Monday, September 29, 2008

Next he's gonna tell us Obama secretly owned AIG.

UPDATE, Tuesday morning, September 30. I heard a comment late last night while I was flipping the dial, and I apologize for not being able to give credit where it's due, because credit is surely due in this case. But the gist of the comment was this: If indeed some House GOP members who had originally planned to vote for the bailout actually changed their minds and voted against it after hearing Nancy Pelosi's speech, they should come forward and identify that we can (a) impeach them and (b) explore every possible avenue of prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law.

To react on the basis of personal pique in a manner that triggers a short-term loss of more than a trillion dollars in the financial markets, and also risks the long-term economic health of America, is repugnant and unforgivable, and should not go unpunished.



So let's take a brief tour through the fractured psyche of one John McCain. Earlier today
before the vote on the $700 billion bailout bill—he takes credit for the measure (no doubt at that point assuming it was a done deal) and castigates Obama for opting out during the attendant discussions late last week. (This, despite the fact that when McCain made his emergency trip to Washington, he insisted he was "suspending his campaign," and that the nation's fiscal crisis was too important to politicize. Uh-huh.) Then, after the measure goes down in defeatlargely due to opposition from 133 members of McCain's own partyhe makes another brief speech in which he appears to blame Obama for derailing the bill. The McCain camp riffed on that theme all afternoon long.

I also find it intriguing (and, perhaps, telling) that GOP spin-meisters are claiming that the Republican House members who voted against the bailout did so because they took exception to "partisan" remarks by Nancy Pelosi earlier in the day. Here I have to paraphrase Barney Frank: So because they got their feelings hurt a little bit, they were willing to let the country go down the tubes?

Folks, I said a few days ago that McCain's conduct in this campaign has caused me to lose almost all respect for the man. I'd like to retract part of that statement; I'd like to take out the


RevRon's Rants said...

His own party derails the bailout, and McCain claims it's *Obama's* fault? Disingenuous behavior and lying aside, this might well be the first time in recent (if not all of) American political history where a candidate becomes a lame duck before he even gets elected (or defeated, as seems increasingly likely).

If McCain can't even lead his own party effectively, one can but imagine how much luck he'd have with a Democratic-dominated Congress. It just gets more absurd every day!

ellen said...

It's high drama on this side of the pond also, five banks failed before lunch, another two on mainland Europe. That Obama has a lot to answer for.

Anonymous said...

No, McCain's gonna say it was Obama's fault Congress voted in 1999 to repeal most of the Glass-Steagall Act. Hell who cares if Obama wasn't even a Senator then. Obama was doing something that caused that vote and Bill Clinton was a Democrat!

Voltaire said...

This is so bad I don't think Obama has to point out McCain's faults anymore. McCain is doing it all by himself.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the mood here. I was on the fence, leaning toward McCain because of the experience factor, but this is getting out of hand. The man will say anything at any time with no regard for the truth, or even what he said 10 minutes ago. I'm astonished and appalled, not just on my own behalf but as an American.

Steve Salerno said...

Here's something that terrifies me: If McCain and the GOP Spin/Slime Machine will try to pull stuff like this now--when they know there is still time for the media and other fact-finders to impeach them on it--my god, what will they come up with at the 11th hour, as a last desperate shot before people vote on Nov. 4?

ellen said...

An even more sobering thought, Steve, what if they win, all that power--think what horrors the spin/slime machine will visit on us then.

Stever Robbins said...

I think it's become pretty clear that the political parties, at least in rhetoric, have long left responsible, rational thought behind.

Warren Buffett was interviewed on CNBC and he pointed out that properly structured, the so-called bailout could be a very real investment that could give taxpayers a real return while also restoring the integrity of the financial system.

Of course, doing that requires actual rigor and data-based decision-making. Allowing politics and ideologically into the discussion ... well, you've pointed out that it's nothing but a recipe for bad, bad governance.

Ah, if only I had so much money that the outcome of this wouldn't actually affect me one way or the other :-)

Anonymous said...

I can hardly wait for the Biden/Palin debate! SNL is going to have a field day with that.

Obama just has to let McCain hang himself now. The rope is there and the noose is around his neck. All McCain has to thank are his GOP. Maybe the GOP do hate him that much?

RevRon's Rants said...

