Patterico's Pontifications

9/24/2008

McCain’s Suspension of His Campaign: A Mistake

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:29 pm



Let me dissent from my colleagues’ view, and briefly register my opinion that McCain’s suspension of his campaign is a mistake. When the average American sees the phrase “John McCain has suspended his campaign,” it looks like he’s conceding the race. That’s a hard impression to overcome.

And Obama’s criticism that Presidents need to be able to multitask will resonate with Americans who multitask all day long.

If they had asked my opinion, I’d have told them not to do this. (I also would have told them not to get a bunch of facts wrong while complaining about the media’s distortion of facts. In fact, I’m a treasure trove of ideas!)

As it is, we’ll just have to watch this play out. I hope I’m wrong about this.

154 Responses to “McCain’s Suspension of His Campaign: A Mistake”

  1. When the average American sees the phrase “John McCain has suspended his campaign,” it looks like he’s conceding the race.

    That’s IMMEDIATELY what I thought!

    Until I actually listened a little more, to what was going on…

    thebronze (90b755)

  2. You are correct. A big mistake.

    But there were no good options. Like the Titanic it’s best to abandon ship and take your chances in the 40 degree water other than face a certain demise by staying on board.

    The GOP is reaping what they have sown. It isn’t McCain is a bad guy. It just he has the wrong answers as per the republican party platform.

    It doesn’t work. We’ve given it 8 years and look where we’re are.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  3. This analysis is now moot, considering that Obama just agreed to meet with McCain and the President tomorrow @ the White House to get this package passed. Not to mention, a joint statement by both McCain and Obama was released just before the President’s speech.

    Brad S (99a028)

  4. I didn’t think that…but I follow the blogs, etc. Dick Morris was gleeful, though, tonight. He thinks McCain will be able to produce the Rep votes to pass a bailout and become “the man who saved the economy.”

    Could be. He is a gambler, a very smart gambler.

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  5. We’re looking at different sides of the same coin.

    I’m not sure it was the right move by McCain tactically to do what he did, but I would defend it by saying that he needed to break the draft that was putting him farther and farther behind on this issue, and this was one way to do so. Simply allowing the issue to be demagogued by partisan interets in House and Senate Committees, with the Administration and GOP being made to look to be at fault, was a losing hand.

    My comment was that Obama allowed McCain to get light between the two of them when the outcome of how this will play out is unknown.

    In a way it reminds me of a “tacking duel” in a yacht race. Generally when one yacht has a lead on the other, the yacht behind wants to change the dynamics of the race by moving to a different part of the course looking for different wind. The yacht ahead is generally cautioned to to in the same direction — keeping the yacht behind “covered”, meaning that if they keep racing in the same wind, the yacht in the lead should be able to maintain that lead.

    By letting McCain go off on his own, Obama risks that McCain might play an outsized role in whatever outcome might come out of the next few days in Congress. If the solution settles the stock and credit markets, you might see a run to the upside in the same way you saw it last week when the proposal was first suggested after the AIG bailout.

    McCain had a bad 10 days on this issue playing the cards he held. He needed to do something different.

    WLS (26b1e5)

  6. You’re not wrong. The foreign policy debate is McCain’s best shot at regaining round. Oh, sure if the press would report this thing fairly, that would be one thing, but they won’t, of course.

    Best recovery: McCain and Obama go to the White House tomorrow, then get back on the road, with McCain claiming that he got what he wanted by them both being there.

    Kevin Murphy (eb4d6c)

  7. It could be we’re all right. Obama was tone deaf in his reaction but McCain was tone deaf in the way he worded it.

    FWIW, I think McCain’s political problem is that he knows he will have to answer questions in the debate about the economy and the bailout because the Obama-friendly media will find ways to sneak it into their “foreign policy and national security” questions. The worst case scenario would be that McCain will have to answer those questions but, because the topic is foreign policy, Obama will get a pass to selectively respond to and critique what McCain says.

