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September 30, 2008

Zakaria Says Palin Must Step Aside for the Good of the Country

On CNN last night, Wolf Blitzer asked Zakaria about his article in the Washington Post the day before.  Zakaria says that the scary part about Palin is not that she doesn't know how to respond but that she doesn't understand the questions. 

My favorite of Zakaria's responses to Blitzer's questions had to do with Palin's touted experience as governor of Alaska.   He says that 85% of Alaska's revenues come from oil and that being governor of Alaska might prepare her for being President of Saudia Arabia but certainly doesn't prepare her for being President of the United States.

Check it out.  He continues to be blistering as he says what other national commenters shy away from.

P.S. Note to the pro-Palin commenters and the anti-pro-Palin commenters: I will continue to delete all comments that are demeaning to anyone or are patently untrue.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 30, 2008 at 09:52 AM in Candidate Races, Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

September 29, 2008

Memo to Biden: Let Palin Talk

Sean Quinn at the excellent polling blog, fivethirtyeight, says that Joe Biden doesn't need to talk much on Friday.  His job is to stand back and let her hang herself.  What Sean says about Biden:

Everyone, Republicans included, knows the guy knows policy detail and foreign relations cold. He really doesn't need to do much to prove he has mastery.

Sean says that normally "time of possession" is key to who wins but probably not this time.  He repeats something we heard last week, during McCain's wild lurchs, when he was trying to postpone both the presidential and vice presidential debates :

The campaign has held a mock debate and a mock press conference; both are being described as "disastrous." One senior McCain aide was quoted as saying, "What are we going to do?" The McCain people want to move this first debate to some later, undetermined date, possibly never. People on the inside are saying the Alaska Governor is "clueless."

He ends with, "Only Joe Biden can mess it up... by running up his own time of possession."  Makes sense to me as a strategy for Thursday's important debate.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 29, 2008 at 12:18 PM in Candidate Races, Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1)

September 28, 2008

Fareed Zakaria says No to Palin

Fareed Zakaria used his column in Newsweek this week to say that Sarah Palin is not ready to be on the ticket.  Furthermore, putting Palin on the ticket indicates that McCain was not putting “Country First”.  Zakaria is very clear:

Will someone please put Sarah Palin out of her agony? Is it too much to ask that she come to realize that she wants, in that wonderful phrase in American politics, "to spend more time with her family"?

He quotes Palin’s unfortunate responses to Katie Couric’s thoughtful questions on Thursday.  Then he analyzes how it went.  It’s devastating.

Palin has been given a set of talking points by campaign advisers, simple ideological mantras that she repeats and repeats as long as she can. ("We mustn't blink.") But if forced off those rehearsed lines, what she has to say is often, quite frankly, gibberish.


Some commentators, like CNN's Campbell Brown, have argued that it's sexist to keep Sarah Palin under wraps, as if she were a delicate flower who might wilt under the bright lights of the modern media. But the more Palin talks, the more we see that it may not be sexism but common sense that's causing the McCain campaign to treat her like a time bomb.


Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start. The next administration is going to face a set of challenges unlike any in recent memory.


Obviously these are very serious challenges and constraints. In these times, for John McCain to have chosen this person to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, it is simply not true.

What I appreciate is that person after person is speaking out.  Palin in the White House cannot happen.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 28, 2008 at 09:10 PM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (6)

Apparently Americans Don’t Like McCain's Bullying

Undecided American voters preferred Obama over McCain after Friday evening’s debate.  Apparently they didn’t like McCain’s bullying and they liked the respect Obama showed for McCain and for us.

The CNN snap poll of debate-watchers had Obama winning overall by a margin of 51-38.  However, his margin with women in that poll was 59-31.  And, the largest group of uncommitted voters is white, suburban women.  That bodes very well for Obama.  The CBS post-debate poll confirmed what CNN's poll had.

As I was watching the debate, I was concerned that Obama was not able to counteract the “Alpha male” nastiness that McCain was unceasingly spewing.  Understandably, Obama has no room to be seen as the big, badass, black guy.  But McCain had seemed to paint Obama into an overly deferential corner. 

Turns out women didn’t like what McCain was doing.  I'd guess that most women have either had to put up with that crap or seen it dished out to others.  “You don’t understand.”  “You’re a little naïve”.  “You don’t have the experience in this that I do.”

Add in that Obama was making a lot of sense, even if he didn’t have more than a couple of memorable lines, and he seemed to “win” the debate.

And the win is translating into voter preferences.  The Gallup daily poll this morning had Obama up by 8 points, 3 more than yesterday, which reflects one day of post-debate polling out of the three days included in the poll.  The DailyKos/Research 2000 poll today, which is also a 3-day tracking poll, had Obama up 7 points, 1 point over yesterday, and showed increasing spread in the favorable ratings between Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin.

