Elkhorn Creek Lodge

The McCain Post-Mortem

Posted in economics, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on November 6, 2008

If only McCain had campaigned by …, then we would have won. If only. If only. If only he could see and follow my vital advice, then he’d be president. All the nit-picking doesn’t detract from the fact that McCain managed to keep the election close right up to the end. His doggedness may not have won him the election, but it prevented a far worse debacle in the House and Senate.  With some luck, the GOP may return to Washington with 43 senators.

To restate the obvious, this was supposedly a Democratic year supercharged with a mid-September financial meltdown. There was a MSM, unabashedly in the tank for Obama, providing millions of dollars of in-kind contributions by functioning as the Obama campaign ad agency; hiding Obama’s very serious shortcomings and simultaneously smearing McCain and Palin. Yet, the Democrats didn’t run away with this election. The electoral college results don’t hide that this is yet another 50/50 nation election. The GOP’s performance in the face of this brutal MSM assault speaks well of the durability of the GOP and its standbearer, McCain. Frankly, it speaks ill of the Democratic message that it gains were contained as well as they were last night.

The real truth is that this election wasn’t lost last night. Rather, McCain’s defeat was the results of the accretion of events over the last twenty years that took the GOP, step by step, farther from the basics of Reagan’s philosophies of lower taxes and less government. Each step took the GOP back to the RINO or me-too Republican. The electorate just figured why vote for Democrat-lite when you can vote for the real thing. McCain’s mistake in this campaign was his contribution, over the years, to this Democrat-lite state of mind.

Economics are conservative facts of life. Unless both parties feel that an exchange of goods or services is mutually beneficial, it will not occur. Government intervention will cause money and economic activity to go elsewhere. The boring mantra of less taxes and less government is the key to Reagan’s success. And, the establishment of a political critical mass, in Washington, that finally replaced disagreements of degree between the me-too Republicans and the Democrats with fundamental disagreements of kind as to government’s role.

But, starting with Bush I, we started to dilute Reagan’s message with a “kinder and gentler” America. What I couldn’t figure out was why Reagan’s policies weren’t just that. He reversed the high inflation and high unemployment of the Carter years with prosperity. Pretty kind and gentle to me. He turned back the advance of the USSR; a country and governing philosophy that was responsible for the murder of tens of millions of it’s own people. But, Reagan, that militarist reactionary, was far more unkind than the Soviet GULAG. Of course, removing the threat of nuclear incineration, courtesy the USSR, was very unkind.

So, amid the rubble of last night are the seeds for future success:

The first, is Joe-the-Plumber. He’s going to haunt any and all deliberations for any new governmental expansion. By taking up Joe’s banner, McCain finally hit his stride and started to clearly articulate a philosophy of less taxes and less government. Moreover, he managed to make socialism a dirty word. Also, in a larger sense, the bill for the financial meltdown can only be paid back by economic growth. That growth will only come from small business; the likes of Joe. What we do to the Joe’s of America will reflect on the economic performance of our country in the coming years. For this election, thanks to the MSM, there wasn’t enough time to have these themes truly resonate with the electorate.

As the long term reality of the September financial meltdown really starts to register, there will be some grim satisfaction to see the Democrats having to fully address the fruits of their corruption. And, it will be the GOP’s responsibility to hammer that point home. To point out that every dollar of pork barrel is another ACORN/Community Reinvestment Act in the making. By foreswearing pork, the GOP, with McCain’s bona fides, has the opportunity to make pork synonymous with the Democratic Party. Pork is poison; every dollar is yet another opportunity for corruption and a dagger aimed at individual rights.

With the articulation of Joe’s cause, we can now press the point that corruption was the flaw that rocked our financial system last September. More, importantly, our free market system is sound. And, again, economic growth is the only path our–even though low taxes and less government will make you a real bore on the Georgetown cocktail party circuit.

Another, foundation for the future is that of Sarah Palin. She, I think, remains untarnished despite this defeat. We, in fact, may have a politician of the caliber of Reagan. I can well imagine her collecting tons of IOU’s on the rubber chicken circuit by stumping for congressional, senatorial and gubernatorial candidates over the next two years. And, I can see her cashing in on those IOU’s by becoming the first woman president.

Then, too is Bobby Jindal, from Louisiana. Ultimately, because of executive experience as governors, these two, Palin and Jindal, are going to be far more effective presidents than candidates hailing from the Senate.

The facts of life are conservative. So, are the laws of nature. 

Foreign policy will rear its ugly head. Regardless of domestic bread and butter issues, there are forces that now have reach to wreak mayhem within our borders. By intervening early in our war on Islamic imperialism, we are able to accomplish the task with a peace-time military. And, this in blood and treasure, will be far cheaper than to back away only to inevitably return to fight that war; but now on a war-time footing. If Obama fails, it will fall to the GOP, particularly McCain, to make sure that we stay in the fight and we take the fight to the source. This will not be an issue of partisan advantage, since lives, military and civilian, will directly be at stake. Ultimately, for all of Obama’s youthful flirting with radicalism, he’s going to have to face that we are at war with a world-view, Islam, that is completely opposed to our concept of individual rights. A world-view lead by very evil men. And, he can’t hide because if he refuses to fight it at the source, it will come to our shores.

Like the Cold War, our current war(s) will be long term engagements lasting decades. And, in time, the public will again begin to see that fighting to win, not “containment” is ultimately the only solution to the problem of Islamic imperialism. And, here again, we come to a basic Reagan tenant of a muscular foreign policy.  Reagan pursued a variety of approaches in defeating the USSR. But, the success of all of his foreign policy engagements were always buttressed by a strong military and the maintenance of a perception, in the eyes of our adversaries, of a willingness to use that force.

Yes, the world loves Obama for the same reason they love the UN secretary general. You can ignore him or walk all over him; your choice. If Obama chooses to govern as secretary general, the world will continue to love him. If he chooses to be president of the US it will be a sign he’s awakened to reality; and the reality that his international popularity is going to plummet. 

Energy will plague any president who ignores the laws of supply and demand. Husbanding our resources in one matter. But, forcing conversation to the point of economic contraction is another. Further, hydrocarbons and nuclear is the only way to bring sufficient energy to our economy. Period.

Solar won’t do it. The simple fact of life is there are only so many watts per square foot from solar power. And, the sun doesn’t shine at night. If the NIMBY’s object to refineries, drilling and nuclear power plants, do you think they’re going to stand by and cover, literally, square miles of land for solar power to replace any meaningful percentage of energy from hydrocarbon and nuclear?

Ditto, for all of the above, wind power.

But, the biggest issue of energy is that any policy will run headlong into the immutable laws of thermodynamics. And, engineering mechanics.

To move a give weight of material about requires work and that must be derived by burning something to generate heat and then to convert that heat to mechanical work. More weight, then more mechanical work and more heat. If you cut back on weight you will have smaller and lighter vehicles that are inherently less safe. (Air bags help, but for any give air bag if you add 100 pounds of structural weight you have a safer vehicle.) Smaller cars also mean you can’t carry as much. Like a hockey mom, two kids and two large duffels of hockey equipment.

We aren’t Europe where population densities approach 1000 people per square mile. Mass transit only works in dense population center where there are a lot of people who are going to the same places all at about the same time. Mortgage crisis or not, we also like our own homes and back yards just like the swells in Getty’s neighborhood. The net effect is we need personal transportation–a car. A car that can move a lot of stuff over longer distances. Nor, have we gotten into the transportation needs of Joe-the-Plumber. He’s going to need a full size pick-up truck for his tools and supplies. Your designer Toto toilet and gourmet granite kitchen counter top aren’t going to fit in a Prius.

Which brings us to the subject of putting America into hybrids like the Prius. All a Prius is is a 70’s style econobox with pie-pan wheels. Just updated at bit with some whiz bang technology to match your iPod. Notice how nobody misses the Gremlin, the Maverick, the Le Car or the Pinto? For all the hype about the batteries, it still a small car powered by a small gasoline engine; and all the laws of engineering mechanics and thermodynamics will govern this vehicle’s efficiency. It’s efficient because it’s small and light and therefore requires a very small engine. But, in the end, a gasoline engine is what really makes this car go. And, it’s gasoline because, weight for weight and volume for volume, gasoline is still the most efficient was to store the energy you need to move your vehicle.

