McCain Didn’t See The Crisis Coming

We are still not getting straight talk from John McCain. Jake Tapper exposes that McCain is not telling the truth here when he claims to have warmed about the financial crisis:

“Two years ago, I warned that the oversight of Fannie and Freddie was terrible, that we were facing a crisis because of it, or certainly serious problems,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told CBS this morning. “The influence that Fannie and Freddie had in the inside the Beltway, old boy network, which led to this kind of corruption is unacceptable and I warned about it a couple of years ago.”

How does this claim of foresight square with this interview that McCain gave to the Keene (NH) Sentinel, discussing the subprime mortgage crisis, in December 2007?

Q: “Well the dimension of this problem may be surprising to a lot of people, but to many people, to many others there were feelings that there was something amiss, something was going too fast, something was a little too hot.  Going back several years.  Were you one of them? Or, I mean you’re a busy guy, you’re looking at a lot of things, maybe subprime mortgages wasn’t something you focused on every day.  Were you surprised?

McCain:  “Yeah. And I was surprised at the dot-com collapse and I was surprised at other times in our history.  I don’t know if surprised is the word, but…

Q: “S&Ls?”

McCain: “I don’t — what did you say?”

Q: “The S&Ls.”

McCain: “Yeah, the S&Ls.”

Q: “Is this bigger than that?

McCain: “I don’t know the dimensions of this.  It’s hard to know what the dimensions are.  As I say, I never thought I’d pick up the paper and see a city in Norway is somehow dramatically impacted by it.  When I say ‘surprised’ I’m not surprised when in capitalist systems that there’s greed and excess. I think it was Teddy Roosevelt who said ‘unfettered capitalism leads to corruption’ or something like that, that people have disputed for years.

“But so, in this whole new derivative stuff, and SIBs and all of this kind of new ways of packaging mortgages together and all that is something that frankly I don’t know a lot about.

“But I do rely on a lot of smart people that I have that are both in my employ and acquaintances of mine.  And most of them did not anticipate this.  Most of them, I mean I can find some that did.  But, a guy that’s on my staff named Doug Holtz-Eakin, who was once the head of the Office of Management and Budget, said that there was nervousness out there.  There’s nervousness.  There was nervousness that we had such a long period of prosperity without a downturn because of the history of our economy.  But I don’t know of hardly anybody, with the exception of a handful, that said ‘wait a minute, this thing is getting completely out of hand and is overheating.’

“So, I’d like to tell you that I did anticipate it, but I have to give you straight talk, I did not.”

(Watch the whole thing HERE.)

That hardly sounds like a person who is capable of handling crisis involving the economy, as once more we see that it is just too risky to have John McCain as president. Besides, does anyone really believe the claims that John McCain will take on the insiders and lobbyists he’s indebted to? Obama had a great line on this:

Yesterday, John McCain actually said that if he’s president that he’ll take on, and I quote, ‘the old boys network in Washington.’

Now I’m not making this up. This is somebody who’s been in Congress for twenty-six years, who put seven of the most powerful Washington lobbyists in charge of his campaign.

And now he tells us that he’s the one who’s gonna’ to take on the old boys network. The old boys network? In the McCain campaign that’s called a staff meeting. Come, on!

Republicans have won before with campaign messages which have been counter fact, but this time they are trying to sell even bigger fantasies. It is hard to believe John McCain can really get away with what amounts to a campaign promising to reform both the party whose policies he has pledged to continue as well as his closest supporters.

Sarah Palin’s Demons

The stories coming out about those speaking at Sarah Palin’s churches have killed off any chance that the McCain camp could use Reverend Wright against Obama–especially as Obama has made clear he does not agree with Wright’s political views. In contrast every indication is that Sarah Palin does agree with the views expressed in her churches, and as she refuses to answer questions from the media we are forced to assume this is the case.

The stories just keep getting stranger. The Times of London reports:

The pastor whose prayer Sarah Palin says helped her to become governor of Alaska founded his ministry with a witchhunt against a Kenyan woman who he accused of causing car accidents through demonic spells.

