Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Democrats Must Pass The Bailout Plan, On Their Own If Necessary

John McCain has said before that he'd rather win a war than a Presidential election. And he's all but said that Barack Obama is willing to lose a war if it means being elected President. With House Republicans and Senator McCain killing any hope of saving this nation's economy from almost certain catastrophe (and after reading and listening to some of the smartest minds in the world discuss what might happen if this deal doesn't get done, catastrophe is no overstatement), the Democrats must save this country's financial system. There are enough votes in the Senate to pass a bailout plan. There are enough votes in the House to pass a bailout plan. And the President is prepared to sign a bailout plan. The only thing standing in the way other than John McCain? Politics.

See, Democrats want to pass the bailout and save the country's financial system from ruin. But, the plan, no thanks to an unpopular President with next to no credibility and no ability to convince the American people of anything, has been completely botched in its presentation to the American people. Is it bailing out Wall Street? Absolutely. But, that doesn't mean the plan is helping out risky executives while leaving American taxpayers out in the cold. It's bailing out Wall Street to get credit moving again and to get banks lending again and to stop businesses from failing, banks from closing, and people in their homes. And it's not "spending" $700 billion. It's investing it, in assets which should eventually turn a profit for the country. Is it a risk? Yes. But, unless we enter a second Great Depression, we won't lose everything. But the American people don't understand that, and they either don't understand the bailout or viscerally oppose it, in large part because they don't understand the consequences of not supporting it.

So why won't the Democrats pass the bailout and save the world? Because they are afraid it won't work. And because the plan has been so mis-sold, and is so unpopular, the Democrats are afraid to go it alone. Well, sometimes, you have to lose an election to win a war. Sometimes you have to make a decision you know is right even if it's unpopular.

Screw the House Republicans. They were never on board to begin with and they likely never were going to be. And don't you dare let John McCain, in a disgustingly partisan press release blame Senator Obama for the breakdown in negotiations. Had John McCain not shown up in Washington, this deal may have been done by now. Instead, it's a boondoggle threatening the world economy. Because John McCain wanted to look "Presidential" because his campaign was failing. Yeah, he really puts "Country First."

Pass the plan tomorrow without the House Republicans. Save the country worry about the politics later. If the Democrats have the votes, and they are afraid to exercise them because the Republicans won't give them cover, then everyone involved deserves blame. Saving our economy should come first, even if that means going it alone.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Protecting Palin Too Much Plus: Palin's Jews for Jesus Problem

...If you even dare ask about Governor Sarah Palin's foreign policy experience (or lackthereof) the question is so out-of-bounds, so sexist (even when it comes from a woman, Campbell Brown) that John McCain was so offended that he jilted Larry King of all people, canceling a scheduled interview on Larry King Live after Campbell Brown dared ask the question. Give me a break. A few months after Sarah Palin called Hillary Clinton a "whiner" because her campaign was complaining about sexism (saying such comments did women a disservice), the McCain-Palin campaign has decided that any criticism of Palin, no matter how substantive, is sexism.

The fact that she was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it? Can't bring that up, that's sexism. The fact that her town of 6,500 people received almost $30 million in earmarks? Can't go there. How about her abuse of power in firing a public safety commissioner after he refused to fire her brother in law? Or her and her husband's support of the Alaska Independence Party, which wants a vote on succeeding from the Union and whose founder has damned America and said he would refuse to be buried in the US flag? Or, today's news that Palin's church, while Palin was present, allowed an anti-Jewish group to preach. In August, while Palin was in the pews, Palin's pastor turned over the pulpit to the founder of "Jews for Jesus" which aims to covert those of the Jewish faith, and who said, in front of Palin, that terror attacks on Israel were God's wrath against uncoverted Jews. I can't make this up.

An illustration of that gap came just two weeks ago, when Palin’s church, the Wasilla Bible Church, gave its pulpit over to a figure viewed with deep hostility by many Jewish organizations: David Brickner, the founder of Jews for Jesus.

Palin’s pastor, Larry Kroon, introduced Brickner on Aug. 17, according to a transcript of the sermon on the church’s website.

“He’s a leader of Jews for Jesus, a ministry that is out on the leading edge in a pressing, demanding area of witnessing and evangelism,” Kroon said.

[ . . . . ] Brickner also described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God's "judgment of unbelief" of Jews who haven't embraced Christianity.

Why do I think that Sean Hannity, who spent months railing against Barack Obama (even demanding that he resign from the Senate) because of his association with Jerimiah Wright, won't be talking about how Palin should have walked out of her church, and how Palin should have stood up to her pastor. And worse than Obama, she was there that day in August when the Jews for Jesus founder spoke about how those who are Jewish have a "difficult time understanding the reality" that they need to convert to Christianity.

But, I'm sure bringing this up just makes me sexist. Just one question then before I go. Does questioning Barack Obama's relationship with Reverend Wright or his lack of experience make Republicans racist?

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Monday, September 1, 2008

McCain Not Playing Politics With Gustav? Yeah, Not So Much

John McCain has gotten a lot of credit in recent days, and deservedly so, for choosing to curtail part of the Republican National Convention in deference to the people of New Orleans the related areas who at this time are being hammered by the remnants of Hurricane Gustav. Good for McCain. He absolutely deserves credit for that. While it's also the right thing to do politically (attacking Obama and celebrating while a hurricane is punishing part of America doesn't work) McCain is paying a price for this decision, as his party will not get the chance to get their message out on an equal basis like the Democrats did last week.

But, let's not kid ourselves, the McCain campaign absolutely is playing politics with the hurricane. And in many ways, what they accomplished today, and the news they buried today, by making it public on the same day all the newspapers, cable news networks, and evening newscasts are focused on the hurricane, was worth so much more than anything they could have gained from tonight's scheduled convention speeches from the vastly unpopular Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.

What news did the McCain campaign release today that each could have been big stories, and could have been very damaging to the campaign? Three dings to the Vice President nobody (including, apparently, the McCain campaign) knows anything about. First was word that Palin's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. And, I agree with what Barack Obama said earlier today that families should be off-limit in Presidential campaigns. The story here isn't that Palin's daughter is pregnant, that's a private family matter. It's how McCain could trust somebody with the future of the country that he knows so little about, and that he's still learning about.

One thing perhaps he didn't know, which was also very quietly released today, was news that Palin's husband was arrested for DUI in 1986. Now does a candidate's husband's mistake as a 22-year-old disqualify that candidate from seeking higher office? Of course not. But there's no coincidence the news was released today when it would get absolutely zero attention because of the hurricane.

And then there was the late breaking news that Palin has hired a private attorney for herself and her staff related to allegations she fired an Alaska Public Safety Comissioner who refused to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law. As Dan Abrams said on MSNBC this afternoon, it makes a lot of sense that Palin would hire a lawyer (especially since her deposition is likely to be taken in the next few weeks) and there's nothing inherently suspicious about doing so (in fact, it's the right and smart thing to do). But, again, politically, it won't look good. And there's no question the release of the news late this afternoon was done purposefully as to be buried by the hurricane coverage.

Was the McCain campaign smart to release these news items today? Absolutely. No question. But let's not pretend that the timing was simply coincidental or that the McCain campaign wasn't trying to take advantage of the news dead zone the hurricane provided them to release these stories.

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