NY Times’ David Brooks: Damned if I know what’s going on. Conservatism has failed before my very eyes.
NY Times’ Paul Krugman: I do know what’s going on, and it ain’t pretty. There’s only one bright spot in the picture: interest rates on mortgages have come down sharply since the federal government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and guaranteed their debt. And there’s a lesson there for those ready to hear it: government takeovers may be the only way to get the financial system working again.
The Independent’s Leonard Doyle: The McCain camp’s attempt to distance itself from the economic legacy of President George Bush, a fellow Republican, is having limited effect so far. The latest polls reveal that despite his efforts, voters believe he is far less likely to make changes than his adversary. The Arizona senator is still seen as a “typical Republican” who would entrench current unpopular policies, rather than get the country back on track.
USA Today’s Walter Shapiro: Who could have imagined that different-drummer McCain would emerge as a press-conference-avoiding, media-baiting, fact-fabricating generic Republican?
WS Journal’s Daniel Henninger: McCain is frittering away the Palin bounce. What he needs to do is lose his temper and run against the Washington he’s been so much a fixture of. That will work because I said so.
Froma Harrop: McCain’s former economic adviser is ex-Texas Sen. Phil Gramm. On Dec. 15, 2000, hours before Congress was to leave for Christmas recess, Gramm had a 262-page amendment slipped into the appropriations bill. It forbade federal agencies to regulate the financial derivatives that greased the skids for passing along risky mortgage-backed securities to investors. That is why the taxpayers are now on the hook for the follies of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns and now the insurance giant AIG to the tune of $85 billion.
The American Spectator’s Philip Klein: I don’t think conservatives have truly grasped what these means for the big picture. The fact that federal authorities had to essentially nationalize the largest mortgage companies and the largest insurance company within weeks makes the government’s role in our financial markets unprecedented. My former employer, Reuters, estimates that when you combine all of the bailouts and other rescue deals orchestrated in the past year, taxpayers could be on the hook for up to $900 billion. Now, all of those people who are always clamoring for more regulation of the free market can argue that if taxpayers are going to come to the rescue anyway, why don’t we place more restrictions on private enterprise to protect taxpayers from huge market failures? On this, McCain and Obama both agree — regulation needs to be overhauled — there’s no stopping it now. The only question is how intrusive. Beyond that, liberals now can point to this huge rescue of Wall Street, and ask, what will we do for “Main Street”? They’ll argue that if we have hundreds of billions of dollars to dole out to Wall Street finance companies that mess up, how come hard working Americans can’t get government health care? They can fill in the blank for any government program that choose.
Chuck Hagel: Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska on Wednesday became the nation’s most prominent Republican officeholder to publicly question whether Sarah Palin has the experience to serve as president.
“She doesn’t have any foreign policy credentials,” Hagel said in an interview. “You get a passport for the first time in your life last year? I mean, I don’t know what you can say. You can’t say anything.”…
“I think they ought to be just honest about it and stop the nonsense about, ‘I look out my window and I see Russia and so therefore I know something about Russia,’” he said. “That kind of thing is insulting to the American people.”
Shaun Mullen: While Palin’s selection as a running mate was brilliant for its element of surprise, it is likely to go down in political history as an extraordinarily short-sighted move that dragged McCain down, not pulled him up. Palin has had the unintended effect of making McCain seem ever more the unsteady septuagenarian, is not drawing in disaffected Democratic women in appreciable numbers because of her starkly un-feminist views, her superficiality is apparent in her scripted, cue-card assisted appearances, and the most damning criticism of her has come not from the opposition but McCain surrogate Carly Fiorina, who like “Foreclosure Phil” Gramm has now been thrown under the campaign bus.
More Weirdness from the trail…
Sarah blows off 15,000 Orange County Republicans: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was to star at two major California fundraisers and an Orange County rally for 15,000 next week, has canceled her two-day swing through the Golden State, campaign sources said. The change is a shocker, because Palin’s presence had electrified the GOP base in California. Party insiders were distributing 15,000 tickets to her Sept. 26 rally in Orange County — and fundraisers reported an almost instantaneous sell-out of her two $1,000-a-head Sept. 25 fundraising events in Orange County and Santa Clara. The campaign is citing “scheduling problems.” Really? Blowing off 15,000 Orange County Republicans? Saying “so sorry” to people forking over a grand apiece?
Did Spain join the Axis of Evil?: After the interviewer presses him a couple times on the point and tries to focus him on the fact that Prime Minister Zapatero isn’t from Mexico and isn’t a drug lord either McCain comes back at her saying, “All I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the Hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not. And that’s judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region.” Then there’s a moment of awkward pause before she says. ”But what about Europe? I’m talking about the President of Spain.”
McCain: “What about me, what?
Interviewer: “Are you willing to meet with him if you’re elected president?”
McCain: “I am wiling to meet with any leader who is dedicated to the same principles and philosophy that we are for humans rights, democracy and freedom. And I will stand up to those who do not.”
Is Captain Bellicose pushing the talking point that he’ll be glad to negotiate with what he deems “friendly” leaders and stand up to (bomb?) unfriendly ones?
Fox News defends against Obama’s nasty attacks on McCain’s lack of computer expertise: He can’t use a computer because of his war injuries. One tiny problem: His campaign proudly says he owns and uses a laptop.
Out of touch?: Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter and member of the Democratic National Committee’s Platform Committee, the CEO of EL Rothschild, a holding company with businesses around the world who served as a member of the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Committee and as the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board under President Clinton and who is married to international banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild … Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild says she’s voting for the pathological old lying guy with the rich wife and nine houses instead of the guy who was brought up by a single parent in Chicago’s South Side because “I feel like [Obama] is an elitist. I feel like he has not given me reason to trust him.”
McCain Invented the Blackberry: Speaking to reporters today, McCain campaign adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin claimed that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is responsible for the “miracle” of PDAs. Politico reports: “He did this,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin told reporters this morning, holding up his BlackBerry. “Telecommunications of the United States is a premier innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce committee so you’re looking at the miracle John McCain helped create and that’s what he did.” Although he doesn’t e-mail, McCain told the New York Times in July that he does “use the Blackberry.” Campaign aide Mark Salter added, “He uses a BlackBerry, just ours.”
Denis G Campbell is the author of 6 books including 'Billionaire Boys Election Freak Show,' 'The Vagina Wars' & 'Egypt Unsh@ckled.' He is the editor of UK Progressive Magazine and provides commentary to the BBC, itv Al Jazeera English, CNN, MSNBC and others. His weekly 'World View with Denis Campbell' segment can be heard every Thursday on the globally syndicated The David Pakman Show. You can follow him on Twitter via @UKProgressive and on Facebook.
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