Monday, October 6, 2008

The Republi-con Squel, McBush and Mini Cheney

At the vice presidential debates on Thursday, Sarah "Mini Cheney" Palin made it known, in her usual opaque way, that she clearly admires Cheney's views:

"Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation. And it is my executive experience that is partly to be attributed to my pick as V.P. with McCain, not only as a governor, but earlier on as a mayor, as an oil and gas regulator, as a business owner. It is those years of experience on an executive level that will be put to good use in the White House also."

Listen to Palin's own words in this humorous animated editorial cartoon.

But Mini Cheney is no Cheney says blogger Marcy Wheeler, who writes:

"Dick Cheney has succeeded because he is a master of bureaucracy. He knows how to manipulate the machines of our government at every level--and does so with consummate skill.

Palin, by contrast, can't even manage to pull off personal vendettas in Alaska's small government without leaving blood and tracks in the snow revealing her work. Sure, she's got Cheney's instinct for punishing disloyalty. But aside from that, she's got none of Cheney's skill."

And see this editorial cartoon.

Now That Would Be Scary

One thousand George Bushes and one thousand Dick Cheneys, now that would be scary. But rocker Bruce Springsteen has a message of hope:

"I've continued to find, wherever I go, America remains a repository of people's hopes, possibilities, and desires, and that despite the terrible erosion to our standing around the world, accomplished by our recent administration, we remain, for many, a house of dreams. One thousand George Bushes and one thousand Dick Cheneys will never be able to tear that house down."

Bush's Rovian Politics of Fear

McCain's campiagn has learned that fear can be an effective tools to achieve a political objective. Read this from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), Statement on Congressional Approval of Bailout, which states in part:

"This is the first time in the history of the United States that the president has sought to provoke a financial panic to get legislation through Congress. While this has proven to be a successful political strategy, it marks yet another low point in American politics.

It was incredibly irresponsible for President Bush to tell the American people on national television that the country could be facing another Great Depression. By contrast, when we actually were in the Great Depression, President Roosevelt said that, "we have nothing to fear, but fear itself."

It was even more irresponsible for him to seize on the decline in the stock market five hours later as evidence that his bailout was needed for the economy. President Bush must surely understand, as all economists know, that the daily swings in the stock market are driven by mass psychology and have almost nothing to do with the underlying strength in the economy.

Ya Get the Government Ya Want

For more on the consequences of evading reality, see this article from the Washington Post, He Told Us to Go Shopping. Now the Bill Is Due.

Another Great Palin Parody

Saturday Night Live did it again with a parody of the Biden-Palin debate. SNL "poked fun at Palin’s performance during Thursday night’s debate and took aim at Joe Biden as well. They even parodied the moderator of the debate, Gwen Ifill." Watch it here. It was hilarious. Don't you agree?

The scary part was that the real Sarah Palin makes almost as little sense as the SNL version.

Ask the Parrot

Polly the parrot is back! After near-perfect predictions for the 2004 election, Polly is ready to predict this year's U.S. Presidential Election. What does Polly say? "Polly’s latest forecast has McCain taking 230 Electoral College Votes, against Obama’s 308. This is the biggest spread between the two candidates since the first of September, when Polly inaugurated the PollyElectoral Vote."

Palin is a Terrorist

A terrorist uses fear to achieve an ideological goal, often a political objective. In the next month, listen closely as the Republi-cons try to use fear to win the election. The Republi-cons are great at exploiting fear to win elections, but as the last eight years have shown, fear is not a great governing philosophy.

And if McCain wants to talk about pals, he should explain his association with OBL's financial terrorist in Washington, and McCain's former economic adviser, former Texas senator Phil Gramm. See Washington Post, A Pal Around McCain.

"Gramm was always Wall Street's man in the Senate. As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee during the Clinton administration, he consistently underfunded the Securities and Exchange Commission and kept it from stopping accounting firms from auditing corporations with which they had conflicts of interest. Gramm's piece de resistance came on Dec. 15, 2000, when he slipped into an omnibus spending bill a provision called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA), which prohibited any governmental regulation of credit default swaps, those insurance policies covering losses on securities in the event they went belly up. As the housing bubble ballooned, the face value of those swaps rose to a tidy $62 trillion. And as the housing bubble burst, those swaps became a massive pile of worthless paper, because no government agency had required the banks to set aside money to back them up.

The CFMA also prohibited government regulation of the energy-trading market, which enabled Enron to nearly bankrupt the state of California before bankrupting itself.

The problem with this exercise, of course, is that Gramm's relationship to McCain is not comparable to the relationships that Ayers or Wright have with Obama. The idea that either Ayers or Wright would have any impact on the workings of an Obama administration is nonsensical. But Gramm and McCain do have an enduring political and economic alliance. McCain chaired Gramm's short-lived presidential campaign in 1996; Gramm is co-chair of McCain's current effort. McCain has not repudiated reports that Gramm is on the shortlist to become Treasury secretary if McCain is elected, even after Gramm labeled America "a nation of whiners."

If we are to believe his managers, McCain will charge into tomorrow night's debate seeking to "change the subject" from the economy to Obama's dangerous liaisons. It's not, however, likely to be a winning tactic. Obama will argue that in a time of deepening economic crisis, the public deserves a debate in which the candidates focus on their ideas for recovery rather than tendentious attacks on their rival's presumed associates. If pressed, though, he can mention that it is McCain's senior economic adviser who has diminished American solvency and power beyond the wildest dreams of anti-American terrorists."

Gramm should be given credit for destroying the American economy.