What I like most is the sense that the American people are paying good attention and care about the outcome.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 28, 2008 at 12:16 PM in Candidate Races, Media, National and International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2)

September 27, 2008

The Time for Money is Now!

Darcy is raising money on DailyKos this evening.  She is one of a dozen or so Orange to Blue candidates and the one to "win" the opportunity to have her case made this evening.  This is called the "Hell to Pay" program and is meant to help candidates, like Darcy, who are being targeted with lying Republican attacks that are potentially very damaging and which must be responded to immediately.   

The US Chamber of Commerce paid out $40,000 for a set of radio ads attacking Darcy and supporting Reichert.  The National Federation of Independent Business, a strong Republican-backing organization, bought $219,000 for ads against Darcy.  And, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has reserved $1.1 million for air time to use against Darcy between now and election day.  That's more than they've reserved against any other candidate.  They are concerned about Darcy's chances and concerned that the 8th Congressional District seat will remain in Democratic hands for a long time when it turns over. 

The next couple days are the most important in the campaign for giving, I believe.  It's good for campaigns to know how much money they have for the next five weeks; it's money they can allot reasonably thoughtfully.  That diminishes at the weeks go on after this. 


So, give generously to your candidates, including Darcy, above - now! and then after this, focus your energy on volunteering and talking to your friends and making sure they vote.   

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 27, 2008 at 07:38 PM in Candidate Races, Taking Action | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 26, 2008

Is Rossi Nuts?

In yesterday's second gubernatorial debate, before the Association of Washington Business at the Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, Rossi said he would support rewriting the state's minimum wage law. 

The people of Washington State approved today's minimum wage law when we passed Initiative 688 with 66% of the voters in favor and, if I remember correctly, with every county in the state passing it.  The PI and Times both have articles describing yesterday's debate.  Here's the Times' description of what Rossi and Gregoire both said on minimum wage:

Rossi said he'd be willing to consider lowering the state's minimum wage for younger, or entry-level workers, suggesting the state's relatively high minimum wage might be denying teens a chance at first jobs.

Rossi said the minimum wage was not meant to be enough to raise a family on.

But Gregoire stood firm on the issue, saying there are "plenty of folks" raising families on the minimum wage. "I want to stand with them," she said.

Rossi said a lot of nutty things yesterday, perhaps as a result of being in front of the folks he considers his base, but his desire to roll back the minimum wage ought to be a red flag, especially for younger voters, whom it will impact for years.  His other nutty ideas?  A deep tunnel to replace the Viaduct.  Washington State is not a good place to do business.  No embryonic stem cell research.  Limitations on a women's right to obtain contraceptives.  The list goes on.   Now we add his idea on lowering the minimum wage.

Hat tip to Ivan for pointing this out.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 26, 2008 at 09:06 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink | Comments (1)

An Economic Plan That Makes Sense

James Galbraith, son of the famous economist and a respected academic economist himself, suggests that the Paulson plan is no longer necessary.  Given that the five big investment banks - Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley -- have disappeared or morphed into regular banks, why continue down that path? 

But we still need a plan and more logical intervention.  Galbraith has an alternative he presents in a Washington Post article that fits everything I learned in Econ. 101:

To calm the markets

  • Eliminate the pointless $100,000 cap on federal deposit insurance
  • Put half a trillion dollars into the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. fund
  • Put as much money into the FDIC and the FBI as is needed for examiners, auditors and investigators
  • Keep $200 billion or more in reserve, so the Treasury can recapitalize banks by buying preferred shares if necessary

Stabilize the Underlying Housing Crisis

  • Create a new Home Owners Loan Corp., with offices at the local level, which would rewrite mortgages, manage rental conversions and decide when vacant, degraded properties should be demolished

Stimulate the Economy

  • Enact federal revenue sharing; provide states and localities with the funds to plug their revenue gaps and maintain real public spending
  • Create a National Infrastructure Bank, making bond revenue available in a revolving fund for capital improvements
  • Supplement Social Security as needed to balance off the loss of savings for seniors, perhaps to be paid by a turnover tax on stocks
  • Underwrite a program of energy conservation, reconstruction and renewable power

Calling Obama - this is a plan that people could get behind.  And a hint to Galbraith - I've just simplified your article so that it's straightforward, with bullet points.  I think it might help in getting attention.

Hat tip: Kos had a piece up about Galbraith's plan, which is where I read it first.

UPDATE: SEIU has also done some good thinking about what could be included in a more rationale economic plan.  Here.

