It’s like getting on a Merry-Go-Round and asking Obama to Push

In two weeks America will have a new President elect.   On November 5th, either Barack Obama or John McCain will be waiting in the on deck circle, preparing to step up to the plate on January 21 ( let’s face it the 20th is ceremonial).  But how will they get from here to there?  If you are Barack Obama and the media, it will be because they confused voters enough to make them dizzy through their endless spin cycle. 

It started two weeks ago with “joe the Plumber”.  Joe was a normalguy asking a question of a Presidential hopeful, Barack Obama.  To his credit, Obama gave the only answer to the only tough question he has ever been asked and stated that Joe would have to “spread the wealth” if he bought a business that makes $250,000 or more a year.  Since then “Joe” has become a villain to the media.  ABC,CBS,CNN, etc have cast doubt on this plumber from Ohio by questioning his income tax returns, his divorce, his job, and even his legitimate right to vote in Ohio.  ALL BECAUSE HE ASKED A QUESTION!!!!!!

What did Senators Obama and Biden do in the wake of “Joe” asking a question and then being attacked by the media?  The Senators continued, and still continue, the attack on this plumber.  In stump speeches across America, Obama and Biden have attacked Joe saying that they don;t know of any “plumber” making $250,000 a year.  They have attcked his work ethic saying that the real “Joe the Plumber” would actually be helped under an Obama plan because he would not be a plumber who makes that much.  In other words the real “Joes” of America would never aspire to owning more than their fair share of the market.  Senator Biden might even call the plumber from Ohio “unpatriotic” because he would refuse to pay higher taxes as a small business owner. 

AHHHH the spin!!

Then Colin Powell comes out and says that he is endorsing Obama.  Immediately the surrogates and pundits rush the airwaves and say that Colin Powell is a man whose judgement is sought and respected by all leaders.  Yes, Powell is a well respected member of the Armed Forces as well as several Presidential Administrations.  But only 4 years ago Powell was the demon child who forced America into a war in Iraq, a war Obama “voted” against in the Illinois Senate(?). 

With Powell’s endorsement the surrogates and Democratic pundits had to come up with a back story that supported Powell and Obama that did not factor in race.  Ah ha! Now we have Colin Powell, the well respected, smart, and totally unbiased General was duped by the Bush administration and sold totally false information that he was forced to pass on to the U.N.  I still respect Colin Powell and do not believe that race was the deciding factor in his endorsement but I can not believe that this man who was smart enough to rise to prominance in the military and politics was “duped” by the same President liberals criticize as uneducated or stupid. 

AHHHHH the spin!!!!!!

John Murtha.  Beloved Congressman from PA.  Democrat.  Supporter of Barack Obama.  The same Obama who said us hicks in PA cling to our guns and religion and hated immigrants.  It was John  Murtha, in defense of this Barack Obama and the latest poll,  stated that PA, at least the western half, may not go to Obama because PA is full of racist people who vote on color alone.  Wait!! This week he apologized and said that PA was not racist it was just a redneck state.  How do you spin that?

If you are a Democratic pundit you simply say that what he said was “years ago” or “what he meant was simply” and all is forgiven.  What about this comment and Obama’s “clinging” comment being taken together to set a pattern?  Irrelevant! Let’s move on!

AHHHH the spin!!!!!!

But move on we shall, to Joe Biden.  Good old Scranton Joe! (It’s Thursday, his day to be from Scranton.)  Just when he though the recording devices were off and no one was listening he says “mark my words”, “if you don’t remember anything else I say in this whole campaign”,  if Senator Obama is elected he WILL be tested by the world in a “GENERATED” crisis created by other countries around the world.  Then he even says that he doesn’t know if  Obama will make the right decision initially but asked his supporters to stand with him anyway until he figured it out.  Don’t worry Joe, we won’t forget this one just like we haven’t forgotten what you said in the primary. 

The pundits and surrogates are on the move again!  See what he meant was every President is tested and Obama will be no exception, they say.  “Look at Reagan or Kennedy” they squawk!  And as they don’t mention that Obamahas a wait and see foreign policy coupled witha new age “let’s talk about it” negotiating style,  they leave out the fact that Reagan and Kennedy responded to their respective crisis with overwhelming force.  Furthermore, the pundits yell,  Obamaknows how to surround himself with people who know stuff, like Joe Biden and Colin Powell while John McCain has only lived through or legislated past crisis. 

AHHHH the spin!!!!!!!

