Monthly Archives: September 2008

Former Democratic Presidents for McCain ’08

Allahpundit alerts readers to the newest McCain ad, featuring the man who, perversely, has recently become one of the best things to happen to his campaign:  former president Bill Clinton.

Sure, Clinton’s own OMB Director, Franklin Raines, went on to become Fannie Mae’s CEO, and under his leadership Fannie Mae would take on responsibility for billions in unstable loans to people who could never pay them off, and in 2004 Raines would leave Fannie under twin clouds of an SEC investigation over accounting irregularities and an OFHEO civil suit over using these irregularities to justify huge bonuses to himself and other Fannie execs.  However, it looks like McCain/Palin is willing to let that slide, since admittedly the Clinton clip does make for very effective ad copy.

Consider Clinton’s public doling out of blame to congressional Democrats for lack of GSE reform, and juxtapose it with his equally public defense of McCain’s call to postpone the debate to make time for bailout negotiations on the Hill.  Methinks PUMA power suffuses even the highest echelons of the Democratic hierarchy:  exactly who will be getting Bill Clinton’s vote, anyway?

Suspicious “no” votes: Naming names

Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama deliberately threw the fight on the bailout.

John Gibson on his radio show spoke to a livid Karl Rove, who had a long list of Democratic legislators at hand who voted “no” on the bailout bill, but would never conceivably have done so if Pelosi and Obama had given them the slightest push for their support.  That assumes, of course, that the two of them had even the slightest intention of seeing this bill passed.  (Via Allahpundit.)

  • Pelosi couldn’t deliver committee and subcommittee chairmen who owe their positions and posh offices to her good graces?
  • Obama couldn’t deliver the Congressional Black Caucus, including those from Chicago’s South Side, one of whom (Jesse Jackson, Jr.) is his campaign co-chair?
  • Neither of them could deliver safe incumbents who haven’t faced a competitive election in years, and will probably be in Congress until they die?

Laughable.  These representatives were told they were free to vote “no” without risk of repercussions from voters, Speaker Pelosi, or a prospective President Obama.  All this, to preserve the Wall Street meltdown as a crisis to blame on the Republicans and John McCain.  The cherry on top is Pelosi’s disgraceful speech, which if nothing else at least alerted Republicans they were being set up.

MORE: The New York Times reports the number of Democratic holdouts Obama called to ask for their votes for a bill he ostensibly supported: zero. Scroll down to where the Times usually stows nuggets like this one — third paragraph from the bottom.

EVEN MORE: Power Line has some more insight.

“The fix is in, and it’s working” UPDATE: Obama and ACORN

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has this email from “a reader who works at a major newsroom:”

“Off the record, every suspicion you have about MSM being in the tank for O is true. We have a team of 4 people going thru dumpsters in Alaska and 4 in Arizona. Not a single one looking into Acorn, Ayers or Freddiemae. Editor refuses to publish anything that would jeopardize election for O, and betting you dollars to donuts same is true at NYT, others. People cheer when CNN or NBC run another Palin-mocking but raising any reasonable inquiry into obama is derided or flat out ignored. The fix is in, and its working.” I asked permission to reprint without attribution and it was granted.

For those of you who aren’t news-junkies like myself, the “Acorn” reference refers to the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, a community organizing umbrella group with a history of indictments and convictions on voter fraud, on whose behalf pro-bailout Democrats attempted to slip a slush fund into the final bailout bill (removed at the insistence of the House GOP holdouts).  “Ayers” is William Ayers, unrepentant domestic terrorist from the Weather Underground and longtime associate of Barack Obama, the nature of whose connections to the Senator remain conspicuously unexplored.  “Freddiemae” needs no explanation.

The Anchoress has industry insiders of her own who tell her the same thing:

I have a couple friends who work in the MSM, too, and one of them tells me the newsroom is (exact words) “unbelievably cavalier” about any complaints viewers register about their reports, what they ignore, their bias or the way they edit Republicans vs. the way the treat Dems. “Cavalier” as in the fix is in and they don’t even have to pretend to care what half the country thinks or wants.

