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September 17, 2008

Comments

fall is the slow, sick, sucking part of politics.

indeed.

That's Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, if you don't mind.

When Democrats and Republicans talk about elitism they're talking about two different things. When Democrats say someone is a member of the elite they mean that he has more money than other people. (Democrats don't talk about "elitism," but about "the elite".) But when Republicans talk about elitism they're talking about education - Barack Obama is an elitist because he went to a fancypants Ivy League school. They're telling the voters, "He thinks he's smarter than you!"

Once more, it's the politics of resentment.

And speaking for myself, I want someone in the Oval Office who's smarter than me.

Andrew: Barack Obama is an elitist because he went to a fancypants Ivy League school.

While George W. Bush is not an elitist because he just went to ...two fancypants Ivy League schools.

Kevin: How elitist of me.

AndrewBM: How do you think Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild was talking about elitism?

What AndrewBW said, education and thinking put you out of touch with the common man, marrying/being born in to wealth have nothing to do with it.

(and never mind that Bush has not one, but two Ivy League degrees)

AndrewBW: You seen Jon Stewart's commentary to that effect?

Warren Buffet.

Good post, Eric.

In other news, Carly Fiorini has views on McCain's and Palin's fitness to manage anything larger than a lemonade stand. Washington Monthly has the news.

When Democrats say someone is a member of the elite they mean that he has more money than other people. (Democrats don't talk about "elitism," but about "the elite".) But when Republicans talk about elitism they're talking about education

Like when Obama vacationed in exotic locales - like Hawaii. Like when Kerry windsurfed and engaged in other rich people sports. Like when Obama was bad at bowling, ate arugala and had never eaten at Applebees.

Thullen,

William is his even richer cousin. But in the interest of making this post more readable, I'll change it to Warren ;)

we took a trip to SF and wine country last summer. i had that song in my head for two weeks...

Down, from Santa Rosa over the Bay
Across the grapevine to LA
Man-made deltas and concrete rivers
The south takes what the north delivers

Remember this line from one of the 2004 debates: "I won't hold it against him that he went to Yale. There's nothing wrong with that." For the media and those who knew Bush went to Yale, that was a little joke. But for a substantial part of Bush's anti-intellectual base, it was simply straightforwardly pointing out Kerry as an elitist and distinguishing him from common man Dubya, who probably went to a community college if he went to college at all.

Can I be the first to ask a very simple question: why should ANYONE care what this lady thinks?

Before this story, I'd never heard of her. I'm willing to bet 99.99% of my fellow citizens are in the same boat.

This is a lady with an overinflated sense of importance because, well, she's very wealthy. Let's not give her the attention she doesn't deserve.

Thanks.

At a time of unprecedented economic worry for the average american what does Barack Obama do to demonstrate he understands their concerns?

He goes to Beverly Hills to have dinner with Barbara Striesand and other wealthy celebrities charging them a price for this priviledge well in excess of the average persons monthly take home pay.

But forget about all that. What are his policies to address the current crisis?

How is he going to restore the trust in the nations credit markets? It starts at the UST. Credit default swaps for UST debt is at all time highs, soaring from 2bp to 30bp.

It is not the level of debt that is causing this problem as much as it is the growing doubt about American politicians committment to honor its debts.

Actually Barack Obama has two fancypants Ivy League degrees too.

As for Lady Rothschild, don't forget that she's not attacking Obama from the right, as McCain would. In fact, she was a major Clinton supporter and her comments were first aired in a Times of London story on August 17. Hillary Clinton’s rich friend Lady de Rothschild ambushes Barack Obama. So the dynamic here is different than if she were a Republican attacking Obama. (Which may raise a question as to whether she still in fact maintains those views.)

OK, strike that last paenthetical on my misreading. But still, her attack on Obama's elitism isn't the same as a classic Republican attack.

This has gotta be the stupidest election ever. What a time to be alive.

Here's hoping that the Obama campaign gets a press release out that "Lady de Rothschild Endorses McCain." Because he's so for the working class American. . .

It is not the level of debt that is causing this problem as much as it is the growing doubt about American politicians committment to honor its debts

And how do you separate the two? They're inextricably linked.

At a time of unprecedented economic worry for the average american what does Barack Obama do to demonstrate he understands their concerns?

He lays out a specific six point plan in a series of speeches. A six point plan that he had already drafted last spring.

Backing it up with a lengthy ad

People who go by "Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild" don't get to call other people elitist, except maybe as a term of affection.

ken -- pot, meet http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5goxl4DgAOs73CPo6Iomv5BgSvKhA>kettle.

Obama's staff however said McCain was on shaky ground, as he was flush with five million dollars in his own big fundraising event. "I don't know who showed up in Florida where he raised five million dollars, but my guess is that it wasn't a lot of nurses, firefighters and police officers," Obama's top strategist David Axelrod told reporters on Tuesday.

As Andrew Sullivan said, she lost me at "de". Given that this is not from The Onion, I can only imagine "elitist" is what she got from spinning the "It's Not Because He's Black" Excuse Wheel™.

