Daily Archives: September 16, 2008

Rangel digs in his custom cordovan heels

Congressman Charlie Rangel, whose district I lived in when I called Manhattan my home, has decided that the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee (instrumental in formulating federal tax policy) doesn’t necessarily need to obey the U.S. tax law he shapes.

Despite mounting tax offense charges on the federal, state, and local levels, and even in the wake of some backroom prodding by a very nervous Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Rangel has refused to step aside as HWMC chairman, even as a temporary measure until his legal problems clear up a bit.

Add Rangel’s problems to Sens. Chris Dodd’s and Kent Conrad’s special treatment on mortgages by a subprime lending CEO (and Dodd’s subsequent claims of serial ignorance on the circumstances thereof), and Sen. Joe Biden’s coziness with credit-card company MBNA (on whose behalf he lobbied hard for a lopsidedly pro-creditor bankruptcy bill at a time when his son worked for MBNA as a consultant).  Juxtapose these folks with Republican senator Ted Stevens, currently so mired in local sweetheart deals and weird-smelling favors that he’s now been indicted on corruption-related charges — under the cloud of which he is now, incredibly, running for re-election in Alaska.

This post is not meant to cast either party’s congressional caucus as sleazier than the other.  I’m just curious as to which party’s mouthpieces will have the chutzpah to be the first to play the “culture of corruption” card in a play for votes this year.  I’m taking bets.

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We’ll break you (though we never made you)

I’m sorry, but this column by CBS’s Jon Friedman just left me bug-eyed, slack-jawed, and at a loss for words.  (Wow, I think I feel this blog’s very first rant coming on…)

Below commenceth the Gospel According to Friedman, boiled down to its essential elements:

  1. Sarah Palin is skyrocketing in popularity and boosting the McCain-Palin ticket because the news media have made it so.
  2. Palin’s rise follows a familiar pattern; namely, that of the news media building up new and interesting public figures “to mythic levels” only to knock them down again.
  3. When the inevitable knocking-down comes around, according to the headline, “The Sarah Palin phenomenon is doomed.”
  4. There is nothing Palin, McCain, or anyone else can do about it.
  5. Oh, by the way, Charlie Gibson is not a complete tool, didn’t deliberately misquote Palin’s Alaska address on Iraq, and actually does have a clue what the “Bush Doctrine” is (despite what the man who actually coined the phrase says to the contrary).

The obvious question that leaps to mind:  where the heck was I when any news network was ever “building up” Sarah Palin to any level, let alone “mythic” ones?

Further pertinent questions below the break.

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Swing states swinging the other way

Rasmussen has released a series of five new polls detailing presidential ballot questions in the five most sought-after swing states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, and Colorado.  The results are not at all good for Obama, but no reason for McCain to take any great joy, either.

The last time these five states were polled, the candidates came away with an equal number of states in their column:  Obama held PA and CO, McCain led in OH and VA, and FL was tied.  This time around, PA and VA have moved into the push column, FL has tipped to McCain, and CO has flipped to McCain, who hasn’t lost any states to Obama in return.  In short, the McCain-Obama-Tossup count among the swing states has gone from 2-2-1 to 3-0-2.

Numbers, trends, and analysis below the break.

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