October 8, 2008

In which I say who won last night's debate and almost abandon my cruel neutrality pose.

When I woke up this morning, I decided to concentrate my mind on the question which man won the debate. It wasn't my first thought. My first thought was: Is it late enough to get up? I was pleased to see it was 6:15, and then woke up too much before remembering that I was up until 1 am, analyzing the damned debate, fretting about the illusive earpiece, skimming the 800+ comments, and mellowing out in contemplation of the absurdity of monkeys serving hot towels and drinks in a Japanese restaurant.

I put up a poll in last night's live debate post, and the answer I chose was the one that was by far the least popular. Who won? I said "both," the answer that got only 1% of the vote. I answered that like a kindergarten teacher that wants all the children to feel good about themselves. Oh, you were all just fine. You were likable enough.

What that means is, I don't expect that much from people or government. I don't get too high when I'm high, and I don't get too low when I'm low. Neutrality is a comfortable stance for me, so my "cruel neutrality" vow has been easy to keep, the opposite of a burden, a liberation.
Who am I supporting in the presidential contest? You shouldn't know, because I don't know. In fact, I'm positioning myself in a delicate state of unknowing, a state I hope to maintain until October if not November... So I'm taking a vow of neutrality... cruel neutrality.
It's October now, so I can say I kept my vow. It's not the vow keeping me neutral anymore. I don't like deciding, especially between 2 men I've long viewed as dangerously inadequate. The tumultuous financial crisis reminds me why I prefer to wait until the end: We get a better idea of what problems will plague the new President.

It is the response to the present crisis that mattered most last night, and the candidates tiresomely repeated old talking points. McCain kept trying to stoke outrage over earmarks, and Obama continued to lecture us about conserving energy. They clung to their old pet solutions when we are staring at a huge new -- I mean, newly perceived -- problem. Are they so utterly lacking in creativity and flexibility that they cannot offer us anything new in the face of dramatically changed circumstances? Or are they both just determined to play it safe and say nothing in these last few weeks that can be spun against them?

The first half hour of the debate was excruciating, with question after question about the crisis. The candidates' evasions were mind-numbing, and, despite my commitment to live-blogging, I had no words, not even little idle comments. I nearly gave up.

But this morning, I decided to make an effort to say which man had done the better job. It was Barack Obama. And I'm not saying this just because I admired his relaxed demeanor and youthful image and felt uneasy about the older man's jerky movements and desperate grimaces. I'm saying it because I am inclined to think that with the development of complex securities and the pursuit of profit along the edge of disaster, the free market failed spectacularly. When we need new regulation, Obama effectively associated McCain with his party's love of deregulation.

McCain offered no defense of his party, only assertions that he had tried to get regulations passed. So, there he was, embedded in failure. He didn't stand by the principles of conservatism. Here's the transcript. The word "conservative" appears exactly once, when McCain said (about Social Security):
We know what the problems are, my friends, and we know what the fixes are. We've got to sit down together across the table. It's been done before.

I saw it done with our -- our wonderful Ronald Reagan, a conservative from California, and the liberal Democrat Tip O'Neill from Massachusetts. That's what we need more of, and that's what I've done in Washington.
I don't believe we really understand the problems or "the fixes," and I certainly don't believe that reaching across the aisle works magic. That's not a basis for solving a problem, but a technique that works to some extent when you have a solution.

Look at how McCain failed to promote conservatism. McCain brought up Ronald Reagan 3 times: once to say he opposed him about sending troops to Lebanon and the other 2 times to say it was wonderful the way he worked with the liberal Tip O'Neill.

McCain never presented the conservative alternative to Obama. He never even called himself a conservative last night. He was wandering all over that red carpet, microphone in hand, and I have the feeling, in retrospect, that he was truly bewildered, mouthing old phrases, trying to slip by. But one old phrase that was missing was "I'm a proud conservative." Remember when he used to say that?

Or did he? Remember this?



See? That was always the problem. And now, it's really showing. McCain has lost definition. He's stumbling along to the finish line, hoping to achieve his lifelong ambition, to seize the crown at last. But why? To show he can get along with Democrats? I worry about what awful innovations the new President will concoct in league with the Democratic Congress, but at this point, I'm more worried about McCain than Obama.

This is not a commitment to vote for Obama, and I'm still going to provide the service of observing events from my slouchily neutral posture, to which no vow currently binds me. But you see the trend, and the destination is almost inevitable.

ADDED: I should have paid more attention to this. I heard it last night, but couldn't understand how it would deal with the crisis. It seems like a massive government benefit going out to people who overextended themselves taking loans. Why not give money to all the frugal people who believed they couldn't afford to buy a house? I don't understand the theory, other than as political pandering.

216 comments:

1 – 200 of 216   Newer›   Newest»
goesh said...

When the point spread widens a bit more, I won't have to vote - I can shop at Wal-Mart knowing Obama will take good care of me.

MadisonMan said...

The thing that strikes me is how unvigorous McCain is compared to Palin. I said long ago that he should beware a VP pick that gets more attention than he does, and I think that's still true.

It doesn't seem like McCain is leading his party's race to the election, he's just being swept in by the incoming tide generated by the Palin splash. The question is -- how high up on the beach does the tide go before it recedes?

If you want to elect a leader, is McCain leading? That's an important question for me. I think I'll also likely vote for Obama, grudgingly. But that vote is Obama's to lose, or McCain's to win.

Kansas City said...

It seems vacuous for Ann to declare her lean to Obama without offering any consideration of the policies advocated by Obama.

jdeeripper said...

"I will will conduct a respectful debate. Now it will be dispirited..I'm a proud conservative liberal Republican..."

Well at least the old guy is honest.

Don't worry Ann, Sarah and Todd Palin will be there to help the old codger.

I hope.

I think I'll also likely vote for Obama, grudgingly. But that vote is Obama's to lose, or McCain's to win.

Do the Republicans really want to win this time?

How about four years of a black Jimmy Carter, blame him and the Democrat congress for the mess and then vote in a Republican President and Republican congress?

Vote for Obama and blame the mess on the black guy. Is a vote for Obama the ultimate racist vote?

peter hoh said...

KC, could you have anticipated the arc of GWB's presidency from his campaign positions in 2000? I don't think so.

Rich B said...

McCain's problem has always been that he does not have a clear ideology (in the good sense). Essentially, his polestar is "doing the right thing". Consequently, he lurches all over the political spectrum, and his actions have no coherence.

I think McCain is a good and honorable man, but has no definable economic philosophy. On foreign policy he is incisive and realistic. He really came to life in those sections of the debate. Obama could only respond with meaningless fluff.

Unless he pulls a rabbit out of his hat, or the voters suddenly realize the utter emptiness of Obama, we're cooked.

On a lighter side, why didn't McCain ask to see copies of those letters that Obama says he sent. What a fraud!

SteveR said...

Although I know that the "cruel neutrality" pose has provided for some good (but not always good-natured) ribbing from some commenters, I have felt for well over a year that you would have to find a very good reason, not to vote for the Democratic nominee this year. And you have not. I'm sure you'll remain cruel no matter.

MadisonMan said...

Do the Republicans really want to win this time?


That's an interesting question. Do they?

Do Republicans want to clean up the mess that George Bush's Presidency has steered us into?

Now, someone might now argue that there was a Democratic Congress for part of that time. Sorry -- the Presidency is the office that is blamed or credited, rightly or wrongly, when things go bad (or well). Well, things aren't going well and the person with the cool and steady hand on the tiller gets the blame.

Henry said...

I worry about what awful innovations the new President will concoct in league with the Democratic Congress...

That's the main reason for my support of John McCain. In the end, no matter how herky-jerky his thinking, he is of the other party than the current Congressional majority. Automatically that will force compromise and negotiation on all the big issues.

Obama has never championed any ideas out of the comfort zone of his Democratic peers. In Chicago, in Illinois, in the Senate he has always gone along withe the crowd.

To think that Obama will ever challenge the status quo of a Democratic Congress is to ignore his entire history as a politician and as a thinker.

He is a smart, charismatic man who always ends up in favor of the same tired ideas that his party provides.

Kansas City said...

Peter,

No. I don't think anyone could have anticipated the "arc" [assume it means direction taken] of President Bush from the 2000 election, but that was largely the result of 9/11. Up until then, he was doing what one expected.

In any event, why would the events of the Bush presidency cause one to disregard what Obama says he intends to do in deciding whether to vote for him. I personally think that the combination of Obama as president and a large democratic majority will cause much damage to the country by providing far too much power to left wing politicians. I also think that Obama is a risk on national security, although there I am hopeful that he would step up to the job. It would be nice if there was ever a prior occasion in his life when he stepped up, other than in the promotion of his ambition.

therandomelectron said...

I must say McCain has been a disappointment. I can't vote for Obama--I think he is untested and unknown and I don't want a Democratic White House & Congress. But McCain isn't giving anybody anything to vote for or even against. I've been waiting and since the convention, his campaign has been rambling to the point of incoherence.

Rich B said...

Peter Hoh-

You could have anticipated that George Bush was not a conservative back in 2000. I remember an article that Byron York wrote about him in the American Spectator before the election. It was very clear that Bush was not a conservative and that he was quite willing to push unconservative ideas. However, he was running against Al Gore, so we took what we could.

As much as I disgreed with many things he did (NCLB, McCain-Feingold, immigration) I think he did a number of good things and is definitely being unfairly blamed for the current economy.

Barry said...

Like you, I was disappointed in the boring "town hall". I would have liked some back-and-forth, and maybe a direct challenge or two. We could have seen those proverbial gloves come off and maybe seen a little fancy mental-footwork from one or both of the candidates. But it was almost as if McCain's beloved format sucked Obama down to his level of stiffness and mediocrity (though you, Professor, have said all along how mediocre Obama seems to you).

My first reaction toward your reaction was to think of all the conservatives here regretting that they've lost you, and the liberals here gleefully and proudly thinking they won. But, really, has any of us won after a performance like that last night? One of the PBS commentators threw out the old stand-by "the American people were the winners tonight". Lame. Just like the debate.

Thanks for sharing your journey from cruel neutrality into disillusionment. It's been, somehow, enlightening and entertaining.

Meade said...

[October] is the cruelest month...

Darcy said...

I can't fault your logic, Ann. And I say this as a staunch conservative, who would never vote for anyone with the views/policies of Barack Obama.

But for the undecideds, of which you were (are still?) one, McCain seems shaky when we need calm. What does he *really* believe in?
Himself?

Not good enough for the undecideds, and he should have known that. Not politically. Instinctively. And that's the point. *sigh*

SGT Ted said...

A Government encouraged (some say forced) program of loaning people money that have no ability to repay is not "free market". Fm/FM are NOT "free market" entities. Blaming the free market for this is ridiculous.

SGT Ted said...

It's a silly as calling Ws free spending ways as "conservative". He is Nixon with an accent.

Zeb Quinn said...

McCain offered no defense of his party

Hey, McCain never defends his own party. That's practically his whole schtick. When you get right down to it, that's what he's running on. That's why he's called a maverick. And that's why he is so disliked by others in his own party. And, yeah, you're right, if he loses that's why.

peter hoh said...

Short version: I don't think we vote for a set of policies. We vote for a person who will change and be changed by circumstances we can't fully anticipate.

Mark said...

Again, your poll tells us much more about your readership than the question at hand (who won the debate). Just a quick comparison to more scientific polls bears this out.

junyo said...

McCain's not really the point. If Obama had any potential limit on his actions I'd probably vote for him. The problem is, do you really want to hand over the government to the Daily Kos crowd, the DU Truthers, and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid? Do you think Obama has the spine or temperment to resist the more extreme impulses of his base and advisors like that? The best we can achieve at this stage in the game is a divided government, that does nothing other than what everyone can agree on. Giving A Democratic Congress an Obama Presidency is like giving an otherwise responsible young man a bottle of Jack Daniels, a hooker, and a sports car.

L. E. Lee said...

McCain has had the albatross of the old Republican Party on him this whole past year. Supply-side economics is now completely dead. The question now is will Obama and the Democrats revert back to old orthodoxies or find a new way that better address our current needs? I hope that latter will be the case.

Ricardo said...

"But you see the trend, and the destination is almost inevitable."

Ann: Content aside (though I agree with you), I've said this before, and hopefully I'll have occasion to say this again. From an artistic stand-point, I absolutely adore these long, meandering, stream-of-consciousness posts, that take us on a walking excursion into your mind. What an enjoyable way to begin the day. Thank you!

Expat(ish) said...

It was pretty clear to me that I should go out and over-leverage my house to the hilt, take the money out in cash, and then wait for either winning candidate to "save me."

It was depressing.

The only really good question last night was the only one (IMHO) with a historical frame of reference:

Hamm: Should the United States respect Pakistani sovereignty and not pursue al Qaeda terrorists who maintain bases there, or should we ignore their borders and pursue our enemies like we did in Cambodia during the Vietnam War?

Neither candidate answered well, but at least it was a good question. The rest was what I'd expect from people too uninvolved or shallow to have made up their minds by now.

And did anyone else find it amusing the Brokow couldn't even say "goodbye" without his d*mn teleprompter?

-XC

Original George said...

Review both men's comments on Pakistan.

Remember—Pakistan runs out of foreign currency reserves in two months. Its government is selling off its assets (gas fields) to survive. The country is propped up by billions in Saudi oil subsidies, because the Saudis hate the Iranians and al-Qaeda. Still, the fundamentalists are coming down out of the hills. 89 percent of Pakistanis oppose the US war on terror, thinking that our presence in Afghanistan increases terrorism in Pakistan.

Sen. Obama went hard-core trying to out-tough the neo-cons: "And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden; we will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority…If Pakistan is unable or unwilling to hunt down bin Laden and take him out, then we should."

