young kid on a bike. He looked it over probably was getting in the way of the highway department engineers. Well, the well-educated engineers were getting tired of stepping around the kid and asked the cops to shoo him away. The kid got on his bike, tilted his head to the side, looked at the truck and asked:

"Why don't you let some air out of the tires?"

It was such an obvious answer that would get the truck unstuck and out from under the overpass that even the engineers didn't see it. I don't know what it would do to the tires, but at least the obstruction would be removed.

The idea is that it took someone who may not have known anything about engineering and trucks and construction, but who could see the problem with a fresh, clear eye and see the obvious answer.

What I'm saying is that it's possible that everyone who was involved in "working" on this bailout, may not be able to see the obvious. That could have been Obama. We know now that he and McCain both were among the tree-see-ers. Obama was invited by President Bush, at McCain's suggestion since they are both presidential candidates, to attend that now infamous meeting of the so-called minds. From everything we've heard, McCain sat back and listened. I don't think I've heard what Obama said or did in the meeting. Harry Reid apparently lost what is left of his mind. Others may have also. I understand there was screaming across the table. I'm not sure who was screaming and I don't really want to know who was indulging in such childish behavior instead of pushing up their shirtsleeves, put the economy and the American taxpayer, and their country first, and left the credit taking for another time.

It seems like there is enough blame to go around, not to mention finger-pointing at who was more presidential; McCain for "running" to Washington to try to fix it, or Obama for posturing. Let's not forget the jibe that Harry Reid made that may have encouraged John McCain that he was needed in Washington.

As it ends ups, Mr. Obama followed Mr. McCain to Washington, and they will both go to Oxford Mississippi to debate foreign policy. McCain feels that enough progress has been made that he can now comfortably participate in the debate. And and we're still waiting for Washington to figure out how to fix the mess they made.

Yes, Washington made the mess. They allowed lobbyists to prevail so that laws were changed to allow people who couldn't afford the mortgage to buy a house, which lead to greed and corruption, which lead to foreclosure on the property. The mortgage brokers had not the first care for the people they knew would not be able to afford the mortgage. Oh, there were other reasons, most of which can be traced right back to Washington greed. Plenty of Washington congressmen made money on the deal and don't kid yourself, they wouldn't have allowed the changes if didn't benefit them in some way. Some more than others and on both sides of the aisle. It's not just a Democratic or Republic mess. It's bi-partisan and they need to shut up, sit down, and clean their mess up. Congress apparently thinks that the best way to deal with something is to ignore the people who are warning about it until it gets to be such a problem that it will impact not just the United States, but the entire world. Then to fix it, throw money at it. That might really be the proper way to handle it, but Washington wouldn't know, that's just modus operandi for Washington.

Al-Queda doesn't need to fly planes into our buildings anymore. They can just sit back and watch Washington destroy us.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Bad Case of the Bail-Out Blues

* The bailout is wrong. The bailout is bad.

* $700 billion is a lot of money. But that's just the opening ante. Get used to saying "trillion."

* Conservatives need to do the bailout what they did to the Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court.

* Nancy Pelosi is saying she won't support the bailout plan without significant Republican support in the House. Congressional Republicans should oppose the bailout as a bloc. Any Republican who votes for the bailout should be voted out of office in November. Enough is enough.

* If Lehman Brothers can fail, so can the federal government itself. This is a wake-up call. Is anyone listening?

* Congress knew Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac were getting too big for their britches years ago. Congress ignored the potential problems back then, thus making matters worse today. Will Congress now finally recognize the dangers of kicking the Social Security and Medicare time-bombs down the road and address the problems sooner rather than later? Don't hold your breath.

* Let's not forget that the stage for this disaster was set by the Clinton administration, including the fact that the chief executive in charge of the Fannie Mae debacle was Clinton's former budget director Franklin Raines. Raines, as described by Wikipedia, was "accused by The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), the regulating body of Fannie Mae, of abetting widespread accounting errors, which included the shifting of losses so senior executives, such as himself, could earn large bonuses."

