Category Archives: Bailouts

“We’re going to get a little tougher” UPDATE: Even Alec Baldwin, Senator!

Well, they’d better hope so.

According to the Washington Post, the McCain campaign and the Republicans are “readying a newly aggressive assault” for the final month of the election season, moving away from John McCain’s maverick-war-hero biography and shifting focus to Barack Obama and his associates; senior campaign officials offered Tony Rezko and William Ayers as examples.  (I love the WaPo’s description of Ayers, “whom the McCain campaign regularly calls a domestic terrorist because of his acts of violence against the U.S. government in the 1960s.” [Emphasis mine.]  Well, what would you call him?)

Sources at the campaign say that the new ad I touched on earlier, taking Obama to task over his description of himself as a “tax cutter,” was the leading edge of this new aggressive stance.  Hot Air backs me up that McCain will have to do better than that, and the best way to do it is to go national hammering the Democrats’ opposition to his drive for tightened oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Details, and a dimly encouraging quote from McCain, below the break.

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Show me the money

OK, now that the bailout has been rammed through Congress and is now our responsibility, I would love to see what these “sweeteners” were that were so yummy that they made a crap sandwich palatable.

Joe Biden slipped over $51 million in earmarks into the first bill, and he got caught.  If Obama has refrained from any similar earmarking activity, it’ll be a first.  McCain-Palin could manage to salvage some mileage from this pork-laden monstrosity after all.

UPDATE:  Miz Michelle’s got my back (though she’s characteristically a bit blunter on the matter).

UPDATE II:  A friend emails and asks me why Michelle Obama is cited on my blog.  Errmmm, if you’d click the link, you’d see that “Miz Michelle” is blogress Michelle Malkin.  Seasoned WitSnapper readers know that my shorthand for Michelle Obama is “La Michelle.”

New attack ad from McCain, but still no FM/FM

John McCain is back on the attack following his Palin-induced shot in the arm, and he’s attacking on…taxes?  Senator, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are just sitting there waiting for you.  The NRCC has even got the ball rolling for you.  Your first ad following the debate was a cringeworthy mishmash.  The tax-cutting pitch is all well and good, but take a wild guess as to what’s on people’s minds now?  Hint: it ain’t tax cuts, emphasized in this ultimately wasted ad:

As an aside, James Pethoukokis of U.S. News doesn’t think McCain is going to pick up that ball (and believes ACORN is going to get a pass in the bargain):

1) It is a complicated argument, and McCain is not good at making complicated arguments, not even about earmarks. (Note, additionally, his lack of defense of the war in Iraq during his debate with Obama. Amazing.)

2) There is a racial component to criticism of the Community Reinvestment Act that can make it sound like you are scapegoating minorities for Wall Street’s problems.

3) The campaign believes McCain’s time is better spent talking about taxes and energy and healthcare. Really.

Stephen Spruiell at NRO replies:

1) It’s not that complicated. McCain called for stronger oversight of Fannie and Freddie in 2005, but Senate Democrats (including Obama) blocked reform. Between 2005 and 2007, Fannie and Freddie bought up a trillion dollars worth of subprime mortgages. Some they kept, some they packaged and sold to Wall Street.

Thus Fannie and Freddie enabled and spread the contagion that melted our financial system, while the Democrats enabled Fannie and Freddie over John McCain’s objections. Conservatives cannot afford to lose the argument over what caused this crisis. One would think McCain would feel that pressure more acutely than most.

2) Fine. Steer clear of the CRA and focus on Fannie and Freddie. 

3) Can we not walk and chew gum at the same time?

Dunno about you, Sen. McCain, but I’m with Spruiell (as is Miz Michelle, I hear, though Ed appears pleased with the ad).  Sure, go ahead and slam Barack Obama as a tax-hiker (gawd knows he’s an easy target on that score), but there’s a lot of anger out there about the runup to the bailout just looking for its rightful target, and you’ve got history and a whole lot of C-SPAN footage on your side.

Crap Sandwich Update: Fries with that?

The crap sandwich has gone down the hatch.  After Senate approval, the House bought the bailout bill 263-171. Unsurprisingly, my congressman voted to open wide.  President Bush reportedly has just signed the bill.

Party’s over.

UPDATE: Wall Street celebrates with a selloff.  Dow falls 157 points.  Well, that wasn’t supposed to happen, was it?

UPDATE II: Instapundit links to a summary video from the NRCC, who must be clawing at this vote like a lifeline from heaven (I’m relieved to see somebody with election-related clout has woken up and decided to run with this…John McCain, call your office):

Actually, I’m fairly impressed with how Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) appears to have come clean (and fairly glad that the NRCC gave him credit for it, even if only to show the contrast to his colleagues).