Then, McCain, after flicking away Tom "house servant hired help" Brokaw, said, "I'll get him no matter what and I know how to do it. But I'm not going to telegraph my punches, which is what Sen. Obama did."

One guy needs to prove his manhood; the other doesn't. One guy needs to prove he's not soft on Muslim terrorism; the other doesn't.

"We're going to encourage democracy in Pakistan," said Obama.

How?

"[The US must] expand our nonmilitary aid to Pakistan so that they have more of a stake in working with us, but insisting that they go after these militants. We can't coddle, as we did, a dictator, give him billions of dollars," says Obama.

Pakistan's new ruler, thug-thief Zardari just said, "he looks to the world to "give me USD 100 billion."'

A bailout for Pakistan? Is that what Sen. Obama means when he says "expand our nonmilitary aid to Pakistan"? Isn't that "coddling" Pakistan's new dictator?

Trevor Jackson said...

"Do you think Obama has the spine or temperment to resist the more extreme impulses of his base and advisors like that?"

He's already done it. There were many howls of rage for his refusal to filibuster the FISA bill granting retroactive immunity to telecoms for spying on American citizens. Instead he voted for it.

Synova said...

Of course McCain isn't a conservative, never has been.

In that respect the whole Democrat strategy to stick that label on him is a lie.

Just about as big a lie, as Sgt Ted mentioned, of portraying the failure of fanny mae and freddie mack as a failure of the free market.

Matt said...

McCain's not really the point. If Obama had any potential limit on his actions I'd probably vote for him. The problem is, do you really want to hand over the government to the Daily Kos crowd, the DU Truthers, and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid? Do you think Obama has the spine or temperment to resist the more extreme impulses of his base and advisors like that? The best we can achieve at this stage in the game is a divided government, that does nothing other than what everyone can agree on. Giving A Democratic Congress an Obama Presidency is like giving an otherwise responsible young man a bottle of Jack Daniels, a hooker, and a sports car.

I had a long response typed out, but junyo says it just as well and far more briefly. It boils down to the fact that Obama genuinely believes that government control, whether it be education, technical innovation or health care, is always the right answer.

Only one more point and if it's seen as a minor quibble, so be it. Obama's lack of understanding about how small business operates is just a little frightening. Trust me, if I need a loan to make my payroll, I have much bigger problems in my business than a tight credit market.

Simon said...

Althouse said...
"I am inclined to think that with the development of complex securities and the pursuit of profit along the edge of disaster, the free market failed spectacularly. ... [W]e need new regulation...."

If you were shown an analysis that undercut or threw different light on the premises and assumptions of this point -- viz. that the markets that precipitated the crisis were free, that the crisis is a failure of the free market, that new regulations in abstracto or any particular new regulations are the solution -- would that change your conclusions and push you back towards McCain?

mcg said...

Do the Republicans really want to win this time?

Honestly? I want it a lot less than I did two weeks ago.

I skipped the debate last night for my normally scheduled date night with the missus. We got home early enough to catch the last two questions. McCain won those handily but reading a bit of the commentary it's clear that wasn't reflective of the whole debate. And I really don't think I'll bother watching the replay to find out.

I still prefer the McCain win. I'm not one of those people who wants Obama in office in hopes he screws it up royally and damages the Democrat brand.

But I don't care as much as I did before the credit crunch blew up in our faces. It's hard for me to get into partisan politics when it's clear that neither party can do a damn bit of good about it. Neither party has a solution. It could very well be that it's because there is no solution to be had short of riding it out. But nobody in either party is saying that; instead they're assigning blame and proposing oddball solutions like buying people's mortgages.

I'm still enjoying examining the various oddities of the race (reactions to Palin, the Obama kid videos, etc.) but my desire to tear down Obama or build up McCain has waned considerably.

It's one of the reasons why I ripped on Doyle yesterday in the Iowahawk Obama kid's video thread. There are plenty of threads to talk about direct Obama/McCain/Biden/Palin comparisons. That didn't need to be one, and I for one didn't want it to be. I have much less patience for it than I did even two weeks ago.

former law student said...

I could forgive McCain many things, but I could never forgive his slagging of the Adler Planetarium. At age 76, it's time to replace the Sky Show projector -- it's old; it's worn out. Chicago needs a new, vigorous Sky Show projector for the new millenium.

1930: The First Planetarium in the Western Hemisphere
Since ancient times, humankind has looked to the heavens with awe and wonder. A sense of curiosity inspired a search for understanding of the patterns of motion and changes in the paths of the Moon, Sun, and planets. Throughout history many attempts were made to create models to illustrate the relationship between celestial bodies.
It was not until 1923, however, that Dr. Walther Bauersfeld, the scientific director of the firm of Carl Zeiss in Jena, Germany, designed an optical projection device that effectively created the illusion of a night sky. Using light produced by an intricate machine at the center of a hemispherical room, he could project images of celestial objects onto the inner surface of a dome. With this innovation the modern planetarium was born.
In 1928, Max Adler, a senior officer and early stockholder in Sears, Roebuck and Company, decided to invest part of his fortune in a public facility that would benefit future generations of Chicagoans. He learned of the mechanism that could dramatically replicate the night sky that was being demonstrated in Europe and was intrigued enough to personally investigate this instrument. Accompanied by his wife and architect Ernest Grunsfeld, he went to Germany and was so impressed that he donated the funds to construct the first modern planetarium in the Western Hemisphere.

Original George said...

In case anyone thinks the government knows what it's doing re: the financial crisis, consider this from today's Wall St. J.:

"Many of the new powers that have been authorized by Congress -- such as higher ceilings on federal deposit insurance -- were approved at the last minute with little if any discussion.
This rapid-fire, ad-hoc approach to policy making often takes place on the weekends with actions culminating after marathon conference calls and late-night sessions. Details are almost always hashed out behind closed doors.

"I wish we had more time," House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D., Mass.) said. "These are hard choices and hard judgments, but I'm not inclined to think that our second-guessing them is a good idea."....

Recent changes to the financial-market rule book affect everything from the way Americans protect their money to the way businesses finance inventory; from the way banks raise capital to the way banks borrow funds from each other.

"The lack of accountability and thoughtful review of these initiatives is really sort of jaw dropping," said Tom Schlesinger, executive director of the Financial Markets Center, a nonprofit that monitors the Federal Reserve.

...

So...Frank, whose spouse was a senior FannieMae exec, doesn't want to second-guess, and under Obama, he'll have even more authority.

Not a reason to vote for Sen. Obama, no matter how boring McCain was.

Original George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Wren said...

It's too bad for McCain that he made such a hasty and foolish choice for VP. You can tell how Palin has just sucked the energy out of both him and his campaign. I get the sense that for Republicans, it's about getting Palin into office, not McCain. He seems like her running mate now. It's all about Palin and not at all about him - and that is part of the perception of him when he's solo against Obama.

If he can lose the spotlight to his own VP so completely, how can he run a powerful nation, especially in a time of deep crisis? Great, she got a little bit of a bounce into the poll numbers with her coy winks and liptsick-pitbull schtick - but at a pretty devastating cost.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Politicians save or sink themselves. I am more worried about this country and the future than about McCain. I even had a nightmare last night where this city looked like Havana and I was desperately trying to get out of the country...*sigh*

rhhardin said...

It's the psychodrama theory of voting choice.

Eric Muller said...

Ann, quoting yourself in your blog's banner is a bit much.

Or, as I was just saying to someone a few moments ago, "quoting yourself in your blog's banner is a bit much."

I liked the way I put it.

MikeR said...

Professor, I found your comment about regulation confusing. As Megan McArdle has pointed out repeatedly, the problem here wasn't lack of regulation. The problem was wrong regulation. The US government was in the business of encouraging banks to do stupid and dangerous things, and promising to protect them if it didn't work out.

We can't even put the villains in jail this time around; they did what they were supposed to. Sort of.

But I agree with a lot of the comments. McCain's is not representing the conservative viewpoint properly, and it's costing him and us. I'd much rather have Palin in the top spot; where she stands is much closer to where I do.

But how Prof. Althouse can support Obama is beyond me. Just go back and read the last month of posts.

Richard Dolan said...

Politics has become too tiresome, repetitive and empty to focus on today. The 'who won, who lost' theme of this post seems a bit unconvincing. You begin by saying that they were both repeating talking points, trying to play it safe by saying nothing (yes, that's how I saw it too). And then you say McCain is just lurching to the end, swinging without any anchor. Perhaps. I think you're overanalyzing minor details of performance and underestimating the man.

But it's the "cruel neutrality" tag that caught my interest today. You obviously mean it in a positive way, but I don't think it describes what you've been doing. I think you're not being fair to your own prose, which is anything but the wishy-washy stuff that the "netrality" image conjures up.

Besides, "neutrality" in a writer has rarely been depicted as a virtue. The "neutrals" are the first, and in some ways the most abject, inhabitants that Dante meets on his descent into perdition. They're so insubstantial, so cowardly, so afraid of life, that they're forever beached on the far side of Acheron, too worthless even to make it inside the gates of Hell. Dante can barely even make them out -- his first impression is auditory, hearing their moaning in the dark, as they chase after a banner that is always blowing away in the wind. Virgil has nothing but contempt for them.

"Cruel neutrality" isn't really a good description of what you've been doing, but I suppose you needed something short and catchy to work as the tag. It's too late to change during this cycle, but do yourself a favor and come us with a tag that does justice to your own prose while still being short and catchy.

mcg said...

Ann, quoting yourself in your blog's banner is a bit much.

I don't see why. If it's her quote that best sets her mood about the blog, so be it. Looks OK to me.

Synova said...

Ugh... I flipped past the Comedy Channel and noticed that Naomi Klein was on pimping her new book.

I want to go back in time and ask MY townhall question of both candidates.

"Who do you think is more often right about economics... Milton Friedman or Naomi Klein?"

Points to either candidate who knew who either or both of them are, and double points to either who could articulate the difference.

(BTW, did you notice that when Obama was asked about treasury secretary he mentioned no one at all? Just the name of one of the two people that McCain mentioned.)

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trevor Jackson said...

All you folks "terrified" of a Democratic Congress and President were similarly concerned about a Republican Congress and President when you voted in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006, right?

Synova said...

... trying to remember when we voted in a Republican congress in 2006...

Trevor Jackson said...

So you voted Democratic in 2006, Synova?

former law student said...

did you notice that when Obama was asked about treasury secretary he mentioned no one at all? Just the name of one of the two people that McCain mentioned.

McCain stole Obama's thunder by picking Obama's most famous investor backer; the man no one has a bad word for, Warren Buffett.

AllenS said...

If I decide to vote this year, it will be for one reason, and one reason only -- Palin.

Masterasia said...

I think Ann Althouse failed to see the crux of the financial meltdown (this matter probably belongs to another blog post).

BUT in the context of the debate, Ann hits the spot.

McCain failed miserably in defining his leadership in a presidency. Two debates in a row.

McCain's only chance in putting forth his position in a left leaning contemporary MSM is through the debates. In that respect he has failed miserably.

I love Gov. Palin, but this is a contest between Obama and McCain. Clearly Obama was the one who has shown leadership most especially in his own party.

If Obama can muster the same strong attitude against the enemies of the United States, then let him be the President.

If there are any problems that the people may see later (Rezko et. al., Fannie May and Freddie Mac) then just try impeaching him (if they can).

LarsPorsena said...

"I'm saying it because I am inclined to think that with the development of complex securities and the pursuit of profit along the edge of disaster, the free market failed spectacularly"

I take exception to the 'free market failure'. The failure has it's genesis in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other GSE's (Government Sponsored Enterprises). They were the vector that passed on poisoned securities to the rest of the financial system. Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Obama, et al have wrecked the market and now tell us they have the answers to fix it.
An Obama administration means more money to 'community organizations' like ACORN, trying to power the nation with windmills, and the creation of more federal agencies that will produce nothing and redistribute everything and make us pay for the privilege. Obama is the ultimate triumph of style over substance.

The upside is that God protects babies, drunks ,and the USA.

Synova said...

No, but I more or less expected the result to be split one way or the other.

People didn't want to vote for Bush but had little choice given Kerry as an alternative... so they voted for the other Democrats to make up for it.

I'm sure if you cared, you could find me saying so at the time.

Having both the executive and legislative branches of government wasn't good for the Republican Party, and I don't really know who'd disagree with that. Not that the Democrats did a dang thing to carry out the reforms they promised when they finally got the majority... but they still may have acted as a check on Republican spending, if only because the Republicans would have to position themselves to oppose the Democratic majority.

Jason said...

No, I wasn't terrified of a Republican congress and president in 00, 02,04 and 08, because at least Republicans will pay lip service to low taxes and small government, while Democrats regard those ideas as bugs, not features.

Stupid Republicans, therefore, all else being equal, will do a lot less damage than stupid Democrats.

Add to that the pathetic, inexplicable urge of Democrats to surrender to EVERYONE in sight (except the ONE person that nobody can find), and to hold every country in the world in higher esteem than our own, and I was very comfortable with a Republican congress and president.

A Democratic congress and Republican president will hopefully do next to nothing. A democrat/democrat government, in my view, is a sucking vortex of stupidity, naivete, and disaster waiting to happen.

I'd feel somewhat better about Democrats if they hadn't insisted on elevating a San Francisco libtard to the speakership. Not one person from the heartland was available?

former law student said...

If I decide to vote this year, it will be for one reason, and one reason only -- Palin.

Good point. That woman is far too mean-spirited and narrow-minded to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

Trooper York said...

I think the election is still to be decided and events can still overtake us to change the outcome. As the greatest philospher of the twenty century said:

It's never over till it's over.

Trooper York said...

I didn't watch the whole debate just snippets here and there. McCain seems like a rusty old tugboat chugging along against the waves with water crashing against the bow and running down into the scuppers. Taking on water and sputtering. Obama is a like a fallen leaf swirling in current hither and yon. No direction just buffeted by the elements. Either way it will be a very wild ride.

