Monday, September 29, 2008

Palin goes to the debate camp dog house

Sarah Palin is off to the McCain's creekside retreat in Arizona for an intensive debate camp... and she's bringing her husband and kids? What, to play in the house while the McCains are away? To play in the creek? To bone up on sex ed and dinosaurs? To help grill her on pressing policy points?

Joe Biden is at home for his own debate camp. I suppose his family is around, but he doesn't really have as much remedial homework to do. I mean, he's met with the Georgian president twice lately, once in Georgia (Athens, I think, or was it Savannah) and once in New York near the U.N., a place Sarah Palin saw for the first time in person last week. She and Katie Couric took a nice stroll in the plaza there, you may recall.

Meanwhile, David Letterman and Jon Stewart are having field days with all of this, but believe you me, they can come up with plenty of funny things to say even if the Obama-Biden ticket wins. So please don't make it any easier for them by voting for McCain-Palin. Palin might be a barrel of anxious laughs, of the stomach-turning sort, but McCain, he ain't funny.

Since Reagan left office, the GOP has become the party of high anxiety. Higher still after Poppy retired, and higher and higher, as of late, as they front for the Cheney & Co. gestapo. No wonder they use fear tactics to get what they want, effectively black-mailing the shaky electorate. And no wonder they're SUCH sore losers.

Like buddy boy Bush, McCain's all bluster about "winning with honor" (and don't use the word "lose"). Okay, let's see if he can 'let this one go' with honor. Time to clear out kids, grand pap is coming home.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Round one: debate bites

Wonk: Obama.

Storyteller: McCain.

Expanding: Obama.

Shrinking: McCain.

Chivalrous: Obama.

Wincing: McCain.

Deftly even-handed: Lehrer.

Dodged questions: Obama and McCain.

Petty: McCain.

Pedantic: Obama.

Professorial: neither.

High school vice-principal with a grudge: McCain.

Hit the "four more years" target: Obama.

Hit the "naive and dangerous" target: McCain.

Nixon: McCain.

Kennedy: Obama.

Lehrer: Lehrer.

Aggie Attila the Hun (offstage): Bush.

Aggie Hamlet's father (offstage): Poppy.

Collegiate debate team: Obama.

High school debate team: McCain.

Reliant on the 20th Century: McCain.

Reliant on the 21st Century: Obama.

Red-state power dresser: Cindy McCain

Chicago hottie: Michelle.

Head coaching staff: handlers.

Wingmen: Biden and Leiberman.

Blockers: Biden and FOX NEWS.

Center: McCain.

Quarterback: Obama.

Passed the ball: Obama.

Fumbled the ball: McCain.

Decent ground game: McCain.

Decent end game: Obama.

Best candidate for VP: Lehrer.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

McCain & Palin: ready for the high school debate team?

Debate is a good exercise because it forces one to organize both incoming and outgoing information, to stay on message, and to distill complicated and confounding scenarios into digestible statements.

In a debate, as in government, more than one thing at a time is going on: Each debater is listening to the actual question of the moderator, listening to the actual answer of his or her opponent AND at the same time composing three answers on each front: first, the truthful straight talk answer, second the answer the audience would like to hear, and third, the answer which strategically can best win debate points.

John McCain may or may not debate Friday night, but he has already blinked so badly that Obama can't help but win now. Obama knows that a president has to stare down messes and multitudes -- and not blink.

And Sarah Palin: she might want to read up on the Bush Doctrine, for starters. I'd recommend the handy explanation available at Wikipedia. From what we have seen in her interviews with Charles Gibson and Katie Couric, her performance in a debate will effectively end McCain's chances of winning the election.

And he knows it.

He didn't know it before because he didn't even know her before.

But he knows it now. His aides are telling him it's finished.

And stall as he might, he can't buy enough time to pull this one out.

I predict he'll retire from the Senate at the end of his current term.

And Sarah Palin will never again mean much outside the state of Alaska.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Paulson & Bernanke: snake oil salesmen

We certainly are having a crisis in this country, and it is based simply on these two things:

1. Too many people want too much credit.

And 2. The government itself depends on too much credit.

That's it.

Today, on Capitol Hill, Ben Bernanke is saying that the current woes are having a 'ripple effect throughout the economy' and that this is restricting the consumers' ability to get credit.

Isn't that what the financial system should be doing, placing more restraint on credit? It seems the time is ripe to restrict some credit, all around, not just for those who can't "afford" it. The entrepreneurial and the affluent think they can still "afford" more credit. 'Let the suckers eat cake,' they imply, not: we're all in this together. We aren't really upwardly mobile if it's mostly based on borrowing. That's just a house of cards and a nation in a shambles.

The rich make their money off those high interest rates and defaults and write-offs. They are getting anxious that they won't be able to so easily keep feeding off their deflating, downscaling, depression-prone neighbors.

The American Empire used to be based on good old-fashioned imperialism. Now it's just based on buying stuff we can't afford. The crisis is not that the poor or middle class are squeezed but that finally even the rich can't afford to keep up with the pace of their ravenous desires.

That's what's really got Paulson and Bernanke and the White House and country club Republicans in a tizzy.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wall Street loaded for bear

It's as if Wall Street/the NYSE is a gun pointed at our heads.

It is as if we are being held hostage by a bunch of powerful and rich people who know each other, who hedge their bets and who, when they screw up, get their friends in high places to bail them out.

And the gun is pointed at us, even those of us who never bought a share of stock, much less a whole house.

Let the bunglers in high places eat the crumbs.

Congress: don't give in to this "clean and quick" grab for cash.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lessons for the GOP

The GOP does well when it chooses a smooth talking populist (Eisenhower, Reagan) or a scrappy bulldog with a checkered past (Nixon, Bush). McCain has certainly had a checkered past, and he sure seemed scrappy enough of a bulldog back in the '90s.

The party thought McCain was that bulldog this round, since the smooth talking Romney came off as a rather rootless shoe salesman, not a populist, and the smooth talking Huckabee came across as a preacher nut selling some strange brand of 19th century snake oil.

So they were stuck with bulldog McCain, sort of a known unknown.

But it turns out, McCain has gotten old in the eight years since 2000 (when he announced his first run, he was 63, now he's 72), and so has his ability to dish out some straight talk geriatrified. Now, these days McCain makes Bob Dole seem smooth.

American voters have always preferred elite money and upper crustedness to elite education and expertise, but maybe, just maybe, competence and the smarter, more agile man will win this time.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Good odds: Howard Dean for Human Health & Services

I've been saying this for months, and I think our chances are getting better:

Howard Dean will retire, as he has said he will, after one term as chairman of the DNC in January -- and be appointed to a position in the Obama cabinet. Most appropriate, of course, would be heading Human Health and Services.

The doctor will be IN AGAIN!

Still a Deaniac after all these years.

We need some Democratic attack dogs, and along with Rahm Emanuel, the doctor, the original "democratic wing of the Democratic party" governator, Howard Dean, is still, rhetorically, hell-fire and brimstone but with the old-fashioned, flinty Yankee chutzpah to back it up, just about the best we've got.