This is one of the various ways in which Obama's race hinders him. He's just not able to make "heartland" America feel like he's jes' folks the way, say, Hilary Clinton did during the primary by swigging shots etc. It's obviously BS whenever any nearly any politician does it, but it's a trick denied Obama.

On the other hand, he gets to appeal to younger people without making a whole lot of effort. It's demographics, not so much a racism issue, he's just unlikely to be from a minority demographic racially-speaking (not that I really agree with the definitions of premises of those ethnic categories).

Of course, probing further, perceptions of race are obviously at the root of that, but it would be too simplistic just to call someone a racist because they're not buying an upper-middle class urbanite senator (ie basically all senators) as just like them,

all these pols have constructed images, some just more blatantly than others.

Why the hell isn't Warren Buffet all over TV campaigning for Obama? Buffet is smart enough to know that prosperous customers, not tax cuts, are what make people like him rich. He may not be a raving liberal, but his heart seems to be roughly in the right place. He may have his hands middling full these days (unlike penny-ante former CEO Carly Fiorina) but surely he can find a few minutes to tell Mrs. Alan Greenspan to put a sock in it. What's his hang-up?

--TP

"At a time of unprecedented economic worry for the average american what does Barack Obama do to demonstrate he understands their concerns?"

So, Ken, since you're on Obama again, let's ask again: "I can never forgive him [Barack Obama] for useing racism against the Clintons."

How did Barack Obama do that?

"But I also will no longer support afirmative action, preferential admission policies and other programs designed to assist minorities gain access to good job opportunities."

What does Barack Obama have to do with this?

"But we also know that when somone like him does not get accepted it is because they made room for a minority applicant with lower GPA. Skin color made all the difference."

How, exactly, do you know this? Please be specific.

"jes, Your comment about me is typical racism."

Can you please define what you mean by "racism"?

Thanks.

make "heartland" America feel like he's jes' folks the way, say, Hilary Clinton did during the primary by swigging shots etc.

I don't think she'd have gotten away with that in the general if she'd gotten the nomination. She would've gotten the same "elitist" media narrative as Gore, Kerry, and Obama.

Eric: while I share your hair-tearing angst bewildered amusement at the sight of a Rothschild (even a Rothschild-in-law) chiding Barack Obama for "elitism", I think AndrewBW is on to something. And it's not just the "education" thing, nor, pace your typically excellent segue into the particulars of the candidates' tax policies, even necessarily an economic issue, so much as a cultural one.

Mybe it's just my reading, but ISTM that Republican attacks on Democrats' "elitism" are, functionally, an echo of the ideological rifts of the 1950s and 1960s - wedge issues go of which they simply will not let. The delineations they posit between "elitist" and "regular" Americans seems far more an attempt to paint Democrats with the dreaded "liberal" label: issues of "patriotism"/"love of country"; "family"; "values"; and, above all - "religion" - issues on which liberals/Democrats can be (and usually are) painted as being on the "wrong" side of. At least by the rigid ideological definitions that the American Right has been using for at least 75 years (i.e., "Tolerance is Bad").

The Obama campaign and Democrats in general would do better, IMH (and unsolicited) O: to avoid making their attacks on the "elitism" nonsense solely about economics: addressing the population's social concerns: however superficial or stereotyped they may be: this election is too important - every vote is going to be needed.

I'm just grateful for Sarah Palin's truth-telling, and sad we don't have Al Gore, liar to kick around any more.

At some point, it would be nice if we could all recognize that a sense of elitism is a pre-requisite for running for political office. Anyone who sincerely believes that they are best positioned to tell other people what to do with their lives is, by definition, an elitist. This belief, of course, is a necessary requirement to be a politician - assuming, of course that the politician actually wants the power they seek for less-than-selfish reasons.

It chills me to think what a non-elitist (read: consciously selfish) politician would do.

Eric,

I think you meant Warren Buffett (with 2 t's).

/elitist nitpicking

farmgirl, you are saying that McCain is just as much an elitist than is Obama? How exactly is that supposed to be a good thing, for either of them?

Today McCain issued a statement saying he understood that the AIG bailout was unaviodable because of the widespead harm doing nothing would have caused.

Obama issued a statement blaming Bush.

I'm sorry, Obama is so freaking out of touch it is scary. This is what acedemics cannot teach you. It cannot teach you empathy, nor can it teach what needs to be done in emergencies.

McCain gets it. Obama does not.

Yet neither of them inspire any confidence as far as I am concerned.

Jay C, before 2004, did anyone think of windsurfing as somehow more culturally elite than snowmobiling?

yes, and McCain's idea of "what needs to be done in an emergency": convene a commission.

thanks for playing, but no.

It is not the level of debt that is causing this problem as much as it is the growing doubt about American politicians (sic) committment (sic) to honor its debts

From CNN:

Government bonds bounced back strongly, sending the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield back down near the five-year low it set Tuesday morning.

...

