That’s what I thought about the McCain-Obama debate. McCain had a few good lines, but Obama did not do any obvious damage to himself when discussing foreign policy — at least not that any casual observer would notice. I don’t think either of them changed any minds tonight. I missed the part where they discussed the economy, but it probably wouldn’t have changed my opinion of this debate. McCain needed to knock out Obama, and he did not. This raises the stakes for the next two debates for John McCain, and this is a debate I believe McCain should have won because it’s an area of strength for him.

Minor point — there’s not much difference between preconditions and preparations, and Barack Obama’s explanation of this is just silly. But Barack did what he needed to do in this debate. Even though I absolutely disagree with about 95% of what Barack wants to do on foreign policy and the economy, I realize that the average American does not follow politics as closely as the bloggers and other assorted political junkies. So it’s possible that someone more detached from this than I am could see a clear winner between McCain and Obama. I didn’t.

Not surprisingly for those on the opposite side of the political debate — McCain is winning the FNC text poll 82 to 16. It was a lot closer than that.

just say no

Senator DeMint gives the Paulson bailout plan a very emphatic thumbs down.

From his Senate website:

After reviewing the Administration’s proposed bailout plan, I believe it is completely unacceptable. This plan does nothing to address the misguided government policies that created this mess and it could make matters much worse by socializing an entire sector of the U.S. economy. This plan fails to oversee or regulate the government failures that led to this crisis. Instead it greatly increases the role for Secretary Paulson whose market predictions have been consistently wrong in the last year, and provides corporate welfare for investment firms on Wall Street that don’t want to disclose their assets and sell them to private investors for market rates. Most Americans are paying their bills on time and investing responsibly and should not be forced to pay for the reckless actions of some on Wall Street, especially when no one can guarantee this will solve our current problems.

This plan will not only cause our nation to fall off the debt cliff, it could send the value of the dollar into a free-fall as investors around the world question our ability to repay our debts. It’s also very likely that this plan will extend the cycle of bailouts, encouraging other companies to behave in reckless ways that create the need for even more bailouts, triggering an endless run on our treasury. This plan may make things look better for Wall Street in the next couple months, but the long-term consequences to our economy could be disastrous.

There are much better ways of dealing with this problem than forcing American taxpayers to pay for every asset some investor doesn’t want anymore. We should start by reforming government policies and programs that created this mess, including the Federal Reserve’s easy money policy, the congressional charters of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Community Reinvestment Act. Then Congress should pass a number of permanent and proven pro-growth reforms to encourage capital formation and boost asset values. We need to make permanent reductions in the corporate tax and the capital gains tax rates. We have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world, which encourages companies to take jobs and investment overseas.

It’s a sad fact, but Americans can no longer trust the economic information they are getting from this Administration. The Administration said the bailout of Bear Stearns would stop the bleeding and solve the problem, but they were wrong. They said $150 billion in new government spending using rebate checks would solve the problem, but they were wrong again. They said new authority to bailout Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would solve the problem without being used, but they were wrong again. Now they want us to trust them to spend nearly a trillion dollars on more government bailouts. It’s completely irresponsible and I cannot support it.

My Senator has the right idea here. This $700 billion bailout doesn’t provide any accountability or address any of the problems that got our economy where it is today.  It will, as others have said, give Secretary Paulson a virtual blank check without any promise of results.  It is irresponsible, and the Bush administration should go back to the drawing board, knowing that many Republicans will not support this.  If John McCain has any maverick tendencies left after he finishes ripping greedy people and Wall Street fat cats –neither of which have primary responsibility for the mortgage mess we find ourselves in– he should seriously consider showing up and voting against this bailout.  Republicans will follow McCain in opposing this, but he needs to take the lead in fighting for the taxpayers.

re: forest for the trees

There is a difference between calling the bailouts a mistake and calling them one example of socialism.  I did both.  I started out by saying that I disagreed with all the bailouts, and also that I was opposed to government taking over private industry.  Not sure how I could be any more clear than I was with that.   I wasn’t excusing the Bush administration by saying that I didn’t completely understand why certain private industries got government assistance and others did not.   The bailouts are still what I said they were.   I’m just saying that it’s above my pay grade to figure out what the fallout would be from letting these businesses fail.  We have already discussed the failure of the Bush administration to limit government, and I think you know that we are in agreement that he has expanded government during his 8 years.