And, while the Obama acolytes at the DOT are trying to figure out the ultimate no-carbon-foot car for the unwashed, Obama is going to ride around in his presidential limo. Anyway, the free market already figured all this out anyway.

No, Obama’s success with energy policy will be gauged by a very simple metric; is gas less than $2.00 per gallon at the pump. Is the blue state Northeast going to blow its collective tops when the oil truck fills up the tank for your furnace in the basement?

In the end, the basics of less taxes and less government must be continually articulated. There will always be people, holding to philosophies, that makes them think that they have a right to other people’s life. And, regardless of the last 30 years of prosperity, we will have to re-articulate the truths just as much as we did in 1980. This re-articulation is more urgent now since Obama won, in part, because most of his electorate simply forgot the world that existed before 1980 in the Carter years.

 

 

 

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Market Wisdom and the Discounting of the Democrats

Posted in biden, democratic party, economics, main stream media, mccain, obama, palin, politics by Eugene Podrazik on October 26, 2008

The Market slide continues.  The MSM has successfully hidden a lot of the truth of Obama and his socialist, that is, Democratic Party fellow travelers.  But, the markets don’t lie and the truth is slowly leaking out.  Unfortunately, while a lie will travel half way around the world while the truth is just saddling up.  And, one week till the election is just too short a time for the truth to truly resonate.

What is being discounted?  Foremost is the slow accretion of policies that have diverged from the simple message of Reagan of low taxes and low regulation. 

First, the markets are discounting the fundamental deceit of socialism.  The whole premise of socialism is using the coercive power of government to take from what are deemed less deserving groups and giving what is taken to what are deemed more deserving groups.  What is deemed more or less deserving is entirely left to the whim of the self-made philosopher kings of Obama and his party stalwarts.  

But, in making those distinctions, some how a lot of cash manages to remain in the pockets of those philosopher kings.  Like Franklin Raines recent multi-million dollar condo purchase.  Like Obama’s 1.5 million dollar mansion with some discounting courtesy Rezko and a sweet heart mortgage.  Like Michele’s job promotion and a doubling her salary to $300,000 per annum.  Like the hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign cash to each of the Democrat congressional leaders from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Or, the special loans to Dodd, Senator from the great state of Countrywide.  This is no different than the Communist Party leaders of the old USSR being whisked to work in their Zil limousines or spending their weekends in their country dachas. 

This is crony capitalism.  Or, for a party hacks like Obama, this is Chicago Machine party graft and favors.  Obama mastered that system and is being richly rewarded.

Restraint in taxing and spending is dictated by maintaining a delicate symbiosis between the host that is the private sector and the parasite that is the government.  It about fleecing your sheep to within an inch of their lives; yet keep your sheep alive to so as to have something to continue to fleece.

There was a very successful economic paradigm established by Reagan that the Democrats managed to destroy by their corruption.  Now they are on the verge of seizing power trying to sell the proposition that the current economic crisis is a failure of free market economics.  Only, the markets are not buying that the what has worked so well for the last thirty years is now suddenly decrepit and will be replace by a socialist economic paradigm that will, in spite of its abysmal record over the last century, all of a sudden perform in a manner that will completely belie its past performance.

The next issue is energy.  This is tightly tied to the conceit of environmentalism and it current bandwagon of global warming.  And, this will be one of the principal vehicles to burden our economy with regulations that will allow  economic micro-management right down to the carbon footprint of the weed whacker in your garage.  It will also create vast opportunities for graft and favors as business, large and small, will need to pay tribute to the cap-and-trade commissars that will stand astride all business and economic aspirations of all of our Joe-the-Plumbers.

Attempt after attempt has been made to come up with a rational energy policy that have been stymied by the very forces that now threaten to control the White House and both houses of Congress.  In fact, if it weren’t political suicide, you’d have European style gas taxes and five, six, seven dollar per gallon gas years ago.  In fact, for many of these same Democrats, the four-dollar per gallon gas of last summer was a dream come true.

All of this mess concerning energy comes down to down the line opposition to domestic offshore drilling; we couldn’t have oil derricks spoiling the view from all of the multi-million Malibu mansions of Barack’s Hollywood donors.  No ANWR, oil shale or nuclear power.  Detroit’s big three auto manufacturers were actually in the process of recovery until this latest energy crunch and four-dollar gas totally upended those plans.  And, even before the mortgage crisis really hit, high priced energy, due to this purposeful inaction, was already starting to drag down our economy.

Third factor that the market is discounting is that the Democratic leadership about to take control is economically ignorant.  As in rank ignorance.  Both Obama and Biden never worked out side of a career that involved spending other people’s money. Obama’s career has been organizing vote fraud through his connections at ACORN.  Or, working with his pal Ayers on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge to distribute $100 million in graft.

Biden graduated from law school in 1969 and was elected to the Senate in 1972; a man who has spent his entire adult life as a Senator.  For the last 36 years, for essentially all his life, Biden has drawn a paycheck from the Senate; his only job. A community organizer with the honorific of “Senator.”

McCain has been in government employ for all of his life–Naval officer, congressman, senator.  But, he has the decency to at least not presume to tell others how to live their lives or earn their livings.  He has the decency, in private economic affairs, to keep his mouth shut and his hands to himself.

And, Palin; probably one of the few politicians on the Washington scene who isn’t a millionaire.  Probably one of the few politicians who’s net worth is comfortably this side of $500,000.  A politician, who with her husband, actually ran a business.

We have a whole Democratic hierarchy who simply has no clue as to what Joe-the-plumbers go through on a day to day basis to juggle business demands, payrolls, rent, taxes, and the like.  Obama’s proposal to grant a $3000 tax credit two years running for every new job created amply demonstrates this vast void of economic understanding. 

From my point of view, as a small businessman, a new employee will cost my business $50,000 to $70,000 per year.  For my practice to hire a nurse will cost about $25 per hour.  That works out to $1000 per week; or $50,000 per year.  Then you add in medical benefits, Social Security, safe-harbor 401K contributions and you’re easily adding another $20,000.  Barack’s proposed $3000 chickens–t check is not going to sway a single business to add a single job.

Or, again the ridicule heaped on Joe-the-Plumber, by Biden, for the temerity to have aspirations in excess of $250,000 again reflects a complete ignorance as to what it takes to run a business.  Even in “small” business, $250,000 is not a lot of money.  Between trucks, tools, inventory, shop facilities, employee wages and warehousing $250,000 gets eaten up very rapidly.  Remember, business expenses have to be paid up front; you don’t maintain inventory on consignment.

Economic knowledge for the likes of Obama and Biden was having supply and demand concepts learned in Econ 101 deconstructed by some Marxist professor.  For much of the claque that seems poised to run the White House and both Houses of Congress, intellectual discourse is the college dorm room bull sessions now continued in the Hamptons over white wine and brie.  Indeed, what passes for profound intellectual insight, is really abject fear over getting knocked off the social A-list for uttering the truth that Adam Smith economics still matters.  That, what Joe-the-Plumber says actually reflects the real truth about basic economic concepts so derided by many an ivory-towered intellectoid professor.

Then, we get into the intrusion of the outside world.  After Russia’s invasion of Georgia this summer, we have two rogue powers–Russia and Iran–that have control of significant portions of known oil production from the Artic Circle to the Straits of Hormuz.  One of those powers is already nuclear.  The other, in the grips of an Islamic death cult, is perhaps only a year away. 

What if Iran detonates a nuclear weapon over an American carrier task force in the Persian Gulf?  What will Obama’s reaction be?  Will he be prepared to mitigate the sudden rise in energy prices?  Will he be willing to acknowledge an act of war as such?  Will he be willing to then act in a manner appropriate to an act of war?  The markets know, just as does the MSM, what the real response will be; except the market are not hiding the answer.

