RObamaTS

RObamats:  a supporter of Barrack Obama who can recite the talking points of tax cut for 95% of Americans,  health care for all, end the war in Iraq, blame Bush for everything and use ‘middle class’ to describe all of those points.  Beware, when engaged RObamats will stretch the facts to historic proportions and repeat stated talking points until they think they won the debate.  Can usually be found surrounded by media. 

If you find one don’t waste your time trying to deprogram it.  Robamats are hard wired to suppress reality.  Rather state one of the code words “Hilary” or “fact check” and the RObamat will immediately shut down long enough for you to leave. 

On Nov 5, 2008 all RObamats are scheduled for reprogramming in one of two instances.  If Seantor Obama fails to become President they will immediately try to undermine the election with talking points about the “Bradley Effect” and their services will be retained to lead riots and accuse the Republicans of stealing the election.   If Senator Obama is elected President, the memory of all RObamats will have to be erased so they do not remember the wild promises candidate Obama made while campaigning and he can start failing to keep his promises without repercussion.

Advertisements

Biden’s Kitchen Table Looks Good in Palin’s House

Joe Biden’s America revolves around the kitchen table.  It is a metaphor I can relate to having a large family.  Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents, brothers, nephews, nieces and in-laws are all part of my life.  When we get together the discussions are always centered at the kitchen table.  They might be serious or benign but they happen while indulging in a variety of comfort foods and drinks.  It is something I think of as unique despite it’s relative commonness. After tonight’s debate, however, I think Joe needs a new metaphor.

In tonight’s VP debate, Sarah Palin took over the issue of the “kitchen table”.   In a classic move that few will herald,  Palin looked through the camera to Americans everywhere and told them why she should be Vice President.  She became, once again and without editing, the candidate we all can relate to in our homes.  When she talked about not having health insurance or being a member of the proverbial middle class or even when she talked about her own family, Palin was talking about the last decade, slightly more.  Palin was able to connect over that kitchen table with America.  She was able to show through her own experience that as VP she would understand, in  a way Joe Biden never could, what Americans are going through. 

Joe Biden filled our ears with memories of a time in Scranton, a place he needs a GPS to find yet claims kinship with.  He told the yarn about his dad’s lack of work in Scranton.  He touched us all briefly with the story about his wife’s death but that is as close as he got to getting to the kitchen table.  His experience with the proverbial middle class is experience he internalized when he observed his dad losing his job or  encounters with blue collar Americans while on the campaign trail.  Biden, and Obama, filled their kitchen table with promises for America but lack the personal insight to fulfill these promises in a meaningful way. 

I know that I will be seeing my family soon enough and I will once again gather with them at the kitchen table when that time comes.  I don’t know when Biden and Palin will once again have time to sit around their kitchen tables and discuss family matters.  But I do know that when Biden hits the campaign trail again tomorrow, his bus will be a little bit lighter.  Palin’s performance tonight gave her a clear victory and I can’t help but wonder if she put his kitchen table next to the lipstick she stole from Obama.

Obama Plants ACORN Seed, Leaves Town and Forgets to Tell Pelosi To Water It!

The ACORN provision in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Bill of 2008 looks to be dead along with several other provisions that would have clouded the bill.  As it stands now, the bill may have a chance of passing both houses of Congress relatively clean.  If no amendments are sought this bill could pass by Tuesday or Wednesday.  If either house seeks more, it could delay a vote until later in the week. 

As I mentioned earlier, the bill does have a provision that John McCain sought in his economic plan for America.  The HOPE for homeowners provision found in Section 110 of the bill (page 26 of 110), and Section 124 ( pg 69) provides for the opportunity to refinance principal or interest rates on mortgages, thus slowing the rate of foreclosures and giving homeowners time, if they want, to find an alternative to foreclosure.  Provisions were made for more oversight which Senator McCain has been calling for since 2006 (see comments of May 25,2006 in previous post).  Additionally,  executive compensation was also curtailed in the bill, a provision both candidates sought. 

