Saturday, September 27, 2008

McCain to Tie

As someone who appreciates quality debating in the Lincoln-Douglas style, I would probably have scored last night's presidential debate at Ole Miss a tie. In terms of raw debating points, both participants were on their game and were clearly prepared to make their cases. In the first five minutes of the debate, I thought that Barack Obama had the rhetorical advantage. However, John McCain was successfully able to force Obama on the defensive and literally made the man answer for past actions (like requesting $932 million in earmarks), and on foreign policy, Obama had to explain his ideas about meeting with the leaders of rogue foreign states without precondition.

As with most candidates from either political party, some of Obama's answers were good from a debating standpoint, while some were just "bull" whether the Senator intended that ir not. It wasn't Obama's answers that may have lost him the debate-or at least not to perform as well as he might have hoped-but the fact that McCain had Obama on the defensive nearly all night.

Newsweek's Andrew Romano believes McCain won the debate for that very reason. Predictably, Democratic blogs are declaring that Barack Obama won, while conservative Republican bloggers are saying that John McCain carried the night.


Friday, September 26, 2008

The Responsible Party

So, just who is the responsible party that got us into this economic mess?

(Hat tip: Kleinheider)

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The Debate Is On

Republican Presidential nominee John McCain will debate in Oxford, Mississippi tonight after originally saying that he may not attend if Congress did not reach a deal on a massive banking, credit, and securities bailout asked for by the White House and the Democratic-controlled Congress.

Many Republicans, including prominent McCain backer and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, have warned that they believe McCain may have made a poor decision in initially saying that he would not debate Friday as part of a "suspended campaign" while the House and Senate negotiated the proposed Wall Street bailout.

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Largest Bank Failure In American History

The largest bank failure in American history took place today when Washington Mutual's Assets were seized into federal receivership and sold off to J.P. Morgan Chase. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is advising Washington Mutual customers who have a checking or savings account, a mortgage or a loan with Washington Mutual that it is business as usual-all transactions are legal and checks and funds transacted have the force of legal tender.

Washington Mutual is the 13th bank failure in 2008. WaMu's stock has lost 95% of it's value in the last year, and many observers point to the fact that J.P. Morgan did not make a bit for the thrift's accounts and most of its assets until after it had officially failed last night as proof that there is immense anxiety within the country's banking and financial system.

Washington Mutual's stock tanked at 0.16 per share this morning when the failure and selloff were made official.

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No Candy For the Babies

Yesterday, I wrote of the reality that the so-called "bailout" proposal for the economy was a bill for the Democratic Party. Some Democrats in the House and Senate were apparently under the impression that John McCain was going to ride in to Washington and be their Republican knight on a white horse who would convince his colleagues to go along with an economic plan that they positively loathe. In short, the Democrats believed McCain would come kissing their rear ends.

John McCain is nothing if not his own man, and this time that man sided with the House
Republicans. Now the Democrats in Washington are whining like spoiled children with no candy:

“He’s slowed it down,” Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said
of McCain’s impact on the negotiations. “The next thing we know, he’s in a
position frankly where he’s making it harder to get things done, rather than
help us negotiate differences.”

“We had a deal this morning, it looked like, when I say
we -– the leadership of the House, and the Senate, the
— had an agreement on this so-called bailout package and it
looked like it was all going to be set and there was a call from the president,
would Barack come to the White House with the congressional leadership and sort
of sign on the dotted line?” Biden said at a Rhode Island fundraiser Thursday

The translation of all of that into really plain language: "Whaaaaaaa...John McCain came to Washington and showed the House Republicans that they don't have to take our bull, now we can't blame Republicans for the bad bill we were going to pass! Whaaaaaaaa...we want our Mommy!"

One has to wonder just what these people thought was going to happen. Several Senate Democrats (including Harry Reid) had commented earlier in the week that they thought John McCain could "help" the situation. What the Democrats really believed is that John McCain was going to try and strong-arm the House Republicans into going along with this deal, which is more rotten than year-old cottage cheese.