At a speech at the Wasilla Assembly of God on June 8 this year, Mrs Palin described how Thomas Muthee had laid his hands on her when he visited the church as a guest preacher in late 2005, prior to her successful gubernatorial bid.

In video footage of the speech, she is seen saying: “As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he’s so bold. And he was praying “Lord make a way, Lord make a way.”

“And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m going to do, he doesn’t know what my plans are. And he’s praying not “oh Lord if it be your will may she become governor,” no, he just prayed for it. He said “Lord make a way and let her do this next step. And that’s exactly what happened.”

She then adds: “So, again, very very powerful, coming from this church,” before the presiding pastor comments on the “prophetic power” of the event.

An African evangelist, Pastor Muthee has given guest sermons at the Wasilla Assembly of God on at least 10 occasions in his role as the founder of the Word of Faith Church, also known as the Prayer Cave.

Pastor Muthee founded the Prayer Cave in 1989 in Kiambu, Kenya after “God spoke” to him and his late wife Margaret and called him to the country, according to the church’s website.

The pastor speaks of his offensive against a demonic presence in the town in a trailer for the evangelical video “Transformations”, made by Sentinel Group, a Christian research and information agency.

Posted in Religion, Sarah Palin. Tags: . 1 Comment »

Palin’s Handlers Not Confident In Her

It sounds like Sarah Palin’s handlers are not very confident in her. She gave them a real scare today when, for the first time, she answered a question from the press traveling with her:

Though she has been on the campaign trail for nearly three weeks, Palin has yet to hold a press conference, and this morning’s stop marked the first time she answered a question from the press on the fly, prompting concerned looks from staffers.

Palin also teased the press:

Told that her traveling press corps was getting lonely in the back of her campaign plane, Palin said, “Are you getting lonely? Gee, yeah, come on up then!”

We will see how often her handlers actually allow Palin anywhere near the press.

Obama Talks About Financial Crisis


While television ads typically are limited to thirty seconds and are limited to sound bites, Obama is gambling on the idea that Americans are more intelligent and concerned about the recent problems in the financial markets. He is putting out a two minute ad on the subject, with video above and transcript following:

“In the past few weeks, Wall Street’s been rocked as banks closed and markets tumbled,” Obama says in the ad. “But for many of you — the people I’ve met in town halls, backyards and diners across America — our troubled economy isn’t news. 600,000 Americans have lost their jobs since January. Paychecks are flat and home values are falling. It’s hard to pay for gas and groceries and if you put it on a credit card they’ve probably raised your rates. You’re paying more than ever for health insurance that covers less and less. This isn’t just a string of bad luck. The truth is that while you’ve been living up to your responsibilities Washington has not. That’s why we need change. Real change.

“This is no ordinary time and it shouldn’t be an ordinary election. But much of this campaign has been consumed by petty attacks and distractions that have nothing to do with you or how we get America back on track. Here’s what I believe we need to do. Reform our tax system to give a $1,000 tax break to the middle class instead of showering more on oil companies and corporations that outsource our jobs. End the “anything goes” culture on Wall Street with real regulation that protects your investments and pensions. Fast track a plan for energy ‘made-in-America’ that will free us from our dependence on mid-east oil in 10 years and put millions of Americans to work. Crack down on lobbyists once and for all — so their back-room deal-making no longer drowns out the voices of the middle class and undermines our common interests as Americans. And yes, bring a responsible end to this war in Iraq so we stop spending billions each month rebuilding their country when we should be rebuilding ours.

“Doing these things won’t be easy. But we’re Americans. We’ve met tough challenges before. And we can again. I’m Barack Obama. I hope you’ll read my economic plan. I approved this message because bitter, partisan fights and outworn ideas of the left and the right won’t solve the problems we face today. But a new spirit of unity and shared responsibility will.”