I suppose this is why print media and the press in general don’t care about their tumbling revenues; when The Pelosi gets the regulated internet and restricted Congress that she wants, and Obama gets his thugs and his Justice Department monitoring, intimidating and shutting down alternative media (and the dissenting voices we’ve been told are “patriotic” when a Republican is in the White House) the incestuous mainstream press will go back to being the only game in town. Pravda West.

This is especially painful for those of us who, as I mentioned a moment ago, are complete news-junkies and thrive on being plugged into current events.  There’s a huge difference between knowing what’s going on in the world and knowing what’s in the papers.  That difference has always been there, but it hasn’t always been apparent; certainly not this starkly so.  After so many decades of domination of TV by the Big Three, and of the press by the New York Times/Washington Post axis, the advent of first cable news and then the Internet as alternate sources of news and commentary has shattered the monopoly.  The only thing more cringe-inducing than seeing this old-media homogeneity machine in action without its former veneer of legitimacy is the collective shrug from its component cogs upon noticing that the veneer has flaked off.

When monopolistic powers hear the charge “you’re busted” in this way, that’s the typical reaction.  After all, they reason, where else are these people going to go for their news?  However, there’s a new wrinkle now:  we actually have someplace else to go.  Says Rand Simberg:

Their reputation and readership/viewership keep falling. And layoffs keep happening. I think they’re willing to pull out all the stops because they realize this is the last election where they have a chance at swinging things this way. No point saving your credibility for the future when you don’t have a future, I guess…

UPDATE: An emailer points out to me that not only is there a connection between ACORN and congressional Democrats over the bailout, but also between ACORN and Barack Obama directly.  Sen. Obama, during his much-vaunted time as a “community organizer,” did legal work for ACORN; one of the duties he was charged with, amazingly enough, was pressuring banks into making high-risk home loans to poor Chicagoans who couldn’t afford homeownership under conventional lending standards.

The blame game: Who’s right?

An enormously fascinating video on YouTube goes quite a long way toward answering this question (hat tip: Power Line).

Roger Simon at PajamasMedia provides a digest of “data points from the video and other sources.”

YouTube’s C-SPAN corner isn’t likely to do the Democrats many favors this year.

Let’s go to the videotape

A number of conservative, right-leaning, and libertarian bloggers are drawing attention to various videos (like the one below) of compiled C-SPAN footage clips from a series of 2004 hearings on the need for regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The upshot:  Republicans called the GSEs and their executives, including Franklin Raines, out on the carpet, while Democrats (notably today’s blame-meister, Rep. Barney Frank) denied anything was wrong, attacking the regulating agency and at more than one point playing the race card.

The video is pretty damning by anyone’s lights.  How long before these clips make the jump from the blogosphere to the newsosphere?

Bailout goes down in flames

The House is voting on the bailout bill (HR 3997) from last weekend, and looks ready to vote it down.  With all but one vote in, over a third of Democrats and two-thirds of Republicans are voting “nay,”  for a final tally of 207 in favor, 226 against (and 1 Republican “not voting” yet…wonder who that is?).  The Democrats are keeping the vote open, and there is some arm-twisting still going on (I’ve seen two votes switch back over into the “yea” column), but it’s taking a while and they may just decide they can’t overcome that gap.

Pundits are saying re-election fears may have put the bailout opponents over the top.  Democrats had hoped for a threshhold of 100 Republicans voting in favor (and were reasonably sure they had it after the deal was struck), and they wound up with a measly 66.  Now we know why Boehner, Blunt, and the rest of the House GOP negotiators were so wary of openly endorsing the final deal.  They knew that their caucus (and likely a good number of Democrats as well) was getting a huge amount of negative mail and phone calls from constituents telling them they were toast if they voting for this monster, and added to the House GOP core that was dead-set against a “socialistic” bailout in principle from the beginning, that sounded the death-knell for the bill.