McCain, however, wasn't there to play nice with the Democrats, he was there to help iron out differences. When Democrats saw that McCain wasn't going to try and force the House Republicans to sign on the dotted line when they clearly believe that this bailout plan, as it has been proposed, is bad for the country, McCain became "unhelpful," and was "slowing things down."

It became bad for John McCain to be at the table, in other words, when the Democrats didn't get their way. If McCain is indeed keeping the Democrats from passing this bill, he is doing his job very effectively and has done more good for the country in the last 24 hours than many of his Congressional colleagues have done in their entire careers. The very reality that no deal can now pass without the seeming consent of the House Republicans is due in a very direct way to the intervention of John McCain, who has once again proven himself to be a hero.

There is another matter, however, where it might behoove McCain to change course. John McCain should attend tonight's presidential debate in Oxford, Mississippi. Since the debate is focusing primarily on foreign policy, John McCain would be missing an excellent opportunity to wipe the floor with Barack Obama, and by not showing up he would yield Obama the floor.

John McCain has been a hero during this process, now he ought not ruin that by failing to show up one of the most important political debates in our country's history

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

And What If It Fails...?

The President last night forecasted "dire" consequences and "financial panic" if his bailout plan did not pass muster in the Congress, and warned that quick action is needed. Of course, the plan in question is a largely Democratic proposal built on ideas antithetical to the free market:

The address and the plan for a White House meeting won praise from Barack
Obama's campaign. Spokesman Bill Burton said the Democratic presidential
candidate, who plans to meet at the White House with Mr. Bush, Sen. John McCain
and congressional leaders, "was heartened tonight that the president seemed to
be moving in the direction of the principles that Sen. Obama outlined over the
last week, including limits on CEO pay, independent oversight, and taxpayer
protection" as well as overhauling the regulatory framework.

Mr. Bush also sought to quell a revolt among some conservatives who are
shocked by the program's price tag and its interventionist underpinnings. He
said that under normal circumstances he would be willing to see struggling
companies fail. But he warned that "these are not normal circumstances," and
that "major sectors of America's financial system are at risk of shutting

How do we know that this package is the Democrats' baby? The President was reduced to addressing the nation on the Democrats' whim, largely because the Democrats know full well the political and economic risk they are taking. Since this is their plan filled with their principles, they do not want to shoulder the political blame when it fails:

Republican support has been so soft that Democrats worried
they would have to take on most of the responsibility -- and political risk --
for passing the package. To spread that risk, Democrats on Tuesday called on Mr.
Bush to address the nation.

No one who supports this utterly rediculous and absolutely unconstitutional bailout plan has yet been able to answer the $700 billion dollar question: What should happen if this proposal should fail? Americans will not see the results of that failure immediately, and in fact whether the bailout plan succeeds or fails may not be known for some time, perhaps years. If the bailout does not succeed, however, the American economy will be headed for the greatest collapse since the Depression of the 1930's. Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, the President, and the Democrats are all warning that if this foolish exercise in economic devilry goes down to defeat, we shall go the way of 1929 in any event. However, a natural collapse would likely not be near as terrible on the country, its people, or the wider world as a collapse that comes after attempts to prevent it by essentially artificial means. This could be a fall that is so hard that our country will suffer its aftermath for many, many years thereafter.

This bailout plan is the worst economic exercise of my lifetime, and it will probably pass. Members of the party opposite who attempt to place blame solely on Republicans should it fail should be reminded that it is their leadership at this hour which is pushing the hardest to approve it.

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Reaction to the President's Speech


Reaction to President Bush's address to the nation last night on his administration's proposal to give banks, mortgage companies, and investment houses a $700 billion bailout. ALSO: John McCain moves to "suspend" his campaign and delay Friday's presidential debate. Adam Graham joins the show.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

David Kernell: Not A College Democrat

A Chattanooga federal grand Jury yesterday took no action in the case of David Kernell, the University of Tennessee student who stands accused of hacking into Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's personal e-mail. Some media outlets and even a few bloggers seem to be making the mistake of thinking that "no action" is tantamount to this young man being taken off the hook.

