Monday, September 22, 2008

NewsWatch 9.22.08

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Trends and Tremors
Well, McCain now supports the Bush bailouts in some speeches, worries about it in others, and tells the press the bailouts need more oversight. Last week the fundamentals of the economy were strong, today we're in crisis. Add that to today's return of his 9/11-style commission idea and you've got a veritable tour-de-force of flip-flops. Overall, I think he supports it, with some reservations.

Obama also conditionally supports the bailout, but the difference is that he has from the start, and unlike McCain, he'll be able to pay for more of his agenda during the crisis because he's proposing a tax raise on households making over $250,000 per year, instead of McCain's $300 billion a year tax cuts from nowhere.

So the trend starting this week: who will be able to get more done as President? Right now, that's definitely Obama, who released his own six-point plan for the economy today in Green Bay. In language, Obama and McCain's plans are similar. The difference is that Obama actually says how he would accomplish reform. McCain, on the other hand, spent more time attacking Obama than talking about policy when he laid out his vague plan last week. The result? Battleground polls consistently show that Obama is more trusted on the economy than McCain.

McCain has tried to address this by saying he'd hire democrat Andrew Cuomo to replace SEC head Christopher Cox, who's outing he rashly called for last week, and eliminate Bush's White House political office.

But after last week, does anyone actually believe this man can be an effective leader? I'd like to see an Obama ad that goes day by day last week and shows all the conflicting things McCain said. That was a horrific week, and hopefully, he never recovers.

The Magical Mystery Foreign Policy Credibility Tour
I need a new headline writer...So anyways, on Tuesday and Wednesday Palin's foreign policy credentials will go from "I can see Russia" to "I once talked to some of those leaders whose names I don't remember." Yeah, once Palin's met with Henry Kissinger and 4 non-G8 leaders, she'll have the foreign policy experience she needs to keep the US's fading superpower status. How does that make sense? I doesn't, and personally, I think it's a bad idea to bring her lack of experience back into the spotlight.

Of course, some people will say this is just like Obama visiting Germany and the middle east earlier this year. The difference? He wasn't being taught by old scholars, 100s of thousands came to learn from him.

And for the record, is it really a good idea for Kissinger to give Palin her one and only lesson on international relations? I mean he's a brilliant guy, but I routinely fell asleep reading his book in high school, and that was without the accent.

Ad Wars: Return of the Lies
Just when you think it can't get worse, McCain's at it again with a pointless and somewhat untrue ad trying to link Obama to the 'corrupt Chicago political machine.' Given that half the electorate probably doesn't remember the reign of the original Daley, I'm not sure how well this will work outside of Illinois - even though Illinois conservatives commenting on Sun-Times posts have long clamored about his Chicago roots.

Plus, this campaign has shifted to economic issues, and given the media's increased scrutiny of campaign ads, the latest accusation is probably too late in the game to take hold.

Raising the Bar
Who has greater expectations going into the first debate this Friday in Oxford? Given how well Obama did in the polls last week, I think commentators might be right in saying that he has to essentially reassure voters that their change in opinion is merited.

That said, this debate is on foreign policy, the issue voters say McCain knows more about. If Obama wins, will McCain have an issue left to stand on? That's a lot of pressure. Moreover, it leaves Obama with an ace in the hole going into the third, domestic debate if he loses ground between now and October 15 and the economy continues to sour.