UPDATE III:  Allahpundit’s got ahold of the ad, and his thirst for blood is rising.

That’s the best they could do?

The McCain campaign has released its first post-debate ad, and it’s surprisingly weak.  With all the inaccuracies coming from Biden last night, some of the ones the McCain camp chose to highlight were not impressive:

OK, the one on Ahmadinejad I can see why they used, but why not his misrepresentation of McCain’s record on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?  People care a lot more about the financial meltdown than clean coal.  Same thing with the phantom health insurance tax that nobody ever proposed.  And that has got to be the worst ending to an ad I’ve ever seen.  “Sighing?”  What was the relevance of the Palin clip on Israel?  And why talk about exaggerating when what Biden is saying is out-and-out wrong, not out of proportion?

I’ll leave aside the question of why you’d talk about exaggerating when you can’t even spell “exaggerate” correctly in the first place.

Captain Ed agrees that the ad falls apart in the end.

Man…and they had so much to work with.  Weak ad.  Very weak ad.

UPDATE: Aaaaah, I see, Captain Ed points out why they included the Israel clip.  Apparently that’s where the alleged “sigh” came in.  Frankly, I thought it was part of the soundtrack, but if that’s a sigh, then they’re really reaching.  But in fairness, I’ll update my assessment:  the ad is even weaker than I thought.

Well, THAT wasn’t supposed to happen, was it?

After the much-ballyhooed thumbs-up given to Crap Sandwich 2.0 by the Senate last night, Wall Street appears not so enthused.

The Dow Jones average greeted Harry Reid’s “middle class tax relief” spin with a drop of 348 points today, along with a NASDAQ loss of 92 points.  Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington State has sent a shock wave through the House by announcing his intention to attach an enormous and hideously expensive economic stimulus bill to the new bailout bill, angering House Republicans (and not just a few Blue Dog Democrats) who already think the bailout is too pricey and intrusive.  (Heaven forfend the Senate should be the only body permitted to inflate the spending in this bill to cosmic proportions.)

Are the Republicans being set up again?  House Democrats appear bent on throwing bill after unsupportable bill at them, daring them to vote them down.  My suggestion?  Call their bluff every time.  I’d much rather Congress fail to act and come under further pressure, than have them pass a bad law that will relieve pressure on them for a good one.

But they said Fannie and Freddie were fine…!

The Wall Street Journal (via Instapundit) has a long roundup of Democrats in the House and Senate who were howling at the very implication that anything might be wrong with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, back in 2003-2006 when the Republicans were beating their heads against the wall trying to reform oversight of both.  I posted video on this earlier.

As I’ve said on this blog before, McCain had better start running against Congress but quick; he’s the only one who can pull it off, and Congress has no fans left.  After being stabbed in the back by Nancy Pelosi last weekend, you’d think he’d be eager.

Captain Ed has a pop quiz.

(On a lighter note, Jim Treacher has an exclusive advance look at Ifill’s debate questions.)

Senate passes their own “crap sandwich”

The Senate has taken the lead this time around in crafting a new bailout bill, the first of which was affectionately referred to by House Majority Leader John Boehner as a “crap sandwich” (and he was a supporter).  The final roll call was 74 in favor, 25 against.  Voting in favor were 39 Democrats, 34 Republicans, and 1 independent, including Sens. McCain, Obama, and Biden.

News reports are describing this new Senate bill as essentially the old House bill with “sweeteners” (Senate language for “lots of earmarks and pork”).  Among the new yumminess (via The Corner) that turns this bill into what Miz Michelle calls “the crap sandwich with sugar on top:”

New Tax earmarks in Bailout bill
– Film and Television Productions (Sec. 502)
– Wooden Arrows designed for use by children (Sec. 503)
– 6 page package of earmarks for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident, Alaska (Sec. 504)

Tax earmark “extenders” in the bailout bill.
– Virgin Island and Puerto Rican Rum (Section 308)
– American Samoa (Sec. 309)
– Mine Rescue Teams (Sec. 310)
– Mine Safety Equipment (Sec. 311)
– Domestic Production Activities in Puerto Rico (Sec. 312)
– Indian Tribes (Sec. 314, 315)
– Railroads (Sec. 316)
– Auto Racing Tracks (317)
– District of Columbia  (Sec. 322)
– Wool Research (Sec. 325)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on the other hand, is touting the bill as “tax relief for the middle class,” rather than the less-marketable “subsidies for the wooden-arrow industry.”

So now it’s back to the House.  Frankly, I am dying to see which House members change their votes from “no” to “yes” on this, and even more so to hear how they’ll justify it.  Also a little curious as to whether some House members who held their noses for the first one will decide they’ve had it and refuse to vote for the same bill with pork/sugar added.  Jake Tapper has more on the bill’s House prospects.

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 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?