Finally, if the clothes make the man what is wrong with the woman getting some nice clothes too.  While Barack Obama spends hundreds of dollars on each suit from Burberry or whoever the latest designer is, the RNC shelled out $150,000 for new clothes for the seven, that is 7, members of the Palin family. Roughly $21,000 per person.   The RNC, a private organization that receives donations from people like me, bought clothes out of contributions, not tax money,  for the VP candidate.   And the clothes are going to be given to charity after the election.  What is wrong with that? 

According to the pundits and commentators,  it just shows Sarah Palin’s inexperience.(?)  Joy Blowhard from the view apparently has a real issue with this saying that Palin usually shoots her clothes but that style would not work on the campaign trail.  ABC, et al,  raises the question to voters that if Sarah Palin can afford a new wardrobe costing $150,000 from Neiman Marcus ” does she really share the same values as”, yep you guessed it, “Joe the Plumber”?  I assume Brian Ross and Wolf Blitzerwill do in depth stories about boxers or briefs next. 

AHHH the spin!!!!!!!

Be careful waht you listen to or see on the news.  Even Fox News.  Today the new AP poll came out and showed a dead heat in the race for President.  A trend that has been seen in other long time polls.  Yet today on ABC’s Good Morning America, George Stephanoplois did not even mention the AP poll numbers, something he regularly does.  Instead he quoted the Quinipiac Poll numbers and showed state by state polls done by other polling organizations.  Why?  bias.  And as if they are finally seeing the light,  this week a CNN reporter even admitted to their bias in reporting! 

The spin won’t slow down in the next two weeks.  In fact it will only get faster.  Look for the top news story being about Barack Obama’s compassionas he deals withhis “Grandmother who raised him”  and her broken hip.  I’m sure this story will become one about health care and the state of the economy in Hawaii.  But voters beware! It’s all spin.  In the last two weeks look beyond the spin and read the issues and listen to words and form your own opinion.  Otherwise it’s like getting on a merry-go-round and asking Obama to push.  Faster! and Faster! you cry until you don’t know up from down, right from left.   

AHHHH the spin!!!!!!!!!!


Yes, Virginia, There are Specifics!

Be warned, this is a bit long but it is specific.

In covering the failing banking industry and the mortgage mess,  the media has been throwing around words like disaster,  crisis, and dire like peanut vendors at a baseball game.  Their irresponsible use of these words has prompted many questions about what McCain and Obama would do as President to correct what is happening on Wall Street and Main Street.  Here are the plans of both candidates.  The information on Barack Obama’s plan is taken directly from his “Blueprint For Change” while information on John McCain’s plan is taken from the expanded issues section of his website. 

To provide relief for millions of people affected by the mortgage mess and the Wall Street debacle, Sen Obama has proposed a 10% universal mortgage credit that will provide $500 to about $10 million homeowners.  The credit will help those making under $50,000 who do not itemize their taxes. 

Additionally, Sen Obama will create a new HOME (Homeowner Obligation Made Explicit) score that will allow borrowers to measure their available mortgage options and will help them understand the full cost of the mortgage they enter into with a lender.  This provision would seem to help new borrowers more than those already in a mortgage.  It also keeps the borrower as the primary decision maker and leaves the burden of responsibility firmly with the borrower, which is where irt needs to be.  However, there is nothing to stop the banking and investment industries from manipulating this score just as they manipulated numbers to get people into the sub prime mortgages in the last few years. 

Finally Senator Obama has proposed, in his “Blueprint for Change”,  a government fund to help “innocent” homeowners.  While “innocent” is not defined by Obama I imagine that it means those homeowners who took out a bigger mortgage than they could afford on an adjustable rate loan.  This fund would be paid for by the money received from increased penalties on lenders who have acted irresponsibly (those lenders currently going under?) or those convicted of fraud.  While this sounds good because it targets the corporate greed Sen Obama and his colleagues hate,  the fund is based on  passage of what Sen Obama calls “his record” on this issue, the Stop Fraud Act. 

The Stop Fraud Act is a bill sponsored by Obama and Dick Durbin that defines mortgage fraud, increases funding for law enforcement (?), and enacts new penalties for those found guilty of fraud.  It also requires the industry to report suspicios activity, it does not say to who.  The bill has been introduced to committee and referred to another committee, it has not been passed by the Congress, nor is it close to a general debate on the floor.  By the way it was introduced in 2007 so I do have to ask where was his leadership on this issue?

Now onto Senator McCain. 

