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October 07, 2008

Comments

I always think of "that one" in the context of old-timey "Lockhorns"-style married couples. Like, "Me, I like to have an eye-opener in the morning, but that one (POINTS WITH THUMB) says it's bad for the kids to see it."

I've used it, and heard it used, in this joke formation so often in writing rooms, that I was actually shocked to hear McCain say it. Not appalled shocked, more like, "Wow! Somebody actually used it in the wild!"

"Second: 'That one'?"

His whole affect seems peculiar.

Josh at TPM just put up a limbo video asking McCain "how low can you go"??? In it, McCain said he would refer to his opponent as Senator Obama.

Guess that one (along with McCain's honor and reputation) is out the window!

And the wingnuts were upset that Biden "disrespectfully" referred to McCain as "John" during the VP debate.

"Josh at TPM just put up a limbo video asking McCain 'how low can you go'???"

Which was the entire topic of this post.

Aside from the "cool hand on the tiller" line, the other thing I thought was a bad thing for McCain to bring up was his straightforward admission that he's planning to cut Social Security: "My friends, we are not going to be able to provide the same benefit for present-day workers that we are going -- that present-day retirees have today."

I grew up in a family where teasing was common, and a comment like McCain's wouldn't have been out of character or particularly mean, just an attempt at humor. "Who left the mess? (Pointing to the side and whispering) That one". I'm still inclined to give the benefit of the doubt where possible, especially when I might have done the same. I didn't hear meanness, just the clumsy sound of ice breaking.

I grew up in a family where teasing was common, and a comment like McCain's wouldn't have been out of character or particularly mean, just an attempt at humor. "Who left the mess? (Pointing to the side and whispering) That one". I'm still inclined to give the benefit of the doubt where possible, especially when I might have done the same. I didn't hear meanness, just the clumsy sound of ice breaking.

I know this isn't very substantive, but if anyone's drinking game involved a drink every time McCain referred to the audience as 'My friends', they are almost certainly in the hospital right now.
It drove me nuts, although that is admittedly because I in no way think of John McCain as 'my friend'.

Yeah, I thought the "That One" line was fine.

At this point, the only person that scares the crap out of me is David Gergen and his prognostications that race might cost Obama five points on election day.

After giving McCain's mortgage cramdown plan (it looks like he does really mean reduce the amount of the loan) a quick read via that politico link, I have a mixed reaction.

In some respects it is a good plan and I think a better way to spend the money than the Paulson TARP plan. But it needs work IMHO.

For starters, it isn't so much a plan as a statement of goals - there is little there in terms of how we get there and I think they are simply flat out wrong in claiming that the modified TARP plan just passed by Congress and signed by Bush provides the necessary framework. We will need another bill to give bankruptcy judges cramdown authority.

The $300 billion price tag seems way too low, but then I saw this:

The McCain Resurgence Plan would be available to mortgage holders that:

• live in the home (primary residence only).

can prove their creditworthiness at the time of the original loan (no falsifications and provided a down payment).

On that last part, Pandora meet box. Good luck with sorting all of that out (if it is more than just a cosmetic device for screening out obvious fraud), and this may explain the lowball price tag - because a lot of people may not qualify depending on how they do this.

Also I see no mention of another really thorny issue which will bedevil any cramdown project, which is how to account for mortagage equity withdrawl (MEW).

How do you deal with people who are underwater not just because they bought too much house and then the price went down, but also in part because they used their house as an ATM to fund other spending? Do they have to put all that money back into the new loan, or do they get to keep it? Does it matter if they used it for say medical expenses (hello Healthcare issue!) or to buy big screen TVs and giant SUV and trips to Paris? Who decides and how?

This is a huge issue because MEW was running at about $700 billion per year during the height of the bubble, and in aggregate homeowners took out more than 3 trillion dollars since the sharp uptick in MEW began in 2001/2002. That was one big honking ATM machine, and that cash needs to be accounted for if we are picking out who is going to get assistance and who isn't.

"At this point, the only person that scares the crap out of me is David Gergen and his prognostications that race might cost Obama five points on election day."

Try reading this, and the article I linked here. Then you'll really feel it.

Yeah, I thought the "That One" line was fine

If Obama had acted that way to McCain? It would have been seen as totally unacceptable.

Why the difference?

Not only that, but:

can prove their creditworthiness at the time of the original loan (no falsifications and provided a down payment).