Absent from the bill is a mandate Senator Obama wanted that would have given trial judges the right to adjust mortgages during hearings.  This provison would have allowed trial lawyers to bulk up their briefcases with new cases to protect the ‘innocent’ from the big corporations.  Also absent is the provision that unions would have had access to corporate board meetings, a dangerous and unsettling proposition that would have given unions even more influence in politics and business.  Also to the dismay of Senator Obama, the bill lacks even one mention of the words ‘middle class’.  Perhaps Senator Obama could have fought for these provisoons harder had he been in Washington this weekend instead of “calling in” his support. 

Pelosi,Reid, Dodd and Frank all stood up to take credit for this bill and divert blame to Bush even before the ink was dry on this bill.  Obama didn’t even wait for ink to be on the bill before he took credit (see previous post).  But it House Republicans who stood up and killed many of the provisions that would have delayed the bill.  Provisions like the one that funded ACORN and other groups would have made this bill worthless. 

No matter who claims ultimate victory on this bill, I still say the real loser is personal responsibility.  Because for those of us who struggle,  yet continue,  to pay a mortgage and bills on time and who seek personal solutions to economic challenges, this bill will do little.  But for those who failed to act or were unwilling to act when they saw trouble ahead, this bill will probably buy them more time to consider their mistakes before either acting responsibly or repeating them.  If the former is true for these people than the bill will have been a good risk.  If the latter turns out to be true however, I hope our leaders will have the sense to say ENOUGH! and allow them to fall as far and as hard as they must. 

http://financialservices.house.gov/essa/ayo08c04_xml.pdf

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/28/bailout-deal-reached/

Why John McCain?

As John McCain puts his country ahead of his campaign once again, detractors are arguing that this is just the latests stunt by John McCain win attention for himself.  Unfortunately those people are missing the point of what McCain is doing. 

In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post today, Harold Meyerson wrote cynically of McCain’s campaign suspension and request for Friday’s debate to be postponed.  In a piece called McCain’s Ploy, Meyerson argues that McCain is simply making this crisis about himself and the “indispensability of John McCain, leader of leaders.  He even goes on to argue that McCain wants the debate to be postponed so that the country can settle down and refocus on the subject of Friday’s debate, foreign policy-an area of absolute advantage for Mccain. 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/24/AR2008092403918.html?nav%3Dhcmodule&sub=new

What Meyerson misses in his piece however is that what McCain is doing by going back to the Senate is his job.  John McCain is a Senator until November 4 and thus his responsibilities include writing, voting and passing legislation for America.  Sen Obama has refused to go back to Washington, to his Senate seat, to hammer out legislation saying that Presidents must handle more than one crisis at a time.  Unfortunately for Senator Obama, he is not President and thus it is not his responsibility as yet to deal with the war and the economy at the same time.  Sen Obama’s primary responsibility as of September 25, 2008 is in the Senate and thus it falls to him to help write, vote and pass (or kill) legislation, especially legislation that affects the current economic situation.

While cynics argue over McCain’s motives,  I can’t help but remind anyone who cares to visit this blog about McCain’s past leadership.  Leadership that if followed may have averted or at least reduced this crisis we now face. Leadership that shows his current actions rise above the politics and polls.   On May 25,2006 Sen McCain stood before the Committe on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and warned them about Fannie and Freddie.  In his statement he said:

“The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.”

In the same statement Sen McCain proposed S.190, a bill that would have set up regulatory reforms for agencies like Fannie and Freddie.  He also warned that the economy would be in jeopardy if something was not done. 

“I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.”

(By the way, who was on the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Development?  Senator Chris Dodd (the same who asked Paulson how we got into this mess during yesterday’s testimony) and Sen Evan Bayh (yep VP contender for Obama 08))

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s109-190 (sponsors and cosponsors of reform legislation)

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/record.xpd?id=109-s20060525-16&bill=s109-190 (full remarks by Sen McCain)

Once again I am reminded why I am voting for John McCain.  While Sen Obama is holed up in a hotel room studying for the debates,  issuing statements about bipartisanship, and Monday morning quarterbacking the situation, John McCain is at work coming up with solutions in a bipartisan manner.  It is this kind of leadership that drew me to Sen McCain 8 years ago and is the basis for my support now.