What are the objectives of foreign aid?  Is it to promote goodwill or to give a financial incentive to other nations to side with us in disputes at the UN?  If so, how’s that working for us?  The nations who hate us will still hate us even when we have done all we can to win their favor.  Private charities have always been able to provide financial assistance to countries who have suffered natural disasters like earthquakes and floods, and they are usually more effective in the distribution of aid  than the US government is. Maybe a freeze isn’t the way to attack this, but Obama’s going to need all the domestic funds he can get to finance all the spending he’s proposing.

Iraq and Afghanistan are necessary expenditures, and ending world poverty shouldn’t be quite as high on our priority list.   A destabilized Iraq would be a national security risk.   Leaving now could mean that at some point, we would have to go back in and fix the chaos.  We have a national security interest in Afghanistan.  Even some of your Democratic friends agree on that point.  Doesn’t Barack want to send more troops there?  So he doesn’t seem to have a problem spending money on that project.  He also appears to have some interest in delaying the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, if that New York Post story is accurate.  

Let’s review– Barack wants to spend money on some domestic programs, ending world poverty, AND continuing to leave troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Explain why his plans are so different from those of the Bush administration.  (Well…other than the raising taxes on “rich” people part of Barack’s agenda.)

We wouldn’t have to raise taxes if the federal government would use the money it has more effectively, but since this hasn’t happened during the Bush administration, it’s even less likely under an Obama administration.  We have forgotten the part of fiscal responsibility that includes cutting programs that don’t work and allocating resources where they are most needed.  If Obama or McCain have something like this in their economic plan, I haven’t seen it.  Raising taxes on anybody is not a desirable option, especially because it enables wasteful spending, and raising taxes on corporations affects everybody, not just the fat cat CEOs.

stop the madness

I think it’s only fair to call a mistake a mistake, and yes, I would consider the AIG bailout a mistake.  I would also question the wisdom of bailing out Fannie and Freddie, but there would have been far deeper financial chaos had the Bush administration decided not to make that move.  These are steps in the wrong direction, because we cannot keep sticking the taxpayers with the bills for the corporate mismanagement of these companies.  It’s fair and reasonable to call this socialism — this would be the perfect example of such,  with the government taking over private industry like this.  That said, it would take someone much smarter than myself in the ways of the financial markets to completely understand the reasons behind handing out some government checks and not others.

The Bush administration is not, and has never been, a proponent of small government.  Compassionate conservatism and limited government have absolutely nothing in common. That’s not what got him elected.  Most conservatives have been consistent in calling out the President and Republicans for spending too much taxpayer money, and they are currently questioning these government bailouts as well  — so we do not need to apologize for our criticism of Obama’s spending proposals.

If Barack Obama is so worried about spending all that money in Iraq, then maybe he should consider taking that 0.7% of GDP he wants to spend on the Global Poverty Act and use that money for domestic programs.  Shouldn’t the Democrats, who are so concerned about the working man here in America, consider a freeze on foreign aid until all these domestic problems are solved?  One thing Democrats and Republicans should recognize is that throwing money at problems doesn’t guarantee positive results.  This goes double for any money ending up in the hands of UN bureaucrats.

Both Senator Obama and Senator McCain should be more frugal with their spending proposals, because it’s fiscally irresponsible to create new programs and finance new services when the feds are flat broke.  Maybe someone smarter than me can explain how it’s possible that Barack will cut taxes for 95% of the American people, and still give us all these new exciting government programs and services.  That doesn’t sound right to me.

Even if he only raises taxes on the “rich”,  those tax hikes would trickle down to the middle class.  Corporations pass on increased costs to the consumer by charging higher prices.   These higher tax rates would also mean they couldn’t hire as many people to produce their products, and it might even mean that some of the company’s workers would lose their jobs.  None of these things would increase productivity or have a positive impact on our struggling economy, so I would hope that Barack would consider the implications of any tax hike on the rich before he makes them a permanent part of his economic policy.  After all, he has been known to change his mind when presented with conflicting facts.

conservatives and the mccain/palin ticket

There are two main issues that Christian conservatives consider important enough to threaten withholding votes from any politician who doesn’t perfectly toe the line — abortion and same-sex marriage.   When evangelicals and others hold the line on principle and refuse to endorse a candidate who doesn’t agree with them on these issues, they are called single-issue voters and derided for standing on those principles.  These issues are important to me as well, but sometimes we don’t think about the consequences of withholding support from perfectly good and qualified candidates who might be a better bet to win an election. Every one of our divided conservative groups picked a different horse, and McCain got his independents and moderates — at least in the primary. That’s how we ended up with a candidate in McCain that we are still unhappy with, despite the Palin bounce.