William F. Buckley, Jr. once remarked, to the effect, that he rather be ruled by the first one hundred names out of the Cambridge phone directory that by the Harvard faculty.  In that vein, the markets are saying the same; that they rather be ruled by the likes of Sarah Palin and Joe-the-Plumber than by the Georgetown cocktail circuit.

In the end, the only way out of this crisis is the promotion of economic growth.  You know, the boring mantra a low taxes, low regulation and free trade.  It just hasn’t the sparkle to get you into the Getty digs like Barack last spring. This is one of those situation where the more you do, the worse it gets.  In some respect, you get a perverse pleasure in the prospect that the guilty parties will have the full responsibility of this economic mess thrust upon them.  And, Obama will have the unique opportunity to create a legacy that will double up on Carter and Hoover.

 

 

 

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The Obama Foreign Policy Crisis

Posted in biden, mccain, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on October 23, 2008

You have to look back into the 1930’s to understand the cost of blinking at the small tests until we faced WW II, Patrick Buchanan’s “Unnecessary War.” That war, WW II, was in fact an accretion of small decisions that taken by themselves may have been minor, but taken as a whole created the largest and bloodiest conflict ever seen in the history of mankind.

As a counterpoint, we are perhaps very fortunate, to a degree will we may never realize, that Reagan was able to avert the calamity of the Cold War from turning into a full scale shooting war. 

The US Navy looked at the causes of major mishaps and found, on average, there were six “switches” that represented decision points that led to that mishap. If one was switched off, the entire mishap would have been averted. As an aside, it’s interesting reading Into Thin Air with that perspective.

Obama’s going to blink and blink. Switch after switch will remain “on.” He will be specifically tested by our adversaries to an extent that Reagan (or McCain) will not. If our electorate doesn’t realize it, our adversaries realize that political hothouse environment, in which Obama grew up, does not prepare one for decision making such as war. The environment of the Chicago political machine that anointed its candidates and in doing so, made their election a foregone conclusion. An environment where opposition could be easily be slapped down; sometimes with persuasion from thugs from the local union hall.

This is an environment that populates the Democratic hierarchy with lightweights that keep getting re-elected from safe seats, but does little to prepare them of adversity. Their re-elections largely hinge on their ability to bring home pork. Free government checks, abortion, gay marriage. Unfortunately, this will do little to deter the aggression of say, Islamic imperialism.

The real crisis is that these accretion of foreign policy blinks that Biden alluded to last Sunday will eventually bring on a very large crisis. The old USSR pulled their punches on the matter of nuclear weapons because much of its leadership lived through WW II; and were lucky to have lived through it at all. With Islamic imperialism, we have a death cult not seen since the Aztecs that will not have such inhibitions with regards to nuclear weapon use. 

Right now, we are holding Islamic imperialism at bay with an essentially a peace time army. We are able to do so because we are intervening early in this conflict. It is easy to see how self-inflicted defeats by the US, engineered by the likes of Obama can embolden our enemies to ramp up this war to a scale not seen since WW II. 

And, once such a calamity comes to pass, what more will Obama blink at. In WW II, the draft was re-instated and ten percent of the American population was place in uniform and under arms. This was a conflict of national survival that no longer respected the distinction of civilian populations. As, the tempo of American casualties mounted in the Pacific War, there arose a systematic bombing offensive that firebombed Japanese city after Japanese city. One could argue that despite the “inevitability” of victory, that after the carnage of Okinawa, Truman chose atomic bombs over an invasion of the Japanese Islands. Even with victory “at hand,” Truman realized that he had to make a choice. A choice as to whether this victory would come with the price of more American or Japanese causalities. As Commander-in-Chief of the American military; he had to choose in favor of American lives.

Will citizen-of-the-World Obama make such a choice. What will it be; President Obama or UN Secretary General Obama. With each blink, the next choice will only get harder. 

I Feel My Lifetime Piling Up

Posted in democratic party, economics, main stream media, mccain, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on October 17, 2008

So, goes the line from the Talking Heads. As in Obama’s lifetime. 

It is still mystifying as to why Obama, in the midst of this financial meltdown still fails to close the deal and utterly pull away. There’s no doubt this is a Democratic year. Polls for the House and Senate paint some very scary scenarios for the GOP, including a filibuster proof Democratic majority. Yet, Obama in a number of polls is only barely out of the statistical margin of error.  Was it McCain by staying even that actually won the last debate?

Probably the biggest reason, despite the mighty efforts of the MSM to conceal, is that Obama’s past is finally starting to leak out and a vetting process is only starting to begin. Suddenly, in the last three weeks the underbelly of Obama past is starting to pile up.

The sub-prime crisis is still a big millstone around the GOP’s neck. But, the corruption, facilitated by the Democratic party, is finally beginning to register. One of the biggest players in setting the stage for the sub-prime crisis, ACORN, is also being implicated in systematic voter fraud. This is the same organization the Obama’s campaign funneled $800,000 to for voter registration. There may be a lot of scared folks who want to “throw the bums out.” But their actions are checked by the fact that many are 401K owners who display a good deal of sophistication with regards to things of Wall Street. 

Then, there’s the situation when Obama’s mask really slipped, when we told Joe the plumber he wanted to spread the wealth around.

Responsible vetting would have tossed Obama on the trash heap sometime last February. But, Obama and his MSM enablers managed to try to keep his true bona fides hidden till almost the election. Yet, with the game clock under two minutes, the past starts to leak out. The truth of a very ordinary and very venial Chicago Machine politician starts to come to the fore.

So, where do we stand. First, we are driving with the windows painted over. With the MSM so in the tank for Obama, we frankly have no way of gauging Obama’s and McCain’s relative standings. Even the polls are suspect since many of them have MSM sources for clients. You think that the NYT is going to commission a poll that says that McCain is kicking Obama’s butt?

Then, we have the pundits and the like. They judge the debates as professionals judging professionals. Even the folks at Power Line, whom I respect, are lawyers judging the performance of another lawyer. Mr. Katz of Urgent Agenda judges debate performances with the eye of a show business professional. And, I’d have to agree that Obama puts on a very smooth, professional performance. Show business and particularly law are peopled with self-selecting folks who first cut their teeth on the high school debate team. But, do others really look at this election as scoring points on the debate team for a technical knock out? 

But, as the seamy truth continues to leak out, when does smooth and professional become oily and slick? When does metro-sexual cool become cold and calculating? And, the fine line between smooth and professional and oily and slick became a chasm when Obama confronted Joe the plumber. We found that the emperor really had no clothes when Joe, of bitter America, showed up the One for the BS artist he really is.

Conventional wisdom tells you that the GOP should really get shellacked in this election. But, you have so much of America that’s been systematically dissed by Obama and his fellow travelers. The PUMA’s. Women who may not agree with Palin but are profoundly insulted by her treatment by the MSM. The “bitter” Americans. The Joe the plumbers who have no interest in European class warfare but have plans to be their own bosses. 

You talk to folks around you. You begin to sense a change and a shift. Its not statistics, just a feeling. Its going to be a cliff hanger right to the end. But, you sense McCain is going to pull this win out at the last minute. 

Weathering the Storm

Posted in democratic party, economics, mccain, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on October 12, 2008

There’s a scene, in the movie 300, in which the Spartans come under a massive arrow attack by the Persian archers; the “we’ll fight in the shade” scene. The Spartans have no choice but to dive under their shields to weather the attack.

So, it was with McCain when the sub-prime mortgage mess hit last September. In some respects, though staying engaged, this is all McCain could do. And, as execrable as cutting a deal with Pelosi was, McCain had to staunch the blood, go to Washington and move negotiations forward with regards to a “bail-out” package. Had he not, the Democrats would have put together the ultimate ACORN voter fraud bail-out and dragged the whole mess right up to November 4th.

Well, McCain can come out from under his shield.  If he’s going to win this election, he’s going to have to go front and center and name names.  Starting with Obama. He’s got one last crack on national TV without the filter of MSM bias with the last debate. At that debate he’s going to have to systematically place the corruption of this melt down squarely in the laps of the Democrats.

