Next stunt, please!

A mostly political Weblog.
Oct. 11 2008 8:38 PM

Next Stunt, Please!

Plus--Can I vote for McGovern?

(Continued from Page 2)

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

McCain/ Obama Debate #2:  Before I get spun: A dull debate in a dead room. Each stole the other's theme: Obama called for service to country, McCain for a "cool hand on the tiller" even as he seemed like a hyperactive hand himself. A tie helps Obama, and this probably wasn't even a tie. ... 1) Obama's great weakness is that he's an unknown with an unusual (i.e. strange) background. By painting him as a big-spending liberal, McCain oddly made Obama seem less strange, and more acceptable. Voters are used to dealing with big spending liberals--and they also may think that the there's not enough money for that much big spending anymore anyway. 2)  Speaking of spending, McCain rails against Obama's "$860 billion" in proposed "new" spending, yet McCain wants the government to buy up all the bad mortgages in the country, give all homeowners new purchase prices and protect them from their ill-advised decisions? Sounds very expensive. Update: I was just on Tavis Smiley's TV show with Rep. Maxine Waters, who said the money to do what McCain wants to do is already in the bailout bill. But it sure sounded to me like McCain was proposing a big new initiative. More: He thought he was. "Aides to McCain told reporters" it will cost $300 billion. Waters' point may be that the existing bailout bill already authorizes such purchases; ... 3) "That one." Heh. Not racist--seemed to me like an attempt by McCain to avoid being too confrontational (by saying Obama's name) that wound up seeming more hostile than saying Obama's name would have been. ... 4) Obama still refers to economically pressured Americans as "you" rather than "we." He says, "Maybe you don't go out to dinner as much. Maybe you put off buying a new car." That's all? Is Obama trying to make the economic hardship he's talking about sound minimal?  ... 5) McCain was badly hurt by the camera angle--shooting him from above only made him look short and scuttling. ... 6) Worst format ever? Could be! Can't believe McCain wanted more of these things. ... 7) Was it awful because it was a fake town hall debate, as Maxine Waters and Slate's Jack Shafer  contend? It certainly managed to keep the worst aspects of the town hall format--the phony empathy competition between the candidates as they either ignore questions or treat them as prompts for stock answers--while leaving out the worthwhile aspects--spontaneity and risk. In the process it reduced its Real Average Americans to props in the earnest empathon!8) Brokaw didn't help by adding his own little bien pensant suggestions on top of the cherry-picked high-minded audience queries. At least when Brokaw moderated debates in 1988 he would harangue the candidates about "means-testing" Social Security, a substantive proposal. Now he wants only "a date certain to reform Social Security and Medicare within two years"--a bipartisanist gimmick ... 8) McCain has his own gimmick:

My friends, what we have to do with Medicare is have a commission, have the smartest people in America come together, come up with recommendations, and then, like the base-closing commission idea we had, then we should have Congress vote up or down.

Let's not let them fool with it anymore. There's too much special interests and too many lobbyists working there.

That's more or less what happened with the bailout bill, due to the rush of the crisis rather than any special procedural provision. I wonder if McCain is freshly enamored with the ability of the MSM to actually get Congress to approve the bailout in the teeth of public opposition? Maybe the Bailout Model now his template for top-down reform: a yes-no vote, with maximum establishment pressure focused, if only for an instant, on those selfish unbipartisan cowards who do what their constituents want instead of What Everyone Knows Must Be Done. And no pesky deal-breaking amendments. ... You just know McCain would like to go this route with "comprehensive immigration reform" too. ... 6:29 P.M./updated 8:42 P.M. link

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Rezko Alert! Federal prosecutors have moved to delay sentencing  of former Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko, the Chicago Tribune reports. ... The obvious suspicion is that he's talking. Or at least talking about talking ... Update: Full Tribune story. ... Of course this will also have the effect of pushing Rezko's sentencing past the election--eliminating one potentially bad bit of publicity for Obama. ..  And according to the Trib's sources, Rezko "has not yet made a firm deal." ... See also the  timeline on the local NBC affiliate's blog, where Steve Rhodes writes: "[S]ubstantively, Obama's long and intimate relationship with Rezko is of far more import than the spectacle of Jeremiah Wright and the (mostly) nonsense of Bill Ayers. ... Obama's house deal with Rezko was indeed shady." ...

P.S.: Everybody seems to agree that the main target of the federal probe is sitting Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. But that doesn't rule out the possibility that prosecutors might also extract something from Rezko about Obama. ...

P.P.S.: Barring some dramatic development, like an indictment, voters may find the accusation that Obama is really a Chicago political hack  more comforting than troubling. Better than a strange Third World Madrassa Man!** We're used to dealing with Chicago political hacks.

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