Stocks tanked Wednesday, sending investors fleeing to the perceived security of the U.S. Treasury bonds market even as yields plummeted.


Here is the what Ken's argument implies when squared with the reaction in the bond markets:

People are afraid that the US will not honor its debt. So they rush to buy more of that debt at higher prices than before.

Does that make sense to anyone but Ken?

It starts at the UST. Credit default swaps for UST debt is at all time highs, soaring from 2bp to 30bp.

This is not due to fear that the US will not honor its debt. This is due to the fact that no one wants to make deals today because they have a very reasonable fear that the entity on the other side of the deal might not exist tomorrow.

I'm sorry, Obama is so freaking out of touch it is scary.

I think it's scary that you think Obama is out of touch.

It is not the level of debt that is causing this problem as much as it is the growing doubt about American politicians committment to honor its debts
--------
And how do you separate the two? They're inextricably linked.
--------

The entire economic edifice rest on faith and trust. It starts with the fundemental assumption that the UST investments are totally risk free. Everything is based on that assumption.

That was true all true up until recently. It proves no point to have confidence in your debtor when times are good. What matters is what happens during tough times. And these are the darkest most toughest times in any of our lifetimes.

If we do not, now, when it is needed the most, preserve the full faith and credit of the USA then nothing else you do, not even your choice of president, will make a dang bit of difference.

McCain's actual statements about AIG.

John "divorced from the day-to-day challenges people have" McCain has empathy, ken? John "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" McCain? Really?

Also note that his position on AIG has flipped since yesterday.

McCain's idea of "what needs to be done in an emergency": convene a commission.

Well, it's that or bomb somebody, and we should be thankful that he didn't see that as appropriate in this case.

I win!

;-)

But I'm sure John "is that ten houses" McCain, whose wife wears $300,000 outfits, both of whom have never known anything other than wealth and status, have much more empathy for the middle and lower class then the guy who grew up with a single mom on food stamps, and with a grandfather who was a furniture salesman, and who went to college on scholarships, and chose to work a poverty-income job in a desperately poor neighborhood. Who wouldn't think that makes sense?

People are afraid that the US will not honor its debt. So they rush to buy more of that debt at higher prices than before.

Does that make sense to anyone but Ken?

------------

Look at the five year credit default swap.

The short term bill market is strong because it is assumed that in the short term the US will not default. The question however is in the longer term stuff.

The problem is that investors are beginning to doubt the American committment to keep it promise.

This should not be a partisan issue. But unfortunately it has become one.

Ken: is Obama "out of touch" with you, or with some large class of voters whose sentiments you have a deep understanding of? That's a straight-up, non-rhetorical question.

In either case, what should Obama do or say, in your view, to make himself look more "in touch"?

--TP

@KCinDC:

Dunno about the windsurfing - but (and this just may be my inner East Coast elitist talking), I've always viewed snowmobiling - as with most sports/recreations requiring a gasoline engine - as more-or-less a blue-collar/lower-middle-class pastime. At least for those b-c/l-m-c living in cold climates, anyway. But I don't think it really matters much: even if John Kerry had been an avid snowmobiler, the Republicans would have found a way to attack him over it, probably along "snooty-elitist-pretending-to-be-a-regular-snowmobile-guy" lines.

It starts at the UST. Credit default swaps for UST debt is at all time highs, soaring from 2bp to 30bp.
-------------
This is not due to fear that the US will not honor its debt. This is due to the fact that no one wants to make deals today because they have a very reasonable fear that the entity on the other side of the deal might not exist tomorrow.
-----------

You dont' know what a CDS is.

The entity being insured is the UST against default, not the counterparty against good delivery.

Sports that require expensive equipment become non-elitist if there's a gasoline engine involved? Don't yachts have engines?

If Kerry had been snowmobiling, the Republicans would have just portrayed snowmobiling as elitist. I don't think anyone viewed windsurfing as elitist until Republicans decided to make it elitist.

Ken: is Obama "out of touch" with you, or with some large class of voters whose sentiments you have a deep understanding of? That's a straight-up, non-rhetorical question.
-----------

He is out of touch in that he does not understand the enormity of the crisis faced by every single one of us. Perhaps you don't understand it either. That's ok.

But reality will not wait for you or for Obama (or McCain for that matter) to catch up.

It starts with defending the fundementals and the most basic fundemental of all is the full faith and credit of the USA. Without that nothing else matters.

Without that we are no better than a third world plutarchy.

"what should Obama do or say, in your view, to make himself look more "in touch"? "

It may be too late for that. But strong leadership on an hot button issue could do it for him.

Instead of limiting his policy proposals to 'go read my web site' and spend his campaign time on attacking McCain and promising some nebulous 'change', he could start campaigning on policy proposals people can understand like McCain's 'drill drill drill'.

Perhaps he could campaign on 'Hilary care' to address people's worry about health issues. Everybody understands the issue and support for some kind of national health care is growing.

Why the hell isn't Warren Buffet all over TV campaigning for Obama?

Maybe he saw what happened to George Soros after his very limited, and rather moderate attempts to engage the political landscape.