Kernell hasn't "walked" because the grand jury did not dismiss the charges against him. They also did not indict David Kernell either, and that places this case in a sort of judicial limbo. Kernell is in a position to be charged at a later date by this or another federal grand jury.

Meanwhile, the University of Tennessee College Democrats want us to know that David Kernell is not a member of their organization:

It's the year we will elect a new president. So, you'd think the president of the University of Tennessee College Democrats would be hot on the campaign trail.

This week, he is addressing another issue.

"I want everyone to know that the College Democrats were in no way connected to the hacking of Sarah Palin's email," said Zak Kelley, president of the political group.

"At this time we cannot find any evidence that he is an active member of this organization..or ever a member," Kelley added.

For those of you not familiar with how the collegiate arms of our two major political parties work and who might be thinking that it is in Mr. Kelly's interest to cover up any involvement David Kernell may have had in the group, membership in either the College Democrats or the College Republicans is very difficult to hide. As a former active College Republican, I can tell you that this kind of situation is every campus party chairman's worst nightmare. In a university environment, anything bad that happens with a political connection gets pushed on to the campus presence of both parties whether they are responsible or not.

I can also speak from experience when I say that while we College Republicans were responsible for some outrageous political stunts when I was in school that were aimed at the College Democrats and their liberal campus allies (The Lambda Union, the Black Student Union, Students for "Choice," etc.), we maintained a good relationship with the College Democrats. No one was afraid to sit down and break bread together. We also had a lot of fun, and some of my fondest memories of those years were the parties and the bars and the laughs I enjoyed with my College Republican friends-I made friendships which have endured to this day.

The UT Democrats' rush to distance themselves from this situation begs the question: Why wasn't David Kernell, the son of a Democratic State Representative, involved in the College Democrats at the University of Tennessee? If this young man is as interested in politics as this kind of activity would seem to indicate, he should have actively sought out the College Democrats. Because his father is a State Representative, Kernell very likely would have been placed on a leadership track in the organization very quickly. He had a wonderful opportunity to really become a "Big Man On Campus." Yet he apparently chose instead to hack into Sarah Palin's e-mail.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Subsidizing Stupidity

For the last couple of days, people have been asking me my opinion of the coming $750 billion dollar bailout of so many of our failing financial firms. The latest to ask was my own State Representative, Frank Niceley, who brought it up when I called him last night with a constituent concern. Needless to say, Niceley and and myself are of one mind-the bailout is one of the worst economic policies of our lifetime.

I doubt that I need to explain why I believe it to be wrong that the federal government should reward fiscal irresponsibility by giving a pass to all of those who engage in it. Some liberals and Democrats are already running their mouths saying that this will merely be a corporate sort of relief. However, the bailout will likely filter down to consumers in some very direct ways:

But differences remain on two big items: possible limits on executive compensation at firms taking advantage of the bailout; and changes to bankruptcy law that would let judges adjust the terms of mortgages. And late Monday, negotiations were slowed -- but not derailed -- as Treasury was hit with congressional Republican concerns about the direction of talks, and as Democratic leaders heard a range of concerns from rank-and-file members of their party.

The President will leave office by giving the nation a Democratic economic plan should this proposal pass. The plan is so over-reaching that it makes the New Deal look like a Boy Scout service project. What all of this boils down to is that no one, not Congress, not corporate executives, not banks or mortgage companies, not credit card companies, and not consumers, wants to take responsibility for the reckless financial practices that every one of these economic powers have been engaging in for many years. Rather than pay the consequences of bad behavior, people now want the government to come to their rescue so that in 20-30 years we will be doing this yet again.

There are a few people on Capitol Hill and elsewhere who see what a catastrophe this plan could ultimately bring about:

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, an Alabama Republican and the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, reiterated his distaste for the plan, calling it "neither workable nor comprehensive, despite its enormous price tag." Sen. Shelby, whose influential position makes his opposition a potential stumbling block, called for Congress to look for alternative solutions.