The Dow, as I write, is down by a margin pushing 600 points in heavy trading.  The traders that kept their powder dry last Friday in the hopes that a bailout would be forthcoming this week are now scrambling to ditch their financial stocks.  Captain Ed has more.

UPDATE: Cavuto on FNC is saying the defeat of the bailout may turn out to be a good thing.  Painful, yes, but a net positive.  A lot of dead weight so far has been shed by the banking industry and larger financial industry.  It hurts to drop all that dead weight at the same time after years of mismanagement and shifty accounting keeping it on, but dropping it is not a bad thing in the end.  Plus, word is a bunch of experts who “know the nature of these troubled assets better than all of us combined” believed the $700 billion in this bill wouldn’t have been nearly enough (possibly as much as twice that would have been needed to shore things up).

UPDATE II: Dow is back “up” to around 475 in the red.  A couple of “yea” votes saw the writing on the wall and switched, so the voting has closed with the tally at 205 in favor, 228 against. (Wonder who the not-voting member was?  Will post the roll call when it’s posted.)

UPDATE III: White House reps are coming to the podium to say they’re “very disappointed.”  Bush’s legacy was fragile enough going in, but the general consensus up to now has been generally that history would be kinder than the news.  This could kill that consensus dead.  Over on the Hill, Adam Putnam, House GOP conference chair, Minority Leader John Boehner, and key negotiator Eric Cantor are blaming the Speaker for taking a nasty partisan tone on the House floor before the vote (Cantor has the text of her speech, here in my hand); Minority Whip Roy Blunt, the head vote-counter for the GOP, is saying that probably cost her about a dozen GOP votes in favor.  All are stressing that 94 Democrats voted “nay.”  Dow back down to 540 below.

UPDATE IV: Here’s the roll call.  The holdout, who appears to have stayed a non-voter, is Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL).  Dunno what his problem was.  Word is the Dems weren’t expecting more than 40 defections; getting more than twice that must have hurt.  My rep voted “yea.”  Still looking for the text of Pelosi’s speech.

UPDATE V: Still don’t have the text, but here’s the video:

OK, yeah, that would p*** me off too.  Was she really trying to get this passed?  She must have known that keeping House Republicans on board was key; did she think this would do that?  And why’d she feel like she had to say, “Democrats believe in a free market,” as though that weren’t understood in a free-market economy?  Memo to the Speaker:  if you have to point out to us that you’re not a party of socialists, that’s not a good sign.  (Incidentally, is it me, or doesn’t she sound like Dr. Evil whenever she says “seven… hundred… billion… dollars” like that?)  Quite a few commentators are baffled as to why she called the vote in the first place when she must have known the votes weren’t there; it would have been smarter to keep twisting arms until she had, at the very least, more Democrats behind her.

UPDATE VI: The Democratic leadership has held their press conference, predictably blaming the other side.  They’re mad at the GOP for not being able to scrape together another 12 votes (Rep. Barney Frank is pouring on the snark in that respect).  I’m a little mystified that no reporter is asking how they themselves, the party that ostensibly didn’t have grave reservations about the bailout, managed to lose fully a third of their own.  The Dow is down well over 700 points; NASDAQ is down about 180; S&P down about 100.  Over 1.3 billion shares have been sold off so far on Wall Street; fewer than 17 million bought.

UPDATE VII: Dow closes on a 777-point loss on frantically heavy trading.  While percentage-wise not even in the top ten biggest drops ever, it does take the number-one spot in terms of absolute one-day point drops in history.

Latest addition: Congressional Indicted Caucus

Heaven forfend Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) should be the face of the Congressional Indicted Caucus all by himself.  No longer.  It’s official: Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), currently facing trial for bribery and 15 other corruption-related charges, will be on the ballot for a tenth term as congressman for Louisiana’s 2nd District.