I think you meant Warren Buffett (with 2 t's)

Oh for crying out loud, why can't I get this freakin guy's name right...

It starts with defending the fundementals and the most basic fundemental of all is the full faith and credit of the USA.

You do know that Obama's plan does more to balance the budget than McCain, right?

Honestly ken, you seem like a nice enough guy, but you also seem incapable of carrying on a rational discussion about Obama - one based on empirical reality and not subjective and unprovable things like "I think he's out of touch" and "academia can't teach empathy."

You also play fast and loose with the facts: "All Obama did was..." When in reality, he's done much more. Or, "He doesn't have a plan..." When he does, but you just don't like the way he talks about it.

I would be more than willing to carry on a discussion with you if you would re-enter the world of good faith discourse, but if you continue with your increasingly irrational animosity toward Obama that is impervious to logical back-and-forth, I see no point.

Regrettably. As I said, you seem like a nice fella.

Instead of limiting his policy proposals to 'go read my web site' and spend his campaign time on attacking McCain and promising some nebulous 'change', he could start campaigning on policy proposals people can understand like McCain's 'drill drill drill'.

Did you see his two minute ad? It didn't attack McCain, it didn't promise nebulous change.

Do you really care though? Honestly?

Are you really interested in Obama campaigning better? Are you really offering him advice or good faith criticism.

Seems like something else Ken.

Now bicycles are elitist. I rest my case.

Jay C:

I think AndrewBW is on to something. And it's not just the "education" thing, nor, pace your...segue into the particulars of the candidates' tax policies, even necessarily an economic issue, so much as a cultural one.

I don't necessarily disagree with this. There is definitely a cultural element to this that extends beyond financial condition. But there is also an economic theme woven throughout.

There is a class-based element to the cultural critique, and the elitism charge often translates into simply rich. At other times, it's much more cultural - including the charge of intellectual snobbery.

One of the most recent examples: Biden talking about tough economic times, but the TV reporter wondering if his message will be undermined because he was wearing french cuffs.

I kid you not.

That is straight up economic-based elitist bamboozle.

Eric: That was the most polite troll shutdown I have ever seen in a comment section. Sites like this restore my faith in the possibility of a democratic republic.

Ken, on what is "the full faith and credit of the USA" founded? Does it have anything to do with the American government collecting adequate tax revenue from the American people?

I am interested in your answer to that question, but even more interested in your opinion of how all those regular folks that Obama is "out of touch" with would answer it.

You may be completely correct that Obama appears "out of touch" to regular folks. As an Obama partisan, I would happily take your advice on how to fix that -- up to a point.

--TP

You're right, ken. Pointing voters to a place where they can read Obama's detailed ideas on the economy is "limiting his policy proposals." On the contrary, encouraging chants of "drill baby drill" unleashes a vast and unlimited resevoir of policy proposals for us regular Americans to contemplate and base our November decision off of. In terms of "showing leadership on a hot button issue", a multi-faceted policy outline pales in comparison to mindless demagoguing.

Don't yachts have engines?

stick a few fishing poles on the back of your 50 footer and you will scare the elitism right away. they're like crucifixes.

At a time of unprecedented economic worry for the average american what does Barack Obama do to demonstrate he understands their concerns?

He goes to Beverly Hills to have dinner with Barbara Striesand and other wealthy celebrities charging them a price for this priviledge well in excess of the average persons monthly take home pay

Or, alternately, he went and got his campaign financed by well-to-do private individuals instead of taking nearly $100 million from American taxpayers for it.

@Jay C 1:59pm 2nd graf: coffee, meet LCD.

@KCinDC -

Basically, yes, if an internal combustion engine (or firearm) is involved, then there is a just barely rebuttable presumption that the sport/recreational activity is Real American (non-elite). The cost of the equipment and/or petrochemicals involved is irrelevant. Ability to connect the activity in question to a traditional activity of our traditional mechanized yeoman farmers or for that matter any activity became a mass activity pre-1960s largely insulates the activity from un-american-ness.

There are competing attractors: the Real American attractor and effete Ivy League attending latte sipping NPR listening European manqué attractor.

The GOP and their apparatchiks can push the narrative but there are limits; windsurfing was easy (connects more to sailing than surfing; sailing is easy to make elite), but I think snowmobiling would have been hard to spin. Hunting, forex, is Extremely American, so the spin there (e.g. with Kerry) is that the pol in question isn't _really_ a hunter, but rather is just playacting at it (usually true). IOKIYAR comes into play in terms of very different levels of suspension of disbelief as to the authenticity of politician's enthusiasm for the Real American activity, whatever it might be.

ken is a troll. accept it.

and for the record, McCain did a $25000/plate dinner just last week.

Them things with all them words in 'em don't use gas, either. What are them things called again? Oh, yeah - books!

You can be the wealthiest person in the world and not be elitist, provided you talk plain, have lots of horse sense and don't buy into the fancy theories of Ivory Tower academics and PC types.