I agree with those who say that we should stop trying to make the experience argument for Sarah Palin, even though it doesn’t seem to bother the Obama sheep that their man hasn’t closed the deal with the American people in that category.   Her appeal is a broad appeal that has very little to do with her knowledge of foreign policy or her deep conversations with world leaders.   It’s all about her personal story — moose hunting, fishing, the NRA membership, her Down’s Syndrome son.  She’s a very sympathetic figure, and she is a happy warrior, zinging Obama and the Democrats with a smile on her face. (She does need some more variations in her scripted lines, but other than that, I have no complaints.)

While she has requested and received some earmarks, it is evident that she has made some significant changes in the way Alaska does business.  She deserves credit for that.  With an sky-high approval rating in Alaska, she must have done something right in her short tenure there.  I still think that Palin can learn what she does not know,  but unless the Democrats know something we don’t know about McCain’s mortality– McCain will be President on day one, not his VP.  Why are the Democrats even worried about Palin’s readiness anyway?  All they have to do is make sure Barack overcomes his struggles and wins the election. Not that difficult, right? 🙂

Then the 80% wrong Joe Biden can run his foreign policy.  Yikes.  This can’t be what the Democrats really want.

some advice for the mccain campaign

Stop treating Sarah as a victim. Stop being so politically correct. Let this “pig” remark die a natural death. Guess it’s too late for that now.

Take every opportunity to compare Governor Palin’s fiscal record with that of Senator Biden. She has the advantage there. There may be some doubt as far as when she started to oppose the bridge to nowhere, but she did oppose it. Both Barack and Joe supported it from the beginning.

More later….

worthy of note

I was going to give my in depth analysis of Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech Wednesday night, but wouldn’t you all rather read what Michael Barone had to say about it?  She had a very strong debut, but she does have more work to do.  The McCain campaign is doing a smart thing by keeping her away from the Sunday shows for now, but eventually she’s going to have to do some interviews and finish off Joe Biden to show that she can handle herself without a script.  I feel more confident about this than I did before her speech on Wednesday, and I am cautiously optimistic that she can survive whatever the media decides to throw at her. The McCain campaign should be wary of casting Palin as a victim, because it’s quite clear that she can take the punches.

About McCain’s acceptance speech — he got through it ok, no thanks to the Code Pink morons who interrupted him at the beginning.  Obama will always have the edge in speechmaking ability, but John McCain’s life story is compelling, and McCain told that story as well as he could.  The McCain campaign does need to be more judicious with the use of McCain’s military service and former POW status in speeches and rallies, because he runs the risk of trivializing that service.  Take John Kerry for example — the running gag is that, by the way, did you know he served in Vietnam?  McCain’s military service is a wonderful example of service to our country above and beyond the call of duty.  I respect it, but he can’t win an election without talking about kitchen table issues in addition to his bio.

rnc: random thoughts from red meat day

Before I get to Governor Palin’s wonderful speech,  there are several other things that struck me as the RNC proceeds forward to the acceptance speech by McCain tonight.  The first is that there aren’t many conservative women in the GOP pipeline contesting Senate races or any higher state offices.  What does it say about this party that the “qualified” women suggested for McCain’s VP pick aren’t conservatives?  Olympia Snowe, Elizabeth Dole, and Kay Hutchison, while they may be conservative enough for some people, don’t bring much to the table for McCain, and it wouldn’t bring in those independent and moderates, or even the Hillary voters.  They would have done even less for the social conservative base than any other candidate on McCain’s shortlist.

There is more work that needs to be done on the grassroots level to recruit more women and minorities.   While it’s a myth that the Republican party doesn’t have anything to offer those two groups and working people,  we have continued to allow the media to push this narrative — and we don’t have much ammo to use even if we fought back against it.  This needs to change.  We do have ideas that work for these groups — at least conservatives do — but the failures of current Congressional Republicans have damaged the Republican brand, and it’s hard for the American people to trust us to deal with everyday problems.