I can get on-board with a requirement that there were no falsifications or other criminal/dishonest behavior on the part of the homeowners. But requiring that there have been a down payment? Testing creditworthiness? Really? Does McCain even understand what the word "subprime" means? The whole point is that a lot of people were suckered into loans they couldn't afford, frequently with zero down and and a blind eye turned to creditworthiness.

And in our household, there was a general moment of shock when McCain referred to Obama as "That One". Shock as in, "did he really just say that?"

Yes, it's the sort of thing that in a family setting would be unremarkable and probably in good humor. But for the umpteenth time, context matters. This wasn't a family setting, it was a presidential debate between two members of what is supposedly an organization built around collegial and civil debate, with centuries of tradition underlying that.

The context here is that McCain has been smearing Obama in ads for weeks, lying about his record to his face in these debates, and has made almost no effort to hide his contempt for Obama on both a personal and professional level. This wasn't a playful remark to a family member, this was a deliberate insult to a fellow sitting United States Senator.

The one thing that surprised me was that Obama gave a pretty tame response to McCain's comments about exercising proper judgment when deploying US forces. Honestly I don't think he could've possibly set Obama up any better; it was a big hanging curve right over the middle of the plate that should've been hit out of the park. Here's the full quote, with some emphasized parts:

MCCAIN: So we are peacemakers and we're peacekeepers. But the challenge is to know when the United States of American can beneficially effect the outcome of a crisis, when to go in and when not, when American military power is worth the expenditure of our most precious treasure.

And that question can only be answered by someone with the knowledge and experience and the judgment, the judgment to know when our national security is not only at risk, but where the United States of America can make a difference in preventing genocide, in preventing the spread of terrorism, in doing the things that the United States has done, not always well, but we've done because we're a nation of good.

And I am convinced that my record, going back to my opposition from sending the Marines to Lebanon, to supporting our efforts in Kosovo and Bosnia and the first Gulf War, and my judgment, I think, is something that I'm -- a record that I'm willing to stand on.

Senator Obama was wrong about Iraq and the surge. He was wrong about Russia when they committed aggression against Georgia. And in his short career, he does not understand our national security challenges.

We don't have time for on-the-job training, my friends.

McCain just said that judgment on when it is appropriate to use troops and to know whether our national security is actually at risk is paramount. Now, Obama did a fairly good job of pointing out that McCain's judgment on invading Iraq was wrong, but he could've made a much, much stronger argument if he explicitly connected that to McCain's claim about the importance of this judgment. He also could've scored points if he had pointed out the glaring omission of the 2003 Iraq invasion when McCain was rattling off his list of decisions to use or not use troops. I thought McCain opened up a huge opportunity for Obama to give what could have been one of the big soundbytes for the debate coverage, but he really failed to capitalize on it.

Then again, I'm probably just really, really nitpicking here. It just kinda bothered me that he missed such an easy one.

Sure, there are significant numbers of people out there who won't vote for Obama because of race. But there's no reason to be that scared unless these racists are lying to pollsters, and so far I haven't seen any evidence for that. Why would they be so embarrassed about voting for McCain that they'd lie and say they were voting for Obama? Millions of people are voting for McCain; it's not exactly a weird opinion. No Bradley effect showed up the primaries, so why should it suddenly appear in the general. I'm sure it will be used as an excuse if the election results don't match the polls, though.

I'm much more worried about Republican voter suppression by various methods than about a Bradley effect.

CBS:

Forty percent of the 516 uncommitted voters surveyed identified Barack Obama as tonight's winner; 26 percent said John McCain won, while 34 percent saw the debate as a draw.

After the debate, 68 percent of uncommitted voters said that they think Obama will make the right decisions on the economy, compared to 55 percent who said that before the debate. Fewer thought McCain would do so – 48 percent after the debate, and 41 percent before.

Before the debate, 59 percent thought Obama understands voters’ needs and problems; that rose to 80 percent after the debate. For McCain, 33 percent felt he understands voters’ needs before the debate, and 44 percent thought so afterwards.

There is some good news for McCain, who still dominates Obama when it comes to perceptions of readiness to be president. Before the debate, 42 percent thought Obama was prepared for the job, and that percentage rose to 58 percent after the debate. But 77 percent felt McCain was prepared for the job before the debate, and 83 percent thought so afterwards.

Before the debate, 51 percent thought Obama would bring real change; afterwards, 63 percent thought that. For McCain, just 23 percent thought he would bring real change before the debate, while 38 percent thought so afterwards.

Fifty-seven percent thought McCain answered the questions that were asked, and an identical percentage thought Obama did.