Facts and Feelings from Wall Street to Main Street

The biggest heart string issue any candidate can use to influence votes is the economy.  The last few days have been a testament to this.  While Obama uses “middle class” as a noun, verb and adjective in every speech, McCain has been trying to reassure Americans about the fundamentals of the economy.  In light of the polls today, it would seem Obama is the better string player.  But does he have the leadership and policies to back up what he is saying on the stump? 

First to leadership.  It was reported today that the Democratically controlled Congress is considering another recess in light of the current economic situation.  The reason being that they don’t know what to do and don’t want to act in a manner that will cause any more harm.  Obama himself has yet to take a position on the bailout of AIG saying he needs more information before he can react to what happened yesterday. 

While it is true that John McCain is part of the same Congress that is considering another recess, it is also true that he is a member of the party that stayed in the House to push for a vote on energy reform after the last recess was called by Speaker Pelosi.  The Republican representatives stayed in the House for days after the recess was called, lights out, trying to put pressure on the Democrats to allow an up or down vote on energy reform.  

Unlike Obama,  John McCain has taken a position on the bailout of AIG.  According to ABC he is now a flip-flopper because he supports the bailout after he opposed it previously.  But they miss the point.  John McCain changed his position because he was able to see that if AIG was not given help in some manner-federal,private or the combination of both that has happened-the economy and millions of Americans who are associated with AIG in some way would have been decimated by even a partial failure.  Call it a flip flop if you like but leaders know when and how to act, even if acting goes against what they believe. 

Now, the policies.  Once again  these are policy statements directly out of Obama’s “Blueprint for America”  and the expanded Issues section of the John McCain website.  They are not the soundbites or anecdotes candidates use on the stump. 

  Obama’s plan starts with, what else, the middle class.  While Obama is fond of talking about his tax cut and it’s perceived ability to help 95% of Americans, his plan does not address who is middle class.  He does specify a tax credit that would be equal to $500 per individual or $1,000 per working family in what he calls the “Making Work Pay” tax credit.  He says it would completely eliminate taxes for 10 million Americans and provide 150 million workers relief. 

Obama also will simplify tax filings,  allowing taxpayers the option of signing a returning a pre-filled tax form sent by the IRS.  No itemization, no W, I or A forms, just sign a return.  Accountants beware, estimates are you will lose approximately $2 billion in fees when this happens.  Perhaps the accounts will need retraining after they lose their jobs, but not to worry Obama has provided for that in his plan. 

First of all, if you take a job at McDonalds, your minimum wage will rise indexed to inflation.  Simply put, small businesses are forced to pony up money every year for every worker, NOT based on performance.  In addition Obama will raise the Earned Income Tax Credit so that you can work full-time and still raise a family.  Not only that but Obama will expand FMLA to companies that employ as little as 25 people and allow time off for just about anything.  While I can’t say that allowing time off under FMLA to see your kids soccer games is a bad idea, I can say that his idea to make states and companies to pay for FMLA time is a bad one.  But to this end Obama has promised $1.5 billion to the states to help them pay for the new FMLA rules. 

If you decide, as an out of work accountant, that you want to enter the manufacturing field, Obama is going to spend untold (literally, he has no number) dollar amounts on new job training programs.  Using his education policy as a backdrop, most of this retraining will happen at community colleges where education will be free under an Obama administration.  If you decide to stay at home and work, Obama will give you high speed Internet as he spends countless (again no number) dollars on companies who provide Internet connection services. 