This is why Mitt Romney’s message fell flat last night.  Republicans are part of the problem in Washington.  Many of them have surrendered to Democratic rule, and they have allowed too many earmarks to go through.  They compromised on pieces of bad legislation with the Democrats.  It fires up Republican crowds to talk about all those bad “liberals”, but what resonance would it have with the rest of the American voters?  Mitt isn’t comfortable in the role of the attack dog.  The speech he gave last night was fiery, and full of stuff conservatives like to hear, but I thought that his delivery was slightly over-the-top.  Just a minor style point in an otherwise effective speech.

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rnc: the end and the beginning

There were three major storylines at the RNC today that had nothing to do with Sarah Palin.  The first was the ceremonial end of the Bush era.  The second was Fred’s red meat speech and his stirring account of McCain’s military service.  The third — Joe Lieberman incinerating those bridges between himself and the Democrats once and for all with his direct attacks on Barack Obama.

The Republicans need to do more to emphasize the differences between Bush and McCain, but they need to do this without completely abandoning Dubya.  There are those in the party who still love the guy, and we need all the votes we can get to defeat Barack Obama.  That’s why the President had to speak at the RNC, no matter how brief the speech would have to be.  I’m not sure that the President did much to advance McCain’s candidacy, but it was nice to give him one last hurrah in front of an appreciative crowd. We also saw a video tribute to Bush Sr. It was fitting that they gave all the Bushes their due at the last convention they will have with a Bush in the White House.  (Unless Jeb surprises us all someday…)

Fred Thompson’s speeches will never approach the eloquence of Senator Obama’s, but he was on fire tonight.

Here’s some of what he said about McCain:

Now, being a POW certainly doesn’t qualify anyone to be President. But it does reveal character. This is the kind of character that civilizations from the beginning of history have sought in their leaders. Strength. Courage. Humility. Wisdom. Duty. Honor. It’s pretty clear there are two questions we will never have to ask ourselves, ‘Who is this man?’ and ‘Can we trust this man with the Presidency?’ He has been to Iraq eight times since 2003. He went seeking truth, not publicity. When he travels abroad, he prefers quietly speaking to the troops amidst the heat and hardship of their daily lives. And the same character that marked John McCain’s military career has also marked his political career. This man, John McCain is not intimidated by what the polls say or by what is politically safe or popular. At a point when the war in Iraq was going badly and the public lost confidence, John stood up and called for more troops. And now we are winning. Ronald Reagan was John McCain’s hero. And President Reagan admired John tremendously. But when the President proposed putting U.S. troops in Beirut, John McCain, a freshman Congressman, stood up and cast a vote against his hero because he thought the deployment was a mistake. My friends … that is character you can believe in.

Zing.  Character matters, at least it does for Republicans.  That’s the main question we have been asking about Barack Obama from the beginning — who is this guy and can we trust him with the Presidency?  Love or hate John McCain — you know where he stands.

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partisan hackery

The new politics of the Obama fans — sheep, I call them — sure looks a lot like the old politics.  Is it too much to ask that attacks on Governor Palin are based on facts and not idle speculation by the Daily Kos and Andrew Sullivan???  I’m not going to give either site the benefit of a link because they should be ashamed of themselves for printing the rumors about Governor Palin’s son Trig actually being her daughter’s child.  No proof here…but why should that surprise us?  If Daily Kos or Andrew Sullivan had any credibility with me before, this stunt would have changed that in a hurry.  Like I said, old politics.  Time for Obama to throw some more acquaintances under his bus.  There should be no place for this in this campaign season.

Now before I am accused of a double standard, let me just say,  I had nothing to do with any rumors that may have been spread about Senator Obama being a Muslim, or terrorist, or any of that.  I don’t believe any of those rumors, and neither do the American people. That’s the point.  As despicable as this is, these rumors won’t stick without proof.  Same with Governor Palin.  The burden of proof doesn’t lie with the McCain campaign, it lies with Sullivan and Daily Kos, because these sites are the ones making these serious allegations.

We can all be partisan without being ugly and resorting to this garbage.

And for the record,  Amanda Carpenter at Townhall reports that:

DailyKos is is wrong on when the photo was taken. It was taken, and published, by the Anchorage Daily News in 2006. Baby Trig, a Down’s Syndrome child, was born on April 18, 2008. That’s a long time for a teen girl to be carrying a “bump” which looks nothing more than the curve of a tight sweater.

Indeed.  I know what to expect from those two sites I mentioned, but I never expected this guy would be part of advancing this fraudulent story.