Seventy-two percent of uncommitted voters remained uncommitted after the debate. Fifteen percent committed to Obama, and 12 percent to McCain.

In fun at The Corner, Andy McCarthy is melting down.

Rich Lowry thinks:

[...] Obama, meanwhile, just has to appear plausible and he did. In fact, he's a kind of genius at appearing plausible. If the Nobel committee had a prize for appearing plausible, he'd win it every time. He carries himself with confidence, he never appears flustered, and he has mastered his material. If he's losing these debates on points (as I think he is), it doesn't matter. Every day the race drifts in the same direction it is now is a day he's closer to becoming president.

Gary: from the same Lowry post: "If McCain were running in a year when his party wasn't getting crushed by a series of calamites ..."

I hope calamites are more like dolomites than catamites. It can't be like calomine lotion, since that would drown you, not crush you...

OT: scary Hallowe'en mask


"At this point, the only person that scares the crap out of me is David Gergen and his prognostications that race might cost Obama five points on election day."

Try reading this, and the article I linked here. Then you'll really feel it.

For an opposite view, see Nate Silver's critique of the AP-Yahoo study, and analysis suggesting that the Bradley Effect is mostly a myth, and may be partially countered by a reverse Bradley Effect which is most noticeable in southern states with larger AA populations.

I think he meant "calamities."

I like McCarthy's ravings:

[...] Now, as the night went along, did you get the impression that Obama comes from the radical Left? Did you sense that he funded Leftist causes to the tune of tens of millions of dollars? Would you have guessed that he's pals with a guy who brags about bombing the Pentagon? Would you have guessed that he helped underwrite raging anti-Semites? Would you come away thinking, "Gee, he's proposing to transfer nearly a trillion dollars of wealth to third-world dictators through the UN"?

Nope. McCain didn't want to go there.

I haven't followed closely enough, clearly: who are these "raging anti-Semites"? What is this "comes from"? Do we have a factory churning out "radical Left" fetuses?

I miss invitations to all the best Leftist Parties, too.

The problem these guys have is that they confuse their mutual fantasy life with reality, and then get all offended when reality is, you know, reality. Why don't people realize the truth of their fantasy life?

They just can't figure it out.

ThatLeftTurnInABQ, I prefer to be pessimistic, and hope to be pleasantly surprised, rather than vice versa.

McCain also said once again that he knows how to get Osama bin Laden. Has no one asked him why he won't tell Bush (or anyone else) his secret?

I saw Obama needle him once early in the debate. McCain said something Obama didn't like and Obama responded by saying he was going to have to correct John's history or something like that and added a snark like "which isn't surprising". It was subtle, but McCain didn't really react, so I think he dropped the attempts.

Also, I just want to point out here that Obama went to shake McCain's hand at the end of the debate, McCain refused and then gestured to Cindy, who did shake Obama's hand. By that time, McCain turned away. As best I could tell, McCain never did shake his hand. What. A. D!ck.

Lastly, I have been talking to the parentals in Oklahoma, where McCain is clearly going to win in a walk. The one thing they point to is that the enthusiasm gap is HUGE, even there in Oklahoma. Given that and the very impressive GOTV machine Obama has in operation, I actually expect the race to tile a lot more heavily Obama than polls would suggest there in the last few days, more than overcoming any real or imagined Bradley effect.

I find it interesting that both candidates advocated an interventionist policy but neither brought up the subject of veterans issues (retention, recruitment, VA benefits, etc.) Needless to say, these vets were unimpressed. Who is going to carry out this robust foreign/defense policy in the future?

I find it interesting that both candidates advocated an interventionist policy but neither brought up the subject of veterans issues

Were they allowed to? The debate rules seemed to prevent them going 'off-topic', with topic being narrowly defined. Brokaw picked the questions. Certainly, they could have said 'and in advocating this kind of action, I think that we need to make sure that our veterans receive the respect they deserve', but given the format of the debate, it would probably be argued that it was pandering rather than a discussion of those issues.

Shorter me: the vets oughta go after Brokaw...

As is my custom by now, I've analyzed the words used by the speakers in the latest US presidential debate. I provide a bubble graph visualizing length of words, sentences and speech. I also investigated a gut feeling that there was something odd about the distribution of thanks between the different players (bar chart). Finally, improved "word couds" for every speaker (this time including all meaningful words). See and read about it at my Word Face-Off blog.