Synova said...

But did I think that a Democrat majority was a good thing? No. And since they didn't solve anything or change anything since elected... and they're still acting like they are powerless about it all... Obama... wrote LETTERS for pity's sake, when he's a Senator and could have done something substantive... it seems they are still in minority-party mode.

But maybe, if they get *both* the presidency and the congress they will finally be able to fix this country, hm?

Once the nasty Republicans aren't prohibiting them from regulating fanny or freddie.

Darcy said...

All you folks "terrified" of a Democratic Congress and President were similarly concerned about a Republican Congress and President when you voted in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006, right?

That would be a "no" from me, anyway. There are not many politicians (leaders?? lol!) scarier than Pelosi and Reid, to me (and now Obama), but your mileage will vary, I'm pretty sure. :)

That said, I definitely won't be rooting for them to do damage in hopes of a "Republicans to the rescue" thing. I won't be holding my breath that they will control their disastrous potential either, though.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Note that you don't have to sign on to the proposition that government intervention was THE cause of the trouble in order to doubt the claim that more of it would have helped. To the extent that government had any influence, it was generally in the direction of encouraging more risky lending and more securitization.

This is to some extent a separate issue from that of whether there's any new regulation that might be helpful going forward. We have the benefit of hindsight now, and there are plenty of ideas out there for preventing the next bubble-- provided it's obliging enough to happen the same way it did this time.

Synova said...

Granted, Obama, who could find no corruption in Chicago to stick out his neck to fight, and who never figured out how to accomplish anything as a Senator but write letters... and we're taking his word on that... probably won't figure out how to accomplish anything much as President either.

It's all about who is IS, after all. The healing will come naturally.

Trooper York said...

I actually was watching a great debate. Two presidential candidates talking directly to the crowd in concise, literate and enlightening speeches. Two great Americans who were representing two sides of a bitterly divided land. A short feisty maverick that often went against his party and tried to do the right thing even if it cost him. A tall laconic lawyer who was short on specifics but long on platitudes who had to deal with a lot of radicals in his party and tried to tone them down to the point that they would be acceptable to the rest of the country.

Abe Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

I was watching Abe Lincoln in Illinois.

Great movie. Raymond Massey was unbelievable. Has a lot to say about politicians and speeches and debates and candidates. It’s in Free Movies on Demand this month.

Henry said...

I only watched about 10 minutes of the debate. That's about all the sheer folly I could take. I think Obama's announcement that he would cut the deficit with a scalpel did me in. Jaysus, Obama, you're running for Chief Executive not cosmetic surgeon.

But I did read the transcript this morning.

What was really interesting, I thought, was how McCain repeatedly gave examples of his experience. Legislation he had passed. Pork he had killed. Issues he had pursued. It was incoherent, given the format plus McCain's inability to illuminate any underlying principles that gives meaning to his frenetic meddling.

But still, it was interested to see McCain attempt to make experience his message.

Obama has nothing to offer in response. He has cocooned himself in the silky comforts of the leftwing status quo. He is neither very terrible nor very inspired. He's all projection.

1jpb said...

mouthing old phrases

He is sick of them himself. Why else would he use short hand (instead of the complete talking points) such that the average viewer may not know what he means.

His point about the pen in the first debate or his seeming opposition to safe nuclear power this time must sound odd to folks who haven't heard the full versions of those (and other truncated) talking points.

He wants to be president and you're an idiot if you don't give it to him, so this debating and campaigning is beneath him.

Let's take a break from the brats who come from legacy families.

John Dramesi:
"McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man. But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."

The problem with some people of privilege is (as I've already pointed out months ago) that they've never worked without a net. They can never really fail. They'll always get another chance (which the most bratty folks will repeatedly access.) So recklessness and self-aggrandizement can result (it's quasi-encouraged.)

Kirby Olson said...

For me it comes down to the aesthetics as it does for Ann. She doesn't like the older man's grimaces, and so on. She likes the younger man's look.

Fine.

I'm listening to the rhetoric, and oddly, I like McCain's better.

I liked Bush's better than Kerry's.

It's not so much the content.

It's the plain style of delivery which I think will wear on my nerves much better than Obama's fancy style.

In the same way I couldn't stand Kerry's attempt to make every word sound important. After a while, nothing he said sounded important.

Bush just goofs around and has simple homespun insights that don't crowd the stage. So he has a more enduring appeal.

McCain's boneheaded idea to bail out middle class mortgages isn't showing any good sense, but at least he said it in a simple plain style, without trying to emphasize syllables so that you sound like you're something special.

So I'm with McCain, although I agree he didn't do very well last night, I gave him the edge in the closing arguments.

So maybe he won 51-49.

A very boring debate.

I'd like to see a Thrilla in Manilla type debate where they just pound each other senseless for 15 rounds.

But to do that McCain's punches are going to have to come from the far right, and Obama's from the far left. As it is, they are like a couple of boxers clutching each other in a huddle, defensively holding each other's positions. Obama is especially bad at this. He won't strike from the far left where his punches are really coming from.

It's too bad. It would be more interesting if he would say what he thinks, and start to sound like Jeremiah Wright, whereas McCain could rattle the saber, and sound like the Monroe Doctrine gone global.

Synova said...

Paul, I think the whole "deregulation" and "more regulation" thing is a complete crock.

More isn't better.

And I sure wish McCain would defend the idea of deregulating by pointing out the very simple truth that *more* isn't better. "We need more regulation" is a stupid statement.

We need the *right* regulation.

And you're absolutely right that it was the government itself that influenced freddie and fanny *toward* making bad loans. Because they were trying to use that leverage for "good".

How is a small-government argument not the answer to that?

But the country was in no mood to listen to conservative ideas this year... not even because they're right. It's still all about the evil Bush and his disasterous disaster of a disaster and McSame and Obama outspending McLame two to one in order to send out glossy mailings to registered Libertarians with Bush's picture on them.

junyo said...

The sad thing about it is I am, by preference a Jacksonian Democrat. The current state of the Democratic Party scares and saddens me. Add to that the pathetic, inexplicable urge of Democrats to surrender to EVERYONE in sight (except the ONE person that nobody can find), and to hold every country in the world in higher esteem than our own, and I was very comfortable with a Republican congress and president. - and that's why. Democrats have pretty effectively purged the hawkish and socially conservative elements and become a narrow, progressive niche party. I've been telling people for years, GWB was doomed to failure because he was a 1960's Democrat; hell, he's JFK without the charisma. He never belonged to the Right, and the Dems had moved so far and so hard left that he's Hitler. The atmosphere is just toxic.

Which again is why Qbama, despite promises, won't "reach across the aisle", or "mend fences" or whatever. He can't. When your base was locked in and you could play to the middle that was one thing. Now the bases of each party are much more fluid; the Kos kids will go vote for Nader, Libertarians will go vote for Ron Paul, women/blacks/old people will stay home and completely change the vote. If elected, Obama will spend a large portion of his time and energy feeding his base, just to keep them on the ranch, and any compromise or bone that he throws to conservatives will upset those folks. He'll be trapped in a box, with a one way pressure relief valve. His base will demand and the Dems in Congress will have no real incentive to not ram through as much as they can, just in case he gets bounced in 4 years. Never underestimate the power of people to rationalize taking the easy way out. And the GOP a)won't have enough seats for him to ram compromise legislation through, and b) any real reason to help, since him crashing and burning works in their favor. McCain if elected, will be in a box with no valve; not enough votes from his own party, and a hostile majority party. It'll grind him to a pulp, and he'd be lucky to see a second term, but fuck him, I prefer that alternative.

PatCA said...

Yes, I think Obama did a better job in the debate. But I disagree that "the free market failed spectacularly." Government management of the free market failed.

If I vote, and I may abstain to teach the fake liberal party a lesson, it would be for McCain because at least his party still mouths the platitudes of fiscal conservatism and strong defense. They are not blatantly anti-American or anti-capitalism as are the Dems.

So with the choice between a real liberal and a fake liberal you are choosing the real liberal?

Darcy said...

"Add to that the pathetic, inexplicable urge of Democrats to surrender to EVERYONE in sight (except the ONE person that nobody can find), and to hold every country in the world in higher esteem than our own, and I was very comfortable with a Republican congress and president"

That was beautifully and devastatingly put!

Doyle said...

Way to keep an open mind, Ann. Of course I don't think you give Obama as much credit as he deserves, but this post is still compelling evidence that you're not as far gone as I thought.

Lisa said...

You won't vote for McCain because he's not conservative enough so you'll vote for Obama?

That makes no sense.

We know who McCain is... we know that he does his damnedest to do the right thing... even when it's not popular.

We don't know much about who Obama is except that he's chose political expedience over moral integrity every Sunday for 20 years.

MadisonMan said...

I will say that the one thing that does give me pause is the Democratic hold on two branches of the government. I really didn't like that way the Legislature rolled over for the Executive in Bush's first 6 years.

And, as I mentioned earlier, does voting no on McCain further marginalize the non-religious component of the Republican Party? Does it make the Republican party even less viable?

ElcubanitoKC said...

junyo, agreed.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm cruelly neutral with regard to individual regulations. But blanket calls for "more regulation" smack too much of "Something must be done. This is something. Therefore this must be done." That's how we got Sarbanes-Oxley.

downtownlad said...

Me thinks Ann got her quarterly 401K Statement today.

Cramer put it best:

And while any president will be an improvement over the current one, there is a growing belief on Wall Street that Barack Obama has the capacity to lead us out of this wilderness while John McCain does not. I’ll go a step further: Obama is a recession. McCain is a depression...

http://seekingalpha.com/article/98704-cramer-dow-could-drop-another-14-oil-s-going-to-50?source=front_page_most_popular_articles

David said...

Ann says: "I don't like deciding, especially between 2 men I've long viewed as dangerously inadequate."

Ann, please name two men you find adequate (a low bar) in any field, so we can get a better idea of your standards.

ElcubanitoKC said...

MadisonMan said...
[...]

And, as I mentioned earlier, does voting no on McCain further marginalize the non-religious component of the Republican Party? Does it make the Republican party even less viable?

10:39 AM


Hopefully not, but possible. We need viable political parties to keep democracy alive, whether we like it or not. Unless, of course, we don't want democracy at all.

I think both parties are in desperate need of reinventing themselves, and/or spliting. This idea that the base is the most vocal minority doesn't work.


Sorry for my somewhat disconnected thoughts this morning, I still need more caffeine.

Lawgiver said...

Ann said,

I don't like deciding, especially between 2 men I've long viewed as dangerously inadequate.


Amen sister.

Doyle said...

We don't know much about who Obama is except that he's chose political expedience over moral integrity every Sunday for 20 years.

One of the most gratifying things about watching McCain get humiliated is knowing how unhappy it will make twits like Lisa.

integrity said...

I couldn't get through the debate. So I watched the new special edition of "Rear Window" and went onanist. Enjoyed both the DVD and the orgasms. It was a very good night.

I think Professor Althouse will probably change her mind again, even though McCain is really not up to the task of the Presidency.

John McCain may be intentionally throwing this election because he too wants to see Obama elected.

Mr. McCain may be a bigger hero than anybody realizes, or he is paying back the hard right that has broken his balls for years-it is spectacular revenge.

In case nobody noticed, McCain really loathes the very people that love Palin and always has. If this is the case-bravo John McCain! I shall be forever in your debt. We libs are aware of the nightmarish treatment you have received from the right-wing nutjobs on talk radio and feel your rage toward them. You should have switched parties long ago, pro-life views are not a non-starter for us unless you're a Palin style wackjob.

I predict an Obama win would get us a 1,000 to 2,000 point gain on the Dow based on excitement alone. Those retirement accounts may be saved yet.

ElcubanitoKC said...

DTL, I know you are salivating about the prospective recession, but, experts disagree.

David said...

Ann, I am slouching towards Obama too.

Could we possibly clone a mixture of FDR, Lincoln and Alexander Hamilton?

(I was looking for a financial expert who had been President to clone, but the only example I know of is Hoover.)

garage mahal said...

I still can't believe the Bill Ayers/ACORN card didn't resonate more with the American public at a time their saving are going up in smoke.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lawgiver said...

Could you guys keep your comments under 50 words please?

Last night was National Night Out and me and my neighborhood homies quaffed a few too many brewskies. Hangover won't fade until around 3 PM CST. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Rich B said...

This race is still close enough for McCain to win if he gets a fire under his ass. Somebody has to whisper in his ear that the mission is failing unless he comes through. An honorable defeat is still a defeat.

Synova said...

...pro-life views are not a non-starter for us unless you're a Palin style wackjob.

Ha ha ha ha... oh, too funny! Like I didn't get a pre-Palin... let me find it... here we go... (not being registered Republican means I'm on the "likely to vote Democrat list" so I get stuff in the mail.)

THREE ALARMING FACTS ABOUT JOHN MCCAIN EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.

(black and white glossy, 9x11 cardboard, McCain is scowling... other side)

Three Facts About John McCain's Extreme Position on Choice

(a small, scowling John McCain in the corner and a full color picture of a white lady looking thoughtful... not too pretty, not too made-up, between 35 and 40. Foot notes citing newspapers, one senate vote (51) and the New Republic)

1. John McCain is running on the Republican platform, which would ban all abortions - even in cases of rape and incest. (In which case, why cite newspapers and not the Republican platform statement?)

2. John McCain voted to criminalize doctors who support women in their reproductive choices, even when a woman's health is at risk.

3. Since 1983, John McCain has voted 125 times against women's reproductive health choices.

JOHN MCCAIN. OUT OF TOUCH WITH WOMEN'S LIVES.

Lawgiver said...

Let's form an Anybody But The Incumbent Party.

madawaskan said...

Well McCain did offer a *new* idea and I'm still pretending like I didn't hear it......

LALALALA-I'm going to askLAAAAAAA
LLAALAALthe secretLLAof the TreasuryAA
toLALLALA BUY- He said WHAT!?!?!
LALALA *alll the defaultinghome* LALLLAL
LLALALLAto renegotiateLALAL

Oh holy hell... NA UH...

He.did.NOT.just.say.that.

Synova said...

So let's us be honest, no?

Pro-life warrants a big glossy mailing warning about how alarming McCain's extreme position is. It is, indeed, a non-starter.

Palin is still in Alaska someplace, shooting a moose.

There may be pro-life Democrats out there but they they get tolerated just so long as they do what Ferraro did, and separate their pro-life sentiments from any notion that any limit whatsoever should be put on the availability of abortion at any time for any reason.

mrkwong said...

I agree that McCain does not do a good job of laying out the conservative case.

My view of why I wouldn't vote Obama even if the GOP candidate were a pool of green slime:

Firstly, the subprime mess is substantially the responsibility of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank and a few other folks and that putting Obama in the White House guarantees a coverup of the current mess and more social engineering going forward.

Secondly, if the GOP has no immediate answers for the economy, the Dems have solutions ready that guarantee a five-year recession.

And finally, the issues I vote almost above all others: energy and climate fraud. The Democrats are fundamentally on the wrong side of both. McCain is the proverbial 'half a loaf' on this point. Not to say housing wasn't a bubble, but it wouldn't have burst so spectacularly had it not been for the economic pinch of a doubling of energy prices. It took us twenty years to get rid of the 55mph NMSL; imagine what it'd take to unwind carbon caps and other such nonsense once the James Hansens of the world are finally proven to be frauds.

Right now, for me, it's Palin 2012 and whatever steps best facilitate that. I guess a case could be made that four years of Obama failure would be a better launching ramp for her than a so-so McCain term, so perhaps the goal should be to get Obama in the White House and do everything possible to torpedo him.

Bruce Hayden said...

I'm saying it because I am inclined to think that with the development of complex securities and the pursuit of profit along the edge of disaster, the free market failed spectacularly. When we need new regulation, Obama effectively associated McCain with his party's love of deregulation.

The problem here is that the Republicans, notably Bush and McCain, tried to rein in the sub-prime mess starting four or five years ago, and it was thwarted by exactly the same Democrats who got the credit for passing the bail out. They were led by Doddd and Frank, but many in that party were complacent. They were screaming that any limitations on lending would affect "affordable housing" - they were preventing fixing the problem in order to keep the lending going to precisely the people who couldn't afford their mortgages in the first place and have walked away from those houses.

Ever wonder why Obama got more Freddie and Fannie contributions than anyone except for Dodd? Who has had two former Fannie Mae CEOs helping (ok, one indirectly). This is the guy who you think is going to regulate intelligently?

I think it the height of folly to put the same people who got us into the sub-prime mess in charge of both the elected branches of our government.

Simon said...

Trevor Jackson said...
"All you folks 'terrified' of a Democratic Congress and President were similarly concerned about a Republican Congress and President when you voted in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006, right?"

You're making a flawed assumption that for all the people you describe, the evil to be avoided is one party control, per se, rather than control by one particular party. I would have had no problem with one party control if the GOP had actually done what it had said it was going to do, whereas the problem I have with one party Democratic control is that I suspect they're going to do exactly what they've threatened, their oath of office notwithstanding. We're about to see grave violence done to this country, the left picking up where it left off in January 1969, and it's hard to see how anything that throws a wrench in those works isn't justifiable.

Trooper York said...
"Two great Americans who were representing two sides of a bitterly divided land. A short feisty maverick that often went against his party and tried to do the right thing even if it cost him. A tall laconic lawyer who was short on specifics but long on platitudes who had to deal with a lot of radicals in his party and tried to tone them down to the point that they would be acceptable to the rest of the country ... I was watching Abe Lincoln in Illinois."

You'll recall that the tall laconic lawer from that debate lost the election.

Eli Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon said...

Bruce Hayden said...
"The problem here is that the Republicans, notably Bush and McCain, tried to rein in the sub-prime mess starting four or five years ago, and it was thwarted by exactly the same Democrats who got the credit for passing the bail out."


Lookit, that's the talking point, but I'm getting tired of it. I have lambasted Pelosi for using the President's threatened veto as a lame excuse for the House's inaction. I have pointed out that the House is and always has been (at least since the days of Tom Reed) the fiefdom of the majority party. The GOP ran the House of Representatives back then. How exactly did Barney Frank "thwart" reform of Fannie & Freddie? True, the minority in the Senate could thwart passage. It would be credible for the GOP to say, look, we tried - we passed a bill in the House, but in the Senate, Chris Dodd killed it. But I don't understand how the CGOP can credibly claim to have tried to reform these agencies, still less blame their failure to do so on Barney Frank, any more than Pelosi can credibly blame Bush for all those measures she hasn't even held a vote on.

Eli Blake said...

Ann,

I believe that Obama's solutions are in fact what is needed right now. People may complain about the old-style big Government programs that FDR put in place during the last depression but the fact is that they prevented a lot of people (like my wife's grandfather) from starving and got some work done at the same time.

For that matter, Obama isn't even advocating a government takeover of things like health care (as much as conservatives would have you believe that) but rather is advocating the government working WITH the insurance industry to make insurance affordable and available to everyone. But it would only be mandatory for children (which it is hard to believe that in today's world, in which every other industrialized country in the world has universal coverage, we can't even cover our children-- likely one reason why the U.S. ranks appallingly badly on the infant mortality statistics.)

F15C said...

If Obama is elected, I wonder if Ayers will be considered for Secretary of Education?

It is safe to assume that Obama and Ayers are at least somewhat aligned on education strategy since that is the area they focused on together for a few years.

Ayers is a self-described little 'c' communist. On his blog Ayers posted his speech to the 2006 World Education Forum in Venezuela. Among other things he said:

"Luis (Bonilla) has taught me a great deal about the Bolivarian Revolution and about the profound educational reforms underway here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chavez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution".

So, forget about Ayers past - considering only the time since he came to know Obama there is still a great deal to be concerned about in their relationship.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

As goes Althouse, so goes the nation.

Lorelei Leigh said...

And, as I mentioned earlier, does voting no on McCain further marginalize the non-religious component of the Republican Party? Does it make the Republican party even less viable?

I'm not sure about this. I do think that, after losing this Presidential election and losing more seats in both houses of Congress, the Republican party will have to regroup. I think that we will see a return to small government conservative principles, which aided the Republicans in 1994.

However, I don't see the religious right as being marginalized when McCain loses, because McCain is not one of them. The religious right will probably say "we told you so" - wrongly, of course (but so what else is new) - when McCain loses and argue for more prominence rather than more marginalization. I think their influence in Republican politics will stay roughly the same, which is somewhat less than what they and others seem to think they have.

David said...

Ann says: "I'm saying it because I am inclined to think that with the development of complex securities and the pursuit of profit along the edge of disaster, the free market failed spectacularly. When we need new regulation, Obama effectively associated McCain with his party's love of deregulation."

A logical conclusion, but perhaps not entirely correct. Partly, you ignore the central role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and thus the Congress of the United States. Without Frannie and Freddie buying five trillion (!) dollars of assets with leverage enabled by an implicit government guarantee, much of this could not have happened. "The market" would never have let Fannie and Freddie exist absent the government backing, and the Congress made this worse by insisting on a large amount of loans by banks to borrowers who were not credit worthy.

I would also argue that all of this is a product of our overall culture of unaccountability. Securitization of loans made lenders and brokers unaccountable. Borrowers were not accountable, because they did not have to show an ability to repay. Financial executives were not accountable, because they were paid based on volume and velocity of transactions, not quality of decisions. The list goes on.

But where did the culture of unaccountability begin? Clinton has sex in the oval office, lies as easily as he breathes, and gets a pass from his party in Congress. Bush runs a $80 billion a year war and fails to pay for it. Congress ignores huge financial issues in medicare and social security, earmarks tens of billions of dollars of our money to facilitate reelection, passes campaign finance "reform" that requires a battery of lawyers to oppose incumbents and centers the political dialog on blame and recrimination.

I think our politics and our culture are at the center of our problem. Congress will now investigate the mess, blame everyone else and go on its merry, unaccountable way.

Yes the market did not check these excesses. Until now. Now the market is turning on all of us with a vengeance, the innocent (most of use) and the guilty. So in that sense the market is working. A principal reason that it did not work earlier, and in a less draconian way, is that our elected leadership enabled the excess.

madawaskan said...

ALso let me put in a warning though about Conservatives on the internets.

They like the anti-immigration also though the guy that won was the least that way though.

They also though thought that the Fred Thompson, was the greatest thing since the whitebread, but we all know what happened there-bless his heart.

He finished after the write-ins you know the people that put in the name of their dog or themselves-just goofin' off well the Fred Thomspon he came in and finished after that don't you know...

Also you'll have these young school boy types still wearin' their school boy shorts and they'll say stuff like *Gingrich* and isn't he the bomb!

And you know you should just send the lilltel fellow off to bed with a cookie and some warm milk 'cause it's probably past his bedtime anyways...

Or you could tell him a story about how in the olden days there was this guy FDR, and a Democrat Senate, and House and th Republicans were out in the wilderness just a howlin' like coyotes or something-well anyways when the Democrats win they get down to business you see?

And they don't play all gentlemanly like the country club Republicans-NO.

They don't say "Hey we need a few of them in here to keep it friendly like so that they can give us some friendly oppositon or some competin' ideas"-oh hell no.

They do stuff like wishin' you were never born, the gerry mandering like I said before and hell they'd change election laws too to favor the incumbents...you know hell they'd even be tempted to play with that pretty little Supreme Court that you admire so much...

Oooh next time you could promise to tell him the story about the vote in time that saved nine!

OK so you know by some miracle the Republicans get back a majority, and there's this guy Gingrich who absolutely squanders it....

But you know the little fellas admire him even though he's all statesman like here lately and inspiring confidence in the economy yellin'

"Give me the head of Paulson!"

[ed. Oy! If they lose they are going to run off in the wrong direction, and never be heard from again]

TosaGuy said...

FLS Said

"I could forgive McCain many things, but I could never forgive his slagging of the Adler Planetarium. At age 76, it's time to replace the Sky Show projector -- it's old; it's worn out. Chicago needs a new, vigorous Sky Show projector for the new millenium."

The bit of history you insert regarding the SSP tells us that private funds paid for the original. There is alot of money in Chicago and the Adler commands a great deal of respect in that city.....so why do the Feds have to buy something that was originally bought with philantrophy? chicago has lots of lots and lots of well-to-do folks who have the ability to step up with a the plate with regard to this civic project It is that type of attitude...Uncle Sammie pays for everything and if you disagree with doing that then must "hate" it (nevermind if it truly serves a national purpose or not) ... that needs to end. So many problems in this nation are due to the fact everybody wants somebody else to pay for their stuff and they get offended if others do not want to.

garage mahal said...

The problem here is that the Republicans, notably Bush and McCain, tried to rein in the sub-prime mess starting four or five years ago, and it was thwarted by exactly the same Democrats who got the credit for passing the bail out.

You forgot AIG. Clearly also the fault of out of power Democrats.

mcg said...

How about this October surprise: Obama/McCain!

former law student said...

chicago has lots of lots and lots of well-to-do folks who have the ability to step up with a the plate with regard to this civic project

That would have been a great, statesmanlike, argument, had McCain chosen to make it. Instead he merely sneered at the idea of a "$3 million dollar overhead projector," as if it were a $500 toilet seat.

former law student said...

The problem here is that the Republicans, notably Bush and McCain, tried to rein in the sub-prime mess starting four or five years ago, and it was thwarted by exactly the same Democrats who got the credit for passing the bail out.

Bruce, the problem here is that the Republicans controlled Congress and they controlled the White House, yet they couldn't rein in the sub-prime mess. The only feeble excuse the Republicans have been able to raise is a hypothetical fear of a theoretical filibuster -- apparently they have never heard of the cloture rule.

Had the Republicans in Congress spoken out, had Shelby passed the bill out of committee but then was thwarted by a filibuster -- then the Republicans would have a valid point. Instead they gave up before they tried.

chuck b. said...

I only watched the last 20 minutes, and it was resoundingly clear to me that Obama won.

About the economic crisis, I don't want any more "ideas" from the government. In fact, I'd like them to take back some of the "ideas" they've already given us, and leave it at that. I can't help but think that would be sufficient.

On Iran, Obama's remark that we need to change Mahmoud Amidikwad's cost-benefit analysis was right on the mark. It wasn't much of an answer, but it was miles beyond McCain's patronizing condescension.

The debate formats, all of them, suck. I was grilled harder before my undergraduate thesis committee than any of the presidential or vice- candidates in any of these debates.

And that was for a fucking bachelor degree.

Obama is going to win the election, and it will be very poor form for Republican's to complain any further about shabby treatment by the media. The media doesn't owe you fair treatment. And the rest of the world isn't going to treat you fairly. Get over it. Show us that you can adapt to the situation on the ground and fight back. Now, more than at any other time in the history, there are abundant tools at their immediate disposal to do that with.

It seems to me, the Republicans should find some good, compelling people in the military (ideally NOT generals) to start running for high offices. I think that's the best hope they have to find someone who unite the base with the moderates, send the Fuckabees of the world in to retirement and move forward.

Chris said...

"He's stumbling along to the finish line, hoping to achieve his lifelong ambition, to seize the crown at last. But why? To show he can get along with Democrats?"

To prevent a massive expansion of the federal government. I'm not sure it's any more complicated than that. McCain has been fighting Bush's expansion of spending, and he wants to reverse it, or hold the line. Maybe he's not the best at explaining the rationale for those policies, but those policies offer a ready rationale for a McCain presidency.

I'm from Chicago, and I like the Adler planetarium a lot. And a new projector would be swell. And, sure, these things cost a lot. But from the federal government? Come on.

stoqboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William said...

In the course of human events, pastry chefs become obese, bartenders become alcoholics, and bankers become greedy and over leveraged. This has happened repeatedly. Afterwards we vow to learn the proper lessons and put the pot back on the stove....The Republican brand of free markets and low taxes is for the moment as passe as Hoover's spats. I have lost more money in the stock market in the last five weeks than I paid in taxes during the last five years. If you factor in the soon to cascade value of my home, make that ten years. If you further factor the oncoming capitulation day, make that forever. Free markets and low taxes are no longer a selling point for the Republicans.... McCain is brittle and old and has no clear vision for getting us out of the present mess. Obama is young and poised. He presents a physical image of flexibility and kinetic energy. His platitudes are more grammatical and concise but, upon final analysis, just as confused as McCain's.....In the end I still choose McCain. He knows something of failure and dark places. He will be less inclined to panic....Obama has led a charmed life. He is like a Lehman banker who has made three consecutive successful deals. In the buzz of testosterone and money, he thinks himself capable of all things and that past success is prologue to future glory. Obama is over leveraged....I am sure that McCain will bump against the guard rails. If he wins, no one will remember his tenure as the happiest days of their life. But Obama is quite capable of taking the bus off the cliff and calling it flying.

Too many jims said...

MadisonMan said...
I will say that the one thing that does give me pause is the Democratic hold on two branches of the government. I really didn't like that way the Legislature rolled over for the Executive in Bush's first 6 years.


I have similar concerns about a democratic president with a democratic congress. A democratic congress is, in my opinion, the strongest argument to vote for McCain.

Here is how I rationalize a vote for Obama given the expectation that there will be a democratic congress. I start out with the premise that Obama is smart (which most except the most partisan will agree with) and that he is very ambitious (which most (all?) will agree with). Because he is ambitious he will want to be re-elected (and he has an eye toward his legacy). Because he is smart he will look at what happened with other recent presidents who had congress controlled by their party.

What happened with Carter? No re-election and I won't mention his legacy here. The best thing that happened to Clinton's presidency and his legacy (oddly enough) is that unified government screwed up so badly that they delivered a Republican controlled congress.

Yes, Bush was re-elected but I think that we will look back on the 2002 and 2004 elections as really different than most U.S. elections. Also, Bush won re-election not because he took his parties principles (on both domesic policies and foreign affairs )too far but rather he sold out parts of his parties principles (domestically, I'm looking at you Medicare Part-D) to appeal to certain constituencies (e.g. seniors and pharmaceutical companies). History will be the judge, but how does Bush's legacy look right now?

If Obama proves not to be that smart (possible) or not that ambitious (not likely) he'll screw up. The good news is we get another election in 2 years and, then again, in 4 years. The republic will survive.

stoqboy said...

Seems like some of the sentiment coming from the right is to concede the election to Obama, in the hope that everything gets even worse over the next four years. I highly doubt things will get worse. Regardless of what the winners do they are likely to reap the benefits of the end of George Bush's war and to take credit for a rebounding economy and stock market. We're already coming out of the Iraq war and it seems that all that needs to be done is to maintain some presence. Relative peace in Iraq over the next four years accrues to whoever is in office. Also, the stock market, and the economy to some extent, have had a dismal decade. It's almost inconceivable that we don't get a turnaround - again, accruing to whoever is in office. Don't hold your breath for Palin in '12 if Obama wins in '08.

Arturius said...

Cramer put it best:

Why anyone pays attention to that raving lunatic is beyond me.

MadisonMan said...

so perhaps the goal should be to get Obama in the White House and do everything possible to torpedo him.

Who cares what it does to the nation! The important thing is to get Palin elected.

You realize this is what happened with Clinton, and as a result we got Bush.

junyo said...

Theo Boehm:
Make no mistake. The base of the Democrats is a niche group of progressives. The base of the Republican party is a base group of conservatives. But the Republicans have way more upside. The only reason why this election is contested is the fortuitous timing of these economic difficulties.

Either party can only get elected by forming a coalition, unless there's a massive wedge issue that drives a bunch of votes your way. The Dem's have effectively used the economy as a wedge to peel off voters that have no philosophical agreement with the core beliefs of their base. People like 'integrity', by refering to people like Palin as a wackjob, have effectively conceded many ideological groups to the the GOP. If you're a "gun nut", you have no real reason to vote for a Democrat. If you're anti-abortion (American Taliban) there's now no place for you as a Democrat. If you're strong on national defense (war monger), the aggressive spread of democracy (neocon), evangelical Christianity (jesus freak), border security (racist), your choices as a Dem are leave or keep your mouth shut. The GOP strayed away from it's core values because they were winning elections with the cast off constituencies of the Democrats. If the economy hadn't tanked precipitously it wouldn't even be close.

Henry said...

Eli Blake wrote: People may complain about the old-style big Government programs that FDR put in place during the last depression but the fact is that they prevented a lot of people (like my wife's grandfather) from starving and got some work done at the same time.

Maybe so, but FDR's policies also ensured that a lot of people stayed unemployed for a lot longer than would otherwise have been the case.

See this report: FDR's Policies Prolonged Depression by 7 Years, UCLA Economists Calculate and this book: The Forgotten Man.

Shanna said...

So you voted Democratic in 2006, Synova?

I know you didn't ask me, but I think I started voting for the dem's (who were actually going to win whether I voted for them or not) starting in 2004, when I realized that I was mad at Bush for not beign a conservative and congress for same, but I couldn't very well vote for KERRY of all people.

So, yes. Divided govt all the way.

F15C said...

"Had the Republicans in Congress spoken out, had Shelby passed the bill out of committee but then was thwarted by a filibuster -- then the Republicans would have a valid point. Instead they gave up before they tried."

The reason the Republicans could do little or nothing is that the Democrats would brand them as racists if they ever got close to reigning in Fannie or Freddie.

Have you not heard the remarks by Frank, Waters, et al? Pure race-baiting - and it worked.

The 'red-lining' fiasco of a few years back that made racists out of anyone who wanted safe and sane financial requirements to met by mortgage applicants plays a big part in our current financial problems.

Ann Althouse said...

Trevor Jackson said..."All you folks "terrified" of a Democratic Congress and President were similarly concerned about a Republican Congress and President when you voted in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006, right?"

Thanks for asking! In 2004, I voted for George Bush and Russ Feingold.

Ann Althouse said...

Simon: "If you were shown an analysis that undercut or threw different light on the premises and assumptions of this point -- viz. that the markets that precipitated the crisis were free, that the crisis is a failure of the free market, that new regulations in abstracto or any particular new regulations are the solution -- would that change your conclusions and push you back towards McCain?"

Not if it has the word "viz." in it. Seriously, I know the market is regulated and not entirely free, but I think we saw the need for more regulation and Obama won the debate (not my vote) by pinning deregulation on the Republicans.

I do think that the crisis was caused by highly complex securities that hid problems and creative packaging of the problems that continued and made the problem worse and worse as people tried to win. They weren't evil or "greedy" people, but just people playing the game to win and skating right along the edge. When the collapse came it was huge. That shouldn't be allowed to happen.

Something needs to be done, and I don't think McCain is smart enough or focused enough to figure it out and stick to it. He continues to babble about earmarks and enthuse about reaching across the aisle. That's pathetic, not that Obama has much more, but I think he brings better skills to the table.

Chip Ahoy said...

This is an inadequate analysis. It speaks of disillusionment and a debate won and lost because McCain's Conservatism is overtaken by Obama's Liberalism. Well, duh! McCain is nowise a sound representative of conservative ideals, not by a long shot. McCain is not and never was the yang to Obama's yin. 阴 阳 (Notice the sun and moon symbols in there, if they're displaying? Incidentally, those bits are the same symbols for Sunday and Monday. But I digress.)

Republicans put forward McCain because he was most likely to appeal to a broader set of voters within a general election, very nearly alienating their own base of real live conservatives, until he surprisingly selected a VP candidate who did appeal to that base. Most notably his lax position on protecting southern border and McCain-Feingold. RINO, if tag you must.

Democrats put forward the most stunningly liberal candidate available that outright repulses all voters that are not liberal -- a quick review off the top of my head, however inadequate: a red diaper baby, raised Muslim, converted to Christianity but beholden and propelled by straight-up anti American church, at a period in history when that unfortunate circumstance is significant, up to his ears in Ayers, Acorn, Rezco, Johnson, Raines, Wright, Davis, Odinga, Khalidi, Farrakhan, and countless resolutely undisclosed contributors. But is a candidate to be tinged by their associates? Resoundingly yes! Especially when those associates propel his career. Capable, yes, but assisted by AA and legacy programs, parlaying one into the next, provided with a computer specifically to write for a law review but used to produce an autobiography while still in college! (This is particularly grating to persons who were never given 1¢ in educational assistance beyond high school ) elevated to Senate seat but not scarcely occupied in deliberating and voting but rather spent nearly entirely in campaigning, and yet claims credit for standing up for this and for that and for opposing all manner of things gone poorly and for writing in support of all sorts of legislation that never passed.

Winning a debate. Pffffft. My arese wins a debate.

Vote however you wish. I. Don't. Care. Rome got what Rome deserved, and America is no different. These two candidates are creatures of America's own creation. As for myself, I find both candidates woefully inadequate, actually dangerous.

Excuse me please for awhile, I have important things to do, pet sourdough cultures to rejuvenate and pop-up cards to make.

Kirby Olson said...

Best comment ever on Althouse: Junyo at 10:27.

I wish I had a live feed so I could always see this person's comments. Is it possible to do that?

I thought they were really amazingly sharp.

Arturius said...

I do think that the crisis was caused by highly complex securities that hid problems and creative packaging of the problems that continued and made the problem worse and worse as people tried to win. They weren't evil or "greedy" people, but just people playing the game to win and skating right along the edge. When the collapse came it was huge. That shouldn't be allowed to happen.

That means we need to go back to strict underwriting of risk rather than trying to be 'fair' and make sure everyone, including people who can't afford a home buy one anyway.

What I would like to have seen is one of the candidates quit heaping all the blame on Wall Street and inform Main Street that they have their share of culpability in this mess as well. The vast majority of people out there have no clue how to manage their finances. Case in point - A client calls me about a year ago and wants to borrow $22K from her 401K - Why? Daughter is going to college and she needs the money. My response was for her daughter to apply for loans rather than have Mom who is 52 years old raid her retirement thus prolonging her ability to retire versus a 20 something kid who will have the next 40+ years to pay the school loans back.Result? Client takes the loan anyway, dumps me as her advisor.

The first thing I tell people when I meet them is my primary function as a financial advisor is not picking the right funds or insurance products but rather to keep you from doing something stupid. They all think that's a great philosophy right up to the point I tell them they're doing something stupid.

A lot of people on Main Street acted stupidly and it really is about time one of the candidates has the testicular fortitude to say it. I have a deep belief the American people can handle hard truth but perhaps it takes the right kind of leader to say it.

mccullough said...

The problem for Obama (since he's going to win) is that he understands nothing about credit default swaps or securitization any better than McCain.

Obama's economic advisers are going to devise some regulations which, hopefully, will work (hopefully the bailout/rescue plan will to). But he'll have no basis with which to judge them by.

It's not like Obama even took securites or market regulation courses in law school. He was too busy with the civil-rights courses to actually try and understand economic matters. He's pretty well indiffent to them.

Obama has no regard for, because he's totally ignorant about, small businesses that actually provide jobs (his tax cuts will help the mom-and-pop businesses where mom-and-pop are the only employees) but will really hurt the 300,000 or so small businesses that actually have employees. He gives no explanation other than pure pandering why the U.S. should bailout the three failing U.S. car companies that are failing because they have made bad business decisions.

I guess what I'm saying is that Obama is as bad, and maybe worse, than McCain on the economy. We should all get ready for difficult times.

Darcy said...

Something needs to be done, and I don't think McCain is smart enough or focused enough to figure it out and stick to it. He continues to babble about earmarks and enthuse about reaching across the aisle.

This is ringing true to me. I don't think McCain understands this crisis at all - and I'm not so sure of the level his intelligence at all after these debates. He's not nimble-minded, that's for sure.

I'm not trying to bash him. I think he's a decent guy. I just understand why he may be appearing to be the scarier choice.

Arturius said...

The problem for Obama (since he's going to win) is that he understands nothing about credit default swaps or securitization any better than McCain.

If you can find ten people in the Federal government who can articulate what credit default swaps are I'd be surprised.

holdfast said...

I don't think that you and others truly understand that Fannie and Freddie were never part of the free market - as government supported entities they should have been subject to far more scrutiny and oversight than purely private enterprises. Instead they were subject to less scrutiny, and as a result they poisoned the market with trillions in lousy paper which, left alone, the private market would most likely never have originated (or at least not in such vast amounts).

I do agree that neither man has the background or intellectual tools to deal with the current economic situation - an attack pilot and a whiny, second rate lawyer? On the other hand, Hank Paulson certainly does have the background, but he's not having too much luck either.

I will make one prediction - anyone with any libertarian inclinations who votes for Obama is going to want to stab themselves in the face in about 24 months. John McCain is not a particular friend of personal liberty, but Obama is its enemy.

Oh, and I am hardly surprised by Althouse's choice - was anyone?

Synova said...

"Also, Bush won re-election not because he took his parties principles..."

Bush won because we were still at war and the "loyal" opposition in Congress was in a lather to please the anti-war sorts and BDS sufferers by being as uncooperative as possible while making lots of noise about how badly everything was going. Gore made some foreign speech about war crimes or some such, if I recall, and Kerry called the president of Iraq a US puppet... and that was normal for the Dems then.

Kerry tried, because he knew he had to, to portray himself as the pro-military, experienced, victory candidate... which sort of failed as he fell on the sword of his very respectable anti-war, Ghengis Khan, Winter Soldier, creds.

Given a credible pro-victory alternative Bush probably would not have won.

Now... now a demand to withdraw wouldn't push up the time table in Iraq... the amount of damage that can be done in that arena is limited so Obama doesn't have to have military creds and we can look more to domestic issues, and would be, even without this economic crisis.

Synova said...

"Oh, and I am hardly surprised by Althouse's choice - was anyone?"

No.

The only one who thinks Ann is a rightwinger is Doyle. (And maybe Michael.)

Donn said...

Oh, and I am hardly surprised by Althouse's choice - was anyone?

Didn't Ann have a poll on who her readers thought she would vote for? And didn't "Obama" come out as the overwhelming choice?

Henry said...

If you can find ten people in the Federal government who can articulate what credit default swaps are I'd be surprised.

And then we'll reregulate to stop the crisis that already happened.

The big lie about "regulation" is that there were no regulations to force the bond raters not to be hubristic fools or the banks to go along with their idiocy.

One can imagine such regulations, but they didn't exist and nobody ever proposed them. (McCain proposed reining-in the corruption of Fannie and Freddy; Obama noticed that subprime mortgages were a bad idea right when the housing market crashed.)

And what oversight should be put in place now? Who are the overseers who would have been more knowledgable about risk than the brilliant analysts that created the collapse? Who are the overseers that would have more of a stake in keeping things running smoothly than the executives and traders who bankrupted their own banks?

Mistaken risk is part of the cost of capitalism. It's a horrendous cost, but far preferable to stultifying alternative.

Syl said...

I'm not disappointed because Ann's leaning is no surprise. I'm sorry, Ann, but you are a typical middle-of-the-roader who hasn't a clue about economics in the large sense.

You wanted McCain and Obama to offer some huge solution to a problem that the Fed folks in government are already handling. Something to make you feel better about the candidates as leaders.

Roosevelt's programs caused the Great Depression to stretch out at least seven years longer than it had to. But perhaps some public works-make jobs program would have satisfied your yearning for the candidates to offer something-anything-just to show the candidates understand.

The absolute best thing these candidates can do is reassure us that this too shall pass. And it will. Expect hard times for a couple of years but there won't be any breadlines nor soup kitchens nor 'nouveau poor' like my own parents met at the stores back in the day when my mom lived on apples for an entire winter.

Reduce spending, keep taxes low so as the market returns business can expand and create jobs. That's the main thrust of McCain's plan.

Obama's green jobs is a work program that will cost us dearly. Expecting to go from solar/wind being 1% of energy production to 20% in ten years is not only futile it is unnecessary!

But, no matter, for all your smarts you end up making profound decisions on emotion.

I'm going with the ticket that will govern from the center. Makes sense to me.

Arturius said...

And what oversight should be put in place now? Who are the overseers who would have been more knowledgable about risk than the brilliant analysts that created the collapse?

Well for starters I would advocate stronger regulation of credit. Personally I think issuing credit cards to college kids/grads is nonsense and the overall loose issuance of credit cards is IMHO one of the biggest contributing factors to our debt laden society. I would also ban subprime mortgages and insist on strict underwriting requirements for ARMs. I would also insist on at least a 10% downpayment for any home mortgage.

Original George said...

mccullough--

Yes, it's increasingly evident that people want comforting images and illusion over reality. That's what we've been trained to want, and it's worked out for a long time. "Difficult times" is an understatement.

GM is at 7.09; 52-week high is 43.20; Ford, high 9.24 to nearly 2.
GE at 21.32; 52-week high 42.09. US Steel...196 to 55. Dow is at 9,567. Is 6,000 possible?

And, Professor, you say Obama brings better "skills to the table." What can you cite as evidence of his ability to negotiate with anyone about anything?

Such charms. Seventy six trombones lead the big parade.

Trooper York said...

The choice of Obama is not a surprise in the least. Althouse is just as much a big liberal weenie as any college professor; it is only through the prism of the nut bag trolls that she seems "conservative."

It just doesn’t bother most of the conservative commenters all that much.

Darcy said...

Althouse is just as much a big liberal weenie as any college professor

I don't get this idea at all. I would think the tally of liberal weenie professors voting - ever - for George W. Bush is nil.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Althouse is just as much a big liberal weenie as any college professor; it is only through the prism of the nut bag trolls that she seems "conservative."

Which is why she has much in common with Joe Lieberman. Here's your classic liberal Democrat who breaks ranks with his party over Iraq and probably is a close second with Bush/Cheney in drawing liberal vitriol.

I swear the liberals are like the Borg, assimilate or die.

bagoh20 said...

Ann: "the free market failed spectacularly"

You can't be serious. What the hell is free market about Fanny and Freddy?

Those bad loans would never had been made in a free market system, ergo no crisis. Of course poor people could not buy houses just like rich people, and we can't have that.

The idea that this democratic congress with a Dem president will fashion regulation that will not make the problem worse or create a new one is absurd. Their brilliance is what caused it, started under the exact same Dem/Dem situation in the seventies then made nuclear in the nineties which could then not even be undone with a Rep. congress or Rep. President, despite repeated attempts. Dems. have clearly been the problem, and now their are the solution. Ahh, the legal mind, an amazingly creative invention.

holdfast said...

"I would also ban subprime mortgages and insist on strict underwriting requirements for ARMs. I would also insist on at least a 10% downpayment for any home mortgage"

You RASCIST!

I'm kidding, sort of - though here's the thing - making dumb loans was always legal, but it only became a problem in the last decade or so because so many were made. Is that a market failing, or was there some other reason? Obviously the CRA and the new regs promulgated by the Clinton Admin, combined with support for community whiners like ACORN and the willingness of Frannie to buy or guarantee the crap paper was a huge factor. The post-9/11 loose money policy was also a factor, as is the dearth of investment growth in Europe.

Regulating away sub-prime mortgages is just fighting the last war - what we need to do is take away the unnatural subsidies which encouraged them and made them seem less risky. Properly priced and assessed, these sorts of mortgages should be unattractive enough that very few will be made - but the government, throgh various means, subsidized the hell out of them and we got the current mess.

Greed is the default setting of Wall Street - that's ok, we should expect that. We have a problem because here the government subsidized and encouraged it. How can we talk about more government oversight of Wall Street being thesolution when the government failed so spectacularly to maintain oversight of its own creatures? And won't increased government meddling in Wall Street just lead to the hiring and funding of more lobbyists, as banks increasingly turn to Congress as their sugar-daddy? Do we really want more lobbyists and their "contributions" polluting the system? Will that really benefit the average taxpayer?

mccullough said...

W. destroyed whatever was left of the Republican party (along with Tom Delay and some other House Republicans). The Dems complain about the unnecessary war in Iraq but that's only part of what contributed to the high deficits. A prescription drug bill we can't afford and more federal money for public schools because the states can't govern themselves. The Dems are happy with huge deficit spending here.

McCain should have told that first questioner in the debate: Sir, we've come along way from when President Kennedy in his inaugural address urged Americans ask of themselves not their government. The Democrats abandoned that principle a long time ago, and unfortunately the Repulicans have as well.

Instead of doubling the size of the peace corps or calling for community service maybe Obama can call people to take responsibilty for their lives. Wake up and quit taking out loans you can't afford. Take care of yourselves and your families, and quit looking for the government to save you from yourself. People who took out loans they couldn't afford are as bad as these Wall Street assholes who leveraged their companies and these morons who are running American car companies into the ground and looking for the government to save them. (And why hasn't the government capped executive pay for these assholes as a condition of the 25 billion in loans they're giving these assholes).

Why should the government help more people afford college when it's crystal clear the only thing most college graduates have learned is that everything that happens is someone else's fault.

People eat to much junk food and too many people still smoke (including Obama for chris'sakes) and don't exercise and bitch that health care costs too much.

We are a nation of whiners.

Synova said...

Personally I think issuing credit cards to college kids/grads is nonsense and the overall loose issuance of credit cards is IMHO one of the biggest contributing factors to our debt laden society.

I've lived without a credit card for 15 years at least, since cutting them up and throwing them away. It's really easy these days because bank ATM cards can be used as "credit" cards, mine says VISA on it, without actually being a credit card at all.

No credit. No temptation.

20 years ago it was different. There were any number of things that you really needed to have a credit card for because a check wouldn't work and while there were ATM's, that's all your ATM card was good for.

My husband now has a credit card for work because he has to travel and there is a delay between having to pay for stuff and getting the check from his employer to pay for it. My brother is a general contractor... again, it's a matter of buying materials now and getting paid later.

But for regular folks?

It's just not necessary. Small items shouldn't be bought on credit anyway... not ever. And large items like a car or house are distinct separate loans. The idea that one must use credit cards in order to pay them in order to build a credit rating? It's BS. The car dealer only cares that you don't have a *bad* rating and have a steady pay-check and the mortgage lender is lending with the property as a security on the loan (even when they're doing it right.)

The credit card companies sell this "build a good credit rating" thing because they KNOW that people will max their cards and pay interest only for years. That's how they make money.

mccullough said...

W. destroyed whatever was left of the Republican party (along with Tom Delay and some other House Republicans). The Dems complain about the unnecessary war in Iraq but that's only part of what contributed to the high deficits. A prescription drug bill we can't afford and more federal money for public schools because the states can't govern themselves. The Dems are happy with huge deficit spending here.

McCain should have told that first questioner in the debate: Sir, we've come along way from when President Kennedy in his inaugural address urged Americans ask of themselves not their government. The Democrats abandoned that principle a long time ago, and unfortunately the Repulicans have as well.

Instead of doubling the size of the peace corps or calling for community service maybe Obama can call people to take responsibilty for their lives. Wake up and quit taking out loans you can't afford. Take care of yourselves and your families, and quit looking for the government to save you from yourself. People who took out loans they couldn't afford are as bad as these Wall Street assholes who leveraged their companies and these morons who are running American car companies into the ground and looking for the government to save them. (And why hasn't the government capped executive pay for these assholes as a condition of the 25 billion in loans they're giving these assholes).

Why should the government help more people afford college when it's crystal clear the only thing most college graduates have learned is that everything that happens is someone else's fault.

People eat to much junk food and too many people still smoke (including Obama for chris'sakes) and don't exercise and bitch that health care costs too much.

But apparently people still have enough money to donate to the campaign of this self-centered, narcisstic lightweight who needs to grow up. Obama will be a perfect president. Like most people in this country, he takes no responsibility for anything and wants to blame someone else.

Henry said...

Arturius wrote: I would also ban subprime mortgages and insist on strict underwriting requirements for ARMs. I would also insist on at least a 10% downpayment for any home mortgage.

Those are good sound ideas. But they only respond to the last crisis. The next crisis will be different.

And with inoffensive regulations like that, we'll get some horrendous add-ons. We'll get make-work-for-lawyers regulations like Sarbannes-Oxley or slush-funds for deadbeats (McCain's idea), or slush-funds for activists (Dodd's idea), or the rule-of-law-killing proposal that judges should be allowed to rewrite mortgages.

All in the name of sound regulation.

vbspurs said...

Ann wrote:

But you see the trend, and the destination is almost inevitable.

You have to vote your conscience, Ann. Just hope that when you do, that your conscience will leave you alone afterwards.

I never have once regretted my 2004 vote. Every day there isn't another 9/11 on US soil, I know I made a choice for the right candidate.

Cheers,
Victoria

Arturius said...

Greed is the default setting of Wall Street - that's ok, we should expect that.

Let me fix that for you. Greed is the default setting of your average human being, Wall Street is neither the exception or the rule. While there is a hue and cry from the electorate to reign in Wall Street greed, a little introspection on Main Street is also a tad overdue.

Trooper York said...

Darcy you are new around here, but the professor has most of the liberal attitudes of her academic fellows, it is only on the war that she is really out of step. She has a lot more in common with Doyle and Michael and Mort's views about most things than she does Simon or Pogo or me. It's just that the lefties will never let you disagree about anything, if you do you are an apostate and must be destroyed.

At least that's how it seems to me and what the hell do I know about anything.

Arturius said...

Those are good sound ideas. But they only respond to the last crisis. The next crisis will be different.

Well not exactly because until those issues are fixed, they'll continue to be a problem. It is not all that different than ignoring an infection on your leg because you think you're going to get one on your arm.

Hoosier Daddy said...

At least that's how it seems to me and what the hell do I know about anything.

Well Trooper you are the resident expert on movie trivia, twats and the NY Giants and that counts for a lot around here.

Trooper York said...

Thanks Hoosier and if we are talking about bike racing, pirogies or kielbasa you are the man.

Henry said...

Well not exactly because until those issues are fixed, they'll continue to be a problem.

Actually I don't think so. The bond-raters and banks responsible may be idiots, but they do learn from their mistakes. These people and their investors took a massive hit in this crunch. The street will change by itself.

They just don't anticipitate the future very well. No more than government.

Simon said...

Ann - you have something against the word videlicet, or just its abbreviation? ;)

I agree with you about the inadequacies of both candidates in the debate format. More to the point, I entirely agree that "something needs to be done," but Paul Zrimsek's timely recitation of the politian's litany above is terribly important - it's vital to avoid the trap of "Something must be done. This is something. Therefore this must be done."
If we assume that the right response is a regulatory response, isn't the prudent approach to determine with specificity what the problem was, examine the structure of the markets we propose to regulate, and impose a narrow, carefully-tailored regulatory regime that is crafted with sensitivity to the interests and needs of the market to whose prosperity the wider economy - it has been so viscerally demonstrated - is tied? And isn't it more likely - far far more likely - that we will see that kind of reform as a compromise between President McCain and a Democratic Congress than as the punitive response of a President Obama egged on by Democratic Congress that has not generally shown appreciation or understanding of the link between economic prosperity and jobs, preferring to think of business as the enemy of "their people"?

