Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Relax! John McCain is gonna pay your mortgage!

So, before I get back to my thoughts on Wall Street and such....

We didn't have to wait long for the showstopper from last night's generally dry and uneventful debate (other than McCain's reference to his fellow presidential candidate as "that one," as in "that one voted against it," or maybe "that woman Miss Lewinsky…" Personally I was a bit surprised that McCain didn't start calling Obama "boy"). It occurred in response to the very first question, when John McCain raised 50 or 60 million sets of eyebrows by announcing that, if elected, he would immediately order the Secretary of the Treasury to implement a $300 billion program in which the government buys up everyone's high-cost mortgages and sells them back to homeowners at more affordable rates. In essence, he would convert the Dept. of the Treasury into one huge Fannie Mae.
The McCain campaign later distributed a fact sheet that labels the proposal the American Homeownership Resurgence Plan, or AHRR, which is pronounced aaahhhhhrrrrrr, which can be uttered with a note of either orgasmic release or cynical disgust, depending on your point of view. Note also that the name incorporates McCain's favorite root word in the whole world, surge.

Whether this AHRR program is a good thing or a bad thing isn't the takeaway, for me
although, I can hardly wait to hear what mental gymnastics Rush Limbaugh performs to justify this. And that brings us to the real point: For such an idea to emerge from the mouth of a Republican—a Republican who's spent much of the past year bemoaning the size and cost of government, and alleging that a Democratic administration led by "the most liberal Senator in Congress" would saddle our children with debt for generations to come.... Well, it was not only remarkable, but a sure tip-off to how desperate John ("I will say anything") McCain is in his bid to steal Obama's thunder, even if it means stealing the Democratic party's Everyman philosophy as well. It simply has to go down as the shameless political ploy of all shameless political ploys. This was clear in the incredulity of FOX's Nina Easton, normally a reliable GOP apologist*, who stepped out of character last night in order to say, "We're witnessing tonight something quite profound, and that was the sinking ship of free-market Republicans keel over, groan, and fall to the bottom of the sea...."

Incidentally, what the hell is wrong with John McCain that he can't sit down or just stay still? Did you notice how much walking around he did even during Obama's answers? The camera crew had to work hard to avoid unintentionally humorous shots of the peripatetic McCain strolling in and out of frame, or just standing there behind Obama with his back to the audience.

Finally, speaking of unintentional humor, FOX's post-debate poll had McCain winning the debate by a margin of something like 86 percent to 12 percent, with a few percent undecided. However, Sean ("DMoTV") Hannity conceded that McCain did a bit less well in a second poll question, which asked FOX viewers which candidate seemed "younger, hipper and more virile." In that question, McCain beat Obama by a more modest 71 percent to 25 percent, with the remaining 4 percent voting for Tom Brokaw (though some wrote in that they detected a left-wing bias in the way Brokaw parted his hair).


CNN's now-traditional insta-poll
had Obama winning by a statistically significant margin.

* For the record, Easton's husband is a political strategist who customarily works the right-hand side of the street.

27 comments:

Jeanette said...

Steve, LMAO at that last paragraph. Funny stuff!

roger o'keefe said...

To use the boxing metaphors everyone seems to fond of this year, while there were no knockout punches or even any true knockdowns, McCain won this one on points. Somebody earlier suggested reading the transcript of the Biden-Palin debate as a more reliable barometer of who actually won. I suggest the same here. There's no denying Obama's stage presence and that he's "hipper" than John McCain. I'll even give you that when McCain tries to look hip he comes off looking like those stupid TV commercials that have older white folk trying to rap. So what? I don't think any of that is relevant to who we want as our president. Speaking for myself, I'd rather have a competent president than a hip one.

Steve Salerno said...

Roger, the thing is, I don't understand--honestly; I'm not just saying it to say it--I don't understand where McCain's proven "competence" is. It would seem that the party for which he stands is exactly what has brought us to the brink of national disaster. So if he was competent at anything, that competence would seem to be in helping his fellow GOP members destroy America.