* John McCain's support among conservatives was tepid, at best, before tapping Sarah Palin to be his running mate. He's enjoyed tremendous support, enthusiastic even, since the announcement from the Right. And then reality set in and conservatives are once again facing the real John McCain. And it ain't pretty.

* First, McCain said he would fire SEC chief Chris Cox - a man highly regarded and respected by conservatives and who had nothing to do with all those financial companies going belly-up. Strike one.

* McCain followed that up by announcing support for a $25 billion bailout of the auto industry; a clear effort to "buy" Michigan in the upcoming election with taxpayer money. Strike two.

* And then Sen. McCain lent his support to a $700 billion Wall Street bailout while simultaneously calling for greater government regulation. Strike three.

* In the current domestic economic crisis, John McCain has "struck out." At least with fiscal conservatives.

* The biggest political danger to Sarah Palin isn't that she loses on November 4th as John McCain's running mate. Of greater concern is if she wins and is "ruined" by having to support John McCain's sure-to-be non-conservative agenda on a number of issues over the next four years. That won't help in a run against Hillary Clinton in 2012.

* Sarah Palin says she's a conservative. Sarah Palin says she's a maverick. What better way to prove both than by bucking her running mate and coming out against the bailout?

- courtesy of Chuck Muth

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


One night, as he finished his last beer, Joe's doorbell rang. He answered the door and found a six-foot cockroach standing there. The bug grabbed him by the collar and threw him across the room, then left.

The next night, the doorbell rang, and he found the same six-foot cockroach standing there. The big bug punched him in the stomach, then left.

The same thing happened the next night. This time, he was kneed in the groin and hit behind the ear as he doubled over in pain. Then the big bug left.

The following day, Joe went to see his doctor. He explained the events of the preceding four nights.

"What can I do?" he pleaded.

"Not much," the doctor replied. "There's just a nasty bug going around."

Governor Sarah Palin Draws Record Crowd to Rally at the Villages

Governor Sarah Palin received a rock star's welcome from the crowd at the Villages on Sunday afternoon. According to a local fire marshal, Mike Tucker, there were over 60,000 people in attendance Sunday, which would make Governor Palin's appearance at the Villages the largest political rally in Florida history.

The crowd at the Villages welcomed Palin with shouts of "USA!" and she chanted back along with them. In her address, Governor Palin promised that hard working Americans, due to their industrious spirit, will lift the country out of its current financial crisis. She pledged that a McCain-Palin administration would fight to keep taxes low, hold Wall Street accountable, and create new jobs for struggling Americans.

Central Florida News 13 Recaps Governor Palin's Historic Visit

Governor Palin emphasized her credentials as a reformer and a Washington outsider. In Alaska, Governor Palin stood up to her own party to pass landmark ethics reform and root out corruption. Governor Palin also fought the big energy companies in Alaska and forced them to open up the petroleum market.

Watch Governor Palin's Whole Speech at the Villages Here

As Governor Palin said in her speech, there is no better leader to shake up Washington than a maverick like John McCain. On issue after issue, John McCain has not been afraid to buck his own party for the good of the nation. John McCain took a courageous stand to vote against the Bush-Cheney energy bill; he took a courageous stand to advocate for the troop surge when it was incredibly unpopular; and he took a courageous stand in attempting to pass immigration reform despite tremendous criticism from many within his own party.

Palin's Message Plays Well to Adoring Crowd at the Villages
By Adam Smith
St. Petersburg Times
September 21, 2008

THE VILLAGES-- "This is Palin Country!" declared a banner in the town square of this retirement community, and it could hardly have been more of an understatement.

Thousands of people waited hours in the sweltering heat Sunday afternoon to see Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin make her Florida debut. The speech had the crowd so excited it could have passed for a visit by the pope, instead of a mere running mate.

To read more, click here: Palin's Message Plays Well to Adoring Crowd at the Villages

Palin Wows 'Em in the Villages
By Jim Stratton & Jeff Kunerth
The Orlando Sentinel
September 21, 2008

It was Palin's first visit to Florida since being named to the Republican ticket , and tens of thousands of people turned out to see the self-described "hockey mom" and former small-town mayor. Estimates ranged from 25,000 to 60,000.