Of course Obama has a record to back up his economic policies and tax cuts.  In 2007 he was a cosponsor on a bill (his site says he introduced it) by Dick Durbin called the Patriot Employer Act.  The bill currently sits in committee. Did I mention the Congress that controls these committees is controlled currently by Obama’s own party.  He also cosponsored the STOP FRAUD Act to help homeowners, it also sits in committee

Sen McCain’s proposals start off with a balanced budget by 2013.  To achieve this McCain will:

  • make reasonable growth a reality
  • control spending
  • use bipartisanship like (hold on ) Bill Clinton did in the 90’s to pass a budget

In assuring growth Mccain believes that small businesses will benefit the economy the most.  His proposals of low taxes and low rates on capital gains will allow those businesses to reinvest in their own future.  Also small businesses would be able to deduct equipment and technology investments they make to improve their businesses.  In addition to allowing businesses to reinvest in themselves, McCain is proposing reducing the Estate Tax to 15% which would allow more businesses to stay in the family.  In addition the Bush tax cuts would stay in place and may even increase for all Americans. 

Another way John McCain can assure growth is the implementation of his energy policy.  Under his plans, which include ALL types of energy,  new jobs would be created in America to build and support new energy development.  In nuclear power alone it is estimated that over 700,000 jobs would be created under McCain’s plan.  Retraining is also a priority in a Mccain Presidency and would be fully supported. 

The second part of McCain’s plan to balance the budget is to control spending.  John McCain’s efforts to control spending are famous and easily found on his congressional website.  But in addition to earmarks, John McCain has proposed a freeze on all non-defense and non-veteran discretionary spending thus allowing time to plan and prioritize all spending programs.  And as we draw down in Iraq and costs are reduced in the war, much of that money will go to deficit reduction, not universal health care. 

One other point on spending.  Much has been made about the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska.  Sarah Palin has been criticised for supporting the earmark before she was Governor and then voicing her opposition to it as Governor.  John McCain voted “NO” to this earmark (H.r. 3, CQ Vote#220: Adopted 91-4:R 48-4;D42-0, I 1-0,7/29/2005)and was only one of 4 Senators to do so, Obama voted for it.  When the money was allocated anyway, Palin did take the $36 million allocated BUT directed her Transportation Department to use it for infrastructure improvements in the state.  This is in keeping with improvements sought after the government directed states to look at all of their infrastructure after the bridge collapse a few years ago.  Here are two source to verify the bill-

http://www.johnmccain.com/mccainreport/Read.aspx?guid=ab24d6d6-f796-4851-99ac-451d7567a5cc

This site shows Obama and McCain’s votes on HR 3

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/109/senate/1/votes/220/

Finally, John McCain’s record of bipartisanship shows that he can easily work with all members of Congress to make this happen.  Just as Democrats and Republicans are coming together this week to slow the bleed in the financial sector, Sen McCain has worked with Ted Kennedy, Joe Lieberman and others to introduce legislation that, many times his own party did not support. 

There is more to the McCain plan but I have gone on long enough (Printed text for McCain goes on for 14 pages, Obama has 5).   Figuring out what each candidate is saying on the trail is difficult.  Sen Obama clearly uses emotion over reason and Sen McCain tries reason more than he should sometimes.  But after writing my longest post yet, the bottom line is this.  On May 25, 2006 John McCain spoke to the Banking Committee and warned of the failure of Fannie and Freddie as well as others (AIG).  Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, now advisers to Obama, were executives in the banking industry then.  Chris Dodd (D) was the ranking committee member and killed the resolution John McCain and others proposed.  Where was the leadership of Obama and the Democrats then?

Again look at the comments:

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/17/mccains-attempt-to-fix-fannie-mae-freddie-mac-in-2005/

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2084424/posts

 (Thank you to all sites listed)

The 60 Billion Dollar Woman

Obama seems to believe that the question of experience is off the table now that Gov Sarah Palin has been chosen to be McCain’s VP nominee.  By now everyone knows that Palin is a first term Governor from Alaska who was previously Mayor of Wasilla, a town of approximately 10,000 people.  But judging experience is more that just years in office, it also includes the level of involvement you had during that time. 