"I think it's awful," said Allen Meltzer, a former Reagan economic adviser now teaching at Carnegie Mellon University. "It puts private interests ahead of the public interest." Mr. Meltzer pointed to past occasions when, he said, doomsayers warned of financial panic, the government resisted the urge to bail out the markets, and nothing terrible ensued. Among those he cited was President Richard Nixon's decision not to rescue the commercial-paper market in the aftermath of the collapse of the Penn Central railroad.

This seems to be the minority view, and the Democrats are jumping all over this bailout like kids in a candy store:

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D., Mass.), who is leading negotiations in Congress, said Democratic leaders don't intend to stand in the way of the package. "We do agree you should move quickly," he said. "We understand that bad market choices have put us in a situation where something has to happen." Democratic leaders are aiming for votes in the House and Senate late this week.

Our taxes will now almost certainly go through the roof, because allowing the government to enter the financial system in such a massive way doesn't come without a huge price tag. Those Democrats intent on using the bailout as political fodder are being disingenuous, since a Democratic administration would almost certainly have made the same proposal ten times worse.

Our tax money should not be used to subsidize people's collective stupidity-and yes, that is precisely what we will be doing.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

The Electoral Map This Week: September 22

This week's electoral map shows little change from last week's, except that I feel more comfortable keeping New Mexico in the Obama column for now, and Michigan is in play:
<p><strong>><a href=''>Electoral College Prediction Map</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.</p>
The situation in the Wolverine State is tight, with an aggregate of four polls now showing McCain within three points there. Even though there is a similar poll result this week in Wisconsin, Obama's leads there have been wide enough and consistent enough to view the latest polls as an aberration, so I'm not comfortable moving Wisconsin to toss-up status until we see further polling over the next week or two that show the race is really tightening in that State.

I am not sure I agree with Adam Graham that Washington State is in play. Present polling there is not consistent with the most recent results beforehand, and we are just now beginning to see significant gains for John McCain there. I'm not comfortable changing Washington's status without further data showing a clear trend.

Toss-Ups: New Hampshire, Michigan, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada.


Feds Execute Warrant Against Kernell in Palin Hacking Affair

The FBI has served a search warrant on 20-year old University of Tennessee student David Kernell, as the Bureau and the Secret Service step up their investigation into the hacking of the personal e-mail account of Republican Vice Presidential nominee Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska:

The FBI is stepping up its investigation into the possibility that a
University of Tennessee student hacked into the personal e-mail of Vice
Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

A person who identified himself as a witness tells 10 News that agents
with the FBI served a federal search warrant at the Fort Sanders residence of
David Kernell early Sunday morning. Kernell lives in the Commons apartment
complex at 1115 Highland Ave.

Kernell's three roommates were also subpoenaed, and must testify this week
in Chattanooga, according to the witness.

East Tennessee radio host, political columnist, and friend of this writer and weblog Terry Frank has uncovered screen shots of David Kernell's Facebook pages sent to her by some anonymous students at the University of Tennessee. There appears to be a tenuous connection between David Kernell and David Plouffe, the campaign manager for Barack Obama. A Technorati search turns up a video of David Plouffe that may have been made by David Kernell. (Hat Tip: Dave Kittley)

David Kernell is the son of Democratic State Representative Mike Kernell of Memphis, who earlier in the week apparently denied to Nashville blogger Sharon Cobb that the authorities had contacted his son, but told WBIR that they had:

Kernell, a Memphis Democrat, said his 20-year-old son David had been
contacted by authorities investigating the hacking of Palin's personal email

The FBI and the Secret Service started a formal investigation on
Wednesday into the hacking.

A larger question can be raised from all of this: How involved is David Kernell in the Obama campaign, and did anyone connected with the Obama organization authorize this kind of behavior?

I will reiterate that I share the opinion of both Sharon Cobb (a Democrat) and State Rep. Stacey Campfield (a Republican) that Mike Kernell would never countenance the actions that his son has allegedly taken. It is quite concievable that he would try to cover both his rear and David's in the wake of those actions.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008



Sing it Harry!

The Cubs have the best record in the National League


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