To read more, click here: Palin Wows 'Em in the Villages

John McCain's Remarks on the Economic Crisis
New York, NY
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, ever corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.

Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns. This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward. I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.

It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration's proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.

Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.

I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.

We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night's debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.

Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.
Bernanke: Recession certain in absence of bailout
Associated Press
September 24, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke bluntly warned Congress on Tuesday it risks a recession, with higher unemployment and increased home foreclosures, if lawmakers fail to pass the Bush administration's $700 billion plan to bail out the financial industry.

Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee that inaction could leave ordinary businesses unable to borrow the money they need to expand and hire additional employees, while consumers could find themselves unable to finance big-ticket purchases such as cars and homes.

Bernanke's remarks came in response to a question from Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the committee's chairman, who seemed eager to hear a strong rationale for lawmakers to act swiftly on the administration's unprecedented request.

"The financial markets are in quite fragile condition and I think absent a plan they will get worse," Bernanke said.
Ominously, he added, "I believe if the credit markets are not functioning, that jobs will be lost, that our credit rate will rise, more houses will be foreclosed upon, GDP will contract, that the economy will just not be able to recover in a normal, healthy way."

GDP is a measure of growth, and a decline correlates with a recession.

Bernanke outlined his grim scenario as committee members sat in silence, and as the Bush administration pressed lawmakers publicly and privately to act speedily.

Vice President Dick Cheney and Jim Nussle, the Bush administration's budget director, met privately with restive House Republicans, some of whom emerged from the session unpersuaded.

"Just because God created the world in seven days doesn't mean we have to pass this bill in seven days," said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas.

Added Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., "I am emphatically against it."

Dodd and other key Democrats have been in private negotiations with the administration since the weekend on legislation designed to allow the government to buy bad debts held by banks and other financial institutions.

Despite expressions of unhappiness in both parties, the prospects for legislation seemed strong, with lawmakers eager to adjourn this week or next for the elections.

Differences remained, though, including a demand from many Democrats and some Republicans to strip executives at failing financial firms of lucrative "golden parachutes" on their way out the door.

The administration balked at another key Democratic demand: allowing judges to rewrite bankrupt homeowners' mortgages so they could avoid foreclosure.

Despite the unresolved issues, President Bush predicted the Democratic-controlled Congress would soon pass a "a robust plan to deal with serious problems." He was speaking to the United Nations General assembly.

Stocks held steady in pre-noon trading on Wall Street as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told the Senate Banking Committee that quick passage of the administration's plan is "the single most effective thing we can do to help homeowners, the American people and stimulate our economy."

But even before Paulson could speak, lawmakers expressed unhappiness, criticism of the plan and -- in the case of some conservative Republicans -- outright opposition.

"I understand speed is important, but I'm far more interested in whether or not we get this right," said Dodd, who spoke first. "There is no second act to this. There is no alternative idea out there with resources available if this does not work," he added.

Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the panel's senior Republican, was even more blunt. "I have long opposed government bailouts for individuals and corporate America alike," he said. Seated a few feet away from Paulson and Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal reserve, he added, "We have been given no credible assurances that this plan will work. We could very well send $700 billion, or a trillion, and not resolve the crisis."

The legislation that the administration is promoting would allow the government to buy bad mortgages and other troubled assets held by endangered banks and financial institutions. Getting those debts off their books should bolster their balance sheets, making them more inclined to lend and easing one of the biggest choke points in the credit crisis. If the plan works, it should help lift a major weight off the sputtering economy.

Buttressing Paulson's comments, Bernanke said action by lawmakers "is urgently required to stabilize the situation and avert what otherwise could be very serious consequences for our financial markets and for our economy."

A third witness, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox, urged Congress to regulate a type of corporate debt insurance that figured prominently in the country's financial crisis.

"I urge you to provide in statute the authority to regulate these products to enhance investor protection and ensure the operation of fair and orderly markets," he said. The debt insurance is known as credit default swaps.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Capitalism: You Gotta Love It

I’m a capitalist. I have no shame of it and I embrace it. I think that anyone should be able to make a dollar in nearly any legal, moral, ethical way they can. Yeah, I put those caveats on capitalism; that’s my view of capitalism.

