Saturday, September 27, 2008

General Thoughts (Post-Debate Edition)

My general thoughts on this election haven't changed much in the last week and a half, though obviously John McCain and Sarah Palin have had a much worse week than even I expected. Barack Obama came off like a winner in this crisis not by changing his style or message, but simply by seeming steady and in charge. But it's a long way between now and November, swing voters are fickle and easily distracted, and these things could change a dozen times between now and then. It's hardly in the bag.

Sen. McCain, of course, should never be underestimated, as last night's debate made clear. For a guy who a) tried to avoid the debate all together, and b) showed nothing but utter contempt for Obama and many of the questions, he did quickly take command of the stage. If he does end up losing the election, it can't be said that he didn't put up a fight (and fought dirty to boot). Now granted, a lot of what he actually said was bullshit (on taxes and healthcare, on regulation, on the surge, on Russia/Georgia, etc)-- Obama hit on this on some points, but failed to on many openings-- but swing voters are rarely the most knowledgeable voters, so that ultimately doesn't matter. Still, while I'd say that the whole thing was a draw/wash in the end, I'd give Sen. Obama a slight edge in the end, because he came off more collected, and was able to take on McCain toe-to-toe on the issue that the media has assured it's McCain's strong suit... foreign policy (in my entry last week I made clear why I disagree with this, but I'll let the narrative stand for now). As for the economic portion, both avoided any specifics (which would've been, like, way boring anyway), but that issue goes to Obama's advantage automatically at this point.

Jim Lehrer did a great job moderating, for the record. Unlike the ABC Democratic debate, for instance, he kept the focus away from trivial issues and character questions (flag pins, lolz!!), and more on the actual key questions he wanted answered. But boy was he wasting time trying to get McCain to address Obama directly. Fail!

I'm seeing polls (for whatever they're worth) showing people favoring Obama's performance, which did surprise me, but ultimately will be meaningless by November. There's more debates and campaign stupidity to come.

Finally, TPM edited a video highlight reel. Elsewhere, the internets fact-checks the debate.

[UPDATE: This is just someone's LJ, not a political blog, but I agree with his thoughts 100%.]

Bailout, Please?

This is an update to a post of mine from earlier this week in which the NY Post demanded that congressional Democrats pass the President's blank check bailout plan ASAP, or we'd all be dead and/or living in shanty towns. But that was days ago, and new talking points/narratives have emerged from their masters at Republican headquarters. So, it's 180 time!

Today's NY Post editorial insists that Democrats were too hasty in trying to get a deal worked out with that evil liberal President Bush, and that thank God that congressional Republicans (and maverick hero John McCain, natch!) put a stop to that by slowing talks with their own last-minute proposal... a proposal the NY Daily News calls in their own editorial a "triumph of dogma over reality" engineered by conservatives who "seem ready to go down with the ship and take all of us with them."

Not that I'm favor of rushing some half-assed billion $$ deal, but I just found this amusing.

Consistency and logic are not GOP strong suits, as should be obvious by now.

[PS- Is a deal nearing completion? Who the hell knows. But maybe.]

Friday, September 26, 2008

Video Smörgåsbord

Here's some recommended videos to entertain you until the debate...

This classic 'run on the bank' clip from "It's A Wonderful Life" is worth watching today.

More! Jon Stewart has a side-by-side look at President Bush's pre-Iraq invasion and his current bailout speeches and realizes it's the same speech. Watch the trailer of a fake imagining of Sarah Palin's candidacy as a Disney movie. And-- for even scarier reality-- watch Palin talking with CBS' Katie Couric about the economy/bailout, on her foreign policy credentials, and on McCain's record on regulation (the rest wasn't any better). And, finally, Slate magazine looks back at classic presidential campaign moments.

The Fundamentals of this Campaign Are Strong

I'm going to try and post something later tonight after the debate (whatever that ends up entailing), but in the meantime a few quick notes.

