Monday, September 29, 2008

NewsWatch 9.29.08

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Trends and Tremors
So, how about that bailout? First, we had a deal on the table that looked to pass. Then, it didn't, with House Republicans leading the way. Both candidates were tentatively in favor of it. So now it's the blame game. Who's going to take the blame?

McCain. This morning, McCain released this statement:

"What Senator McCain was able to do was to help bring all of the parties to the table, including the House Republicans, whose votes were needed to pass this"
Except, it didn't pass. The reason? 75 house Republicans who had initially agreed to support the bill, backed out. Where was McCain? Surely, the man who threw the campaign into chaos when he suspended his campaign last week and promised never to "phone it in," was on Capitol Hill begging for votes? But wait, he was actually at his office on the phones during most of the crisis. So surely he was across the river begging his constituents, over the phone, for support when the bill didn't pass, right? But wait, he was actually in Ohio at a campaign rally, telling people he wasn't going to phone it in. Hmm...

But even facts like those can't stop McCain from blaming Obama for the bailout's failure.
"Barack Obama failed to lead, phoned it in, attacked John McCain, and refused to even say if he supported the final bill."
Obama didn't say he supported the bill? Obama, today, on Face the Nation...
"My inclination is to support it."
But there's a bigger issue here, and the fallout will be the death knell for John McCain's campaign. The issue is why, after the last two weeks of chaos and blaming and campaign suspending, McCain was on the trail, not in Washington, during the failed vote that he claims leadership for? The effect this will have is that no sane person can now believe that the "suspension" drama was anything more than a political ploy. Furthermore, McCain's reckless blame-casting reeks of hypocrisy and partisanship. If Obama's "standing by" is failure to lead, how is leaving Washington before sealing the deal, only to have it fail, succeeding? Stay tuned to find out.

Meanwhile, is Obama really not being a leader? From his speech in Westminister, Colorado:
One of the messages I have to Congress is, get this done, Democrats. Republicans, step up to the plate.
So voters, you can choose a candidate who stayed calm and left it up to congressional leaders to draft a bill, remarking only on the improvements he saw fit to make to the plan. Or, you can choose a candidate who parachuted into Washington, halted negotiations, got the press more involved, refused to take a side, blamed everyone but himself, and then credited himself for the bill's passage when it actually failed once he left, which was before the actual vote. Choose wisely.


The puns just keep coming. Sorry. So anyhow, Palin. Biden. The debates. Are the expectations for Palin low? Yes. But Nate at makes a good point: she still has to do well. Her image is so bad right now that even if she doesn't do as poorly as she did in the Couric interview (it would be hard to do worse), performing poorly at all may feed into our perception. In other words, she not only has to be competent, she has to not mess up. One gaffe will spell disaster, and her aides know it.

Then again, who knows if it will matter? Last week I linked to 538's explanation of how little debates affect polling. Now it turns out that only 53 million out of a predicted 80-100 million Americans ended up watching last week's debates. Will this Thursday be any different? Hard to know, but my explanation is that people were too worried about their finances to tune into light-hearted debating...then again, maybe we just don't care.

Politics From the Pulpit
Following up on a story I covered a few days ago, new polls show that most people are opposed to pastors giving political guidance on Sundays. No word yet on whether the 33 pastors who broke the law will have their tax exempt status revoked, but given the economy, I think the government needs all the sources of income it can get.

The High Stakes Election
After the last few weeks, we all know that McCain likes to gamble with his political fortunes, but did you know he also has ties to gambling lobbies? Yes, there's no thought more comforting than electing a President who has no problem risking it all at high stakes tables in his public and private life.

Today's Top Headline
McCain Not Coming to Reno; Obama Here Tuesday
AP via KTVN Reno

Snicker. I wonder why not?