Obama by a mile. His demeanor was better than in the first debate. He didn’t let McCain rattle him. At times his reactions while McCain was talking reminded me of someone humoring the crazy old uncle ranting at the Thanksgiving table – stopping just short of rolling his eyes. Obama had to avoid being painted as a radical or a socialist and he managed that easily.

McCain avoided the meltdown I expected, but he came across as too stilted, too uncomfortable. He had to shake things up last night to regain his footing and he failed IMO.

Reset the principle on bad mortgages? WTF was that? An attempt to lose the last two conservatives in the country who supported him? If I thought he had a chance of winning and passing that nonsense I’d go out today and buy a half-million dollars more house than I can afford…

On “That one” – I think it may have been a slip. Obama is constantly mocked as “The One” by the right. It wouldn’t surprise me if the McCain campaign also calls him that behind closed doors.

If Obama had acted that way to McCain? It would have been seen as totally unacceptable.

Why the difference?

Because Democrats expect better, while Republicans don't?

"On 'That one' – I think it may have been a slip. Obama is constantly mocked as “The One” by the right."

I'm wondering if he didn't mean to say something like "who voted for that bill? Not this senator [points to self] -- that one! [points to Obama]," but flubbed it.

"If McCain were running in a year when his party wasn't getting crushed by a series of calamites ..."

I hope calamites are more like dolomites than catamites.

That was '06, if you recall, where they were crushed by a series of catamites.

Watching this election is like viewing a slow-motion pileup on ice; The Republican party lost the day McCain secured the nomination, (In the view of many, even if McCain won.) and they've been stuck watching the inevitable play out for months.

I could even laugh about it, if they had enough seats in Congress to function as an effective opposition. But they don't, and we're going to get to see what a real radical leftist does with a compliant Congress.

Only question in my mind is whether he's got the self-control to go slow enough to last two terms, or will over-reach fast enough to cause another '94 style repudiation, and lose his Congress. I'm afraid of the answer.


out out, damned italics

and we're going to get to see what a real radical leftist does with a compliant Congress.

that's absolutely fncking ridiculous. Obama is not even close to being any thing like a "radical".

How about a 1932 or 1936 repudiation, Brett? History is a funny thing.

The most outrageous part of last night's debate was Brokaw's insane assertion that Social Security is going broke. My beer bottle leapt from my hand and smashed the tv screen at that point, and I missed the rest of it. Anything exciting happen?

"But they don't, and we're going to get to see what a real radical leftist does with a compliant Congress."

[roll eyes]

You've never known any actual leftists, obviously.

Who is going to carry out this robust foreign/defense policy in the future?

No one, hopefully.

But they don't, and we're going to get to see what a real radical leftist does with a compliant Congress.

Yes, he might do something like, nationalize the largest insurance company in the world! Or use the state to buy up almost a trillion dollars in mortgage
assets! Or make policy decisions that cause large, multinational banks and brokerage houses to fail, thus ensuring the government is in a position to control the credit markets! Or come up with a plan to have the state intervene in the commercial paper market! All culminating in a stock market crash that is sure to wipe out private industry for good!

Point Ugh. ;(

I saw more needling in this debate, the most obvious being the one mentioned above, when he inserted "not surprisingly" or whatever it was. The other stuff was just way more subtle, and I forgot what it was, but I stiffened for the response each time. But I tend to think Obama's mere existence needles him, and they were closer together physically this time, and McCain is reportedly insecure about his height.

I also think Obama purposefully made a show of approaching him on the Senate floor the other day BECAUSE he knew what the response would be, and that it would be noticed. Not that McCain didn't earn the scorn for behaving badly, but I think it was a sting operation. Obama knows how uncomfortable he makes McCain.

"real radical leftist"??


Brett, you need to put a little poetry into the bloviating on the innertubes.

Matt Taibbi, whoever he is, said watching Sarah Palin give a speech is like watching "Gidget address the Reichstag".

That said, I hope Obama goes radically left if only to see how ugly the Republican base can get next year.

I say we award "ugly points". Each time Palin speaks after the election from her perch in Alaska, she gets her Federal marginal tax rate upped by 5%.

She'll be at 100% very soon and will be incentivized to shut the hell up.

Then we sell Alaska to a Russian conglomerate and pay off the effing deficit.

Two points

1. McCain looked old

2. Obama slam dunked him when he called health care a 'right'. This puts him in landslide territory. His whole health care discussion was just devastating to McCain. John should quit - he has no chance.

"I imagined that Obama would have responded directly and forcefully..."

Imagine that.