Take one specific item as an example of Sarah Palin’s experience in relation to Obama and Biden’s.  The operating budget in Illinois is $49 billion.  As a state Senator, Obama would have had very little input into the content of the budget itself.  Likewise, the operating budget of Delaware is around $3 billion.  Joe Biden’s career took him to Washington 36 years ago, where he does little to negotiate the budget for the USA.  As a matter of fact his party, including Obama, has yet to pass a budget for this fiscal year, which ends on September 30.  The USA is currently operating on a continuing resolution. 

Alaska, by contrast, has an operating budget of $60 billion, that is $8 billion more than both Illinois and Delaware combined.  While serving the last two years as Governor, Sarah Palin would have overseen the writing and implementation of that $60 billion budget twice.  While Governor, Palin also vetoed over 300 spending bills because of waste and cut $1.6 billion from the budget. 

Experience still matters in this election.  Sen Obama wants us to believe that his inexperience is an asset to this country and will provide fresh ideas.  He wants us to cast a vote for him even though he has never overseen something as simple as a state budget ( simple as compared to the budget of the United States).  Nor has Sen Obama been able to pass a budget as a US Senator, one of his key responsibilities in that position.  Sarah Palin oversaw a budget of $60 billion and cut wasteful spending in Alaska.  She even turned down money that Republican Sen Ted Stevens helped earmark in Congress for the “Bridge to Nowhere” project.  Experience does matter and while Palin may be new to the nation,  her experience as Alaska’s Governor has proven that she is ready and has the resume of change  that Obama only talks about.

Veep Stakes

The polls have stalled.  As of today,  there is no clear leader in the race to be the next President.  Voters are ready for the next big thing in this race, the VP picks. 

In previous elections, the choice of VP was seen as mostly insignificant.  What did Al Gore bring to the table?  Did Kerry take North Carolina with Edwards on the ticket?  Who thought Cheney was on the short list?  But this election is different and the VP choice WILL affect the outcome of this election. 

John McCain will benefit from his choice of VP much more than Sen Obama.  For voters, Sen McCain’s choice is more about who will balance the ticket.  For voters on the right that means a candidate with more conservative views than McCain.  For independents that means a candidate who shares most of McCain’s views but can also add something, such as experience or knowledge in economics, to the ticket.  And for Democrats unsure about Obama, it is a candidate who will not go too far right on issues important to them.  And let’s face it, no matter how healthy McCain is, all voters are looking at the number 2 guy as a possible replacement. 

For voters looking at Sen Obama and his VP choice, it is more about who will add the most to the ticket without highlighting the inexperience of a first term Senator.  Independent voters are looking at Obama’s choice as their key.  Independents who like his message of change and hope want a VP with the same wide eyed view of the world but has been around politics longer than the top name on the ticket.  Independents  who are undecided because of Obama’s inexperience and worry about his message of hope and change are looking for a VP who will keep Obama grounded in reality as he tries to run the nation, possibly someone they feel will hold him back a little.  Those on the left who are unsure about Sen Obama will be looking for a candidate who will be able to keep Obama focused on the issues important to the party.  And everyone is looking for a VP who has seen and experienced the world for longer than 9 days. 

Obama will have a harder time choosing a VP that will help him win as well because he has placed himself on such a high pedestal.  With soaring speeches infused with whimsical rhetoric, Sen Obama has captivated audiences and the media.  His VP choice will have to bottle some of this magic as well if he or she wants to be an asset to the Democratic ticket.  He or she will also have to be able to explain Sen Obama’s policies, a task not many surrogates can do on the talk show circuit without resorting to talking points. 