I do believe that prices should be allowed to go as high as the public will bear. I’m not in favor of gouging at any time, much less during times of economic stress. I’m not talking about price fixing where business owners get together and decide that they all will charge the same price for their product. Gouging and price fixing are always wrong, not to mention illegal, immoral, and unethical.

I am not capitalist enough to think it’s fine and dandy for the CEO’s of a failed company to walk away with millions in their “golden parachutes” when their employees lose their job, a paycheck, their benefits, pensions, 401’s and everything else they’ve worked for. Because a company goes under, the employee can lose not only the job and everything that goes with it, but they could end up losing their home and everything else they hold dear. Sure, they can rebuild their lives, but should they be the big losers when the CEO’s, CFO’s and all the other alphabets caused the company to fail by making poor decisions, wrong choices, or just plain greed?

That is wrong. Wrong is always wrong, no matter how it’s spun. I have little problem when the alphabets prove themselves with making or keeping the company successful year after year. They should be rewarded for their efforts. And if they negotiated a contract that gives them the so-called “golden parachute” for a job well done, so be it. But, when the company fails, the alphabets should lose too and lose big. They stand to profit the most, so should also lose the most. In fact, the more I think about it anyone, especially in upper management, who stands to gain from the success of a company, should also stand to lose from the failure.

Reagan’s trickle down economics works. The alphabets who get the “golden parachute” jobs should remember who makes their policies work. It’s you and me and the people like us. The white, blue, and pink collar workers who are the front line and do the actual job of the company. Don’t get me wrong; the alphabets earn their place in the food chain. And when the company is successful, the success should trickle down from the alphabet at the top to the newest employee in the company.

Yes, I’m a capitalist. I want people to get whatever they can in the way of pay, benefits, and bonuses. Rank and file employees are happy to get raises and better benefits when the company succeeds. Better yet, when they get those raises and improved benefits packages, let them know it’s because they have done a good job; that it’s through their efforts that the company has done as well as it has. When they know they are appreciated, they “own” their jobs, and the company becomes “their” company. When they feel they are not appreciated, that feeling of ownership doesn’t exist and they become “just another employee” who doesn’t matter.

I believe in getting out what you put in. If you put time and effort into a job, you should be rewarded for it. If you put mistakes and poor decisions into that job, you should be rewarded in kind.

Gold is a heavy metal and “parachutes” made from gold may not be the thing you want when your company is spiraling down.
To Debate or Not Debate

Senator McCain has announced that he is suspending his campaign temporarily to return to Washington to work on this $700+billion bailout issue. He has asked Senator Obama to do the same, and to delay the scheduled Friday night debate in Oxford, Mississippi.

Obama believes that a president should be able to do more than one thing at a time, and wants to deal with the problem, continue campaigning, and debate as scheduled. After all, they’ve spent time preparing for the debate, it’s five weeks until election, and it’s only a 2.5 hour plane trip from Washington to Mississippi.

The debate commission (I’m not sure if that is a real title and should be capitalized, or just a group of people who have organized the debates) wants the debate to go forward as scheduled. (Suggestion: if the debate is held Friday night, change the topic to the economy.)

Who is right? Well, actually both are. As Obama says, a president must be able to multi-task. As McCain believes, it’s important to deal with this escalating economic problem. I personally commend McCain for feeling that this is important enough to risk the election.

I think McCain has heard enough from the American citizens to understand that this is a lot of money we’re talking about. Even if it turns out it doesn’t cost that much, we’re still talking about our tax dollars. It’s our money. Ben Bernacke and Hank Paulsen don’t want anyone looking over their shoulders while they are dealing with saving the banks, AIG, and ultimately, the American economy. I hear they are honorable men and can be trusted to do the right thing. This might be true, they might be fine, honorable men with only the best of intentions, but when we’re talking the numbers we’re talking, and when it’s the economy that they are trying to save, I want to know they are not only going to do the right thing, but also that this is the right thing to do.