"Then we sell Alaska to a Russian conglomerate and pay off the effing deficit"

Great idea, John: it's right next door to them, has historic ties, a resource-extraction economy that fits right in with their business model: and they have plenty of cash!

Any historians here who can check out the original 1867 Alaska Purchase Treaty ("Seward's Folly") for loopholes? Maybe it wasn't a straight "purchase", maybe there is some sort of buyback/leaseback clause in there somewhere?

Hey - for the Russians, it has to be a better deal for them than picking up Iceland .

And they get Sarah Palin, too such a deal!

I agree with Ed Finnerty. Unfair though it may be, I think the strongest effect of the debate will come through viewers seeing Obama as young, physically attractive and vigorous. McCain's only chance against that is to seem wise and reflective, but he can't pull it off. He's selling "trust your leaders" at the moment when a huge betrayal of trust is being revealed.

I did have a couple of conversations with people about McCain's age after the debate. Think about how much a president ages during a four-year term, and then apply that change to McCain as he is now. I was shocked to find that my 79-year-old Republican uncle is planning to vote for Obama, and the deciding factor was that he thinks McCain is too old to be president.

The McCain press release says this:

"The new mortgage would be an FHA-guaranteed fixed-rate mortgage at terms manageable for the homeowner. The direct cost of this plan would be roughly $300 billion, because the purchase of mortgages would relieve homeowners of “negative equity” in some homes. Funds provided by Congress in recent financial market stabilization bill can be used for this purpose; indeed, by stabilizing mortgages, it will likely be possible to avoid some purposes previously assumed needed in that bill."

Yesterday, Bernanke said this:

"Second, the $700 billion allocated by the legislation is not an authorization to spend but rather an authorization to purchase financial assets. The Treasury will be a patient investor and will likely hold these assets for an appreciable period of time. Eventually, however, some assets will mature, and the Treasury will choose to sell others to private investors. Financially, in the long run, the taxpayer may come out either ahead or behind in this process; in light of the many uncertainties, no assurances can be given. But the ultimate cost of the program to the taxpayer will certainly be far less than $700 billion."

Today, the NY Times says this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/us/politics/08mortgage.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

"Under the plan, it added, the Treasury would buy unaffordable mortgages directly from mortgage servicers and, in a reflection of the properties’ diminished values, renegotiate “manageable, fixed-rate mortgages that will keep families in their homes.” Mr. McCain proposes that the roughly $300 billion cost would be covered by the $700 billion bailout law.

That $700 billion total, however, was intended to give the Treasury the means to buy and hold troubled assets from financial institutions that might otherwise fail, so that those assets can be sold when markets recover and the assets regain value. But the McCain summary said that “by stabilizing mortgages, it will likely be possible to avoid some purposes previously assumed needed in that bill.”

I must be missing something, because the McCain plan seems to include an outright loss at the very beginning when these mortgages are being purchased. Am I wrong?

we're going to get to see what a real radical leftist does with a compliant Congress.

I wish. I'd actually be a lot more enthousiastic if he WAS more radical left.

Hey - for the Russians, it has to be a better deal for them than picking up Iceland .

Depends, they might think it's a good deal.

we're going to get to see what a real radical leftist does with a compliant Congress.

I just have to chime in here. Only someone who doesn't know what a leftist is could say this.

I've been thinking about the way the Presidency ages people, such that KCinDC's uncle is being *perfectly* logical. Do our non-USan friends see their Prime Ministers or other leaders aged in office the way US Presidents do? Or is there something about the US Presidency that's particularly draining?

TLTIA: For starters, it isn't so much a plan as a statement of goals...

...which pretty much describes the entirety of the McCain platform.

Also, what everyone else said about "real radical leftist". Jesus H Jumpin' Jehosaphat.

From dutchmarbel's linked article:

UPDATE: Sources in Reykjavik, who've now read our story, tell Coffee House that Iceland turned to Russia for a loan after the EU, the Scandinavian countries and the US Federal Reserve turned it down."

One really has to wonder: why? If the three entities mentioned split the loan up between them, it would be, what? $1.5B apiece? This was too much to pony up for a NATO ally like Iceland? Things must really be worse than we thought!

And one also has to wonder: how does an entire country - even a small one like Iceland - become "near-bankrupt"?

Same way Orange County (CA, not Steve) managed, I'd imagine.


Yes, he might do something like, nationalize the largest insurance company in the world!