Jefferson was under suspicion (though not indictment) two years ago when he won another term due in large part to a great number of Katrina-displaced voters not participating.  Now freshly indicted, his status in Congress greatly diminished, and suffering bad publicity from family members also under indictment, many are doubting he can pull off another miracle.

Details and analysis below the break.

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Obama wears bracelet AGAINST family wishes?? UPDATE: Whew! Tension…fading…

(UPDATE: Reader mycowardice directs my attention to a Washington Times article quoting Tracy Jopek as saying she’s “ecstatic” about the appearance of her son’s memorial bracelet on the debate last night.  Well, that’s certainly a relief…if Sen. Obama actually had been wearing it despite her having directly asked him not to, I’d have thought he was some kind of sociopath.  Now all I’m left to puzzle over is, what’s changed since the radio interview with Brian Jopek, whose account of Tracy having been “upset” by the use of the bracelet last spring is wholly incompatible with Mrs. Jopek’s professed “ecstasy?”  [Thanks to mycowardice for the heads-up!]  Now on to the original post…)

Well, here’s a “WTF??” moment to end all “WTF??” moments.

Friday night at the debate John McCain raised his wrist and revealed a memorial bracelet bearing the name of Cpl. Matthew Stanley, a soldier killed in Iraq.  The bracelet was given to McCain by Cpl. Stanley’s grieving mother, asking the senator to make sure her son did not die in vain.

Barack Obama quickly and gamely countered this display by drawing attention to a similar bracelet of his own (though he did have to remind himself of the name on it).  His was given to him by the mother of Sgt. Ryan David Jopek (also killed in Iraq); Obama said Mrs. Jopek asked him to make sure no mother had to go through what she went through.

What Obama didn’t mention was that Sgt. Jopek’s parents, according to his father Staff Sgt. Brian Jopek in a radio interview on Wisconsin Public Radio last March, asked him months ago to stop wearing their son’s bracelet.

As told to WPR’s “Route 51” (audio link here, scroll down to March 20) by Brian Jopek, the bracelet had been intended as something between his wife Tracy and Sen. Obama alone, not as a campaign prop.  Tracy Jopek simply wanted Obama to know her son’s name.  When Obama started using that name at campaign rallies, she wrote to him asking him explicitly not to use the bracelet or her son’s name anymore.  As evidenced by Obama’s use of both Friday night, he has ignored them entirely, instead escalating the bracelet’s use to the national primetime level.  More at NewsBusters.

Ryan Jopek’s mother Tracy refused to give interviews on the subject of Obama and her son, as she is an Obama supporter and did not wish to undermine his campaign.  As she suffered in silence, Brian Jopek, an Iraq veteran himself who has served in Mosul and at Guantánamo, had apparently had enough.

I’ve never run for public office, but if I were to do so, and a fallen soldier’s parents made a request of me regarding their child, I like to think I’d cut them a little slack.  Or at least not pretend the conversation never happened.

Captain Ed weighs in.

R.I.P Paul Newman, 1925 – 2008

Paul Newman is gone.

Wonderful epitaph from John Nolte at PajamasMedia: “It‘s the rare circumstance where we mourn the loss of the man more than the star.” The countless beneficiaries of the Newman’s Own Foundation, past and to come, will doubtless agree.

You a world-shaker, that’s what you are.

The Congress who cried “wolf” UPDATE: Pork and earmarks slashed

“Lawmakers Reach Accord on Huge Financial Rescue”

That’s the banner headline on the Washington Post website.  Looks so happy!  Woohoooo!  Done before the Asian markets open!  No crash on Monday!  Yippee skippee!

My first impression?  I’ll believe it when I see it.  The people trumpeting a “deal” are the same people who were trumpeting a “deal” just after John McCain decided to come back to the Senate to be part of the bailout negotiations.  Except there never had been any deal, and they knew there wouldn’t be by Friday night’s debate; the whole point was to put up a public front of apparent progress in order to make sure things appeared to be in worse shape after McCain left.

That first impression was firmly buttressed when I read the WaPo article.  See why below the break.

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