At that debate, and for the rest of this campaign, McCain needs to keep repeating the rogues gallery of democrats responsible for this mess by protecting their corruption honey pot at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Frank, Pelosi, Reid, Obama, ACORN and the Senator from Countrywide, Dodds.

In fact, at the next and last debate, no matter what the question, the answer is Obama-Democrats-Corruption-ACORN-Freddie-Fannie. Even if the question is “did the sun rise in the east this morning?”

And, McCain’s got to stop his moderate bi-partisanship. His own father once said that history was made by poker players and not analysts. He’s the leader of the GOP and he’s going to have to stand and fight for a very partisan world-view of less taxes and less government. 

Right now, we don’t need moderates like Admiral David Farragut who, at the battle of Mobile Bay, was famous for the line: “Torpedos? Oh, heavens! Please proceed slowly and cautiously.”

 

 

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Polish Comes from the City; Wisdom from the Desert

Posted in mccain, obama by Eugene Podrazik on October 9, 2008

So wrote Frank Herbert in his science fiction masterpiece, Dune. Or, as Reba McEntire says, “don’t trust your soul to no backwoods, southern lawyer.” So, who won the debate last Tuesday? We’ll know on November 4th.

But, will the impressions from the debate hold? The one’s that gave the debate to Obama? Will the electorate, after spending the afternoon with the fast talking insurance salesman, think twice when they look at that contract on the kitchen table that evening?

Obama won in the eyes of the chattering classes, liberal and conservative. Because despite differences in political outlook, these commentators share a certain expectation of what a good performance is. Biases held from their days on the high school debate team. Lawyers evaluating the performance of another lawyer such as the writers of Power Line. Or, folks with a show business background like Mr. Katz of Urgent Agenda.

But, does such prized qualities as smooth delivery and a flawlessly cut Italian suit to match really impress? From my daily dealings with my patients, I would submit, perhaps not. I’ve found that in discussing treatment options to my patients that I must be careful not to fall into medical-ese or jargon. More importantly, I must bridge an educational gap and yet not violate the dignity and intelligence of my patient. I must speak simply and clearly but remember that I have absolutely no right to condescend or patronize. There’s a fine line between your patients expectation of professionalism and their expectation for the common touch. 

I remember, back in the summer of 1980, attending a summer picnic put on by my uncle’s local veteran’s post. What I remember were the continual jokes and ridicule directed at then President Carter. As my father pointed out, it was these comments that spoke more of the upcoming election than any poll or commentator; and why Reagan was going to win.

Therefore, what was on display, last Tuesday was one man, McCain, who has a genuine salt of the earth quality. A guy who could easily walk into the feed store to buy some Carhart overalls, put them on, then walk onto the shop floor without turning a head. 

Sitting next to him was the well turned out Obama. But, was that really well dressed and thoughtfully articulate. Or, was that slick and sharp? Could you really imagine this man other than in the setting of Starbucks? Could you imagine him operating my New Holland tractor? Uh, no, Obama’s welcome to drive the country off the cliff, but not with my toy.

I write this just as the Zobgy poll just came out. We’ll see.

Finally, don’t go on about Sarah Palin’s power suits. Because when she takes off the suit, she can bag a moose and field dress it. Just like she did to Biden.

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The Temper Tantrum Election

Posted in carter, democratic party, main stream media, mccain, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on October 6, 2008

Others made a similar comparison.

That is the comparison to the 1976 election between Ford and Carter. The electorate is sour. In 1976 the there were economic issues, principally inflation. In some respect, the electorate had more justification to be sour, coming off the Watergate scandal.

But, interestingly, it wasn’t that the Democrats were innocent, since many of the shenanigans that Nixon pulled were done by the Democrats as well. Kennedy taped conversations in the Oval Office. Nor, was Kennedy’s election clean; a certain Irish Catholic mayor of Chicago, stole the election for him. Johnson’s rise to power never came from his luster of Mr. Clean. In fact, of the entire crowd of Democratic presidential candidates in 1976, Carter was the only plausible candidate that could actually beat Ford. 

In fact, Ford was the really clean candidate. But, he pardoned Nixon. He did the country a favor, in the long run, by ending Watergate. But, in placing the long term good of the country ahead of his personal ambitions, he cost himself the election. The pardon prevented the criminalization of your opponents acts in office. Yes, Nixon violated laws; such as obstruction of justice. But, the prosecution, had it been allow to proceed, would have hijacked by his enemies for the sole purpose of settling scores with old “tricky Dick” over policy. It could very well have set a precedent of show trials for your political rivals, banana republic style. 

So, along came Carter. Like Obama, his true very leftist roots were masked by a compliant MSM as a Southern-conservative-born-again-Democrat.

What we got was a dangerously naive, but arrogant, mean-spirited man that just about drove the country off the cliff. And, with comfortable majorities in both Houses of Congress for 1977 and 1978, we were launched into the era of double digit inflation. Employment that approached double digits as well. This was the era of “bracket creep.” Remember? The hollow military. The debacle of Desert One. Carter’s “misery” index doubled under his watch. 

And, we got two things that haunt us to today. First, was the overthrow of the Shah; aided and abetted by the blame-America-first crowd that filled the Carter administration. The second was the Community Reinvestment Act. The former gave us the mad mullahs of Iran who are now on the verge of nuclear weapons and a will to use them against Israel. The latter served, with the corrupt lack of oversight by the Democrats, to give us the financial meltdown that may very well lead us into a severe recession, the first since Carter’s administration.

We’ve come a full revolution and now we have Obama, another arrogant and corrupt politician. A man who’s true bona fides are being actively hidden by the MSM. A man who may very well be elected by a financial crisis that had its origins in the Carter era. A man, who when he arrives in the Oval Office, is ready to accept a nuclear Iran as “reparation” for the “evil” of American “imperialism.”

And, unlike Nixon, the GOP’s troubles stem, not from presidential corruption, but Bush’s insistence to stay a course against the existential threat of Islamic imperialism. A staying of that course in the face of adverse opinion polls–aided by just this side of treasonously biased MSM reporting. Knowing that our failure to act now will only result in a bigger and bloodier war to come. A staying of the course based on historical presidents from the 1930’s; had Hitler been stopped at any one of multiple times prior to Chamberlain’s appeasement in 1938 in Munich WW II could have been prevented.

But, the Obama presidency will only be transitional in nature. FDR only inherited the Great Depression after Hoover failed to come to grips with that depression from 1929 to 1932. Obama will have his name associated with this economic downturn, recession or otherwise, because it will contemporaneous with his occupancy of the Oval Office.

Nor can the loyal foot soldier of the Chicago Democratic political machine can be likened to Truman. Truman was a product of the Pendergast machine from Kansas City, but he never personally partook of machine graft. Compare that to Obama’s 1.5 million house, a sweetheart mortgage deal and Michelle’s “promotion” and the doubling of her salary at the University of Chicago to $300,000 per year.  And, long before he rose to the presidency, Truman made himself a respected Senator from Kansas, not Pendergast, by such activities as the “Truman Committee.” And, it was Truman that made the decision to use the atomic bomb. Obama’s no Truman.

So, here we are today. The GOP getting tagged with a war and a financial mess for reasons that are really the GOP’s fault. The electoral loss by the GOP by both Houses of Congress were deservedly due to the GOP’s straying from their small government roots. The war has been portrayed as another Vietnam “quagmire.” The MSM narrative was another America exploiting another “morally superior” non-European, non-Christian culture. Never mind that what we extol as individual liberty, freedom of worship and liberation of women from the status of chattel are completely alien concepts in large swaths of the Muslim world.

Then, we have the financial crisis, all directly related to governmental involvement in the private sector (the Community Redevelopment Act) and then supercharged with the corruption of Fannie and Freddie. The only solace from this crisis is that Obama will have his options and legislative testosterone greatly constrained by the fact that he got his tax hike, all 700 billion, and his buddies at ACORN already spent it.

