John McCain

Rob Dugger: A Prescription for Recovery

Our friend Rob Dugger penned a powerful op-ed in the Washington Post today, A Prescription for Recovery.  It offers these five principles to help guide our next steps in putting our financial system back on track: 

· Put individual taxpayers first. The program needs to focus on keeping taxpayers in their homes, strengthening their local economies and protecting their savings. It has to help Americans broadly, not just a few, and certainly not the managers who got us into this mess.

· Minimize taxpayer costs over the long term. Short-term thinking created this crisis. Only long-term efforts will end it. The S&L crisis was limited to the financial sector. It was best addressed on an aggressive basis, bank by bank. This meant that least-cost resolutions were the way to go and that the RTC should buy and sell assets quickly, which it did. But the current situation is systemic. It involves our entire economy. This means the revitalization program should buy distressed assets early and plan to hold them for a long time. The goal is to make the economic adjustment as shallow as possible, to limit the injury to families, jobs, homes and savings.

· Avoid creating an interim program. This program must not be like the S&L "rescues" of the mid-1980s, which merely enabled the problems to grow. The program needs to have the capacity, flexibility and scope to address the vast size of the current crisis. Congress should put no dollar or time limit on our national commitment. Yes, markets will want dollar figures. If numbers must be given, let them be in statements about the program -- and let them be big. Do not shy away from saying that the United States is prepared to commit a trillion dollars over the next 10 years to halt this meltdown here and now.

· Remember global investors, whose confidence we must regain. This crisis is an economic heart attack, but not a fatal one. We must assure global investors that we are fully prepared to cover American losses. No one suggests that this will be easy. The budget choices being forced on us will be profoundly difficult. But we have the strongest democracy and the most durable legal and financial systems in the world. We have the capacity to absorb losses and the ability to reshape our economy. Foreign investors need evidence that we are committed to the changes necessary for recovery. When they see that, they will buy our private assets again.

· Do not hesitate. Bill Seidman's greatest lesson was action. It is far better to deal with a few assets, even without knowing quite what to do, than to do nothing while trying to work out the details. Whoever is in charge of the revitalization program must not hesitate to buy the assets that institutions offer -- these will be what is burdening the institutions and clogging our credit system the most. There are many strategies for buying assets and infusing capital that can protect the program from paying too much and ensure that taxpayers benefit from price increases as recovery occurs. The key is to get the assets in-house quickly and learn how to manage them effectively.

McCain Full of Sound and Fury on the Economy

This weekend, it became apparent that no one is really buying U.S. Sen. John McCain's plentiful promises about cracking down on Wall Street. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama has taken to calling McCain the "Great Deregulator," which is fundamentally true, from both McCain's record on financial regulation and his designs on health care and social security.

Sam Donaldson, this morning on ABC's This Week, pointed out that Obama's ads are, in fact, correct to point the finger in the direction of McCain and his cronies on deregulation: 

Also on This Week, conservative commentator George Will hammered John McCain for not acting presidential this last week. Take a look:

Through this financial crisis, America better learned what one could expect out of a McCain White House. As Will later pointed out, McCain "showed his personality this week, and it made some of us fearful." In substituting vehemence and bluster for coherence, reason, substance, and economic literacy, John McCain has again shown that his temperament disqualifies him for the presidency. His instincts in the face of turmoil are troubling: imagine a foreign policy crisis to which he reacts with bluster instead of coherence.

Obama, on the otherhand, is making the right moves: acting presidential by consulting knowledgeable advisors, outlining his principles, and calling, like NDN, to keep Americans in their homes. And the American people have noticed. See Simon's blog on Obama hitting 50 in the daily tracks. 

SNL Takes Another Shot at McCain Campaign

Yesterday, Saturday Night Live took another swipe at U.S. Sen. John McCain's campaign. Although it would be hard to top Tina Fey's portrayal of Sarah Palin last week, this skit is a pretty good follow-up. Written by Al Franken, it is more or less "the truth, with jokes." There is a serious side to these sketches as well; as Chris Cillizza from the Washington Post points out,

"'SNL' has already shown an ability to influence the political campaigns
this year; Amy Poehler's (generally) sympathetic portrayal of Hillary Rodham Clinton during the spring was seen as a factor in the re-rise of the New York Senator's candidacy."