You can be rather poor and be elitist if you know about fine arts, mathematics, literature, or history; listen to NPR; read books; watch PBS; use adverbs as adverbs instead of using adjectives as adverbs and stuff like that.

Given what I think the elitism charge is aimed at, someone like, say, Gary Farber is elitist. (I hope you don't mind my using you as an example, Gary.) Forget that he doesn't have two nickels to rub together, or even that he doesn't have any Ivy League degrees (or any degrees at all, if I remember correctly). He just knows too much and is full of fancy book learnin'. Sure, he might be able to point out how all of this is wrong, but it's really just some kind of rhetorical Jedi Mind Trick he learned by reading all them books with all them big words. He probably doesn't even like the Hank Williams Jr. theme song for Monday Night Football. He may even refrain from smackin' pretty girls in tight shorts on the fanny, even though they're asking for it, 'cause he buys into that feminism stuff. He's just not a regular Joe, like real Americans are.

ken @ 14:46"

"Perhaps he could campaign on 'Hil[l]ary care' to address people's worry about health issues."

OK, is this concern trolling, or is this concern trolling?

"Hillary Care"?? One of the most ridiculed and reviled proposals in modern political history? Conceived in obscurity, complex in nature, and done in by a misleading and ludicrously simple-minded set of TV commercials? Which defeat led to making the whole issue a political untouchable for what? 15 years?

I'll give ken the BofD here, but whatever Sen. Obama's proposals on national healthcare might be, he should, AT THE F****** LEAST find it a new name!

Barack Obama's elitism sin is that he is very, very smart -- anyone with half a brain can see that when you listen to the man speak.

If a voter holds that against him, that says something about the voter who no doubt prefers a whiz like George W. Bush in the White House.

McCain strikes me as very elitist when he says the fundamentals of the economy are strong.

For some who owns seven houses and is married to a beer distributor heiress, I suppose things don't seem that bad. For someone living paycheck to paycheck, I know they seem downright paralyzing.

Of course, McCain tried to say he was speaking about the strength of the American worker, who I hope is smart enough to see through his double-speak. What bullshit. Give me Obama's Ivy League/thoughtful intelligence over McCain's pandering any day of the week.

If Kerry had been jetskiing rather than windsurfing, I don't believe anything would have been different, despite the presence of an engine. If a Democrat is doing it, it's elitist. If a Republican is doing it, it's not.

If a Democrat is doing it, it's elitist. If a Republican is doing it, it's not.

Exactly. See, e.g., Dick Cheney and hunting (or, in his case, "hunting").

Nothing to do with economics, and very little to do with education. Everything to do with cultural/consumption markers and the willingness of the news media to adopt whatever the latest Republican account of those cultural/consumption markers happens to be. Al Gore's "earth tones"? Elitist. John McCain's shoes that cost roughly what I bring home in a week? Not elitist. Arugula, which you can get in a McDonald's salad? Elitist. Moose meat, available in maybe three states and some high-end niche restaurants? Not elitist.

When in doubt, ask Frank Luntz.

Eric, my dislike of Obama is based upon his betrayal of one of my most basic values: I abhor racism.

I am and always been viscarily repelled by the use of racism and its expression in any form whatsoever. It literally turns my stomach.

I have paid too big a personal price holding to my values to vote for someone who so blythly distains them.

And McCain is a decent well known independent to sometimes liberal republican. I can live with that.

But the economic crisis we face is far larger than even my worst fears can make it. And McCain may actually be just as bad as Obama regarding handling the crisis. So I am hoping that one of them will take the leadership role needed.

As far as what Obama can do to make himself more relevant to the public, I really think that democrats, and Hillary in particular, own the health care issue, just like republicans, and Ronald Reagan, own the tax cut issue. So if he wants to be more relevant he can embrace it and run a populist campaign on 'Hillary Care'. The public understands what this means to them. I think it would be well recieved just like 'drill drill drill' is well recieved.

Whatever Obama does it ought to be soon as his campaign is floundering.

I will not vote for Obama. But now I am not sure I will vote for McCain either.

it's simple. when it comes to government:

elitist = presuming you know how to help people

not elitist = knowing you can't do anything but let people help themselves

elitist = presuming you know can harness the machinery of government for good

not elitist = wanting to tear down government because it only gets in the way

Mr Strawman Elitist Democrat III thinks he can use the government's power for good. Mr Strawman Everyman Republican IV says the government needs to do less and let people do more for themselves.

Or, alternately, he went and got his campaign financed by well-to-do private individuals instead of taking nearly $100 million from American taxpayers for it.
----------

That 100 million dollars is collected in $3 dollar increments each April 15 from Americans who want to get big money out of politics.

Obama made a mistake by not sticking to his word and using the limited public funding as McCain is doing.

BTW doesn't the fact that Obama has vastly outspent McCain yet is losing the polling to him demonstrate McCain's superior managment skills? I remember something like that being argued during the campaign in Obama's favor.

ken: I abhor racism.

Self-abhorring ken.