Or stand by and do nothing while the Russians get access to Keflavik airport (does anybody remember Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising book?) for the price of an Icelandic bank bailout.

not needling him? have you seen this photo from the la times? http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-debateside8-2008oct08,0,171467.story

obama's entire body language was intended to irritate and throw off mccain, and i think it worked. mccain came out strong, but under the weight of that stare, posture and slight smile from someone that he can't even bear to look at himself, he started getting nervy. i agree with phoebe that obama knew exactly what he was doing when he came up to mccain in the senate - he knows that mccain is both contemptuous of and a little intimidated by him, and he's using that to put mccain off balance.

oops, great minds read the same news articles.


And one also has to wonder: how does an entire country - even a small one like Iceland - become "near-bankrupt"?

By offering an explicit government guarantee covering bank deposits which add up to more than 600% of GDP.

Orange County (CA, not Steve)

OCSteve is Ocean City, not Orange County.

how does an entire country - even a small one like Iceland - become "near-bankrupt"?

Their banks got much bigger (i.e., took on debt much bigger) than the capacity of the government to handle --- many times the GDP.

It wasn't a problem as long as the credit merry-go-round kept going.

KCinDC -- I know a 62-year-old woman who said much the same, essentially: "I'm 62, and I'm tired, and he's OLDER than me. Let the young people shoulder some responsibility, it's their time."

Doctor Science -- I've always been somewhat sceptical of the Doctor Who episode where the Doctor topples a prime minister by saying "she looks tired" to the press -- really? That's all it takes?

But the fact that it made it into pop culture tells me that it's an idea that has a least some weight, perhaps?

Also, though I haven't seen much detail to confirm this, the reserve requirements for Iceland's banks may also have been lower than the international norm, and/or laxly enforced.

Doctor Science -- I've always been somewhat sceptical of the Doctor Who episode where the Doctor topples a prime minister by saying "she looks tired" to the press -- really? That's all it takes?

IIRC, that's a reference to a real-life British politician who was forced to resign after questions were raised about her health, but damned if I can remember who.

obama's entire body language was intended to irritate and throw off mccain, and i think it worked.

If he can be that thrown off by the way a dude is STANDING, then perhaps he should rethink his career.


If he can be that thrown off by the way a dude is STANDING, then perhaps he should rethink his career.

I think the problem is that McCain looked into Obama's eyes and saw five letters:

POTUS

For Brett's benefit, this is what an actual far lefty thinks of Obama--

Link

Or stand by and do nothing while the Russians get access to Keflavik airport (does anybody remember Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising book?) for the price of an Icelandic bank bailout.

That was about my feeling, though I know about the value of Keflavik as much from playing endless games of Harpoon as from reading Tom Clancy. I certainly think that DOD ought to see if there's some money they could dredge up to help pay for this.

Donald: Ten'll get you twenty he can't tell the difference.

Anarch--

I won't take your bet. Many conservatives seem utterly unable to distinguish between a centrist liberal like Obama and, for example, the guy I linked to, who describes himself as being well to the left of Kucinich. Now Kucinich is far left by my standards, bless him. And anyone who can't distinguish between Kucinich and Obama just shouldn't be commenting on politics.

how does an entire country - even a small one like Iceland - become "near-bankrupt"?

Same way Orange County (CA, not Steve) managed, I'd imagine.

Orange County can't print money.

And yes that causes inflation, and yes Iceland has done it before. They had an inflation rate of about 60% a year in 1980.

Brett - Here's what Achance from Redstate thought Obama might do to delay the repudiation. He seems a little cynical to me, but then apparently he's spent some time in Alaska politics.

I am not sure whether Achance's analysis applies to the period before or after Obama's radical leftist gene is activated by the Communist party.

Look, I don't think Obama is a radical leftist by European standards. But he's not running for President of Europe, now is he?

He gets elected, he will be the left-most President in American history, by a wide, wide margin.

Look, I don't think Obama is a radical leftist by European standards. But he's not running for President of Europe, now is he?

He gets elected, he will be the left-most President in American history, by a wide, wide margin.

Um,no.

He's not a leftist BY AMERICAN STANDARDS.

Italiacto!

Do our non-USan friends see their Prime Ministers or other leaders aged in office the way US Presidents do?

Yes they do, the Dutch ones at least. And we're a pretty small country with a usually rather pragmatic streak.


He gets elected, he will be the left-most President in American history, by a wide, wide margin.

If by that you mean "well to the right of Richard Nixon on domestic policy" (Wage price controls anyone? Welfare?) and "more of a fiscal conservative than Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush" (deficits do matter, but IOKIYAR) then I suppose you have a point.

Otherwise, whatever.

Um, what?