The read I get on him is that now that he's running for prez, and especially in the wake of all that's happened in the past few months, he suddenly wants to reinvent himself from top-to-bottom and pass himself off as an entirely new candidate, selling an entirely new agenda. He loses all credibility with me for that (plus, of course, the odious and erratic way in which he's run his campaign), and I'd think he'd lose all respect as well, even among his base. Roger, let's assume you're a conservative at heart; why would you even want John McCain suddenly offering to underwrite everyone's mortgage, to the tune of a $300 billion federal program?! Wouldn't you have more respect for him if he stuck to his guns--yes, even in this time of crisis--and said, "Look, you folks got yourself into this, now you're gonna have to get yourself out of it. It's not government's job to make sure that everybody's head stays above water." After all...isn't that what his hero, Ron Reagan, would've said?

RevRon's Rants said...

"To use the boxing metaphors everyone seems to fond of this year, while there were no knockout punches or even any true knockdowns, McCain won this one on points."

Hold that thought if it makes you happy, Roger. Everybody but the Hannity/Fox crowd disagrees, and all the major (as in non-partisan) polls give it to Obama by a significant margin.

I've read the transcript, and Obama was head & shoulders above McCain on substantive answers.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you here Rev, I was McCain all the way but I'm sorely disappointed in him for throwing the cause under the bus. I honestly say I'm giving Obama a second look, at least he's consistent.
-Carl

RevRon's Rants said...

Okay, anonymous... What have you done with the real Carl? :-)

Steve Salerno said...

Hmmm. John McCain is going to buy up everyone's inflated mortgages and the market is still down 151 points as I write this? I guess, "my friends"--and how many times did the man say that last night?--McCain didn't succeed at quelling everyone's anxieties after all.

Case Carst said...

I too was very surprised to hear McCain's proposal to pay down mortgages that are higher than the value of the property, but then I read something even more surprising.

From the WSJ morning brief e-mail:

"Sen. Obama's campaign later noted that the Treasury Department was granted such power by the financial-rescue law signed last week, and that Sen. Obama brought up such a step two weeks ago, as the New York Times reports."

So, I am confused. Does the Treasury Department have the power to pay down individual mortgages already?

I learned something else about mortgages today. It seems that most US mortgages are what is called nonrecourse mortgage loans. Essentially, you can hand in your keys and walk away from the property without having to pay the difference if a loan value is higher than the value of the property. For example, if you are upside-down in a car loan, if you trade that car in, you will owe the difference in full. It seems you can turn in the keys to your home, move out, and walk away without being on the hook if the loan value is higher than the value of the property.

Anonymous said...

Did McCain say how he was going to pay for all these motgages?
Or are we back in the realms of monopoly money?

If McCain wins I'm definitely moving Stateside, I've always fancied a North Carolina beach shack or somewhere remote in Montana.

Anonymous said...

'Speaking for myself, I'd rather have a competent president than a hip one.'

Roger, I think this part is now all about image.
McCain was competent at presenting himself as a traditional upholder of the status quo with the added gravitas of his distinguished service. He has blown that image himself.
Image matters to a surprising degree--perhaps we would all like it to be all about substance but this is a visual age.

Obama walks and talks with coherence, if he just keeps doing what he's been doing all along he will walk this one.
He looks like a man in control of himself, the calm centre of the storm-- what more could you ask for in such chaotic times?

Anonymous said...

McCain lost my vote, when he chose Palin for VP. I still wonder if that was a dream or I am going to have Ashton Kutchner come out and say we have been Punked! I am seriously wondering about the voters in Alaska who chose her for governor. I thought we (Californians) looked bad for having the Govenator with Arnie, but Palin makes Arnie look brilliant even though have the time I can’t understand what he is saying. Palin was McCain’s nail in his coffin for my vote. Palin will make W Bush look good. Obama could come out in clown make-up and bazoo and he will still get my vote just on not wanting Palin alone.

Anonymous said...

"Essentially, you can hand in your keys and walk away from the property without having to pay the difference if a loan value is higher than the value of the property. For example, if you are upside-down in a car loan, if you trade that car in, you will owe the difference in full. It seems you can turn in the keys to your home, move out, and walk away without being on the hook if the loan value is higher than the value of the property."

Yes, it's called jingle mail. The property owner sends the keys to the mortgage company and walks away. Quite common these days. Some people are living their pets behind to too, which has been a big problem for animal shelters.

Anonymous said...

"Speaking for myself, I'd rather have a competent president than a hip one."

Roger, where does Palin fall into all this for you? Would like a nice folksy hockey mom as president if anything should happen to McCain? McCain is no spring chicken. Isn't Palin on the "hip" train?