Barack Obama's elitism sin is that he is very, very smart -- anyone with half a brain can see that when you listen to the man speak.
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If he is so smart why isn't he beating McCain?

Because voters in this country, as a rule, don't like smart people. Duh.

jesurgislac is a troll

You just gotta love Lady Rothschild.

Splits time between London, New York and wherever.

More inherited money than God.

Calls Obama elitist.

Could she be more clueless.

Obama should just run a commercial of her giving support to McCain.

BTW -- Last time I checked, royal titles were not permitted for American citizens. Or, did the Republicans get rid of that law, too?

Did you see his two minute ad? It didn't attack McCain, it didn't promise nebulous change.

-------------

Ok, so his policy proposal has switched from 'go to my web site' to 'go watch my tv ads'.

How is that policy better than McCains policy of 'drill drill drill'?

That you don't get this speaks volumes of what is wrong with liberal elitism. This is why Democrats lose elections.

Ok, so his policy proposal has switched from 'go to my web site' to 'go watch my tv ads'.

How is that policy better than McCains policy of 'drill drill drill'

Wait a minute. You seem confused. Something is not "better policy" because it is bad policy that can be distilled into catch phrases. It might be easier to sell, but that doesn't make it better policy.

If the Dems need to start endorsing bad policies with catchy language to attract voters like you, I'd just as soon they not.

I mean, the Dems did quite well in 2006, and are looking pretty good now.

If he is so smart why isn't he beating McCain?

Because people confuse good policy with good salesmanship. McCain is willing to lie repeatedly, and endorse bad policies that sound good in little easy to regurgitate sound bites. The media is willing to let McCain and other Republicans lie about their bad policies with impunity.

BTW doesn't the fact that Obama has vastly outspent McCain yet is losing the polling to him demonstrate McCain's superior managment skills?

First, Obama's not losing in the polling. Your talking points are outdated. Go get a refresh.

Second, the RNC has more money than the DNC so Obama hasn't necessarily outspent McCain.

Third, see the first two responses above.

Ok, so his policy proposal has switched from 'go to my web site' to 'go watch my tv ads'.

No, his policy proposals haven't switched at all. They're the same.

Tax cuts for the middle class.

Better sounding than "drill, drill, drill."

Better policy too.

Ken, on what is "the full faith and credit of the USA" founded? Does it have anything to do with the American government collecting adequate tax revenue from the American people?
---------------

I think it does. But over the last thirty years fiscal responsibility has gone out the window. No democrat but Bill Clinton was willing to lead on this issue and it cost him a lot of Democratic support and the everlasting enmity of the Republicans.

We live in an era that takes credit for granted. That's ok. But what is not ok is threatening our creditors with default when things get bad. About fifteen years ago Newt Gingritch said in a meeting of bond traders that it would be useful if the US should default on its debt every once and a while. Instead of this being the wacky position of an extremist it has gained currency among democrats and liberals as well as the market worshipping conservatives who embrace such crazy ideas.

It is important to have the trust of our creditors that in both bad times and good our obligations are beyond politics.

Bush and Paulson are showing suprisingly good leadership on this front. Of course they are not running for office but have to deal with the reality of what we are facing.

McCain and Obama can help restore trust by giving the world assurances of their 100% backing of all our debt, no matter what.

Until they demonstrate to the world their seriousness about this issue we will continue see net selling instead of buying of UST and GSE debt.

Why the hell isn't Warren Buffet[t] all over TV campaigning for Obama? Judging by his performance as an advisor to Schwarzenegger, Buffett values loyalty over his own good judgment, at least when he's pressed. Arnold claimed to be looking for real ideas; Buffett said what everyone knows, that California's financial woes are impossible to fix unless we can break with the anti-tax orthodoxy that's been in place since Proposition 13; Arnold slapped him down and said don't ever say anything like that again; so he didn't.

McCain and Obama can help restore trust by giving the world assurances of their 100% backing of all our debt, no matter what.

Why would any foreign investors care about "assurances" from Presidential candidates? What matters is our actual capability to follow through on our obligations: if we lack the capability, then it doesn't matter what politicians have promised -- debt holders are going to get squat. Seriously, bankers don't care about pretty sounding words and promises: they care about cash flow and balance sheets, assets and liabilities. (Well, bankers who are holding on to the debt do, as opposed to those who are going to securitize it).

Besides, if Obama did that, wouldn't you and everyone on tv start screeching incoherently about how presumptuous it was for him to be acting as if he were President already?

Besides, if Obama did that, wouldn't you and everyone on tv start screeching incoherently about how presumptuous it was for him to be acting as if he were President already?

Yes.

ken, by the way, can you point to any expert who agrees with your claim that the Presidential candidates should immediately start making promises about the US honoring its debt obligations? By expert, I mean eithe someone with a PhD in economics or a CEO/CFO from a Fortune 1000 company. Obviously, this idea is very important to you, but I'm curious if anyone else thinks the candidates have to do this NOW.

And wouldn't it be considered an unfair attack for either candidate to imply that the other one is planning to default on our debts?