He gets elected, he will be the left-most President in American history, by a wide, wide margin.

Obama would be more "left-most" than, say, FDR or LBJ? Really?

He doesn't have to do anything to expand state power -- Bush has already overseen the nationalization of the means of production. Maybe Bush is the "left-most" President we've had, by a wide, wide margin.

Trying to have an intellectually honest discussion with Brett on this subject turns into theater pretty quickly.

Brett, no genuinely left-wing politician has ever been elected President of the United States. Judged in terms of actions as president, it seems pretty clear that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the most left-wing president we've had in practice.

I'd be mighty fired up if I thought Barack Obama were going to approach FDR in progressive reforms. I'm not, and don't think so; he's Bill Clinton with more self-restraint.

FDR came into office in an environment where there was a large, organized, political challenge from the left, along with specific policy demands. He was able to make use of both. The Center for American Progress isn't exactly the CP.

Oddly, $300 billion is just about what I figured was the current extent of bad debt, given the total mortgage debt (~$11 trillion, as far as I can tell) and something I heard on NPR from a subject-matter expert (whose name I cannot recall) who said that the bad mortgages are somewhat less than 3% of existing loans.

I think that if this is genuinely a good idea, it's something McCain should have been bending Bush's ear over, nonstop. Why wait until January?

we're going to get to see what a real radical leftist does with a compliant Congress.

Damn, Brett's on to us! We haven't even finshed recruiting the suede denim secret police or stocking the camps with organic posion gas.

Why wait until January?

Well, McCain has also assured us repeatedly that he "knows" how to get Bin Laden, but hasn't seen fit to share this knowledge with anyone that could do anything about it. It's an odd habit, isn't it.

Turns out that McCain *did* shake Obama's hand. Josh Marshall has the video, I think from ABC. They shook as they were parting after Brokaw asked them to move so he could read the teleprompter. Most of the cameras were pointed elsewhere than the candidates at that moment.

One really has to wonder: why? If the three entities mentioned split the loan up between them, it would be, what? $1.5B apiece? This was too much to pony up for a NATO ally like Iceland? Things must really be worse than we thought!

The scandinavian countries are for 2/3 part of the EU, so it's not really three entities. The EU has a central bank, but it's functioning is not comparable with the US Central Bank. And the Central Banks have their first priorities in their home countries. If there is a central stash of money I think it should be reserved for Spain, Italy, Greece or the Southern European countries who might need help and who have direct impact on the euro.

Here's calculatedrisk's most recent back of the envelope estimate for the range of possible loan default costs:

Not every homeowner with negative equity will default, in fact many of these homeowners will only be underwater by a few percent. But if we estimate one half of homeowners with negative equity will eventually default, use a 50% loss severity, and a 35% price decline (23.6 million households with negative equity), and use the median house price from the Census Bureau of $216 thousand, we get $1.3 trillion in mortgage losses for lenders.

I think this is probably high (probably fewer than 50% will default), but this does give a general idea of the potential losses. If we use one third of homeowners, the mortgage losses with a 35% peak-to-trough price decline would be about $840 billion.

This may be consistent with McCain's plan, since I suspect that not all underwater homeowners will pass the credit worthiness threshold mentioned in the plan. So $300 billion may be about right.

"I've always been somewhat sceptical of the Doctor Who episode where the Doctor topples a prime minister by saying 'she looks tired' to the press -- really? That's all it takes?"

I know very little about Dr. Who, indeed -- never really been able to get into it, as a consequence of not having really seen hardly any until the last few years, rather than growing up with it -- but I know it's six words, not three:

[...] The Doctor claims he can destroy her with six simple words, and after she walks off he asks her aide "Don't you think she looks tired?".

"He gets elected, he will be the left-most President in American history, by a wide, wide margin."

By what measure? (Note: using Fantasy Obama Who Is Programed By Communists not allowed. Answer must be based on actual Obama past actions.)

"I think that if this is genuinely a good idea, it's something McCain should have been bending Bush's ear over, nonstop. Why wait until January?"

Not enough credit.

As one might expect, the McCain mortgage plan is shaping up to be stupider than one might have initially hoped.

let's see.... making a silly but clearly inflammatory remark then not offering any evidence to back it up despite multiple outraged demands that he do so. frequently.

isn't there a name for that?

KCinDC,

The version that Brad DeLong is analyzing (quoting from Douglas Holtz-Eakin) directly contradicts part of the text in the politico article from last night that hilzoy linked to in the top level post, where it said:

For those that cannot make payments, mortgages must be restructured to put losses on the books and put homeowners in manageable mortgages. Lenders in these cases must recognize the loss that they’ve already suffered.