Obama is gambling on the American people being more intelligent than most politicians assume. He may or may not win this way, but this is a welcome difference from the McCain strategy of assuming that the American people are idiots as he repeats the same lies over and over without regards to how often his lies are exposed by the media and fact checkers. There’s no way to say how this will turn out in November, but at the moment events, and the polls, are again favoring Obama. First Read writes:

After the news of the crisis on Wall Street, McCain’s “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” stumble on Monday, the slip-ups yesterday by McCain’s two biggest economic surrogates (see below for more on that), and four days of sustained TV ad and email blasts by the Obama campaign and the DNC, the political worm seems to have turned a tad since the Palin bounce. Indeed, while we’re not crazy about focusing too much on those daily tracking polls, their needles have moved in Obama’s direction the past couple of days (and we bet that continues today). And guess what — we’re not talking as much about Palin as we were last week, except for the latest developments in the Troopergate scandal in Alaska. The race has turned back into McCain vs. Obama, and it currently is sitting on turf (the economy) that should favor Democrats.

Elitists for McCain

Prominent Clinton backer Lynn Forester de Rothschild is endorsing John McCain. You might recall that the Lady de Rothschild is the one who has been attacking Obama as an elitist without seeing the irony.

Also on the hypocritical elitist front, how’s this for a laugh:

John McCain used an appearance before a blue-collar crowd near Youngstown, Ohio, to take a class-tinged shot at Barack Obama tonight.

“He talks about siding with the people just before he flew off for a fundraiser in Hollywood with Barbra Streisand and his celebrity friends” McCain said of his rival.  “Let me tell you, my friends, there’s no place I’d rather be than right here with the working men and women of Ohio.”

As if John McCain really spends his free time with working people in his nine or so homes. Obama might have been at a fund raiser with celebrities, but John McCain was at a fund raiser at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami. The cost for admission was $50,000 which The Los Angeles Times calculates came down to $5000 per minute of McCain’s speech for each person attending.

One would think McCain would be more cautious about talking about celebrities considering how much attention has been paid recently to how he spent his birthday a couple of years ago aboard a yacht with Anne Hathaway, her con man boyfriend, and other celebrities. Strange that he didn’t spend his birthday with the working men and women of Ohio. Video below:

Economists for Obama

Maybe they just don’t like John McCain because he doesn’t know much about their field, but Economists for Obama posts a survey showing that 66% of economists support Obama over McCain.

How About Some Plans From The Candidates?

Megan McArdle sees through John McCain’s call for a commission to figure out a solution to the crisis with the financial markets:

So John McCain wants a commission on what to do about the financial markets.  I’m of two minds on this.  On the one hand, John McCain is not exactly an economic genius, and I’d rather he get the opinion of some people who are.  On the other hand, in Washingtonian, “set up a commission” means “Let’s ignore the problem and hope it goes away.”  This one isn’t going away.

Here’s my modest suggestion:  John McCain could convene a commission right now.  He could get a bunch of economists and bankers together, and they could hash out the problem and present him with a plan.  Then he could tell us what it is.  Then we could decide if we liked it.  It would be almost like this election was about selecting someone who will make good policy.

A plan? How about if McCain just gives a straight answer as to whether he is for or against regulation? In the past he was against it. Tuesday he began the day calling for more regulation but later was again against regulation as Jon Stewart showed in clips. Will the real media do as good a job of showing John McCain’s flip-flops?

Of course McCain isn’t the only candidate who should tell the voters what their plan is. Another blogger from The Atlantic, Andrew Sullivan, points out that this could be an opportunity for Barack Obama. He quotes Andrew Romano on this:

Now that the press and the public are finally paying attention, Obama can’t just say that McCain is out of touch and call it a day. He has to explain what he would do differently–and better. He has to sell his plan for righting an economy still reeling from the real estate and mortgage crises–something he shied away from doing today, preferring instead to rely on the “same vague… pitc[h] he has sounded over the past few months for fixing what ails the country.”

If each candidate gave concrete plans would people base their votes on this rather than the sound bites? Would the media even pay any attention?