Check out the clip here:

Kos Track Has Obama Hitting 50

Obama's mo continues apace.  50-42.

1pm Update: Obama hits 50 in Gallup too.

The Palin Bubble Has Burst

In this powerful post, Kos shows how Governor Palin's numbers have tanked in the past 10 days.  

On September 11, her favorable/unfavorable rating was 52/35.  Today it is 41/46.  In this time, she has gone from the most popular of the four candidates to the least.  Palin's surge breathed life into an anemic McCain campaign.  Her collapse has brought McCain back to about the same place he was before the GOP Convention, in the low 40s, and a stumbling, bumbling candidate.  

For John McCain, Palin has become a double-edged sword.  A must-have at his events.  She brings in the GOP crowds he, the maverick, never had.  But for the rest of the electorate, she has become a drag on the already struggling McCain ticket.  

The bursting of the Palin bubble - while she maintains her rock star appeal with the GOP base - spells a great deal of trouble for Senator McCain.


We know the polls have shown movement towards Obama this week.  But man I could look at this map all day long. 

From Real Clear Politics.  Obama 273, McCain 265.  Obama wins without Florida, Ohio or Virginia. 

Quit Whining…and Get Off My Lawn(s)

Given the economic hurricane whirling around us, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the words of a man U.S. Sen. John McCain recently called “one of the smartest people in the world on economics.” That's right. I'm talking about none other than former McCain campaign co-chair and economic adviser, former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm.

You may remember Gramm as the “co-sponsor of the 1999 law that allowed commercial banks to get into investment banking.” Or as “a prime architect of a 2000 bill that kept regulators' hands off of 'credit default swaps,' an exotic financial tool which helped enable the bundling and selling of crappy subprime mortgages to investors,” and which “have been at the heart of the subprime meltdown.”

Gramm has been one of the greatest champions in Washington for deregulation of the financial markets, and until he suddenly became a populist a few days ago, John McCain was with him 100% on that position. Here is Gramm's take on the economy, circa July:

So everyone, please, stop whining about the economy, and remember: This is all in your minds.

"Play Stump the Candidate", Says Sarah Palin

Right on the heels of Senator McCain's latest foreign policy gaffe, his side-kick/Vice Presidential running mate decided to take a crack at dispelling these "attacks" about her lack of foreign policy experience. Just to put this in context: in the past week a bomb was detonated at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, two U.S. ambassadors were expelled from Latin American countries, and the ambassadors from those nations were similarly recalled from the U.S. (not to mention the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, of course). The importance of the actual knowledge - not just "experience" travelling - and understanding of these complex international relationships by Presidential candidates cannot be understated. It is anything but unfair to demand that the persons running for the highest seat in the land possess higher than average knowledge and understanding of the different regions in the world and our interest in each.

In this town hall meeting Gov. Palin basically says that we shouldn't fear because she and her running mate might not be ready now, but they will be ready "on January 20", "God willing". And she explains her credentials in the area of foreign policy: she'll be ready because she "has that readiness"...she's "ready to serve". "You can even play stump the candidate if you want to" by asking her "specifics, with specific policy or countries."


McCain Is Either Confused about or Combative Toward Spanish P.M.

Time reports that earlier this week, U.S. Sen. John McCain gave this answer when asked if he would receive Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in the White House:

"Honestly, I have to analyze our relationships, situations, and priorities, but I can assure you that I will establish closer relationships with our friends, and I will stand up to those who want to harm the United States."

The response came after a series of questions about Latin America, and it seems that McCain either confused Mr. Zapatero with Latin American leaders like Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, or is still holding a grudge about Spain withdrawing its troops from Iraq. Given that McCain also recently referred to the nonexistent nation of Czechoslovakia, can never remember the difference between Sunni and Shia, and refers to the "Iraq-Pakistan border," the former explanation seems more likely. As the Spanish newspaper El Pais puts it,

"In the best-case scenario, [his answer] demonstrates his ignorance with respect to Zapatero."

Since McCain presents himself as the foreign policy candidate in this race, that's not a great best-case scenario for him.

Polls Showing Renewed Obama Momentum, Palin Dropping

DemFromCT over at DailyKos has an excellent overview of the current polling trends.  

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