DeLong is correct IMHO that the version of the plan he is looking at is a terrible idea.

At this point until evidence comes to light to the contrary, I'm assuming that the McCain camp is either totally clueless when it comes to the mortgage mess, or is just making this stuff up as they go, or some combination of the two. I really can't think of any other plausible explanation, unless DeLong is just pulling quotes out of thin air.

Ara: "At this point, the only person that scares the crap out of me is David Gergen and his prognostications that race might cost Obama five points on election day."

I think Gergen is on the money. And it's good he brings this opinion out in the open -- since many in the MSM aren't.

That's why I was heartened to see Obama open up his lead this week in some polls by nine points. Yet others still have it at a three-point race, which tells me there might be a lot more to what Gergen is saying than we'd like to believe.

Hopefully, performances like last night will continue to put Obama in a better light -- it's amazing that in the face of all the smears during the campaign (not during the debates) and all of the policy untruths by McCain and his camp (which McCain freely spews in the debates), that Obama keeps his cool.

I like the way Obama listens to McCain's bullshit and just smiles -- he's a better man than I.

A final note: Depending on how it is said, I think "that one" can be said endearingly. But McCain had no such sentiment in his voice. I'm not even sure it was a slip of the tongue. I think McCain truly looks down on Obama, and it shows.

McCain is the angry (and old) white man in this race. And I think these post-debate polls are showing that the country, in a time of foreclosures and worries aobut putting food on the table, does not want an angry, old white man as its president.

Hate to say it, but I think it took the extreme economic downturn to prevent this race from being a toss-up all the way to Election Day.

I'm having one of those moments where I think I just don't get most voters. As y'all know, I'm an Obama partisan. But watching that debate, I don't see how he really *won*. I don't really no why the reaction to Obama was as positive as it was. If anything, McCain seemed a little more lively. And the bizarre mortgage plan was at least that -- a plan -- if nothing more. Both of them failed to answer the questions posed to them time and time again. And it sort of felt at times like they were pressing PLAY on a prerecorded tape. It was at best in my eyes a wash and at worst a slight McCain win, but all the CNN polling showed people having very different reactions. What did they see that I didn't?

I'm having one of those moments where I think I just don't get most voters. As y'all know, I'm an Obama partisan. But watching that debate, I don't see how he really *won*. I don't really no why the reaction to Obama was as positive as it was. If anything, McCain seemed a little more lively. And the bizarre mortgage plan was at least that -- a plan -- if nothing more. Both of them failed to answer the questions posed to them time and time again. And it sort of felt at times like they were pressing PLAY on a prerecorded tape. It was at best in my eyes a wash and at worst a slight McCain win, but all the CNN polling showed people having very different reactions. What did they see that I didn't?

FWIW, I don't really think Obama won last night, and I also agree that McCain was livelier. Bugfnck crazy, but livelier.

"What did they see that I didn't?"

My guess is that it's precisely for the reasons Obama partisans like thee and me have trouble seeing it: that these are people who up to now have seen relatively little of Obama himself, and read relatively little of the real facts about the man, and thus have largely been going on brief clips, and the attacking emails, and rumors.

And in light of coming to the debate with that forming their image of Obama up to now, seeing the real Obama is rather revelatory.

I'm not, and don't think so; he's Bill Clinton with more self-restraint.

I kind of see him as splitting the difference between Ike and JFK, myself.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, especially in context.

Hey all, only 103 more days. Members, don't get weary!

Thanks -

"Hey all, only 103 more days."

27 to the election.

I know very little about Dr. Who, indeed -- never really been able to get into it, as a consequence of not having really seen hardly any until the last few years, rather than growing up with it -- but I know it's six words, not three:

Gary -- does my not bothering to include the entire quote bother you somehow? I thought the gist was clear. (I was actually far mroe worried about being an outsider appearing to broadly infer some sort of broad British opinion based on a pop phenomenon.)

I can use ellipses next time. ;-)

"Gary -- does my not bothering to include the entire quote bother you somehow?"

Just noting that "The Doctor claims he can destroy her with six simple words"; not three. Not bothered; I'm just finicky for details.

(I say "anal retentive," and my sweetie, J----, says "that's a polite word for what you are.")

Ah, I see. You threw me there, because I never mentioned anything at all about the number of words -- just snagged a bit of the quote. (Also, I freaking hate that episode. Long story.)

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