And, then we have Obama, walking into the presidency by virtue of being the last man standing. Again, like 1976, he’s the only Democratic candidate that can realistically win. His competition was Hill, whose political career was only possible by a name acquired in marriage. And, who is as corrupt as her husband. 

Then, we’ve got Edwards, our ambulance chasing friend from North Carolina. Thanks to the MSM, his love child peccadillo was hidden for something like a year. And, of course there was Senator Dodds from the great state of Countrywide.

Attributed to Mark Twain, profanity provides relief denied even in prayer. But, while in the heat of the moment, ventilating anger feels incredibly good, you generally regret the outburst for having said or done things you wished you hadn’t. A lot of people are going to vote for Obama for “change.” For the feel good opportunity to “stick it” to Washington and “throw out the bums.” But, with Obama in the White House, there’s going to be one heck of a hangover on January 21st.

 

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Running Out the Clock

Posted in democratic party, gop, main stream media, mccain, obama, palin, politics by Eugene Podrazik on October 3, 2008

Obama’s margin of victory, for the Democrat nomination, centers on winning Red State caucuses and using the preponderance of the black vote among Democratic primary voters, in the South, to win those Red States. With the Democratic party grandees to afraid to offend a voting block that consistently votes ninety plus percent Democratic and a compliant MSM, Obama stumbled across the finish line first. Or, more accurately the MSM dragged him across.

Everyone was just supposed to step aside and fade as the anointed one steps up to the throne; just like in Chicago when your the machine endorsed candidate.  Remember all the rancor when Hillary kept the campaign going right out to June. 

Throughout this campaign, Obama has been a Johnny-one-tone. “Inspirirational” but vague pronouncements about “change.” “Change” turns out to be a very perishable product that depended on his getting across the finish line fast and before it spoiled. It depended on coasting on the discontent of an electorate fed up with a GOP that foolishly squandered its capital on big government. And, most recently, it depended on taking this financial meltdown, borne of Democratic Party corruption, and riding it out to November 4th.

As distasteful as it was, the bailout legislation had to be passed. Regardless of the future consequences, and those consequences will haunt us for years to come, McCain had to take this financial meltdown off the table; and fast. His coming off the campaign trail was more than a gimmick. I was a necessary maneuver to force immediate action to give his campaign and that of the GOP time to recover. His presence in Washington DC forced Obama and Biden to react and do the same. Moreover, his presence so spotlighted the problem that the Democrats could no longer allow the problem to fester–until November. And, the public spotlight coming from McCain’s anti-corruption credentials force necessary revisions that prevented this bailout from becoming a ACORN earmark. (I know, there was a lot of pork anyway. But, there were some tax breaks put in the bailout.) 

Now, if played out right, it can show McCain as the leader and man of action who played a role in sorting this problem.  His trip to Washington, seen over the events of the last two weeks can now be seen as a plus; meaningful action to start to settle this financial mess.

Palin played a very important role. Her performance serves to bracket this crisis giving she and McCain time to contrast their anti-corruption credentials with the Obama/Biden status quo that created this mess in the first place. And, an energetic Palin against Biden served to heighten a contrast of reform versus status quo. A contrast of Senate-ese with the clarity of an American untouched by the “sophistication” of the power enclaves of our bi-coastal elites. A contrast that left Biden just looking so yesterday.

But, Palin gave McCain the opening. He’s still got to run the ball. And, he’s got to take the attack to Obama who’s going to continue to try to do as little as possible to allow the MSM, events and the clock carry him to victory. Obama’s the quarterback, who in the last 29 seconds of the game falls on the ball to preserve his team’s two point victory. But, he’s a quarterback who has only the “change” play in his repertoire. A quarterback whose only contribution to the financial meltdown was “give me a call if you need me.” And, truth be known, the last thing he wants is a solution to this crisis, at least until November 4th.

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Okay McCain; Let’s Stow the Bipartisanship

Posted in democratic party, economics, gop, mccain, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on October 2, 2008

So McCain has voted on the Senate bailout bill.  And, we have Obama and Biden on record as well; all three voted “aye.”  

Now, it’s time to stop preening as Mr. Bipartisan and start running for president.  And, as the titular head of the GOP, McCain, win or lose, has a duty and responsibility to run as hard as possible to keep the election close so the GOP can maintain a viable opposition in the House and deny the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

The only reason for McCain for reaching across the aisle is with both to strangle the opposition.  He’s got three remaining debates and thirty days to make sure that Democratic Party corruption in protecting their favor honey pots at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the origins of this financial crisis.  Attempts, primarily by the GOP and in particular McCain, to reform Fannie and Freddie were rebuffed on a party line votes on numerous occasions.  No matter what the occasion, no matter what the question, the mantra is always: Democrats, corruption, Fannie Mae.

Nor, was this a failure of free market economics.  This was a political decision to give certain favored voter blocks cheap housing regardless of ability to really afford that housing.

Time was that you got a 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage with 20 percent down and a mortgage payment no larger than 25 percent of your net monthly income.  These were not unreasonable conditions that worked and, since WW II, created a middle class by giving them the means to develop equity in the form of home ownership.  And, governmental invention in this original situation reflected market conditions that would realistically allow stable maintenance of a mortgage with a low default rate.

The political decision implicit in the Community Reinvestment Act was to make home ownership available to persons who had no realistic ability to do the same. A political decision reinforced by Obama’s former employer, ACORN. It was a political decision to proceed even though free market conditions would have not proceeded with such loans, sans a federal guarantee, since a high default rate would result.  And did.

So, the real cause of this crisis is corrupt governmental intrusion into the free market. There was never an unsoundness of free market economics.  Rather, it was the unsoundness of the decision, by governmental fiat, to essentially legislate that water will flow uphill.  And, after linking the corruption to the Democrats, this is the other point McCain needs to drive home.  

The Democrats might want to learn from this as well.  Because the econmic hard times will be associated with the party that dominates as of January 20, 2009.  Remember, it was Hoover’s depression since he was saddled with the 1929 crash from 1929 to 1932. This crisis is hitting with Bush already a past memory.

 

The Sallie Mae/ACORN Tax Increase

Posted in democratic party, economics, gop, main stream media, mccain, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on September 30, 2008

Yesterday’s failure of the bailout in the House doesn’t end the crisis. But, the crisis and the cause, Democratic party corruption, still remain. In the long run, this crisis will redound against the Democrats, but the time is too short for it to have an effect on this election. Yesterday’s vote probably cost McCain the election.

Pelosi’s role in engineering the bailout’s defeat (she didn’t “whip” the vote) was very shortsighted. The Republican caucus knew that Pelosi wasn’t pushing party discipline and loyalty to get a winning vote. Pelosi’s venom in the speech just prior to the vote only served to confirm the fact that she was going to use this crisis to partisan advantage. And, long after the finger pointing, what will be remembered is that the coming recession, and possibly depression, is Pelosi’s and Obama’s.

But, this crisis remains a creature of the Democratic party. It is the creature of the likes of Dodd, Frank, Reid and Pelosi.  The longer the problems remains unsolved the longer it festers. The MSM can hide the problem only so long. Then the corruption underlying the problem will come out.

Obama and the Democrats, with the help of the MSM, are trying to run the clock until November 4th. In the long run, no amount of ACORN slush funds will hide the reality of the damage that corruption emanating from a badly mismanaged Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 700 billion dollars of corruption will, in some way, wash through our economy. Whatever plans the Democrats had for their triumphant re-entry in January 2009 will be very badly constrained by that fact.

Obama got his wish for a tax increase; a 700 billion tax increase. A 700 billion tax increase courtsey his friends from Sallie Mae and ACORN (you know, he used to work for the latter). The problem is that his friends at ACORN have already spent the money. And, there’s no more money. The slack that Reagan’s economic policies engendered is gone.

There’s no more money for any more of his social programs he’s promised. We’re already in for a recession; at the very least. And, it will be Obama’s, not Bush’s, recession. His options will be constrained by the reality that any move he takes could turn his recession into a depression. This is the knife edge that Obama’s presidental legacy will reside.