I just read on another blog known for its appetite for Republican kool-aid that despite the fact that 2/3 of the Republicans voted against the bailout, the "blame" for the measure's failure rests solely on the shoulders of the 1/3 of the Democrats who voted against it. With logic like that whirling around in some followers' heads, it's no wonder the party is having a tough time maintaining credibility! Of course, leadership begins at the top! :-)

Steve Salerno said...

So I've just seen what I presume to be the first spate of TV ads from each campaign in the aftermath of the bailout failure. And...I'm stunned. Just stunned. On the one hand, there's Obama, who exhorts both parties to "step up to the plate" and make something good happen. And even if he's trying to play the good guy by doing so, he stays in character to the end.

On the other hand, there's our friend the ad for yourself and see what you think.

I shouldn't be shocked anymore. I know that; nothing should surprise me. But maybe I'm just naive enough to think that a politician who is running for president of what we like to call the greatest nation on earth should have a shred of integrity.

Steve Salerno said...

On reflection, I think Obama should whip up an ad that talks about how he too was a POW for five years, and that makes reference to his 30 years in the U.S. Senate (despite his being just 47 years old). What the hell, it wouldn't be any more duplicitous than McCain's ads.

Anonymous said...

I always said you were naive, Steve.

ellen said...

Perhaps Obama's ad need not tell porkies about experiences that he patently has not lived.
Perhaps Obama could reference his true life experience, as a person of mixed race and culture he must have a unique and multi-faceted world-view, one that might resonate better on a human level with the not-so-stupid-after-all electorate--us plebs, that is, who also live in a racially mixed and culturally complex world rather than the elite and remote cocoon of wealth and privilege.
If Obama produced an authentic ad that spoke to us plebs on a direct eye-to-eye level, he'd be a shoo-in.

Steve Salerno said...

Ellen, as you know, I too have issues with Obama's ads, couched as some of them are in political-speak. I think it must also be said, however, that his ads are (generally) far less "out there" than most of McCain's--and indeed, far less than most political advertising of recent vintage, which tends to be very surly and to insult people's intelligence in the extreme. You may recall that his first series of ads emphasized his years as a community organizer (so you did get a strong sense of that "plebe" aspect). As for the race thing, I think pragmatically it's a bad idea for him to make too much of an overt issue of race; why get people thinking about it more than they might otherwise? And really, I'm not sure what specific "experience" is signified by a mixed-race heritage, or how that qualifies/prepares a person to lead a nation. Maybe that would be true if the other "race" were Hispanic, but then again, at this point in time, I think a Hispanic-American candidate would have zero shot at becoming president. The biases against Hispanic immigrants, and the whole English-as-the-official-language thing, would make for a very ugly and divisive campaign. (I can see the opposing ads already, and the xenophobia they would stoke.) I'm open to further explanation, if you care to take the time.

ellen said...


I have no access to US TV here, so have only seen the stand-out ads that get posted to the net,--perhaps I should not comment on the totality of each complete campaign. I was musing in quite general terms over Obama's possible directions--I have no illusions that my musings will alter anything.
That said, Obama's mixed heritage cannot but have given him a possibility of seeing the world from two different view-points, a tricky thing to negotiate for all immigrants everywhere, and one that has its casualties--the statistics on mental illness amongst transplanted (socially, culturally, racially) people attest to this. Obama seems to have made a very creditable fusion of his mixed heritage, he has a foot in both camps, so to speak, he is also relatively young with an eye firmly fixed on the future, not forever harking back to past grievances and glories--which indicates to me that he may have assimilated his own past successfully. He has a vision, his legal training might nail that vision to what can be realistically accomplished.
I avoid predicting the future as experience tells me that reality always produces surprises that I have not the capacity to forsee, an educated guess is the best I, or anyone can produce. I spent 20 odd years in the gaming industry so never gamble in those terms but I would take a punt on Obama rather than McPalin, because Obama has demonstrated a flexibilty of mind that is required in our modern, fast moving world. McPalin, meanwhile, parrot stupidities, borrowed phrases and gobbleygook, all I can see from McPalin is a tunnel vision with no light at the end for us poor plebs-who will bear the brunt of the fall-out.
If the choice is between only two options, there is no point in wishing for another, mythical knight in shining armour--I guess for you yanks that would be John Wayne and the cavalry-- who might have the imagined qualities we think we need to win, we have to take a punt on the best available if we want to stay in the game.
Of course if we no longer wish to play we can always cash in our chips and retire. No shame in that.
Me? I'll borrow something else from John Wayne and die with my boots on.

