Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Freddie Mac

After the Flood

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Trying to puzzle out John McCain’s motive for the campaign suspension stunt is proving rather difficult. A lot of people are looking to Palin, both her disastrous Katie Couric interview and the repeated suggestion that hey, you know, we could just cancel the VP debate. (On the margins, Palin’s so-called “preacher problem” is also showing up in these discussions; she definitely loses the secular progressive swing vote with this one.) Or maybe, others venture, he’s trying to cover up his own lack of debate preparation. Still other people think he may be trying to keep the Rick Davis story out of the papers, as there’s now word that Rick Davis didn’t sever his relationship with his lobbying firm and is in fact still listed as one of its only two officers. And a lot of people just point to the polls—witness as just one example a Rasmussen poll that now puts Obama ahead right here in North Carolina (!). Or maybe we should just bring it all back, as Steve Benen does, to the fundamental question that recurs about so much of John McCain’s gambles: cynicism, or risk addiction?

Whatever it is, it’s worth noting that McCain has pulled this very stunt at least twice before.

Reactions have been legion, almost all of them negative, but Noam Scheiber in particular is on fire with posts that suggest just how badly this may backfire on McCain, comparing it first to a form of political hari-kari and then pointing out elsewhere the way in which the gambit automatically defeats itself:

“Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative.”

Clinton Global Intiative > financial crisis > longstanding-to-the-point-of-sacred tradition of nationally televised presidential debate? This will not stand.

Afternoon News

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Afternoon news.

* The Rick Davis lobbying revelation is the big campaign story today as the McCain camp struggles to find some way to respond. The indispensable Steve Benen dissects their first attempt here, with this succinct summary of why this matters:

Remember, the McCain campaign walked right into this one, insisting that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were largely responsible for the Wall Street crisis, and any associations between a candidate and officials at the lending companies are necessarily scandalous.

Talk about leading with one’s chin….

More at HuffPo and TPM, which notes that Davis “quietly canceled” a scheduled lunch with reporters today.

* A report from the Pew Center says that cell-phone-only voters are not being properly counted in the polls. And Marist’s poll of swing states has Obama sweeping the map: IA, NH, OH, PA, and MI, where he has (according to this one poll with a high margin of error) a nine-point lead.

* Kos says the Palin pick is already paying unexpected dividends, as if McCain had been more responsible he probably would have picked Romney.

But think, what if McCain had picked Mitt Romney as his veep choice, like so many of us were fervently hoping?

Sure, the rollout wouldn’t have give McCain a fraction of the attention and excitement that Palin generated. The GOP ticket’s (now evaporated) post-convention bump would’ve been smaller, and maybe Romney would’ve been less effective at revving up the fundy base.

But right now? Romney would be kicking ass. The media would treat him with deference as an economic expert, and let’s be honest, he does looks straight out of central casting for the role of “serious businessman who we should defer to on the economy”. McCain wouldn’t have to hide him. Romney could make the media rounds, being taken seriously no matter what GOP gibberish he spouted. Rather than flail and cower, a McCain/Romney ticket would look sure-footed and confident, projecting gravitas in a time of uncertainty.

What’s more, McCain would no longer look like a political opportunist in his VP choice. He’d be lauded for being such a “maverick”, picking his greatest primary rival. The GOP and its apologists could say, with a straight face, that McCain put “country first”, and actually get away with it since it’s obvious McCain personally loathes Romney.

Good thing Mittens was snubbed.

* Also at Kos, Meteor Blades argues that the Congressional Democrats’ myriad failures on energy this seession are not as bad as all that.

Hurrah! What a relief. This summer’s rush to remedy 27 years of bad energy policy in just a few weeks had generated a mish-mash of contradictory proposals that couldn’t possibly be fully discussed or vetted. Better to wait, as I’ve said from the get-go.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 24, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Fire Rick Davis, Stop Being Sexist, and More

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Following up on the Rick Davis story from last night, it’s hard to see any upside for McCain here. He can fire Davis, but that’s an admission of impropriety, and makes him look like even more of a fool for accusing Obama of being in bed with lobbyists. He can keep Davis and hope the story goes away, but I’m not sure it will: the ridiculous spectacle of a candidate railing against Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae after those very agencies have essentially put him on layaway will not be overlooked in the debates, in the press, or in Obama’s ads. He’s in a tough, tough place on this.

The media, led by Campbell Brown, may also be taking up an interesting new thread in the Sarah Palin Chronicles: a plea to stop the campaign’s sexist treatment of their own VP candidate.

Tonight I call on the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower that will wilt at any moment. This woman is from Alaska for crying out loud. She is strong. She is tough. She is confident. And you claim she is ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of her now. Allow her to show her stuff. Allow her to face down those pesky reporters…. Let her have a real news conference with real questions. By treating Sarah Palin different from the other candidates in this race, you are not showing her the respect she deserves. Free Sarah Palin. Free her from the chauvinistic chains you are binding her with. Sexism in this campaign must come to an end. Sarah Palin has just as much a right to be a real candidate in this race as the men do. So let her act like one.

Even Fox is fed up.

It’s still too early to tell, but with the complete collapse of McCain’s numbers since the convention blip—witness the new ABC/Wash. Post poll putting Obama nine points ahead nationally, with even stronger internals—is it fair to say yet that the Republican Party has fielded the worst campaign of modern times in McCain/Palin? The sad, sad fact is they could still win, but just on the level of process, of electioneering—the only things Republicans do well—they won’t deserve to.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 24, 2008 at 2:57 pm

John McCain, Scourge of Lobbyists

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John McCain, Scourge of Lobbyists.

The lobbying firm of Rick Davis, Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) campaign manager, remains on the payroll of mortgage giant Freddie Mac, according to two sources with knowledge of the arrangement.

The firm, Davis Manafort, has collected $15,000 a month from the organization since late 2005, when Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae dissolved a five-year-old advocacy group that Davis earned nearly $2 million leading, the sources said.

Amazing. Just amazing.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 24, 2008 at 12:32 am

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Politics

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Unexpectedly busy day today, but I do have a few links.

* Anti-Obama racism comes to Roxbury, just one town over from my beloved Randolph.

* The Paulon bailout continues to take pretty heavy fire; you can find details and good analysis at Krugman’s blog, where he is taking a pretty hard line on the demand for a taxpayer equity stake in the companies we’ll be bailing out.

* And Glenn Greenwald takes the Brooksian dream of the Wise Old Men of Washington back out to the woodshed.

* Given that he is the Scourge of Lobbyists, it’s ironic that the person tapped to run McCain’s transition team lobbied for Freddie Mac just a few months ago.

* And given his well-known penchant for Straight Talk it’s odd that McCain hasn’t given a press conference in 40 days.

* FiveThirtyEight has polling data showing that the debates may not move the polls very much after all. There’s also a new poll out showing Obama with a two-point lead in Florida, which has got to be an outlier.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 23, 2008 at 5:46 pm

R. F. L. P. E.

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Random Friday Links, Politics Edition.

* McCain has finally stumbled on a winning message on the economy: “It’s all Obama’s fault!” Riiiiight.

* And judging from the above clip it looks like McCain’s speechwriters are still trying to find a line that doesn’t lead to a creepy smile.

* Turns out McCain doesn’t know that Fannie and Freddie are private companies, either.

* Woody Allen says it will be “a disgrace and a humiliation” for the United States if Obama loses. Too right.

* But the disgrace and humiliation is already here: American democracy has a severe legitimacy problem in the face of a decade of Republican electoral malfeasance, as Ezra Klein shows.

* Obama hits back on the truly awful infanticide smear with the toughest ad I think I’ve seen him run.

* Kevin Drum and Blaney’s Blarney take looks at our new nationally sponsored soccer team, Manchester United.

* And FiveThirtyEight.com shows that the probability of a 269-269 tie continues to increase, with most such scenarios centering on an Obama loss in New Hampshire. Come on, Omaha, don’t fail us now…

Politics Bites

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Politics bites.

* Daily Kos’s BarbinMD marvels at the quick education of Sarah Palin: from not knowing the most basic facts about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac yesterday to writing an op-ed on the subject in the Wall Street Journal today.

* The first post-convention swing-state polls are coming out, and the news suggests a tight race, albeit one our side still has a slight edge in.

• In Colorado, Obama leads by a 49%-46% margin, actually an improvement for him since McCain’s 49%-48% edge three weeks ago. Both results are within the margin of error.

• In Florida, the race is tied 48%-48%, compared to a 48%-46% McCain edge from about three weeks ago.

• In Ohio, McCain leads 51%-44%, compared to a 48%-43% lead for McCain from almost three weeks ago. Rasmussen has been the most favorable pollster for McCain in Ohio.

• In Pennsylvania, Obama has a slim 47%-45% edge, not significantly different from his 48%-45% lead two and a half weeks ago.

• In Virginia, McCain has a 49%-47% lead, not significantly changed from a 48%-47% McCain lead from over three weeks ago.

McCain needs both Virginia (13 EVs) and Colorado (9 EVs) to win, especially in light of the fact that he likely won’t retain New Mexico (5 EVs) and Iowa (7 EVs), states Bush carried in his 286-251 victory over John Kerry in 2004. Likewise, if he loses Ohio or Florida, it’s game over, and there’s been a lot of speculation that the Palin pick could backfire with Jewish voters in Florida.

For Obama’s part, he’s really only playing defense in Michigan and (to a lesser extent) Pennsylvania, two states I would be quite surprised to see him lose.

* McCain comes out hard against Obama for… having the same position John McCain himself has held for years.

* And, via TPMtv, even Fox News’s Chris Wallace has had enough of the Bridge to Nowhere lie.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 9, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Palin’s First Gaffe?

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Palin’s first gaffe? Huffington Post catches the would-be vice president having absolutely no clue what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are. I’d actually call this the second major gaffe—I still think the “I said thanks but no thanks to the Bridge to Nowhere” lie will cause her major problems if she ever talks to an actual journalist.

Meanwhile, at Washington Monthly, Steve Benen chronicles John McCain slowly losing his base, one by one. Today, it’s Sebastian Mallaby.

McCain used to be a real straight talker. On campaign finance, spending earmarks, Iraq and immigration, he has fought bravely for his principles; and that record might have been a trump against an opponent who has taken almost no such risks. But we are now witnessing what might be called McCain’s Palinization. McCain once criticized Christian conservatives as agents of intolerance, but he has caved in to their intolerance of a pro-choice running mate. McCain claims to be devoted to his country, yet he would saddle it with a vice president who is unprepared to serve as commander in chief. In the same sad way, McCain has caved in to his party’s anti-tax fanatics. The man of principle has become a panderer. The straight talker flip-flops.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 8, 2008 at 4:45 pm