Remember, Hoover got tagged with the Great Depression because is was his from 1929 to 1932. This recession (and perhaps depression) will coincide with Obama’s assumption of power in 2009. The economic conditions will squarely be associated with the man who occupies the Oval Office as of January 2009. Even now, Bush is a faded memory.

Yes, Obama, to his own detriment can listen to his loony-left supporters and proceed with all sorts of taxing and spending–above and beyond the 700 billion tax and spend by his friends at Fannie Mae and ACORN. And, the Democratic party will come to a sudden halt in November 2010. I think that even Pelosi isn’t that crazy

Yes, Obama can toe the line with the fringe global warming crowd. But, very soon, he’s going to start hearing about the high price of home heating oil from the Blue State Northeast. That’s above and beyond four dollar gasoline. And, California actually has offshore oil that can come on line in under a year. Obama better start really leaning on the California Congressional delegation.

And, despite the venom Pelosi directed at Bush yesterday, Obama better start, right now, making real nice with Bush. Because Obama is going to need a really big favor from Bush–bombing Iran before January 20th.

But, McCain still has a very important job to do. That is to continue to help the GOP maintain strength in both houses of Congress. Win or lose, he is the head of the GOP. He has a responsibility, in the next thirty days to campaign as hard as possible to keep this election close because, for the sake of this country and his party, he needs to maintain a viable opposition. In particular, he needs to deny the Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate.

McCain needs to concentrate on one mantra for the next thirty days: Democrats-corruption-Sallie Mae. Regardless of the questions asked on the remaining three debates; Democrats-corruption-Sallie Mae.

 

The McCain Rescue Plan

Posted in democratic party, economics, gop, mccain, obama by Eugene Podrazik on September 29, 2008

The importance of McCain’s intervention in the financial rescue plan cannot be overly emphasized. It was the catalyst that made this plan that will address the financial crisis cleanly and without the pork and favors that the Frank-Dodd plan had. Or, the no strings attached that the Paulson plan had. And, it makes provision for transparent bipartisan oversight:

 

          

Side-by-Side Comparison of Rescue Legislation           

 

Issue

Paulson Plan

Frank-Dodd

Final Bill

$

700B

700B – Delivered in 150B traunches that can be delayed by  Congressional disapproval (and a Presidential signature)

250B – Immediately available to the Secretary.

100B – Available upon report to Congress.

350B – Available ONLY upon Congressional action.

 

Insurance (HouseRepublican Mode)

 

 

Requirement to establish mandatory insurance/guarantee program at no expense to the taxpayer.  “Pay to play” for participating companies, based on risk.

 

Executive Compensation

 

Far reaching executive compensation standards that would affect companies not even involved in this financial crisis.  Additionally, the bill lowered the deduction on executive pay to $400,000 for ALL companies.

Workable prohibitions on executive compensation to ensure bad actors are not rewarded. In a total takeover (like what happened with AIG), there will be no golden parachutes or severance pay.  For equity participation, over $300M total ban for top 5 executives on golden parachutes and tax deduction limit on compensation above $500,000.

 

Oversight/Transparency

 

Onerous, unworkable and repetitive reporting and oversight requirements, hindering proper implementation of program. 

Establishment of bipartisan oversight commission, split evenly between minority and majority.

Practical reporting requirements to ensure proper reports to Congress and the public.

 

If after 5 years the government has a net loss of taxpayer funds as a consequence of the purchase program, the President will be required to submit a legislative proposal to recoup such funds from program beneficiaries.

 

“Say on Pay”

Union Take Over of Corporate Boards

 

So-called “say on pay” or “proxy access” which propose to mandate a nonbinding shareholder vote on proxy access and other corporate governance issues for all companies in which the Treasury Department buys a direct stake in certain assets. 

 

OUT

Affordable Housing Slush Fund (ACORN Fund)

 

Included a giveaway that would force taxpayers to bankroll a slush fund for ACORN – an organization fraught with controversy for, among other scandals, its fraudulent voter registration activities on behalf of Democratic candidates. 

 

OUT

Bankruptcy “Cramdown” (aka, trial bar give-away)

 

Included so-called “cramdown” provisions allowing bankruptcy judges to reduce mortgage principal under the guise of helping those at risk of foreclosure.  If enacted into law, the provision would be a bonanza for trial lawyers and undercut the effectiveness of any economic recovery effort by making it even harder to value mortgage-backed securities.

 

OUT


          

Mark-to-Market Accounting

 

 

GAO study on the impacts of mark-to-market accounting standards and effects on the banking crisis.  Restatement of existing authority to suspend mark-to-market.

 

Equity/Warrants

 

Mandatory equity interest in all participating firms. 

Mandatory equity interests in total takeover scenario.  Proportional equity interest based on percentage of assets sold if deemed appropriate Secretary.

Tax benefits for community banks

 

 

Ability for community banks to take capital losses on GSE assets against ordinary income.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember, going in last Thrusday, all we had was the Democrats holding the economy hostage to a plan that would have taken the corruption that had lead to the original financial mess, saddled it on the GOP and then further used the bail out to reward their friends and extend their influence into the economy. The Frank-Dodd plan had the “cramdown provision to allow judges to modify the original terms of the mortgage contract, a slush fund for ACORN, and provisions for Union interference in Corporate governance.”  The Frank-Dodd plan was part of the Democrat game plan for a 1929 redux; Market crash, depression, big election gains and the glory days of the New Deal.

McCain, by going to Washington, rallied the House GOP and turned the tide on the Frank-Dodd plan that would have been the opening shot of the New Deal II of the incipient Obama administration. It has also stopped the “October Surprise” in its tracks and kept the GOP viable for November. McCain can still win his election. The GOP can still deny the Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate. Pelosi will still need to seek political cover from the GOP because the margin of her House majority will come from competitive seats that the GOP can plausibly threaten for 2008 and in the future.

Now, however, is the time to shed the bi-partisanship and to insure that the Democrats are held fully accountable. There’s only thirty days to make the point.  McCain and the GOP must make the following very clear:

First, this financial meltdown was the direct result of corruption. This meltdown can be traced to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It was the result of purposeful Democratic inaction to protect favors to its favored constituencies and sources of campaign contributions that led to this disaster. 

Second, McCain, among others, saw this coming in 2005 and crafted oversight legislation that would have prevented this meltdown. The Democrats blocked this reform on a straight party-line vote. This corruption and McCain’s reform attempts must be made clear.

Third, this is not a failure of free-market economics. This disaster occurred because of governmental intervention into free-markets in trying to force the free market to take on loan obligations that were otherwise untenable. 

Fourth, governmental economic intervention has real costs. Governmental economic intervention is latent corruption. Governmental economic intervention will invariable lead to blatant corruption. It is this latent and blatant corruption that are hallmarks of Blue State governance that renders Blue State America as so many examples of “social service” economies that seek to tax and spend suffocating all economic growth. 

Fifth and finally, Obama was a cipher. An unproductive fifth wheel. In fact it was his uninformed remarks that blew up last Thursday’s White House summit meeting by causing the GOP members to walk out thinking, justifiably, they had been sandbagged by the Democrats. It was McCain, early Friday morning, who urged the House GOP members to get back in the game.

No, McCain wasn’t the only act in town. But, in this case he played a positive and central role in solving this issue. It was he, putting his prestige on the line that provided the key pressure at the right time. He, very literally, had a very critical role in preventing this crisis from further spinning out of control and devolving into a recession if not  a depression.

 

Polls, Polls Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink

Posted in democratic party, economics, gop, main stream media, mccain, obama, palin, politics, republican party by Eugene Podrazik on September 28, 2008

The polls have had a very unsettling effect for we McCain partisians. But, face it. The financial meltdown with a Republican in the White House and the MSM totally pushing the Democratic version of events is going to take a toll.

Frankly, it’s a wonder it isn’t worse. And, it isn’t worse because there is a blogosphere and talk radio to counter what was the MSM monopoly on information.