I’m sorry, this is just too much money and just too important for Congress to blindly pass this bill as it stands. I am concerned that unless this bill is very carefully vetted our Congresscritters will at least try to add pork to this bill. It’s already been called a “Christmas Tree”. You know, adding this piece of glitter or that shiny object and hanging it on to the bill. Obama has already said that he would prefer to see the bill have an addition to the bill that ensures another round of incentive checks to the American taxpayer. He also backpedaled and later said it wouldn’t keep him from voting on it if it wasn’t attached.

Let’s remember one thing: neither candidate can really do a whole lot of anything except talk about the economy. Whoever is elected won’t have any power until January to put their plans in effect. Between now and then, any input will be just because they are a candidate. However. They both have power as Senators who can go to Capitol Hill and make an effort to work this problem out.

Campaigning is all talk about what they think and what they would do. Talk is cheap. It’s time to step up and show what they can do now. Sure, they can both multi-task. This is a litmus test. I want them to show that they can deal with this problem by proving their leadership abilities, not that they can walk and chew gum at the same time. McCain has shown leadership by suspending his campaign to deal with this. I would expect him, as president, to suspend making a speech to deal with a national disaster. President Bush cut short his visit to a Florida school, not to mention everything else, to deal with that little dustup in New York in 2001. In the meantime, they are both sitting Senators representing the people of their respective states. This is the time to represent those citizens.

McCain is ready to take action and is on the way to Washington. Obama thinks they can fix the economy and still have the debates on Friday night. That’s a little more than 48 hours away. Can this be worked out in 48 hours? Let’s get real. Congress is involved.

I fully expect Congress to be open until this is dealt with. Is Congress up to working non-stop until this is ironed out? Are they willing to work those hours? Personally, I see this as a time when Congress needs to be in the Capitol until it’s a done deal. If that means sleeping a couple of hours at a time on sofas in their offices, that’s what they should do.

In my personal opinion, if I wanted to see where my Congressional representatives were from now until the bill was signed, I should not have to look anywhere but in their Congressional seat or their office. Meals should be taken at their desk. I will allow restroom time.

This is way too important for them to be anywhere else.
Foot in Mouth Disease

It happens to everyone. A remark is made and (usually) the person who made the remark wants to rewind time so they can revise what was said to (pick your choice) 1. make more sense; 2. be in reference to the actual topic; or 3. be accurate.

You realize something is wrong when you hear the sniggers, see the rolling eyes or the mouthful of food or drink come spewing out of mouths. You do a quick rerun of what you just said and realize you put your (insert shoe size here) New Balance 601's into your mouth.

Most of the time it's innocuous. No big deal.

It happened to Senator Joe Biden the other day. He was referencing how President Franklin Roosevelt reacted when the Stock Market fell on October 29, 1929 to begin the Great Depression.

"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened,'" Barack Obama's running mate recently told the "CBS Evening News."

As you and my other reader know, because my readers are the smartest, most astute readers on the Web (yes, I know, I'm shameless), it was Herbert Hoover who was president when the market crashed in '29, not FDR. Something else Biden said that was not mentioned in the article I read, no one, not FDR or Hoover, got on TV to talk about the crash because TV didn't exist at the time.

That Biden was historically inaccurate isn't much of a problem. I'm not even really concerned with what Biden or any of the candidates have to say about what happened.

I am much more concerned with what is being done about it. I usually like when someone steps back from an issue and thinks it through, then gives a thoughtful, clearly reasoned response. Senator Obama did just that when the most current financial crisis fell into our laps.

Even more, I like when a candidate can give an answer based on what he (or she as the case may be) has already stated as part of their platform. That's what McCain did.

I'd like to step back a second and address what many consider to be McCain's foot-in-mouth statement. McCain made a statement about how the "fundamentals" were strong. Obama jumped in and asked what economy he was talking about. The media did their part and broadcast the portion where McCain spoke of the “fundamentals” and left out the part before where he defined the fundamentals. McCain made the statement in Tampa and it was widely (in the Tampa area anyway) broadcast. I saw the entire statement and know the context. When McCain was talking about the "fundamentals", he had just talked, and I mean within the same sentence and paragraph, about the fundamentals of the economy being…the people. The business owners, the entrepreneurs and the employees, and they were what is strong about the economy. I remember thinking, yes! He's got it right - it's the people who are the strength of the economy.