What is the evidence that this craziness has "gained currency among democrats and liberals"?

"Sure, he might be able to point out how all of this is wrong, but it's really just some kind of rhetorical Jedi Mind Trick he learned by reading all them books with all them big words."

Also, and in fact, I am a criminal and a busybody, prying into things under the earth and up in the heavens, and making the weaker argument the stronger, and teaching these same things to others.

I also only had three months of college. Autodidacts 'r us.

"Eric, my dislike of Obama is based upon his betrayal of one of my most basic values: I abhor racism."

"I can never forgive him [Barack Obama] for useing racism against the Clintons."

How did Barack Obama do that?

"But I also will no longer support afirmative action, preferential admission policies and other programs designed to assist minorities gain access to good job opportunities."

What does Barack Obama have to do with this?

"But we also know that when somone like him does not get accepted it is because they made room for a minority applicant with lower GPA. Skin color made all the difference."

How, exactly, do you know this? Please be specific.

"jes, Your comment about me is typical racism."

Can you please define what you mean by "racism"?

Thanks.

McCain is a decent [1] well known [2] independent to sometimes liberal [3]republican [4].

[1] -- No. He's a liar and a fraud. Ask FactCheck how "decent" he is.

[2] -- Yes.

[3] -- Not any more. He MAY have been at one time, but in the last 2 years, he's become as "conservative" (for the current meaning of "conservative") as they come.

[4] -- Yes.

50% -- That's an F where I come from. You lose.


I am and always been viscarily repelled by the use of racism and its expression in any form whatsoever. It literally turns my stomach.

I have paid too big a personal price holding to my values to vote for someone who so blythly distains them.

If I spelled like this in my native language, I'd probably be suspicious of smart people, too.

Turb, good question.

It started when the UST took over FNM and FRE and Paulson explained they were in a 'time out' during which their ultimate dispostion would be determined.

As you may or may not know there has been an idealogical based wish among many conservates for decades to eliminate the UST backing of GSE debt.

Following the UST action McCain and Palin published an article in the WSJ publicly stating the intention to privatize them if elected. This means abandoning the gaurantees, obviously.


Obama when asked about this issue weasled his way out of giving an answer one way or another.

This led the UST to issue a press release saying that the agreement between the GSEs and UST is binding beyond 2009. But no one believes that this adminstrtion can bind the next one. One of the Congressman, when interviewed on this subject openly mocked the entire idea.

Besides, no mere paper contract can replace assurance of a bipartison committment that we honor all our obligations, permenently.

Global investors are not stupid. They know the fault lines of American politics. They know about Newt Gingritch fifeteen years ago stating openly that they would learn a valuable lesson if the UST would default occasionally. They read the Journal. They listen to Obama.

They also know that their investments in UST and the GSEs are only as good as our political commitment as a nation to honor our word.

This is no joke. Default has been put in play. Credit default swaps rates on Treasuries are rising. Central Banks are net sellers instead of buyers. The USA, for the first time in our history, may actually default on our debt. It all depends. No one is saying.

And other than a very quite press release by the UST trying to counter the impression given by McCain and Obama everyone is keeping quite about this. Once you start begin hearing your 'experts' publically urging support then it is way too late. The damage will be have been done. The trust will have been lost.


Jeff: sadly, in the last class I taught before graduating, that would've been a B. O tempora, o mores...

ken, I'm sorry I must have missed it, but I did not see anything in your post that looks like a cite to an expert (as defined in my previous comment) endorsing your claim that the Presidential candidates have to make these public guarantees right now. If there is not a single expert who agrees with you on this matter, that's fine, I just want to know.

"Why would any foreign investors care about "assurances" from Presidential candidates? What matters is our actual capability to follow through on our obligations: if we lack the capability, then it doesn't matter what politicians have promised -- debt holders are going to get squat. Seriously, bankers don't care about pretty sounding words and promises: they care about cash flow and balance sheets, assets and liabilities. (Well, bankers who are holding on to the debt do, as opposed to those who are going to securitize it).
---------------------

Because our word is all they have. They either trust us or they don't.

No one is going to force the USA into bancrupcy court and seize our assets to make themselves whole again. Won't happen.

"By expert, I mean eithe someone with a PhD in economics or a CEO/CFO from a Fortune 1000 company."

Your elitist ideas reveal your un-American elitism, elitist!

You probably believe in pointing to "web sites," as well!

Because our word is all they have. They either trust us or they don't.

Sure, but if they don't trust us, then having two guys repeat the claim over and over again won't change that assessment. Again: serious bankers don't give a frack about what pretty words you say or how earnest you appear or anything else: they care about quantifiable things. Note that this is still true in non-recourse situations. So even though no one can take the US to court, a US default could easily smash our economy which is one very good reason for thinking it won't happen. Foreign creditors need us just as much as we need them.

Your elitist ideas reveal your un-American elitism, elitist!

Guilty as charged. I'm also a stickler about insisting my surgeons went to medical school and that my pilots have valid licenses.