The influence of Dick Cheney will be felt in this election as both candidates struggle with the VP choice.  Just as Hilary wandered into politics as First Lady and redefined that role, Dick Cheney (for better or worse, depending on your thinking) redefined the role of the VP under Bush.  Both candidates need a strong choice to motivate voters to cast ballots in their favor.  For Sen Obama that task will prove to be more difficult as he tries to find someone who will not upstage him or his message.  For Sen McCain the task is to find someone to compliment him and his message.  The advantage is clearly with McCain as the Veep Stakes continues. 

(It’s going to be Romney for McCain!, and Clinton is a huge risk for Obama that won’t help him in the end)

Race Card

In the wake of Clinton’s win in PA,  pundits have restarted the race issue.  In analyzing why Obama has not won in blue collar cities across America,  ABC ran a report arguing that Obama’s race may be a factor in his electability.  Of course this report and others I have seen  focus solely on whites voting for Obama.  After 15 months of campaigning I see a different reason why Obama can’t close the deal as they say. 

While some polls do suggest that race is a factor, the percentages are very small.  For those voters who feel that race is not a factor the percentages are much higher,  hovering around 77%.  The way these polls are presented also is a huge factor.  Generally these polls are presented as white voters only,  which may or may not be how the poll was taken.  In any case other data suggests that blacks vote overwhelmingly for Obama, 92% in PA for instance.  Yet this “race” data is seen as okay for some reason yet it is no less racist.  No matter what polls and data suggest though after 15 months on the campaign trail race is not the issue for the majority of Americans,  it is policy. 

Even the most out of touch voter has seen an ad on TV or read at least one article in a paper.  In some way that piece of media swayed their decision and not one TV ad that I have seen or heard has come out to say don’t vote for Obama because he is black.  The informed electorate, those voters who read newspapers, watch some TV and utilize the Internet,  have made up their minds based on a policy issue that is important to them after so many months of coverage on the campaign trail.  Obama can’t close the deal because of this flow of information. 

When voters look at his stance on Iraq, which has been widely circulated, they may agree with him that the war was a bad idea but know the reality of the situation is that no one will be able to cut and run.  In addition, when both he a Clinton were asked about Iran getting and using nuclear weapons,  Clinton acted tough on defense while Obama kept saying that talking would end every crisis in the world while calling Clinton’s stance saber rattling (words used against Bush by Clinton and Obama to attack his foreign policy).   American voters do want more money in their  pockets but understand that growing the size of government through more welfare and other assistance programs will only lead to higher taxes for all Americans, especially blue collar, middle class workers.  Open immigration policies will also hurt working Americans and voters know this when they still have to press 1 for English. 

Finally voters realize that experience really does matter.  In PA, Sen Obama ran his campaign not on what he has done on the US Senate but what he did as a state Senator and in his previous career as a civil rights lawyer.  Voters understand that passing policy in Illinois is not like passing policy that will affect the 50 states that make up the United States of America.  Obama can’t make a case for experience because he has none on the national or world stage. 

I have heard the comparisons to JFK in reference to Obama’s lack of experience, speaking quality and other traits.  I will admit that I was not alive for JFK and only know the historical record of JFK as President and citizen.  These references are flawed at their core because of JFK’s service to America before he was President.  Serving as Secretary to his Ambassador father, commanding a PT boat in WW2, and as a Congressman for much longer than Obama,  JFK had more experience and policy making ability than Obama has now as he runs for the same office. 

The reason Obama can’t close the deal has very little to do with race.  Yes, a small percentage of whites will vote along racial lines, just as a small percentage of women will vote only on gender lines.  The reason Obama has failed to win support among blue collar workers,  the average Joe,  are his policies.  While he repeats the chorus of “change we can believe in”, Americans are starting to look at his idea of change and finding it hard to swallow.  Obama himself still, after 15 months, does not get into policy debates unless he is forced to engage an opponent. However,  with just a little digging any  voter can find out that he has proposed higher taxes, believes in free and open borders and is soft on defense.   So while the media outlets continue to play the race card, Americans are moving on to the issues that matter and deciding for themselves who will be the best candidate to serve as President of the United States, no matter what color,age or gender they happen to be on election day.