Steve Salerno said...

Ellen, I agree with you in theory. However, if you've read Obama's books--in particular the first one, about his father and such--I think he's best served by distancing himself as much as possible from his "heritage." In fact, I'm surprised that the GOP hasn't made more of that...yet. It may be coming. But in that book in particular, he comes off as a rather angry "closet radical" who (of course) realizes that he's only half-black, but seems almost to resent his whiteness in some overarching philosophical way... even though it is clear that he adores his Mom and grandparents.

Racial/sociological confusion isn't usually the stuff of great political ads. But who knows? Maybe if he addressed that whole quagmire forthrightly, we could finally get past this whole racial silliness.

ellen said...

With respect, Steve, your reading of Obama's own spin on his own story cannot but be very divorced from reality. Do not get caught up in the words, the truth cannot be caught in words no matter how glib and witty a wordsmith.
It really does not matter what Obama's past was--it is selfevidently past and subject to revision by Obama, and interpretation by each and every reader of his books. The interpretations are (to be biblical) legion. Ask instead what Obama has made of his very difficult learning curve, has he so far made a good job? Does he demonstrate the ability to learn on his feet in the future? Who is he right now, now that all those unique and disparate influences have melded into the man who stands before us today?
What possible training can prepare a person for such a job? There is no apprentice president programme, even VP (the back-up boy)cannot be adequate preparation. This is one of those fly-by-the-seat of your pants jobs, a bit like life for all of us really.
None of the contenders have done the job before, they must all learn on the job. Obama is the smartest, and has a more modern and rounded education than the others, he'll be a quick study I think.

ellen said...

As to the racial silliness, I doubt we will ever get past it collectively. We are different colours, it is almost the first thing that catches the attention of those machines of discrimination, our brains. Individuals can get past it, with some work on their own prejudices, but a collective evolutionary leap?
Not going to happen.
In times of extreme stress and need, colour(and gender) become neglible, secondary to our shared humanity. I currently work with very old people facing death, all from a generation with very fixed and reactionary views on colour, gender, differences of all kinds, outmoded now but standard for their time. At the end all these old people want is a hand to hold, an ear to listen, a human presence, colour, gender, all those man-made barriers disappear.
Obama may have once been an angry closet radical, who hasn't had a racy past? You would be amazed at some of the tales I hear from these seemingly rigid and hidebound old people.
What matters more is what he has made of his past, what he will do, realistically in the future. Obama cannot save us from our own stupidities and delusions--no-one can do that. But he might be a good hand on the tiller through some very choppy waters.

RevRon's Rants said...

Steve - How long do you think it would take for the McSmear merchants to come up with an "Barack HUSSEIN Obama HATES WHITE PEOPLE!"?

Perhaps McCain would then be inspired to the same level of forthrightness and describe how his PTSD affects his decision-making.

And then, there would be headlines all over the world, complete with full-color photographs, of porcine aviators. :-)

Elizabeth said...

Steve, you've mentioned Charles Murray here recently. There is an interview with the man in the NYT from about a week or so ago. Here is an excerpt:

Q: What do you think of Sarah Palin?

CM: I’m in love. Truly and deeply in love.

Q: She attended five colleges in six years.

CM: So what?

Q: Why is the McCain clan so eager to advertise its anti-intellectualism?

CM: The last thing we need are more pointy-headed intellectuals running the government. Probably the smartest president we’ve had in terms of I.Q. in the last 50 years was Jimmy Carter, and I think he is the worst president of the last 50 years.

Full text:

As a friend observed, "The guy who has made a career out of calling black people stupid supports the ignorant white woman over the intelligent black man."

P.S. Ellen, I gotta say I really enjoy your comments (not only on this thread).

Dimension Skipper said...

McCain mentions Probably not his best strategy given the context.

Not the first time he's done this sort of thing. Earlier in the campaign the McCain side also referenced as a supporting source for an anti-Obama claim in an ad. Only trouble was that did not actually find what the McCain ad was implying it did.

Don't mess with the FactCheckers.

Elizabeth said...

DS et al, speaking of fact checking (sorta) -- if you have time, watch McCain's Monday interview with editors of the Des Moines Register (in three brief videotape segments). Interesting stuff: