Archive for: September, 2008

Sarah Palin on Global Warming, Evolution, and Abortion

Sep 30 2008 Published by under Featured News

Sarah Palin was back on the CBS Evening News with Kate Couric tonight, and she ducked, dodged, and gave half answers to questions about abortion, global warming, the environment and even what newspapers and magazines she reads to stay up on current events.

Here is the exchange between Palin and Couric over what newspapers and magazines she reads:

Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

Couric: What, specifically?

Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

Couric: Can you name a few?

Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, “wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?” Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

Palin was equally elusive on abortion and the morning after pill. She refused to say if she thinks it should be illegal for a rape victim to have an abortion, “I’m saying that, personally, I would counsel the person to choose life, despite horrific, horrific circumstances that this person would find themselves in. And, um, if you’re asking, though, kind of foundationally here, should anyone end up in jail for having an … abortion, absolutely not. That’s nothing I would ever support.” In terms of tshe morning after pill, Palin refused to answer, and only said that it was a form of contraception that she would not choose to use.

Like most Christian fundamentalist conservatives, Palin seems to believe that evolution is a principle, not a fact, “Oh, I think it should be taught as an accepted principle. And, as you know, I say that also as the daughter of a school teacher, a science teacher, who has really instilled in me a respect for science. It should be taught in our schools. And I won’t deny that I see the hand of God in this beautiful creation that is Earth. But that is not part of the state policy or a local curriculum in a school district. Science should be taught it science class.”

She also refused to say that global warming was completely man made, and gave the cyclical weather patterns answer, “You know there are – there are man’s activities that can be contributed to the issues that we’re dealing with now, these impacts. I’m not going to solely blame all of man’s activities on changes in climate. Because the world’s weather patterns are cyclical. And over history we have seen change there. But kind of doesn’t matter at this point, as we debate what caused it. The point is: it’s real; we need to do something about it.”

This interview represented some progress for Palin, because when she did answer a question she expressed watered down versions of her views. It seems that the McCain campaign is trying to moderate her views, because she appears to be a garden variety social conservative in the mold of George W. Bush. This nothing maverick in her answers, just a whole lot of the same views on the issues that we have been hearing from the current White House for eight years. Palin still dodged too many questions, and is running off of her script too often. The reality is that the more America hears from Sarah Palin, the more she sounds like more of the same.

Full Transcript of Palin Interview

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Palin Jabs At Biden’s Age and Experience

Sep 30 2008 Published by under Featured News

During her interview with the CBS Evening News that will air tonight Sarah Palin defended her joke about listening Joe Biden speak since she was in the second grade age by saying that her stump speech joke had nothing to do with age or John McCain. She tried to sell herself as the new fresh face, but she is more like new Coke than new politics.

Here is the video:

Watch CBS Videos Online

I really have to hand it to Katie Couric. She asks basic questions, but she is great on the follow up. She doesn’t let anybody off the hook. When Couric asked, “You have a 72-year-old running mate, is that kind of a risky thing to say, insinuating that Joe Biden’s been around awhile?” Palin had no choice but to deny it and try to spin herself as the new fresh face, but the problem with using Palin as a fresh faced agent for change is that the guy at the top of her ticket is the exact opposite of what she is trying to sell.

Palin’s answer about being the fresh face sounded almost robotic and didn’t match the tone of the conversation. Her answer was a talking point. The selection of Palin has caused a sort of split personality/theme effect in the McCain campaign. John McCain could have selected a fresh face that fit in with the themes of his campaign. He could have selected someone who might not have been nationally known, but had experience on an issue like national security or the economy.

Instead they chose Sarah Palin, who doesn’t fit in with any of the campaign’s themes. I don’t think Palin is going to be able to skim through a debate with Biden by talking about him as the Washington insider on Thursday night. Debates are about issues, which means that Palin is going to have to get off of the talking points. A bigger problem is that every time Palin mentions Biden’s age or experience, people think of her running mate.

As you can see from the video above, Palin doesn’t bring anything to the table that helps the campaign policy wise, so they are trying to sell Sarah the personality, but that won’t work. I wonder if the McCain camp wakes up everyday and wishes that they would have added an economic expert to the ticket instead of an inexperienced, political lightweight, hockey mom?

3 responses so far

Poll: Republicans to Blame for Bailout Failure

Sep 30 2008 Published by under Featured News

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that voters blame the Republican Party for killing the $700 billion bailout bill by a 2 to 1 margin. Ninety Five percent of those surveyed labeled the financial problems either a crisis, or a serious problem, and 88% are worried that the failure of the bailout bill will worsen the nation’s economic problems.

The nation is split on the bailout, with 47% opposing it, and 45% favoring it. Voters also have little confidence in Washington to solve the problem, as only 51% of those asked expressed confidence that the government will prevent the crisis from getting worse. However, they do approve by a 47%-42% margin of the steps that the Fed and the Treasury Department have taken.

The big question is whom are voters blaming for this mess. By political party, 44% blamed the Republicans, 21% blamed the Democrats, and 17% blamed both parties. Specifically, 25% of those asked blame President Bush, 18% blame Wall St., 8% blame the government in Washington, and 5% blame people who borrowed too much. By a margin of 34%-27% voters think that the bill did too much to help the companies that got into trouble, and 61% said that the bill did too little to help ordinary Americans.

This poll is full of terrible news for John McCain and the GOP in general. Their president is blamed for creating the crisis. No one is happy about the bailout, but they want the government to do something, and they agree with the Democratic position stated by Obama that the government needs to do more to help ordinary people. If something does not pass soon, twelve House Republican ideologues may end up being the ones who doomed their Party to a gigantic loss in November.

John McCain is in a deep hole on this issue. According to this poll, people did not agree with his previous positions, and he is running at the top of the ticket of the incumbent party that voters feel is responsible for causing this crisis. Beyond politics, the key right now is to get something done. Each day of inaction moves us closer to the brink. The Republican Party needs to get its act together, or they can forget about being in control of any part of government for a long time to come.

Full Poll results in PDF

8 responses so far

To Palin and McCain the Issues are Gotcha Questions

Sep 29 2008 Published by under Featured News

In their joint interview with the CBS Evening News, John McCain and Sarah Palin described an issue question about Pakistan as gotcha journalism, which now goes to show that Palin and McCain now consider the issues gotcha questions.

Here is the video:

Watch CBS Videos Online

To her credit, Katie Couric defended the question as not a gotcha, but as a question from a voter, but McCain jumped in and tried to save his overmatched running mate by saying, “No, she was in a conversation with a group of people and talking back and forth. And …I’ll let Gov. Palin speak for herself.” Notice that he realized that answering for Palin only made her look weaker so he stopped himself and decided to let Palin answer the question.

So if I understand this correctly, a question from a voter is a gotcha question that should be avoided. The problem is that all the questions about issues appear to be tricky for Palin. She has not displayed a single area of policy expertise or knowledge yet. The campaign will never admit this, but Palin has become an anchor around their neck. While Joe Biden is out there campaigning for Barack Obama alone, Sarah Palin can’t be trusted to do even the most basic of television interviews solo.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with questions about the issues from anyone to a candidate, especially a candidate like Palin who is both widely unknown, and potentially only one 72 year old heartbeat away from the presidency. If Palin can’t handle questions about the issues, then how is she qualified to be vice president? In the shorter term, if she can only talk about the issues in terms of talking points, how will she debate Joe Biden on Thursday? The McCain campaign looks to be sinking under the weight of its own poor decision making, and Sarah Palin is a walking monument to their mistakes.

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Obama Camp Hits McCain for Playing Politics with the Bailout

Sep 29 2008 Published by under Featured News

The war of words over who is to blame for the House’s failure to pass the $700 billion bailout bill continues between Barack Obama and John McCain. After McCain tried to lay the blame on Obama, an Obama spokesman accused McCain of being hyper partisan and playing politics with the crisis.

In his first statement after he jumped the gun and claimed credit for passing a bailout bill that failed, McCain blamed Obama, “Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship into the process.” McCain must think that no one is paying attention and didn’t notice that he was the one who “suspended” his presidential campaign and called for the debate to be postponed due to the economic crisis, and that it was his party who didn’t deliver their half of the votes needed.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton reacted to a statement by McCain advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin that blamed Obama for the bill’s failure by saying, This is a moment of national crisis, and today’s inaction in Congress as well as the angry and hyper-partisan statement released by the McCain campaign are exactly why the American people are disgusted with Washington. Now is the time for Democrats and Republicans to join together and act in a way that prevents an economic catastrophe. Every American should be outraged that an era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and Washington has led us to this point, but now that we are here, the stability of our entire economy depends on us taking immediate action to ease this crisis.”

McCain made two huge mistakes here. He tried to make it look like he was involved, and he took credit for something that ended up not happening. Obama has been the candidate who has tried to stay out of the negotiations and project a bipartisan attitude. In short, Obama did the correct thing. He showed good judgment. If McCain would have followed the same course as Obama, he would not be open to criticism right now. If the Republican was so eager to take the credit if the bill passed, then he must also take some blame for its failure.

Even if a bill is eventually passed, the damage has already been done to McCain. This attempt to blame Obama actually plays into the Democrat’s hands, because instead of looking like a maverick or a new kind of Republican McCain is playing the blame game, which is politics as usual. I am not willing to suggest that McCain is finished yet, but that today’s events did seriously wound his chances of being elected. John McCain went all in on the bailout deal, and he lost, and he can’t blame Barack Obama for his own strategic blunders and poor judgment.

Bill Burton’s Statement

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McCain Campaign Blames Obama for the Bailout Bill Failure

Sep 29 2008 Published by under Featured News a bit of farfetched delusional spinning, the McCain campaign is blaming Barack Obama for the House’s failure to pass the $700 billion bailout package. “This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country,” said McCain advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin.

McCain advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin said, “From the minute John McCain suspended his campaign and arrived in Washington to address this crisis, he was attacked by the Democratic leadership: Senators Obama and Reid, Speaker Pelosi and others. Their partisan attacks were an effort to gain political advantage during a national economic crisis. By doing so, they put at risk the homes, livelihoods and savings of millions of American families. Barack Obama failed to lead, phoned it in, attacked John McCain, and refused to even say if he supported the final bill.”

Holtz-Eakin blamed Obama for the bill’s failure, “This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country.” Let’s clear a few things up. Obama announced before McCain did that he would vote for the bill. McCain had to be pressed at the debate before he would say that he would vote for it. Secondly, John McCain put his entire campaign on the line to get this bill passed, and the failure of the bill reflects badly on his campaign and his ability to lead.

McCain is the candidate who injected presidential politics into this bill. He boasted that he got the House Republicans on board, only to see 67% of House Republicans vote against the bill. Republicans can try to blame Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but the Democrats delivered their share of the votes. It was the Republican leadership, and John McCain who failed here.

It is laughable that the McCain campaign would try to spin responsibility for this to Obama. McCain is the candidate who made this a campaign issue. McCain is the candidate who promised that this bill was done, and claimed credit for it. It is McCain who took the big gamble and lost. If anything, Obama’s position on the issue has made him look even more presidential.

The failure of the bill today should reinforce Obama’s message that Washington is broken and change is needed. The defeat of today’s legislation by his own party took McCain’s bad couple of weeks and made them exponentially worse, and there is no amount of spin that can hide the fact that McCain was not able to show the leadership that his campaign is built on when his country needed it most.

44 responses so far

In Rebuke of McCain’s Leadership, House Rejects $700 Billion Federal Bailout

Sep 29 2008 Published by under U.S. Supreme Court

All eyes were on the House of Representatives today, as the leadership in both parties tried to rally enough votes to pass the $700 billion bailout of the banking sector, but in the end, the bill failed by a vote of 228-205 against, thus possibily dooming both Wall St. and the presidential campaign of John McCain.

Before the vote, Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner emphasized that he did come to Washington to vote for these kinds of bill, but he urged his membership to do what needs done, and vote for the bill. The Democratic chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Barney Frank said, “Many of us feel that the national interest requires us to do something which is, in many ways, unpopular. It is hard to get political credit for avoiding something that has not yet happened.”

Frank hit the nail on the head. Opposition to this bill was based on ideology and self-preservation. The House Republican ideologues were opposed to this bill because it violates their ideology, but also because they are up for reelection this year, and they are terrified that they will go home to campaign, and find that their opponents are running ads against them, and their vote for this bill.

The bill was expected to fly though the Senate, and be signed by President Bush by mid-week. Politically speaking, this crisis could not have come at a worse time. The Congress is about to adjourn for the fall to go home and campaign, and the House is even more infused with election year politics than usual. I think what many people don’t understand about this crisis is that it started out as a banking and lending crisis, but quickly morphed into an entire market wide crisis of confidence.

Earlier today, John McCain was in Ohio taking credit for making the bailout agreement happen, only to see 133 House Republicans vote against the deal. Apparently, Sen. McCain isn’t the leader that he claims to be as in the end, he could not get enough House Republicans on board with the plan. This is a stinging defeat for McCain who painted himself as riding to the rescue of the bailout last week.

The three big losers here are John McCain, Wall Street, and the economy as a whole, because without passage of this bill, nobody knows where the economy is going to go next. Only 66 Republicans crossed over to join with Democrats and vote for the bill, while 94 Democrats joined with Republicans in voting against it. Republican House election year politics won out, over both an economic crisis, and the urging of their own presidential nominee. In one swoop, House Republicans may have doomed both Wall Street and the presidential campaign of John McCain.

17 responses so far

John McCain’s Katrina like Response to the Financial Crisis

Sep 28 2008 Published by under Featured News

Today, Barack Obama accused John McCain of having a Katrina like response to the financial crisis. Later, while trying to deny this allegation the McCain campaign actually reinforced the idea by explaining that one of McCain’s advisors asked, “You are running for president. Can’t you do something?” That is John McCain’s idea of leadership.

While speaking in Detroit, here is how Obama described McCain’s response to the crisis, “That’s why his first response to the greatest financial meltdown in generations was a Katrina-like response. He sort of stood there. He said the fundamental of the economy are strong. It’s why he’s been shifting positions these last two weeks, looking for photo-ops, trying to figure out what to say and what to do.”

The McCain campaign, while trying to deny Obama’s characterization, actually helped to reinforce it during a conference call when describe the events of Wednesday. Here is Doug Holtz-Eakin’s description of the events, “At Hilton Wednesday morning meeting in NY, economic advisers “sent to him in very clear terms a message that said this economy is facing a great problem. The Pearl Harbor of the financial system is not an exaggeration. This is something that needs to get fixed. It needs to get fixed right.” One guy told McCain: “You’re running for the president of the United States. Can’t you do something? That was an important meeting. That impressed upon him, even more” the need to act.”

So by their own admission, McCain was not paying attention to the financial crisis until Wednesday, even though it started 10 days earlier? In that case, there are some similarities to Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Bush’s original response was to ignore the crisis, so was McCain’s. Then Bush did nothing, so did McCain. When the aftermath of Katrina became too big to ignore, Bush sprung into a flurry of belated action, and what I have just described sounds a lot like John McCain’s leadership style over the past two weeks.

Instead of making McCain look like a leader his campaign’s explanation makes him look even more ignorant on the issue than most people assumed. McCain had to be asked why he isn’t doing something by his own advisors. If he was a real leader, McCain would have been acting on his own, without having to be told to do something. He didn’t start talking to people back in Washington until after the crisis was at a critical point, compared to Obama who had been speaking with Sec. Paulson for over a week.

McCain is supposed to be the experienced leader, but more often than not he has looked like a shallow politician, who is more concerned with getting elected than making good policy. While the financial crisis is nothing on par with Katrina, McCain’s reaction does say a lot about his leadership style, or lack thereof. The wheels are coming off of the McCain campaign, and if the perception of McCain being unable to lead on the economy sticks, his chance of winning the election is very slim.

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McCain has a lot to Say about Me, Nothing about You

Sep 28 2008 Published by under Featured News

At a campaign rally in Detroit today, an emboldened Barack Obama kept up his attack against John McCain and the economy. Obama went for the heart of McCain’s campaign by saying that McCain talks a lot about him, but says nothing about the middle class.

“On Friday, we had a debate. And on issue after issue – from taxes to health care to the war in Iraq – you heard John McCain make the case for more of the same policies that got us into this mess. But just as important as what we heard from John McCain was what we didn’t hear. We talked about the economy for forty minutes, and not once did Senator McCain talk about the struggles that middle class families are facing every day right here in North Carolina and around the country,” Obama said.

“He defended his plan to give $300 billion in tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, but he had nothing to say about the fact that wages have flat-lined and jobs are being shipped overseas.
He railed against some study of bears in Montana, but he had nothing to say about the fact that more and more Americans can’t afford to pay for college; can’t afford health care for their families; and can’t afford a retirement that is dignified and secure,” Obama continued.

He hammered McCain for not talking about the middle class, “Senator McCain spoke again and again about the need to keep spending $10 billion a month in Iraq, but he said nothing about the need to end this war so that we can invest in good jobs, and rebuild our roads and bridges and broadband lines right here in America. The truth is, through ninety minutes of debating, John McCain had a lot to say about me, but he had nothing to say about you. He didn’t even say the words “middle class.” Not once.”

The Democrat accused McCain of flip flopping on the economic crisis, and looking for a photo op, “You see, I think Senator McCain just doesn’t get it – he doesn’t get that this crisis on Wall Street hit Main Street a long time ago. That’s why his first response to the greatest fiscal meltdown in generations was to say that the “fundamentals of the economy are strong.” That’s why he’s been shifting positions these last two weeks, looking for a photo-op, and trying to figure out what to say and what to do.”

I think Obama gained momentum from the debate on Friday, and it is showing on the campaign trail. The Democratic campaign is intent on driving home their message on the economy every day until November 4, and McCain has looked neither like a maverick nor a leader for the past couple of weeks. His aimless flailing around on the financial crisis has made it easy for Obama to look presidential.

McCain has taken on the look of a candidate who wants to be president, but can’t explain to the American voters why they should vote for him. The choice of Sarah Palin has now completely backfired, and she can’t be expected to change the momentum at the vice presidential debate this week. Barring a major gaffe by Obama, McCain has two more chances to explain on the national stage why he should be president. Obama has hit his stride, and if McCain does not find a message that connects beyond the Republican base soon, he is probably looking at defeat on Election Day.

Full Text of Obama in Detroit

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Obama: McCain Should Get No Credit for Bailout Agreement

Sep 28 2008 Published by under Featured News

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was on Face The Nation today where he said that John McCain deserves no credit for the bipartisan agreement on a federal bailout bill for the financial markets.

When asked if McCain deserves credit, Obama said, “No. Look, here are the facts. For two weeks, I was on the phone every day with Secretary Paulson and the congressional leaders, making sure that the principles that have ultimately been adopted were incorporated into the bill…But understand this. The important thing here is making sure that we don’t have a photo op session. Because this is serious. We should not have been here in the first place.”

Obama married McCain and Bush by asserting that they share the same economic theory, “And, you know the problem with Senator McCain’s positions generally have been that for all his talk about being a maverick and wanting to reform the system, he has supported on economic policy George Bush more than 90 percent of the time. His differences on other issues with the president he likes to tout, but they don’t have to do with his fundamental economic theory that helped to get us into this mess in the first place. And if we’re going to get out, then we have got to fundamentally change course.”

He expanded his point to include foreign policy, “It’s true I don’t understand Senator McCain’s positions on a whole host of issues, because given how the Bush administration has created an extraordinary crisis in the economy and considering that we remain bogged down in Iraq, Al Qaida is resurgent, Iran is developing nuclear weapons, that our foreign policy is if not in a shambles, then certainly in a place that I think anybody is comfortable with — given those facts, what I don’t understand is that Senator McCain continues to promote them. There was not one instance where Senator McCain could support his assertions with some indication that in fact he had some secret understanding of what the Bush administration was doing that made sense.”

It was clear though out the interview that Obama plans on hammering home the theme that McCain does not equal economic change until Election Day. This is exactly what he should do, because McCain has no economic strategy, except to talk about spending and earmarks, which are not winning issues when an economy is as terrible as our current one.

What jumped out at me during the debate, and what Obama was trying to reinforce today, is that McCain doesn’t offer any answers, except to emphasize that he is a leader and that Obama should not be trusted. People are looking for change while McCain continues to defend the status quo. The dynamic of this race has become change versus experience, which is a question that the Obama campaign is built to win.

Full Interview Transcript

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