McCain had to make a statement the next day clarifying what he said. And yes, even I agree that the economy itself is in poor condition right now. I wasn't, and still am not, one who was running around screaming, "the sky is falling!" I leave that up to the liberals and those who are scared of every bump in the road. Is the road bumpy? Yeah, it is. Lots of potholes need to be fixed. McCain was ready with a plan of what he would do if he were president. Obama wasn’t. He came out with a statement saying something to the effect of, let's wait and see.

This isn't something we can wait and see. I don't agree with the current bail out of $700+ billions of dollars to "fix" this problem. Especially if there is no oversight on how that money is to be used. This isn't pocket change and this isn't an "owie" that needs some Neosporin and a Band-Aid.

This is our money, our tax dollars that Paulsen and Bernecke want to use to bail out the economy. I want to know that the people doling out this money know what they are doing and that the money will be used to it's best use.

Not something Congress is familiar with.

Breaking News: McCain Temporarily Suspends Campaign

Senator John McCain has issued a statement that he has temporarily suspended his campaign to return to Washington to work on the current financial meltdown.

Senator Barack Obama has now issued a statement saying that he called McCain early this morning asking if he would join the campaigns to work together on this crisis.

The economy aside, the question is who made the first move? You know, I really don’t care. This is a game of one-upmanship that way too many will care about. My only concern is: what will be done about the economy? It’s in freefall right now and way too many people are going to be hurt.

So far, the “little” person, those of use who are working stiffs, were mostly concerned with the price of gas. That’s yesterday’s issue. Today I’m more concerned with will we be able to afford the price of bread tomorrow?

In actuality, I’m not too concerned about myself. I’ve got a job that isn’t going away and history has proven that when the economy takes a severe hit, crime goes up. I can pay my bills, the mortgage, and if the prices don’t skyrocket out of sight, I’ll be able to afford to buy gas and food. I think the pension I’ve been working toward is safe, but I’ll be keeping a wary eye on that. I may have to cut back on the “stuff” of life, but I personally will be all right.

But, I’m in a better position than a lot of people. Most people don’t have a job in an industry that gets “better” when crime goes up. Many people are living day-to-day, paycheck-to-paycheck. Some even living today on next weeks pay.

McCain feels that the economy bailout is such a huge, immediate problem that the campaign must stop and the economy be addressed. He’s right. The issue must be addressed, and McCain understands that. I think McCain realizes that the American citizen (read: voter) is angry that we’re bailing out yet another financial failure. It needs to be addressed, addressed now, and someone needs to show some leadership.

Obama sees that the issue can be addressed and the debates go on. Go to Washington, work on that issue, fly to Mississippi for the debate Friday night, then return to Washington after. The debate commission feels the same way. They want to see the debates go forward. Okay, that’s a way. It’s a compromise; something that Democrats are famous for. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Fox News commentators have suggested (probably among many) that the topic of the debate be changed from foreign policy to the economy. I think that’s a good compromise. It would show just which of the candidates have a handle on the problem and, even more importantly, what they propose to do about it.

The problem is, as candidates neither McCain nor Obama are in a position to do anything about the economic problems we face. As Senators both of them can do something substantial if they return to Washington and begin to work on it. As Senators, they have the power and authority to find a solution. As candidates, all they can do is talk about what they think should be done or what they would do.

The time for talk is over for now. Both senators should be on the way Washington so that they can be part of the process that is needed to work this out. McCain has said he is going to Washington. I know Obama is currently in Florida preparing for the debates and intends to be in Oxford Friday night. I haven’t heard whether his next stop is Washington or Oxford, Mississippi.

Who is showing leadership?

The Man Who Never Was
By Tony Blankley
September 24, 2008

The mainstream media have gone over the line and are now straight-out propagandists for the Obama campaign.