You probably believe in pointing to "web sites," as well!

I wouldn't mind but really, right now I'll settle for any evidence that this vitally important course of action has been endorsed by anyone living outside of ken's head.

"If I spelled like this in my native language, I'd probably be suspicious of smart people, too."

Some people are dyslexic. Yglesias is constantly incoherent via his lack of ability at spelling, but isn't dumb. Ditto many smart professional authors. That's why editors exist.

Now bicycles are elitist. I rest my case.

Yes, they are. Engines are manly. In rural NH, where I spent a lot of time growing up, the local guys loved anything with an engine that could be souped up: motorcycles, outboard motors, snowmobiles, chainsaws. Engines are power: the more powerful, the better.

Wusses sail boats, paddle canoes, cross-country-ski, ride bicycles.

It's very much a display of masculinity, which is really what we're talking about here, rather than class. Palin on the motorcycle isn't showing that she rides one: she's the prize, as the narrative would have it.

I would submit that yachts are different because they're a marker of huge financial success, not elitism. There's wealthy-and-elitist (went to Ivy League schools, eats arugula), and then there's "I own a yacht" levels of rich. That gets as much respect as the manly use of souped-up snowmobiles, because that kind of wealth is real power, undiluted by the perceived demasculating effect of education.

Obama when asked about this issue weasled his way out of giving an answer one way or another.

Here's Obama's 2 minute ad. Seems pretty clear to me, and maintaining investor faith among the electorate seems a bit more important than reassuring foreign creditors, because if you assure the electorate, foreign creditors would be reassured. Remember, only you can prevent runs on financial institutions.

I think that, by following jes's link to an extended comment from ken one can see why Obama is not moping the floor with McCain.

I do not find ken's attitude to be racist. He is, in my opinion, expressing race hostility, which, in my opinion, is largley vbased on misunderstandings of how affrimative action works. Ken sees European Americans as being in competition with non=European Americans for limited amounts of economic pie and he thinks that people with his skin coloring are being cheated in the competition. (At least that's how I understand him)

Oddly, Obama understands and resepcts that point of view. He said so in his speech on race re;lations. He said that affrimative action needed tobe reoriented to help people based on economic circumstances with the radce issue minimalized.

He also sees that the pie needs to be bigger. Republicans favor making the rich richer at everyone else's expense. Deomcrats what to make the pie bigger for everyone. ken is being suckered by the rightwing when he blames non-whites for difficulties we all face in the current economic climate. Reagan, back when he sanitzied George Wallace's slogans for the mass market, promoted the divide-and conquer theme and Republicans have used it ever since. Play the middle off against the poor, play whites off against non whites and screw them all/.

ken says that he is not going to spend his life in bitterness. Well a good placeto start would be to evalate obama based on what Obama has said and done, rather than inssiting that he is what ever image of an Africa American politician exists in your imagination, ken.

As for the church--Rev. Wright's notoriuos rant was one sermon for a special occassion, not daily fare. His attitudes reflect his generation's experiences. REmember what Huckabee said about him? I can't quote it exactly but it was words to the effect that any white person who had grown up under Jim Crow would be as angry about it as Rev, Wright. Racism is a hard thing for a culture to overcome.It takes time for healing to occur. Rev. Wright hasn't healed yet.

And, in spite of what you say about not being bitter, it seems to me that you haven't either. You are right in the trap of blaming and being embittered.

But what has this got to do with Obama?

Nothing. He didn't have nyour experiences or Wright's. He had his own (mix race boy growing up in a white family)

So I hope you will take the time to look up his speech on racism a nd look over his history of legislative initiatives with a less chip on the shoulder attitude.

And thank you for both the commnet on this thread and the long one Jes linked to. It takes courage to put one's serious thoughts and attitudes out there in front of an audience that might be hostile.;

They either trust us or they don't.

A promise by the US to pay $100 in 3 months cost around $99.995 at one point today.

If they trust us any more, investors will be paying the US for the privilege of letting it hold on to their cash for them.

Folks, I tried, but "ken" is still resisting the notion that the way a government honors its debts is by taxing its population whether that "hurts the economy" or not.

The outstanding debt of the US government is about $100,000 per household. The "full faith and credit" of the US rests on whether or not US households can service that much debt -- on top of all their other bills. I would go into my "Privatize the National Debt" riff again, but I doubt "ken" would bite.

--TP

Thank you wonkie. Well said.

Seems to me that McCain is expressing the Republican faith=based approach: if we all BELIEVE that our financial institutions are sound, then the fundamentsl will be sound! Oh ye of little faith! You perceivers of problems are the problem! Next it iwll be unpatriotic to notive drops in the stock market and bankruptcies on Wall Street.

Tinkerbell economics.

More problematic would be an attempt by ken to explain Obama's "racism," or what Barack Obama has to do with ken's nephew not getting into medical school, or how ken "knows" that that's due to "racism" -- which we all know so terribly hurts white folk -- which is presumably why ken is so reluctant to respond to queries about any of his past statements on these things.

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