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 26, 2008 at 08:08 AM in Policy, The Politics of Business | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bailout Plan in Trouble - McCain is the Saboteur

Funny how election season exposes people for who they really are -- especially if a candidate's poll numbers are suddenly tanking. Case in point, one John Sidney McCain:

Let's see. After days of hard work without McCain's mug anywhere in sight, a Congressional version of the $700 billion bailout plan was close to being written up with bipartisan agreement. It certainly would have been signed by the president, who, along with his treasury secretary, is desperate for a deal ASAP. Paulson has already suggested to lawmakers he is willing to see some accountability and oversight measures included and that he'll accept the big money in stages (either $250 billion or $350 billion right away) rather in one lump sum. And then, as if by divination from Karl Rove himself, McCain saunters into the White House for the express purpose of throwing poison darts into the entire proceeding. How clever. How Machiavellian. How self-serving. And how utterly disastrous for the country. And this is the guy who claims to be defending the "Country First"???

At 4 p.m., Mr. Bush convened his meeting at the White House; Mr. McCain had already met with House Republicans to hear their concerns. He later said on ABC that he had known going into the White House that “there never was a deal,” but he kept that sentiment to himself.

The meeting opened with Mr. Paulson, the chief architect of the bailout plan, “giving a status report on the condition of the market,” Tony Fratto, Mr. Bush’s deputy press secretary, said. Mr. Fratto said Mr. Paulson warned in particular of the tightening of credit markets overnight, adding, “that is something very much on his mind.”

Mr. McCain was at one end of the long conference table, Mr. Obama at the other, with the president and senior Congressional leaders between them. Participants said Mr. Obama peppered Mr. Paulson with questions, while Mr. McCain said little. Outside the West Wing, a huge crowd of reporters gathered in the driveway, anxiously awaiting an appearance by either presidential candidate, with expectations running high.

Go-o-lly, Gomer. And here we were all led to believe that getting a deal done was McCain's primary concern. He bravely suspended his campaign! (Not really, he's still spending money, broadcasting TV ads and running his mouth on all the network news shows. It's only Letterman who terrifies him.) He can't possibly waste time at a presidential debate! (He's not prepared to face the American people.) He flies to D.C. to meet behind closed doors with Boehner and the House Republicans to coach them on how to obstruct all the progress that's been made so far and then lies through his teeth to the news media and the nation about what really transpired. And those in the media will not ignore or defend his actions. He sabotaged the whole friggin' thing and for what? To try and save his now unsaveable presidential campaign? To prove that he's still got friends in the capitol? Too bad his only cohorts are the usual suspects in the U.S. House who continually crap all over anything resembling progress. (He's not doing so well with his Republican colleagues in the Senate, who are overwhelmingly in support of the bipartisan plan.)

McCain is a liar, a fraud, and a saboteur. He does NOT put the interests of the country first. The man is not fit for office.

Posted by shoephone on September 26, 2008 at 12:24 AM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 25, 2008

Congress Set to Approve Bailout Package, With No Need for St. McCain

What a bummer for McCain. A bipartisan effort which began earlier this week appears to be bearing fruit, in the form of an economic bailout package that may well be hammered out in full by tomorrow. The project needed no assistance whatsoever from the cowardly, conniving Senator from Arizona.

And there's a bonus -- his transparent little stunt was even crapped on by a member of his own party:

“I now expect we will indeed have a plan that can pass the House, pass the Senate, be signed by the president, and bring a sense of certainty to this crisis that is still roiling in the markets,” said Robert Bennett, Republican of Utah. “That is our primary responsibility, and I think we our now prepared to meet it.”

And Mr. Bennett, one of the senior members of the banking committee, made a point of describing the meeting as free of political “posturing” in remarks that seemed aimed at Mr. McCain, who announced on Wednesday that he was suspending his campaign and returning to Washington to help secure a deal.

“I appreciate very much my Republican colleagues who participated in the meeting and added tremendously,” Mr. Bennett said. “We focused on solving the problem, rather than posturing politically and it was one of the most productive sessions in that regard that I have participated in since I have been in the Senate.”

Boo-hoo. Looks like McCain won't be able to squirrel out of Friday night's debate, after all.

Posted by shoephone on September 25, 2008 at 11:30 AM in Candidate Races, National and International Politics, Strategery | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 24, 2008

Devastating video of Dave Letterman

We may just have seen the "Walter Cronkite" moment when Cronkite said he thought the Vietnam War was unwinnable and President Johnson reportedly said "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost America."

Devastating video of Dave Letterman commenting on McCain's blowing off the show scheduled for tonight with Letterman.  Three minutes of Letterman talking about how much of a hero John McCain was during his years in the P.O.W. camp.  Then seven minutes of talking about how ridiculous it was for McCain to suspend his campaign and rush back to "save the country".  Come on. 

Take a look!

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 24, 2008 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)