Who says Obama is not competent? He is articulate, intelligent, and has a better understanding of foreign policy than Palin ever will. Unless you think being able to see Russia from your home makes you a foreign policy expert.

Stever Robbins said...

Sorry to be tangential here, but I'm struck by your comment about FOX news.

Are you serious about the FOX news polls? They really showed McCain winning by such an incredible margin? How do they get away with hawking stats like that. Do they say anything about how they got the numbers? Have they simply retreated into the land of utter fantasy?

Anonymous said...

Ni Hao,

Massive banking bailout package announced in the UK today. The talking heads are adroitly avoiding the question of who will be providing the initial cash. This glaring omission solved perhaps when interest rates were cut worldwide, China cutting in concert. Who'd have thought it, we're all in hock to the eyeballs to the Peoples Republic.

Its time for the Imperialist Running Dogs to learn a few new tricks.

Anonymous said...

Stever raises a good question about Fox, who were they polling with those stats? I know they lean more conservative, but those stats are even out there for them.

Steve Salerno said...

Stever, I kid you not. Those were the exact numbers (the first set, 86-to-12), announced on the Hannity/Colmes post-debate "analysis" show, right after Fred Thompson came on and told America what a sterling job McCain had done last night. And it's funny, you're the second or third person to wonder whether or not that whole paragraph in my post was parody. Yeah, the second part about "virility" and such was an obvious joke, but the first part was entirely factual. At least according to FOX.

Steve Salerno said...

P.S. And there were some conservative blogs I saw this morning who cited polls showing a similar skew--at least 65 percent in favor of McCain. Presumably those polls are drawn from Republican strongholds where pot and other mood-altering substances are legal.

Anonymous said...

Stever,

I've spent the day swotting up on the intricacies and symetrics of hair arrangement, a field of study that has so far escaped my notice.

Exasperating, I'm just shave my head and be done with it.

RevRon's Rants said...

"Presumably those polls are drawn from Republican strongholds where pot and other mood-altering substances are legal."

Nicaragua, perhaps?

Dimension Skipper said...

Today's comics page featured a couple strips with politcal humor that reflects some of my feelings of late...

Blondie—Politics in a nutshell

Non Sequitur—Preferable to the debates

:-)

(I just thought some folks might get a chuckle out of them like I did and this was the most current politically-themed thread.)

Anonymous said...

The Thursday night special SNL did a great job with the last presidential debate, especially of Brokaw and McCain walking around! I could not stop laughing.

Steve Salerno said...

DS: Very funny, and all too true. Especially the "unifier" irony. When are these guys gonna start unifying? "Reaching across the aisle," as they put it.

Anon 4:08: Seriously, I still can't get over the way McCain was wandering around back there. What the hell was he doing? Was there some sort of devious strategy involved?

Anonymous said...

“Anon 4:08: Seriously, I still can't get over the way McCain was wandering around back there. What the hell was he doing? Was there some sort of devious strategy involved?”

I don’t know what McCain was thinking, but he looked like a senile old man wondering around. He reminded of someone’s grandfather trying to find the bathroom. Not a good presidential image at all. Could you imagine if Reagan had done that?

Steve Salerno said...

He reminded of someone’s grandfather trying to find the bathroom.

Very much so, especially that one time when he appeared to be considering whether or not to leave the set. Did you see that one? He had actually turned his body into the runway that led off-stage.

Anonymous said...

"Very much so, especially that one time when he appeared to be considering whether or not to leave the set. Did you see that one? He had actually turned his body into the runway that led off-stage.'

Yeah, I did. How come the talking heads never really talked about it? Don't you lose a debate if you're not sure where you are? Shouldn't you just lose by default? I thought McCain was suppose to be good at these town hall style meet and greets.

Elizabeth said...

Ha ha! You are so right about the senile grandfather image that McCain presented at the debate (and not only). It does not help that he keeps asking, "Who is Barack Obama?" :)

I imagine he follows it up in his mind with, "No, seriously, who is this dude? And where are my slippers? Cindy? Ciiindyy..."

In the last debate, it was clear that he tried to tone down his anger -- so he spoke softly, often through clenched jaws, with that forced smile of his. All this had an unintended (or so I assume:) effect of making him look like a lecherous old man, especially when he used his trademark "My friends" and rubbed the palms of his hands together.

Yikes.

P.S. This is too good to be true -- the verif word is trfldemkr...