Also, we have to give McCain credit for using his position and prestige to come off the campaign trail and bring the glare public scrutiny on a bail out plan that was being turned into a pork barrel vehicle for even further corruption. This scrutiny has only further heightened the public disgust with this whole sordid affair. So much so that Pelosi, though she has the votes to work without the GOP, needs strong bipartisan cover to pass any bailout plan. This in turn as given the GOP in the House the leverage to re-craft the bailout to more cleanly address the specifics of the financial meltdown with out the pork such as payout to ACORN. That leverage, with his strong anti-pork and anti-ear mark bona fides, comes from McCain’s presence in Washington last week. 

While the MSM narrative is that McCain messed up a done deal, he in fact did. By messing up the deal on the table, he created the opening for the House GOP to step up and significantly alter the bailout. McCain did not receive any immediate benefit. But, the benefit will accure over the next several weeks. Fortunately, there is time before the election for McCain’s crucial role to become manifest to the electorate.

But, McCain’s got to do the following:

First, the deal, as imperfect as it may be, must be complete by this Monday. There has to be a closure so passions can cool; which is probably the real reason for Obama’s rise in the polls. Also, once the deal is complete, McCain’s role can become more evident.

Second, blame must be pinned on the Democrats. The vice-presidential debate will be a great place to do this because of Palin’s credentials as a reformer and corruption fighter. This is no time for “reaching across the aisle.” That’s being done now in cutting the bailout deal in order to prevent plunging this country into a recession or even a depression. But, once the deal is completed, it will be time to make the guilty parties take responsibility. If for no other reason to try to prevent a repeat of this whole mess. And, to demonstrate that the melt down was not a failure of free markets but of corrupt governmental meddling in the free market.

Third, McCain must use this deal to show how he is the anti-corruption fighter. He must use his role in the bailout to show that he saw this coming as participated in legislation, in 2005, to better oversee Sallie Mae and Freddie Mac. And, how this oversight legislation failed on a straight party line vote.

The third presidential debate will be focused on economics. This will be the time to pull the rug out from under Obama by showing the campaign cash Obama collected from Sallie Mae and Freddie Mac. It will be the perfect time to demonstrate the abysmal economic stewardship, on the part of the Democrats, in their role to properly supervise Sallie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Substance and Style; The First Debate

Posted in economics, mccain, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on September 27, 2008

I had to read to my two daughters and get them to bed. So, I only caught the briefest snippets of the first debate between McCain and Obama. Not that I really wanted to sit through ninety minutes since neither candidate was going to say something that was actually going to cover new ground. Anyway, this election is really turning into a first-class nail-biter and my narrowed coronaries really can’t handle the whole ninety minutes…

But, for anyone following this election, these debates are wholly unnecessary. They’re only a beauty contest staged for the benefit of the squishy, wishy-washy undecided voter. Like watching Miss Universe, all you really need to do is peak in and ogle during the swim suit competition. Therefore, all I really wanted was a feel for the “presence” and delivery.

And, so you have McCain winning on substance. McCain was rattling off fact and figures like a machine gun. From my days as a Navy officer, I know the type. He’d be one of those commanding officers who knew the answer before you had a chance to answer; and woe to you if you didn’t. (Hewitt) (Power Line)(Yepsen)  (Simon, Politico)

Obama was an echo chamber–“I agree, but…” or “I agree, and here’s what I said, (or meant).” But, he didn’t make a fool of himself, either. But, I’ll have to defer to William Katz on matters of show-biz and give the style points to Obama. Katz’s comment from Urgent Agenda sums it up with “Obama sounded as if he could be president.”

Now, McCain needs to be sure that the Congressional Republicans are successful in insuring that the bailout bill is not a pork-laden give away that will function as the first act of Obama’s New Deal II.

And, a well-crafted bill will give McCain the ammunition, in the last debate, to squarely lay out the blame of the financial meltdown at the feet of Obama. Then demonstrate how his bill, that’s McCain’s, did not saddle Democratic Party corruption on the taxpayer.

As unfortunate as the meltdown was to McCain’s poll standings, at least there’s time to build a case to show that this crisis occurred because of corruption. And, he, McCain, has the bona fides to demonstrate that he was on to that corruption and made substantive efforts to stop that corruption back in 2005.

 

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McCain Blinking

Posted in economics, mccain, obama by Eugene Podrazik on September 26, 2008

I doubt this is a blink. Had McCain stayed in Washington DC and cancelled the debate he would have milked the situation for far much more that he could. Like a comedian wearing a joke. Of course, it would have looked better if he had struck a deal last night. But, the role McCain played will sort itself out over the weekend. Long after the partisan cheap shots have been forgotten, what will be remembered is that he took on the problem; front and center.

He made his point, rallied the conservative Republicans in the House and made Obama look like a fool. 

And, he messed with Obama’s mind. Obama was down in Florida prepping for the debate and had his game plan upset by his having to show up in Washington DC. Moreover, by Bush’s request for a summit as well as having to match McCain’s ante, he had to actually show some actual leadership with the limelight thrust directly upon him.

All the while, he wasn’t sure whether he was going to debate as scheduled. An appearance in Oxford was left up in the air until mid-morning. He got played like a drum.

And, since McCain was calling the shots, he was most likely prepping for the debate he knew he was going to do anyway. More important than prepping, McCain was mentally prepared since he knew he was going to debate anyway. Getting inside your opponents OODA loop, it’s what the old fighter jock does for a living. 

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I’m Back in The (OODA) Saddle Again

Posted in democratic party, economics, gop, mccain, obama, politics, uncategorized by Eugene Podrazik on September 26, 2008

The concept of the OODA loop–observe, orient, decide, act–in the context of McCain’s performance after naming Palin as his running mate was first brought up by Michael Barone. It’s a fighter pilot concept of anticipating and thinking ahead of your opponent in an aerial dogfight. And, Obama just discovered he’d got no clue as to how to out think the old fighter pilot.

First, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are political creatures that have become Democrat favor machines. They generate campaign cash for Democratic candidates and favors to favored constituencies by creating a mechanism to have the private sector provide housing at below market costs.

Second, the Democrats, ever living for the glory days of the New Deal, were planning to use this financial meltdown to recreate 1929. Markets crash, depression sets in, massive Democrat victory at polls (presidential and congressional) and on to New Deal II.

In fact, the bailout deal everyone was expecting was to be rubber stamped was just a down payment on the first act of the New Deal II with pork aplenty and scheme to massively redistribute wealth by allowing judges to rewrite the terms of a failing mortgage. The Democrats were using this bailout to protect their favor machine while having the GOP shoulder the blame. (Here’s Ed Morrissey on the Democratic ACORN bailout.)

Enter McCain. He’s completely hijacked the process and is literally holding the Democratic party, and Obama in particular, hostage. All unable to leave Washington until a deal is completed. Obama a prisoner to the process until he votes yea or nay on said deal–in the glare of the publicity that McCain created Obama can no longer vote “present.”

And, there must be a deal. Anything short is going to give McCain and the GOP the bludgeon to hammer the Democrats all the way to November. With McCain in Washington, doing the peoples business, every campaign must stop. Remember, McCain, Obama and Biden are being paid to be full-time senators, not presidential candidates. Oh, Palin isn’t a senator; she can still campaign (tee hee).

But, McCain is going even further. He’s bringing all of his maverick and anti-pork bona fides to the table. There will be a deal. It will be a clean deal to address the problem at hand. It will be his deal. Anything short will again be a club McCain’s hand to beat the Democrats over the head over waste, fraud and pork barrel spending. 

McCain is so playing with Obama’s mind. He’s so inside of Obama’s OODA loop. Here’s Obama, down in Florida, diligently cramming for the debate tonight like a college student two days before the final after having spent the entire semester partying. Here’s Obama practicing his preening to “look” presidental. Here’s Obama thinking that this financial disaster going to put him on the final glide path to a smooth landing in the Oval Office.