Senator McCain has proposed a “Home Plan”,  unfortunately HOME does not stand for anything cute like in Obama’s plan.  Under this plan, Sen McCain would offer borrowers the chance to trade an existing mortgage that they can not pay for a mortgage that is more manageable under a fixed rate and reflects the market value of the home at the time.  Of course there are restrictions but they favor those being hurt by their current situation.  Those restrictions are as follows:

  • an eligible sub prime loan after 2005
  • prove your credit worthiness at the time of the original loan ( something you have to prove any way if you get a mortgage the right way)
  • are delinquent on payments or facing a reset or show that you can not meet your current obligations and
  • can meet the terms of a new fixed rate, 30 year, FHA backed loan

Under McCain’s plan there is no H.O.M.E. score or federal fund that has to be passed first.  The plan has elements of a bill introduced by two Democrats (there is that record of bi-partisanship again), Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.  The plan does require banks to forgive part of the loan principle and write a new loan for borrowers but the other option for the bank would be foreclosure, an option that would probably cost them more. 

Borrowers under McCain’s plan also can apply by picking up a form at the post office or printing a form from the internet (is that a use of technology by McCain?).  From there once the request is sent in, the loan request is approved by the FHA based on qualifications and then sent to the bank where the homeowner has their existing loan who retires and rewrites the loan to loan backed by the FHA. 

Of course Sen McCain’s plan also addresses the speculators and financial market practitioners who handed out the sub prime loans in the first place.  If a bailout is needed, Sen McCain believes that it should come at a cost to the financial industry, not taxpayers.  A bailout would happen only to prevent failure and in return that institution would face greater transparency and accountability.  This is the case with AIG, an institution that, if it failed and did not receive a partial bailout, would affect people around the globe.  Perhaps the 9/11 commission Sen McCain has proposed recently would provide the transparency necessary to determine why the current situation happened and how it can be prevented in the future. 

There are the two plans in detail.  Of course I’m partial but as I see it, Sen Obama’s plan relies heavily on government and passage of bills and recommendations in Congress that have already taken over a year to go to committee.  Unlike Sen Obama’s plan, Sen McCain’s plan could be instituted fairly easily and does not rely on new penalties that have not been discussed in committee yet.  In addition penalties already exist under current banking laws ( for some insight) for lenders who engage in deceptive practices. 

Sen Obama specifically points out that 10 million homeowners will benefit under his tax credit initiative.  That is a far cry from the 200-400 million people Sen McCain is proposing to help immediately.  Make your own choice on this issue but these are the facts and plans as stated by each candidate on their official websites.  Hopefully, I will also be highlighting other issues in the future. 


Lipstick Jungle

Senator Obama was unscripted gain yesterday when he said if you put lipstick on a pig it’s still a pig.  On the heels of what Governor Palin said during her acceptance speech, this comment seems directly aimed at the Republican VP candidate. 

Of course I understand the point that Obama was trying to make.  Pig is a code word for earmarks in Washington and Sen Obama, in his inexperienced way, was hopefully just trying to connect Governor Palin to pork barrel spending.  But Sen Obama was not talking about earmarks when he said it, he was discussing Senator McCain and Governor Palin’s views on changing Washington.  While obviously upset that Sen McCain is now seen more as the candidate of change than himself and his VP candidate that has been in Congress 10 years longer than McCain,  Sen Obama needed to do a better job of explaining what he meant in those if the cuff remarks. 

I will not say Sen Obama is playing the gender card, yet.  But he is obviously still at a loss on how to go after a McCain/Palin ticket that promotes the record of change each candidate has without exposing his own inexperience and lack of real reform.  Sen McCain and Governor Palin both have records readily available to the public that show how they fought corruption and enacted reform.  In the case of Senator McCain he has tried to enact reform, however controversial,  with leading Democrats on bills like McCain-Feingold and McCain-Kennedy, much to the dismay of his own party.  Governor Palin’s state checkbook is available to anyone in the country to view.  Sen Obama’s record is equally available but shows that he has enacted few if any bills and voted with his party over 95% of the time. 

The media seems to be struggling with the McCain/Palin ticket as well.  While some outlets have covered Obama’s “lipstick” remarks in passing,  most media outlets are concerning themselves with a game of “GOTCHA” when it comes to Sarah Palin’s record.  Every move or comment has been scrutinized in order to catch Palin and expose her flaws. 

On ABC’s Good Morning America, Brian Ross did a story about the controversy surrounding the Wasilla library.  It seems as Mayor, Sarah Palin asked the local librarian what she would do if the library was asked to remove books from it’s shelves, books that might be controversial.  The question was posed during a city council meeting and not in private, as some other reports might suggest.  The librarian was obviously against censorship and told the council this.  No books were ever removed nor was there ever a list of books to be removed as ABC did point out.  However, the ABC report left viewers wondering about this controversy and seemed to leave viewers with the impression that Palin wants to ban books. 