If this was not a failure of "the free market," generically, then it is likely that the situation is more complex than to be solved by "more" generically-defined "regulation." The right response is the right regulatory response - not just any regulatory response, particularly with the economy in trouble. Getting it wrong would be a real mistake, and one I think that any Democratic administration is temperamentally and ideologically more prone to than any Republican administration. Generally-speaking, all but the most hardcore freemarketeers in the GOP concede that some regulation is good. I am all in favor of regulations that are constructive and that function to keep the market operating efficiently; for example, I have no beef with the antitrust laws, generally-speaking, and I doubt you'd find anyone likely to serve in McCain's administration who disagrees with that. I don't know any Republicans who want to dismantle FDIC. Republicans don't mind good regulation, whereas I don't know that Democrats at this point understand the concept of "good" regulation because such a concept implies that there must exist something they don't believe in: bad regulation. That's a dangerous mindset in such times.

I will try to refind the analysis I had in mind in typing my earlier comment.

Simon said...

Trooper York said...
"[Althouse] has a lot more in common [politically] with Doyle and Michael and Mort's views about most things than she does Simon or Pogo or me. It's just that the lefties will never let you disagree about anything, if you do you are an apostate and must be destroyed."

I don't know that I'd include Michael in that grouping, but shorn of the names, as a general proposition I think that's right. We - not all conservatives, but certainly the type who comment here - don't require agreement as a litmus test before we decide if we like someone.

It's funny to see someone like Doyle, whose sole reason for being here seems to be to needle Ann. As he told us above, when she comes out on his side of an issue, she is "keep[ing] an open mind" and demonstrates that she is "not as far gone as [he] thought." By contrast, we know the kind of invective piled on with even the slightest deviation from the party line.

Rick said...

Ann said:

"...Obama won the debate (not my vote) by pinning deregulation on the Republicans."

Exactly how did Obama pin deregualtion on the Republicans, except by falsely claiming it was so?

Has he (or anyone else)cited one example of deregulation in the past eight years related to the current crisis?

Yet Republcans, including Bush and McCain are on record as having pushed for greater oversight of Fannie and Freddie.

bagoh20 said...

Simon, you laid it out absolutely perfectly. Thanks

Paul Zrimsek said...

This seems timely once again: "Someone will propose new 'Antiterrorism' legislation. It will be full of things off of bureaucrats' wish lists. They will be things that wouldn't have prevented these attacks even if they had been in place yesterday." --Glenn Reynolds, 9/11/01

junyo said...

Regulating away sub-prime mortgages is just fighting the last war - what we need to do is take away the unnatural subsidies which encouraged them and made them seem less risky. Properly priced and assessed, these sorts of mortgages should be unattractive enough that very few will be made - but the government, throgh various means, subsidized the hell out of them and we got the current mess.

Almost, but not quite. Sub-prime loans serve a useful function, and lots of people that have bad credit straighten their lives out, or had bad credit through no fault of their own, and shouldn't be barred for access to capitol. And there's a way to give loans to bad credit risks in perfect financial safety.

It's called loan sharking.

In an unregulated market plenty of sub-prime loans would have been made, only the interest rate would've been adjusted high enough to compensate for the low probability of timely repayment, and the amounts loans would have been tied very closely to the actual value of the collateral. When every one else is paying 5%, Joe Blow with poor credit is paying 25 - 30% unless he's putting a s'load down. That sounds harsh, which is why people love usury laws. But the simple fact of the matter is, if you remove the whole "leg breaking as a late payment penalty" part of loan sharking, and have businesses compete on rate, the system would have been fair and equitable, and the risks would have been objectively balanced. People toss around the term "free market" without even realizing the layer upon layers of regulation and manipulation that already exist. No one here has ever since a "free market". Someone will give anyone a loan, at the right terms. The only reason for the government's need to distort the market to create loans for low income and poor credit risk people was because they'd already distorted the market to make those loans untenable.

MadisonMan said...

Roosevelt's programs caused the Great Depression to stretch out at least seven years longer than it had to.

Yes, according to one recently published study from UCLA.

That's like taking one Climate report and pinning all your beliefs on anthropogenic climate change on it.

chickenlittle said...

Ann Althouse added:

Why not give money to all the frugal people who believed they couldn't afford to buy a house?

Why not not give money to either? Since when does economic virtue (or lack thereof) have to be renumerated? That's just big Mommy.

ElcubanitoKC said...

MadisonMan, that is not the only study that says so. Here is one that preceeds it. And another that predates the two.

Christy said...

If the lack of regulation in the US was the cause, why are banks crashing all over Europe?

I don't believe Obama on his willingness to explore all forms of energy. First of all, the kewl kids hate nuclear power, so, in spite of the recent spate of enthusiasm, it ain't happening. He can easily say he supports it, but when push comes to shove, he will insist it just isn't safe enough.

integrity said...

Trooper York said...
The choice of Obama is not a surprise in the least. Althouse is just as much a big liberal weenie as any college professor; it is only through the prism of the nut bag trolls that she seems "conservative."

It just doesn’t bother most of the conservative commenters all that much.

1:19 PM



She is middle of the road, if not conservative.

A liberal weenie like myself would never vote for Alito or Roberts, and would scream from the rooftops about them even being nominated for the court. If you can find me a liberal anywhere that would vote for either of them to sit on the court I would be shocked. Ain't happening.

BJK said...

Why not not give money to either? Since when does economic virtue (or lack thereof) have to be renumerated? That's just big Mommy.

Giving money to the financially responsible is pouring salt on an open wound. How about we go one step further, and just not take as much money from them?


Ann, out of curiosity, how much of your candidate preference is still based on the assumption that Obama is going to radically realign his policies (e.g. Iraq) after he takes office? If you're willing to write-off the guy's shortcomings, the decision is that much easier to understand (even if I must respectfully dissent).

John Stodder said...

This crisis is a crisis of hyper-intellectualism. In pointing the fingers at Barney Frank, or George W. Bush we're really giving every politician too much credit here.

The crisis was due to Wall Street managers who developed financial instruments so complicated that the leadership of the financial institutions that have gotten into so much trouble have had to acknowledge they didn't know how much their respective companies were exposed to subprime mortgages, and how dependent their futures were on the impossible scenario of home prices rising indefinitely without a correction.

As a hypothesis, if we were going to find fault, perhaps it's with the business schools that feed Wall Street with people and ideas. A generation of traders were sent forth with sophisticated yet bad ideas.

We also might want to blame the rest of the educational system. We find fault with schools that don't graduate enough kids who can read, do math, appreciate symphonies or whatever. But maybe the education system has also failed the A+ students, leaving them unprepared both intellectually and morally to assume their positions of leadership.

Bush, Frank, Pelosi, Gramm -- have fun making your partisan points about which one of them is more to blame than the other. In reality, they were children playing with not just men, but super-robots. It's the men who programmed the super-robots who need to be held accountable.

Trooper York said...

Not to dispute with you integrity but liberals often voted for conservative justices on the theory that a president should get his choice if they are as qualified as Roberts or Alito. As I recall even Ted Kennedy voted for Scalia, (I might be wrong but I don't think so). But even granting your point, one or two or even three issues does not seem determinate to me. Plus labels are kind of silly anyway. I bet you have certain beliefs that might be termed conservative even if it is not to wear white pants after Labor Day. We are not all of one piece but a mixture of a lot of attitudes and beliefs. Maybe we can give each other a break now and then.

Nah. What's the fun in that?

You commie.

Doyle said...

She has a lot more in common with Doyle and Michael and Mort's views about most things than she does Simon or Pogo or me.

I'll let you guys speak for yourselves. I don't have a lot in common with Ann.

Simon said...

integrity said...
"If you can find me a liberal anywhere that would vote for either [Roberts or Alito] to sit on the court I would be shocked. Ain't happening."

You're commenting at the blog of precisely the person you just described.

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"I don't have a lot in common with Ann."

Amen!

knox said...

McCain acts like he doesn't want to win.

He'll get his wish!

Doyle said...

I think it's funny that you guys assert that Ann and I agree given how few of Ann's posts involve agreeing with me and how few of my comments involve agreeing with Ann.

Simon said...

Trooper York said...
"As I recall even Ted Kennedy voted for Scalia, (I might be wrong but I don't think so)."

He did. But then, in one of life's little ironies, he recanted and voted against David Souter because he was concerned that Souter would be too conservative. Sound instincts, that Kennedy.

Shanna said...

Cramer put it best:

Did he upgrade Obama to "Don't Buy"?

Darcy said...

Thank you to Trooper, Hoosier Daddy (lol, on your exchange), and Simon for giving me your takes on where Ann falls in the political spectrum.

Interesting. I read this blog all the time, but not by any means every day until recently, and I always thought she leaned conservative. And, to be honest, voting differently than most liberals would on the war is a very big deal to me.

Interesting! Thanks again. :)

ElcubanitoKC said...

Darcy, it can be a long process mostly when we are used to deal with irrational people who sadly call themselves liberals.

former law student said...

He can easily say he supports it, but when push comes to shove, he will insist [nuclear power] just isn't safe enough.

I doubt it. To date, Obama has received about a quarter million dollars from employees of just one nuclear power company. If Republicans can argue that receiving half that amount puts Obama in Fannie/Freddie's pocket, the nuclear power industry owns Obama, body and soul.

From opensecrets.org:



Results:
Search Criteria:
Donor occupation: exelon
Cycle(s) selected: All

291 records found in 2.299 seconds.
Total for this search: $237,613
1 2 3 4 5 6Next
Contributor Occupation Date Amount Recipient
ADAMS, CRAIG L
CHESTER SPRINGS,PA 19425 EXELON/CHIEF SUPPLY OFFICER 2/23/07 $2,300 Obama, Barack (D)
ALDEN, MARK F
NAPERVILLE,IL 60564 EXELON CORP/ENGR/EXECUTIVE 3/15/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
ANDRADE, JOSE
CHICAGO,IL 60617 EXELON CORPORATION 6/17/03 $250 Obama, Barack (D)
ANTHONY, JOHN TYLER
WARRENVILLE,IL 60555 EXELON/VICE PRESIDENT 3/21/07 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
ARNDT, WILLIAM D
CHICAGO,IL 60606 EXELON 6/9/04 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
BARNETT, PHILLIP S
NORTHBROOK,IL 60062 EXELON/FINANCE 3/5/07 $2,300 Obama, Barack (D)
BATEMAN, SYLVIA
EVANSTON,IL 60202 EXELON/ATTORNEY 4/14/08 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
BATEMAN, SYLVIA
EVANSTON,IL 60202 EXELON/ATTORNEY 5/30/08 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
BATSON CROSBY, PHYLLIS
WESTCHESTER,IL 60154 EXELON/VP CUSTOMER CONTACT 3/19/07 $2,300 Obama, Barack (D)
BENYAR, DARIN M
PLANO,IL 60545 EXELON/LICENSING 6/25/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
BERGMAN, WILLIAM A
WHEATON,IL 60187 EXELON CORPORATION/DIRECTOR, BENEFI 3/15/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
BEST, AMY ZERNICH
WESTERN SPRINGS,IL 60558 EXELON CORP./HUMAN RESOURCES 3/19/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
BEST, AMY ZERNICH
WESTERN SPRINGS,IL 60558 EXELON CORP./HUMAN RESOURCES 12/17/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
BOERSCHIG, GREGORY
BOURBONNAIS,IL 60914 EXELON NUCLEAR/PLANT MANAGER 3/21/07 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
BOST, DANNY
OTTAWA,IL 61350 EXELON GENERATION/DRESDEN SITE VP 3/21/07 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
BRADFORD, DARRYL
NORTHBROOK,IL 60062 EXELON CORPORATION 5/25/04 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
BRADFORD, DARRYL
NORTHBROOK,IL 60062 EXELON CORPORATION 2/13/04 $250 Obama, Barack (D)
BROWN, RICHARD S
CHADDS FORD,PA 19317 EXELON CORPORATION/EXECUTIVE 3/15/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
BROWN, RICHARD S
CHADDS FORD,PA 19317 EXELON CORPORATION/EXECUTIVE 12/17/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
BROWN, VIRGINIA A MS
HAZEL CREST,IL 60429 EXELON CORP/HR-VP 3/19/07 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
BROWN, VIRGINIA A MS
HAZEL CREST,IL 60429 EXELON CORP/HR-VP 12/17/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
BURCH, BILL
WILLOWBROOK,IL 60527 EXELON/ COMED/ATTORNEY 3/8/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
BURNES, JACEE M
CHICAGO,IL 60657 EXELON/FINANCE DIRECTOR 3/20/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
BYRNE, JAMES
NORTH AURORA,IL 60542 EXELON CORPORATION/MANAGER COMPENSA 2/12/08 $250 Obama, Barack (D)
BYRNE, JAMES J
PLAINFIELD,IL 60585 EXELON CORP/MGR COMPENSATION 3/29/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
CAMPBELL, MICHAEL
BOLINGBROOK,IL 60490 EXELON CORPORATION/DIRECTOR, LABOR 8/30/08 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
Cantillon, Kathleen
Oak Park,IL 60302 Exelon 7/31/08 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
CANTILLON, KATHLEEN
OAK PARK,IL 60302 EXELON/PUBLIC RELATIONS 12/21/07 $200 Obama, Barack (D)
CARSON, JOYCE L MS
CHICAGO,IL 60607 EXELON/VP INVESTOR RELATIONS 3/20/07 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
CASTLE, ROBERT
CHICAGO,IL 60643 EXELON/LABOR RELATIONS DIRECTOR 3/16/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
CHANG, JIM
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS,IL 60004 EXELON 3/20/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
CHICK, GLEN
SAINT CHARLES,IL 60175 EXELON NUCLEAR/VP OUTAGES 12/31/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
CHOCA, MONICA E
CHICAGO,IL 60614 EXELON/CORPORATE STRATEGY 3/17/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
CLAIR, SALLY
ORLAND PARK,IL 60467 EXELON 2/6/04 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
CLAIR, SALLY T
ORLAND PARK,IL 60467 EXELON 6/1/04 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
CLAIR, SALLY T
ORLAND PARK,IL 60467 EXELON 5/5/05 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
CLAIR, SALLY T
ORLAND PARK,IL 60467 EXELON 4/8/04 $250 Obama, Barack (D)
CLARK, FRANK
HAZEL CREST,IL 60429 EXELON 3/31/03 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
CLARK, FRANK
HAZEL CREST,IL 60429 EXELON 6/17/03 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
CLARK, FRANK
HAZEL CREST,IL 60429 EXELON 2/16/04 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
CLARK, FRANK M
HAZEL CREST,IL 60429 EXELON 5/23/04 $2,000 Obama, Barack (D)
CLARK, FRANK M
FLOSSMOOR,IL 60422 EXELON 5/5/05 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
CLEWETT, THOMAS A
NAPERVILLE,IL 60540 EXELON/VP 4/10/07 $1,250 Obama, Barack (D)
CLEWETT, THOMAS A
NAPERVILLE,IL 60540 EXELON/VP 12/17/07 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
CLOSE, CHRISTOPHER J
KENNETT SQUARE,PA 19348 EXELON GENERATION LLC/FINANCE 3/15/07 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
COAN, SUSAN
HAMMONTON,NJ 08037 EXELON CORP/UTILITY MANAGEMENT 3/21/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
COMBS, KATHERINE DODD
CHICAGO,IL 60611 EXELON CORP 6/1/04 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
COUTU, CATHERINE D
NAPERVILLE,IL 60564 EXELON NUCLEAR/SITE VP 3/30/07 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
COUTU, CATHERINE D
NAPERVILLE,IL 60564 EXELON NUCLEAR/SITE VP 12/17/07 $500 Obama, Barack (D)
COVENEY, MARTIN
GENEVA,IL 60134 EXELON CORPORATION/EXECUTIVE 6/25/07 $1,000 Obama, Barack (D)
1 2 3 4 5 6Next

Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics.

Doyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Korla said...

> I am inclined to think that with the development of complex securities and the pursuit of profit along the edge of disaster, the free market failed spectacularly.

No, it was the government interference in the free market, forcing banks to give loans to people who weren't credit worthy for political reasons that have nothing to do with reality. It was a short-cut to socialism, and it revealed in this debacle that socialism is a ponzi scheme that will always collapse under it own inverted pyramid.

It was also the Democrats' (mostly Barney Frank, that sleaze), who refused to allow closer scrutiny of Freddy and Fannie, when both Bush and McCain separately tried to get better oversight. Could that have something to do with the millions in contributions these semi-government syndicates gave to Frank, and the second highest benefactor of their payola, Barack Obama?

It's not the free market to blame. It's corruption in government, and government sticking its racial and class division politics into the business world.

Don't blame capitalism. Blame crypto-communism.

MadisonMan said...

Why not give the money to construction companies so they can work on American Infrastructure? That way we'll all actually get something out of it. And it will create jobs and the employed will spend money.

Henry said...

Why not give the money to construction companies so they can work on American Infrastructure? That way we'll all actually get something out of it. And it will create jobs and the employed will spend money.

Why not give the money directly to the Chinese Central Bank? They'll use it to buy U.S. Treasury Bills and we'll get our money back to spend on something else.

former law student said...

It was also the Democrats' (mostly Barney Frank, that sleaze), who refused to allow closer scrutiny of Freddy and Fannie, when both Bush and McCain separately tried to get better oversight.

Repeating Sean Hannity talking points does not advance our understanding.

First of all, Barney Frank's efforts did not prevent the House from passing the 2005 Federal Housing Finance Reform Act, and sending it to the Senate, where the bill died. Second, McCain's total efforts to get better oversight consisted of one speech, ten months later, which failed to persuade the Republican-controlled Senate Banking Committee to send the bill to the floor.

The impediment to progress was not Congressman Barney Frank, but Senator Richard Shelby.

Doyle said...

No, it was the government interference in the free market, forcing banks to give loans to people who weren't credit worthy

This is just something ignorant conservative racists (but I repeat myself) say to basically prove that they don't know anything about economics or history but they sure hate government and poor people.

integrity said...

Trooper York said...
Not to dispute with you integrity but liberals often voted for conservative justices on the theory that a president should get his choice if they are as qualified as Roberts or Alito. As I recall even Ted Kennedy voted for Scalia, (I might be wrong but I don't think so). But even granting your point, one or two or even three issues does not seem determinate to me. Plus labels are kind of silly anyway. I bet you have certain beliefs that might be termed conservative even if it is not to wear white pants after Labor Day. We are not all of one piece but a mixture of a lot of attitudes and beliefs. Maybe we can give each other a break now and then.

Nah. What's the fun in that?

You commie.




Agreed.

For the record, I am against any judge forgiving anybody's mortgage principal. Your guy last night made you a commie, I actually believe in regulated capitalism.

Welfare is only for the poor, not rich commie bastards or irresponsible adults that took on debt and housing they could not afford.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

As a fan of Althouse, I'm disappointed with her reasoning here. If you want to back Obama because he's charismatic, fine. If you want to back him because of his young looks, fine. I don't think those are good reasons to choose a candidate but at least I understand them.

What Ann has provided is reasoning based on a misunderstanding of our economic situation and the role of the "free market". I won't repeat the excellent economic posts that have already been eloquently presented on this thread. I will, however, tell you that government solutions will not deliver us from this situation. All these things will do is generate unintended and unexpected consequences. In the end, this problem will be solved by one thing and one thing only; debt destruction. This is an issue that neither candidate is addressing. Instead, they are both busy trying give a drowning man a glass of water.

Doyle said...

As a fan of Althouse, I'm disappointed with her reasoning here.

Is it really Ann's reasoning skills that made you a fan?

Joe said...

To say that Dodd or Franks were responsible for not reigning in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and that McCain and Bush were thwarted white knights is ignorant. There were plenty of politicians of all strips taking cash from FANMAC (including McCain--he just took it from the board of directors instead of the corporations; a distinction without a difference.)

That McCain and Bush tried to do something is laughable. They made token speeches but didn't try. They tried in the same way Obama tried. I was going to say it's like when your kids say they tried to clean their room, yet only picked up their underwear--unfortunately, that's a bad analogy because by absolute measure, your kids did more than the politicians.

The fact is that it was good for all members of congress to have a financial bubble. That was clear in the late 90s as well.

The problem with McCain's approach is that it's just plain stupid (how any fiscal conservative can support McCain's economic idiocy is beyond me.) The problem with Obama's approach is that the regulators are corrupt (and nobody is smart enough to regulate an economy successfully. [Okay, except ivy league professors--the same ones who would have made the USSR a success had they been in charge.])

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Is it really Ann's reasoning skills that made you a fan?

It sure wasn't yours.

chickenlittle said...

bushman wrote:

In the end, this problem will be solved by one thing and one thing only; debt destruction.

And the time-honored way of destroying debt is to inflate our way out. That was the meaning behind my furtive blurt on last's thread after the candidates were asked about sharing sacrifice:

chickenlittle said at 8:29:

A sacrifice by all?

How about the value of the dollar down the road?

Christy said...

FLS, Thanks for the info on those donations. You will forgive me, I hope, if I discount them slightly because Exelon is an Illinois company making nice with the local senator?

My deep cynicism over this comes from experience. Not in this debate, but upon other occasions I've heard Obama insert the caveat of safe waste disposal. I'm a nuclear engineer with an area of expertise in nuclear waste. I spent decades working with regulators and legislatures trying to get new disposal facilities built, to no avail. Society is too risk averse to differentiate between zero and acceptable risk. I just don't see it happening.

knox said...

I read this blog all the time, but not by any means every day until recently

Oh please. You used to comment on EVERY thread, EVERY day, you little twit.

Kirby Olson said...

The whole problem is that the left has gotten rid of the notion of punishment.

They disbanded hell. In left churches, no one ever talks about hell anymore, or how you're going to burn in hell forever if you do something sleazy.

Now everyone is forgiven for everything.

You can blow up a bunch of people, or kill a bunch of children, and we will try to understand.

You can undermine the economy by employing illegal immigrants, and we will look the other way, and try to make it better.

You can buy a house you can't afford and when you can't pay your mortgage we'll pay it for you.

It's like government has become a big stupid mommy that is spoiling all of its citizens.

That's matriarchy for you.

In the old days, under the patriarchy, bad citizens went to hell where they belonged.

Obama and McCain are men, but they are just playthings of the matriarchy. They promise us everything, and there will be no punishment at all. There are no longer any limits. Just do what you want, and the government will come and bail you out, so you can do it again and again and again.

Darcy said...

"Oh please. You used to comment on EVERY thread, EVERY day, you little twit"

Umm...hello. :)

No, I haven't. Was there another Darcy?

holdfast said...

Rick said...
Ann said:

"...Obama won the debate (not my vote) by pinning deregulation on the Republicans."

Exactly how did Obama pin deregualtion on the Republicans, except by falsely claiming it was so?


Exactly - Obama and Biden thow this crap out there all the time, but they never explain how it happened. If pressed they will point to the repeal of Glass-Steagal, but they never show how that caused the current mess. It's just vapid talking points, and sadly the otherwise very intelligent Althouse has bought into it.

All repealng Glass-Steagal did was to put US banks on an equal footing with those of the rest of the world. Anyway, it is not the mixed commercial/investment banks (JPM, BofA and Citi) that are in big trouble here - it is the old-style, pre-repeal, pure investment banks like MS, Lehman, Merrill and Bear that are the problems. Without the repeal of Glass-Steagal you would likely have to add JP Morgan and SSB to that list of failed or failing investment banks.

As a conservative I oppose over-regulation, and believe that regulation should be as light as possible while still accomplishing its stated goal. I also believe that old regulations should be periodically reviewed to make sure that they are still relevant. That doesn't mean I oppose all regulation or want malfeasance to go unpunished, so please show me what deregulation caused this mess or what proposed regulation could have prevented or mitigated it - give me an example goddamnit!

tim maguire said...

dangerously inadequate

I think that is the best two word summation of this election I've heard yet. But if you believe it, then you have to vote McCain for the simple reason that a Democratic Congress will keep a Republican president in check, and vice versa. Whereas a Democrtic President and a Democratic Congress will run wild. Gridlock works!

Sure, McCain is a Republican in name only, but he's the best Republican we got at the top of the ticket.

By the by, how about defending that assettion that regulation got us in this mess and deregulation will get us out of it? That's about as sour a note as "dangerously inadequate" is a sweet one.

tim maguire said...

Sorry, reverse that last one--the assertion that deregulation got us in it and regulation will get is out of it. That's counter-factual.

Trooper York said...

Mr. Darcy: I... do not have the talent of conversing easily with people I have never met before.
Elizabeth Bennet: Perhaps you should take your aunt's advice and practice?
(Pride & Prejudice 2005)

Darcy said...

Perfect, Trooper. I do love the story!

My fave movie version was the BBC version. Colin Firth is my Darcy.

Simon said...

Trooper, that movie was a travesty - casting that insipid little insect Keira Knightly! Jennifer Ehle was a far more inspired choice a decade earlier.


Tim:
"Sure, McCain is a Republican in name only, but he's the best Republican we got at the top of the ticket."

I tend to agree with Michael Barone that - albeit purely by accident - we "nominated the only candidate, it seems in retrospect, with a chance to win ... [while] Democrats clashed in tribal warfare that inevitably left some in the party unhappy with the nominee."

knox said...

Darcy, sorry! I was skimming through pretty quickly, got your comment mixed up, thinking it was Doyle saying it. I'm used to calling him "twit" and the like.

...sincerest apologies. I enjoyed your comments in the liveblog yesterday.

Darcy said...

LOL, that's Ok, knox! Thanks! :)

I enjoyed yours, too.

knox said...

... and I bet I've seen the BBC P&P at least ten times. It's going to be the definitive version for a long time.

Cedarford said...

Hayden - Ever wonder why Obama got more Freddie and Fannie contributions than anyone except for Dodd? Who has had two former Fannie Mae CEOs helping (ok, one indirectly). This is the guy who you think is going to regulate intelligently?

Ever wonder why in 3 separate shots, Lifetime Senator McCain refused to name "My dear friend" fellow Lifetime Senator, Dodd in the debate where he accused Obama as secondary in Fannie and Freddie graft?

Because as an ultimate DC insider, McCain thought it would be an unforgivable insult to his "dear friend" Chris, whom he has known and admired for 25 years, to name him.

That's the Inside Senate leadership change America can believe in?

McCain - too old, too huggie-huggie with his good "my friends!! My dear friends" to lead the country.
Obama is at least a break from the DC "Insiders" network McCain is an exemplar of.

Let the old bastard return to the Senate Well on Capital HIll, to hug "my friends. my friends!!" like Kerry, Teddy, Ted Stevens again.

McCain would be miserable in the White Huuse, just muttering about "the genius of the unregulated markets", starting new wars - and away from fellow Senators who are the only group he honestly directs "My friends, my friend" to when talking "straight" to.

Simon said...

Cedarford, I'm not willing to throw America on the bonfire just to engage in a petty score-settling with McCain. There is too much at stake in this election to let triffling, petty intramural arguments about McCain lead to the election of Obama-Biden.

Darcy said...

Knox: It's a delight! Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are a hoot...and Simon's right - Jennifer Ehle just glows in that role. The whole cast is just amazing.

To pick up on the Cedarford/Simon comments just now...if McCain loses, I wonder how much he'll eventually really grasp as to why? I am referring to only the parts of this campaign, and of his general attitude/judgement that were within his control.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 216   Newer› Newest»