Then, smugly flying his fighter to victory, he checks his “six” and finds the old fighter pilot locked on for a kill. All of his best laid plans upended, he’s dragged to Washington and forced to be a bystander as McCain takes the lead and solves the problem. Before someone again makes a crack about “military intelligence” being an oxymoron, they’d better look at the candidate that lived and breathed OODA as a matter of survival.

I predict a final vote in the Senate at about 3 pm EST. Then, McCain’s going to walk up to Obama, pat him on the back, say “good work–and see you in Oxford in a couple of hours.”

 

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McCain Solves the Financial Crisis

Posted in democratic party, economics, gop, mccain, obama by Eugene Podrazik on September 25, 2008

Really. It was the threat of McCain coming to town that provided the necessary incentive to cut a deal to solve the Fannie Mae meltdown. Here’s the article from Breitbart via Drudge. The last thing the Democrats needed was McCain showing leadership and showing, by contrast, what a empty suit Obama really is.

“There really isn’t much of a deadlock to break,” said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Of course there wasn’t much of a deadlock to break. Not when McCain just robbed the Democrats of an election issue. Not when McCain was going to demonstrate what leadership really is and what Obama really isn’t.

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The Photo Op

Posted in economics, mccain, obama by Eugene Podrazik on September 25, 2008

What is going to be particularly delicious about the White House summit for this economic summit will be some photo of President Bush flanked by Senators McCain and Obama.

In the center, will be Bush. He’ll look resolute, but the wear of eight years of presidency will show on his face. On one side will be McCain. He’ll have his usual bulldog look.

Then on the opposite side, looking like the before picture on those don’t-let-the-bullies-kick-sand-in-your-face-Charles-Atlas ads will be Obama. Looking like a recalcitrant teenager just hauled into the principle’s office for smoking in the bathroom. Peeved that his important work as savior was interrupted by this pedestrian, bourgeoisie capitalist trifle. 

The beauty will be that such a picture will be a jarring contrast with Obama’s carefully cultivated post-partisan cool. No matter how he tries to spin this crisis, there will be a picture of him at the center of the storm; only with him documented as playing second fiddle.

And, there’ll be a picture of him making it impossible to fob off the problem on someone else. Because, next to him will be his opponent, who pushed for the very reforms of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that would have averted the crisis. There will be McCain who, of his own inititative dropped his campaign and came to Washington DC to wade right into the middle of the crisis; with the resolve to solve, and not talk about, this problem. 

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Country First; McCain’s Suspended Campaign

Posted in democratic party, economics, gop, mccain, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on September 24, 2008

It’s very likely that McCain’s suspended campaign will be viewed as a political “stunt” or “ploy.” But, this is typical McCain who is going to put important matters ahead of the personal. And, running for president, being an optional activity, is personal. But, here’s a man who prioritizes a major crisis that could plunge our country into a depression over continuing a presidential campaign. This is a crisis, of enough proportion, to be the moral equivalent of war. War, as McCain very well knows, is never convenient. 

It will give America a chance to see the spirit of Cinniantus in action. Here’s a man, at the drop of a hat, is ready to leave his plow in the field in order to serve Rome. And, if that’s a political “stunt,” it’s time we start to see a lot more of those stunts.

And, on the other side is Obama. His political world view is that of a Chicago politician; using tax and spending policies to perpetuate a political machine. Economic policy amounts to spending public funds to reward your friends and, with taxes, punish your enemies. Foreign policy and other such crises are inconvenient distractions to be papered over by all means; only to be dealt with to the extent that the crisis situation can be exploited for further power. More forceful dealings with such crises are only to be undertaken in order to prevent that crisis from degrading your power base. 

Frankly, Obama’s absence in Washington DC is entirely in character with a man who has not clue as to how to deal with this financial meltdown. His presence will only serve to display that cluelessness.  Further, given his financial coziness with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, I think he doesn’t want to be anywhere near the scene of the crime. 

And, so we have the measure of both men. One, McCain, is going to wade right in; putting aside his personal agenda. And, the other, Obama, is much to busy to be inconvenienced by anything in his busy schedule on the way to his coronation.

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Polls and Loathing

Posted in mccain, obama, politics by Eugene Podrazik on September 18, 2008

We’ve seen an erosion of McCain in the tracking polls. Not surprising since the events of Hurricane Ike and the Wall Street meltdown have very much dominated the news. And, of course, the news according to the in-the-tank-for-Obama MSM. Yet, there is a certain resilience to McCain since Rasmussen has the race tied and Battleground has McCain up by two. Gallup is more worrisome, but that’s with registered, not likely voters.

A resilience in spite of events and the MSM throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the McCain ticket. Events have push back against McCain but there’s no knock-out.

We’re going to have to wait for the news from Wall Street to wash out. The Democrats use economic bad new to their advantage by promising free candy. The reality is that, though not perfect, we’ve got an adult presence in the Department of the Treasury I think actually bringing order to the mess and calling the right shots in bailing out liquidity problems (AIG) and allowing problems of solvency to fail (Lehmann). I think, in another week were going to see Wall Street as news fade away; and make Obama’s bleating look foolish.

Ike’s a non-story because there’s a competent response at the local and state level; such responses that were not existant in Louisiana when Katrina struck.

The net effect is that it’s probably good that these events occurred now to allow the immediate emotional effects to die out. What will be left is a steadiness on the GOP ticket that will serve to remind the electorate that these dangerous times needs leadership that can think clearly in the face of adversity.

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From the Gut

Posted in biden, mccain, obama, palin, politics by Eugene Podrazik on September 18, 2008

Here’s another article, from across the pond, about the “cerebral” and intellectual Obama versus the from the “gut” or “heart” McCain and Palin. I don’t know where Biden falls in; maybe not past the ear plugs. Again we’ve more drivel about how we’d all vote for the Democrats if we voted with our “head.” But, being the non-sophisticated rubes from the American heartland we vote with some other organ (you choose).

Yet, if you look at the psychology of decision making, you’ll find the neophyte making will be a very conscious and linear processing of a checklist. The experienced pro will view the same situation and give a brief answer. That pro, in fact, may not be able to give the reasons for the decision other than it was, in fact, right.

There was a such an example given in a WSJ article, about a decade ago, on this  subject,  using the example of a fireman evacuation a particular room in a burning building just before the floor of that room collapsed. The neophyte would have recognized the same situation by the fact that the room was hot but with little visible flames; giving to the conclusion that the floor beneath was burning making the imminence of the floor collapse a near certain probability. The seasoned pro, in the same situation, would have looked at the same scenario and just give the preemptory order to “get out now.”

Everyone has had to learn lessons and “show your work” just like in algebra class. But, as we mature, the lessons are internalized. Our subconscious mind makes these decisions, sorting at lightening speed the myriad of permutations and producing a conclusion; a brief imperative on how to act.

But, the right conclusion, the right imperative comes only if you learned the proper problem-solving protocul in the first place.

And, so we come to Americans voting this November 4th. Live experiences will choose between two candidates, McCain and Palin, who’ve come up the hard way, with plenty of mistakes in their wake. They have challenged the status quo and succeeded. 

Or, Obama and Biden who’ve come from senator-for-life careers who’s only challenges are keeping their political machines fat and happy. They talk well and never lived in a world outside of politics. They are the people Buckley referred to when we remarked that he rather be ruled by the first 2000 names out of the Cambridge phone book that the Harvard faculty.

McCain’s own father once noted that history is made by poker players and not analysts. Analysts are frozen into inaction wondering about all the bad things a given decision could bring and through their inaction allow the very situation they feared to happen anyway.

That’s the world and its problems. You need leaders who’ve been bloodied by working in the real world and who will have developed the instincts to act and not dither. Leaders who know how to distill hard decisions down to a brutal bifurcation of “yes” or “no.” Leaders who know from bitter experience that crucial decisions are almost never a choice between unalloyed good and bad; rather a choice between bad and worse. A decision like one coming in the next six months as to whether to accept Iran as a nuclear power or to take (very messy) action to stop it before Iran acquires such a capability. 

Obama’s going to get rolled by reality. You don’t need a degree from Harvard to figure that out.

 

 

 

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