Sen. McCain 'suspended' his campaign (but, ummm, not really) to save the country from an economic crisis he didn't even believe existed a week ago. He then demanded the President organize a White House summit/photo-op for him, which he got Sen. Obama and key congressional leaders to attend, sat there and said nothing, the end result being (from what I understand) him lending credence to a hissy fit by House Republicans-- who feel less regulation and more corporate tax breaks are what's needed to... oh just kill me-- which has thrown this whole ridiculous drama into tailspin. So he may still skip out on tonight's debate, depending on how his staff advises him the poll numbers are shaping up in that regard. This kind of stunt is old hat for McCain, America's favorite maverick!

Kudos to McCain for taking a serious issue, spending one week either dismissing it or distorting his record on the issues surrounding it, and then spending the following week turning it into his own personal soap opera.

What does Sen. Obama have to say? He spoke to CNN after the White House meeting yesterday, and then later gave a full press conference on all of this.

Oh and, while we were sleeping, Washington Mutual was eaten by the fed, shit out, and given to JPMorgan Chase. My account is at Capitol One, for the record, which I expect to collapse next week and be sold to Dunkin' Donuts. 42 days until the election, by the way.

[UPDATE: Breaking news... McCain will debate tonight after all. Natch.

UPDATE #2: Team McCain/GOP's motivations in this stunt have been confirmed, if they weren't obvious already... scuttle shitty bailout deal, force (barely) revised but equally shitty (or worse) bailout deal, claim mantle of 'bipartisanship', blame Democrats for everything, claim victory. Now the question is, will the media and/or the Democrats let them get away with this spin? HAHAHA, yea probably! See you tonight!]

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Republican Party Running Scared

Too busy today for commentary, but these two headlines speak volumes...

AP: White House yields on chiefs' pay, Bush to speak

AP: McCain seeks to delay debate to focus on economy

This is a key moment. Obama must refuse the latter without consideration. Campaign = on.

[UPDATE: This Wonkette post hits on what BS this stunt is better than most real outlets.]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In Other News...

Here's some other important or interesting news that doesn't involve bailout rescue plans...

Sens. Obama and McCain will debate each other for the first time this Friday night; it will focus on national security primarily. And Obama also states an inconvenient truth... all these bailouts mean less government money for the next President to do anything of substance. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow likens the bailout plan to kids in a candy store. President Bush addresses the U.N. for the last time as President (and boy, will the U.N. miss him). And reporters get angry after her majesty, Sarah Palin, attempts to control how the press may cover her U.N. visit. The McCain campaign holds a conference call to... whine about media coverage? President Bush's EPA continues to be useless. And communist China's deregulated free-market paradise continues to kill people with its poisoned products. Meanwhile, Def. Sec. Gates urges 'caution' in our illusionary Iraq pullout, and also laments that Afghanistan will have to wait a bit longer for troop support.

Finally, play the general election board game! Fun (?) for the whole family!

Bailout, Please!

Here's a fun website:

On a related note, my favorite right-wing meme about this $700,000,000,000+ bailout plan (what, the free market can't just pull itself up by its bootstraps? *wink*) is that-- ala the Patriot Act, ala the Iraq war resolution-- it's time to give the Bush administration another blank check and that any substantive debate about this will doom us all. Today's lead NY Post editorial basically says "We're not saying Congress should shut up and give the White House everything it wants, but... well, okay, that's exactly what we're saying." Their cover basically blames congressional Democrats merely debating the proposed package for the woes in the stock market (Treas. Sec. Paulson is scapegoating Congress too in his own way). It's really funny watching conservatives simultaneously faux-complaining about this bailout (hey, they have to pretend they ever were serious fiscally conservative or serious) while also still in their kneejerk position of demanding that evil Democrats give the great President Bush whatever he desires. Consistency!

This crisis has been a slow-burning avalanche-- to mix metaphors-- for several years now, and is far from over, and is far from limited to just what is happening to fancy businessmen in suits. Yes, I realize the shit is hitting the fan very quickly right now, but the idea that taking the time to have an actual debate about all this is what will cause recession is insane. Take your time. Wall Street needs their bailout today? Suck it up, whiners.

Remember in 2000 when Republicans said the grownups would be in charge again? HAHAHA! Oh, what good times.

[PS- Some thoughts on the Paulson plan from Paul Krugman. Plus debate updates.]