While they have been liberal and blinkered in their worldview for decades, in 2007-08, for the first time, the major media consciously are covering for one candidate for president and consciously are knifing the other. This is no longer journalism; it is simply propaganda. (The American left-wing version of the Volkischer Beobachter cannot be far behind.)

And as a result, we are less than seven weeks away from possibly electing a president who has not been thoroughly or even halfway honestly presented to the country by our watchdogs -- the press. The image of Obama that the press has presented to the public is not a fair approximation of the real man. They consciously have ignored whole years of his life and have shown a lack of curiosity about such gaps, which bespeaks a lack of journalistic instinct.

Thus, the public image of Obama is of a "man who never was."

I take that phrase from a 1956 movie about a real-life World War II British intelligence operation to trick the Germans into thinking the Allies were going to invade Greece rather than Sicily in 1943. Operation Mincemeat involved the acquisition of a human corpse dressed as "Major William Martin, R.M.," which was put into the sea near Spain. Attached to the corpse was a briefcase containing fake letters suggesting that the Allied attack would be against Sardinia and Greece.

To make the operation credible, British intelligence concocted a fictional life for the corpse, creating a letter from a lover and tickets to a London theater -- all the details of a life, but not the actual life of the dead young man whose corpse was being used. So, too, the man the media have presented to the nation as Obama is not the real man.

The mainstream media ruthlessly and endlessly repeat any McCain gaffes while ignoring Obama gaffes. You have to go to weird little web sites to see all the stammering and stuttering that Obama needs before getting out a sentence fragment or two. But all you see on the networks is an eventually clear sentence from Obama. You don't see Obama's ludicrous gaffe that Iran is a tiny country and no threat to us. Nor his 57 American states gaffe. Nor his forgetting, if he ever knew, that Russia has a veto in the U.N. Nor his whining and puerile "come on" when he is being challenged. This is the kind of editing one would expect from Goebbels' disciples, not Cronkite's.

More appalling, a skit on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" last weekend suggested that Gov. Palin's husband had sex with his own daughters. That show was written with the assistance of Al Franken, Democratic Party candidate in Minnesota for the U.S. Senate. Talk about incest.

But worse than all the unfair and distorted reporting and image projecting are the shocking gaps in Obama's life that are not reported at all. The major media simply have not reported on Obama's two years at New York's Columbia University, where, among other things, he lived a mere quarter-mile from former terrorist Bill Ayers. Later, they both ended up as neighbors and associates in Chicago. Obama denies more than a passing relationship with Ayers. Should the media be curious? In only two weeks, the media have focused on all the colleges Gov. Palin has attended, her husband's driving habits 20 years ago, and the close criticism of the political opponents Gov. Palin had when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. But in two years, they haven't bothered to see how close Obama was with the terrorist Ayers.

Nor have the media paid any serious attention to Obama's rise in Chicago politics. How did honest Obama rise in the famously sordid Chicago political machine with the full support of Boss Daley? Despite the great -- and unflattering -- details on Obama's Chicago years presented in David Freddoso's new book on Obama, the mainstream media continue to ignore both the facts and the book. It took a British publication, The Economist, to give Freddoso's book a review with fair comment.

The public image of Obama as an idealistic, post-race, post-partisan, well-spoken and honest young man with the wisdom and courage befitting a great national leader is a confection spun by a willing conspiracy of Obama, his publicist (David Axelrod) and most of the senior editors, producers and reporters of the national media.

Perhaps that is why the National Journal's respected correspondent Stuart Taylor wrote, "The media can no longer be trusted to provide accurate and fair campaign reporting and analysis."

That conspiracy not only has Photoshopped out all of Obama's imperfections (and dirtied up his opponent McCain's image) but also has put most of his questionable history down the memory hole.

The public will be voting based on the idealized image of the man who never was. If he wins, however, we will be governed by the sunken, cynical man Obama really is. One can only hope that the senior journalists will be judged as harshly for their professional misconduct as Wall Street's leaders currently are for their failings.


Tony Blankley is executive vice president of Edelman public relations in Washington. E-mail him at



Note -- The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, and/or philosophy of GOPUSA.

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