The piece also showed a pastor in the Assembly of God church giving a sermon this past week on homosexuals.  Brian Ross and ABC tied this sermon into the book controversy by highlighting 2 books, Go Ask Alice and Pastor,I’m Gay, as targets of the Palin inquiry.  Again, ABC left the impression that Palin is a member of this church.  The truth is that Sarah Palin is no longer a member of this church and has not been for almost 7 years.  Do they really want voters talking about crazy pastors again?

On the 5th Day…

The media has been in a constant state of frenzy since John McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate last Friday.  Who is this woman?, What about her lack of experience? , Has John McCain lost his mind?  are just some of the questions they have been asking.  But the media’s biggest problem is that, while they had attack pieces prepared, interviews lined up and fact checks already done for Gov Romney and Gov Pawlenty (the obvious,safe choices),  they had nothing prepared for Gov. Palin.  Hence we have the fifth day of breaking news. 

The latest news was reported this morning on ABC by Brian Ross.   While investigating any lead he or any other reporter could find, Ross uncovered the fact that Sarah Palin, as Mayor of Wasilla, fired the police chief.  Misleading the viewers into believing it was a political move, Ross delved into Palin’s long time member status in the NRA.  He cited her connections with the NRA as the reason Palin fired the Wasilla chief only noting later that a court upheld her right, as Mayor,  to fire “at will” the chief or any other person in a similar position.  Other allegations made by the chief about her political pandering to donors in town were also discredited by the court in their ruling. 

Mayors and Governors, and even the President and his staff, have a right to fire “at will” people in certain positions.  Employers across the country have this right as well.  A new employee usually works his/her first 90 days with a probationary status where they can be fired for any reason, no matter how small.  Palin’s actions in Wasilla,  it should be noted again, were well within her rights as Mayor.

Published in: on September 3, 2008 at 9:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Photoshopping a President

Obama’s planned visits to  Iraq, Afghanistan and Europe are nothing more than an attempt by his campaign to photoshop Sen Obama into the White House.  The fact that all three major networks, ABC,CBS and NBC, are sending their anchors abroad with him is all the proof anyone needs of this veiled trick by the Obama campaign. 

As Sen Obama heads overseas, on the taxpayer dime,  he will no doubt be looking for opportunities to pump up his bid for the Presidency.  There will be no lack of opportunity as he shakes hands with world leaders and our troops as the networks scurry behind.  I can see it now…Obama and an Iraqi soldier shaking hands,  Obama and a General discussing the surge, Obama hugging an Iraqi boy who has lost his father in a suicide attack, Obama and (insert world leader here) sharing a chat while strolling some historic landmark.  His entourage of other Senators (any on the short list for VP?) will be ignored so that America may see just how Presidential Obama can act (act being the key word). 

But the theory is widely held that Nixon lost to Kennedy because his 5 o’clock shadow was visible during the televised debate.  This trip could very well be Obama’s 5 o’clock shadow.  Whatever Obama does will be scrutinized.  Perhaps not by NBC or the other networks, but by talk radio, cable news, on the internetand by voters at large.  Many will view some of his actions overseas as politically expedient or as just another politician traveling on my dime.  This will be made even more clear if Obamaengages in campaign rhetoric while traveling.  He may just turn out to be another politicain, a label he despises. 

Another potential drawback for Obama is if he looks like he is not leading the delegation.  As the Senators head into Iraq and Afghanistan, who will be their spokesperson?  If it is not Obama, he could be perceived as lacking the will to lead.  If he does not talk about leaving Iraq while in Iraq he may lose support among the most important and largest group of Obama voters, young Americans, who may also perceive him as just another politician. 

Also, will rallies for Obama in Germany or other nations on their itinerary really help him win an election to become the President of the United States?  Rallies will certainly show that he is popular but while on this trip he can’t engage in politics as usual without offending taxpayers at home who are funding the trip.  John McCain’s trips, while held during the campaign season, were not political rallies and he did not engage in politics while abroad.  Voters scratched their heads as to why he was in Columbia but did not hear McCain utter phrases about his opponent and his plans (veiled references that mean everything to anyone aside).  Sen Obama must walk a tight rope of Senator and candidate while traveling abroad on the taxpayer dime. 

In the end, this trip is a taxpayer funded campaign stop, especially with the networks in tow.  Sen Obama’s is looking to add to his resume with pictures of foreign dignitaries and currently deployed military personnel.   However, even with the technological advances in media since Nixon, the fact remains that you can not photo shop a President.  Informed voters can always spot the 5 o’clock shadow and are always turned off by it.