    Thus, McCain had no choice. He has to get out in front of this issue so he might as well do it in a way he believes in and can defend.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  8. I was beaten in a racquetball tournament once by a psychologist–she knew how to throw off the rhythm of my game. I think that’s what McCain is trying to do, and he just might succeed.

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  9. I think suspending the campaign was the right thing to do. If McCain picked the wrong word, saying “suspend” when he meant … um … “suspend,” he can explain that away as straight talk: it’s all the other guys you should be mad at for using the word “suspend” when they actually mean “quit.” Spin it right, and Obama was the jerk for putting his campaign above all else.

    That said, spinning things right against a media solidly in the tank for one’s opponent may be easier said than done. Nevertheless, it was still the right thing to do.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  10. I thought having both candidates suspend the campaign and go to Washington was a good idea for two non-political reasons:

    Most importantly, the public is not getting how serious this financial crisis is and how at risk their jobs, homes, cars, etc. are at risk if it is not solved quickly. They are also not understanding what’s being discussed. President Bush (finally)gave an address tonight, and I think it was a good one – said what needed to be said. But if both McCain and Obama had said that this crisis is critically important, the most important thing happening right now for the well being of all of us out here, then I think the public would have gotten a slap on the side of the head with a 2×4, which is what’s needed to get people to wake up about this.

    Second, one of these two guys will have to be dealing with the effects of this come January. The important meetings going on are not the public ones with the Senate House Committees, they’re the small group meetings between Paulson, Bernanke and the Senate and House leadership. I would be much happier having Obama and McCain being in these meetings hearing what’s being discuseed first hand, not getting it second hand at best. [Now that Bush has invited McCain and Obama to a last effort meeting at the White House I’m happier on this issue.]

    This is way beyond a political issue. Bernanke agrees with Milton Friedman’s analysis of the Depression that it was a result of government’s failure to step in a provide liquidity to banks after the 1929 stock market crash. As a result, 1000’s of banks failed in the early 30’s. This is what they’re trying to avoid.

    Sec. Paulson at House hearing today:

    “[The voter] should be angry and he should be scared – and I think right now he’s angrier than he is scared,” said Paulson “And it puts us in a difficult position—no one likes to be painting an overly dire picture and scaring people, but the fact is that if the financial markets are not stabilized the situation can be very severe as it relates not just to his current situation – but keeping his job… this is a serious situation and one he should be concerned about.”

    Peccator Dubius (0a6237)

  11. What’s most infuriating is that Friday’s debate was originally supposed to be about domestic policy. It was Obama’s campaign that insisted on switching topic of the debate to foreign policy. Now that McCain apparently wants to actually do something about domestic policy, Obama is demagoguing that now is the time that they talk foreign policy. You really think Americans care more about Pakistan right now than the crisis on Wall Street?

    How does Obama get away with this nonsense?

    DubiousD (a5aa64)

  12. DubiousD, easy. His followers are that dumb and that dishonest.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  13. It is obvious from the candidates’ actions that McCain appreciates the seriousness of the financial crisis; Obama continues to view it as a campaign talking point. McCain recognizes the need for swift action; Obama prefers to continue campaigning.

    The majority of Americans have yet to realize how close the nation is to complete financial collapse. Some of the key players in Washington — those who fully understand what is at stake — are truly frightened at what will happen if action is not taken immediately. It appears McCain is one of those who understands. Obama, not so much.

    navyvet (4c272e)

  14. There is another reason why this could help McCain. Currently, the debate schedule provides that the respective Presidential debates will be held on 9/26, 10/7 and 10/15. This leaves three full weeks from the last campaign until election day. One thing I have noticed (and perhaps McCain’s campaign advisors have too) is that McCain does quite well when he gets an even shot (i.e., people see him for an extended period of time). The debates are the chance to regain the lead. On the other hand, McCain does very poorly in dead periods – the press sees to that.

    Thus, given that the VP debate is 10/2, and the first debate is 10/7, if McCain can successfully push the last campaign until after 10/15, he has reduced the “dead” time from 3 weeks to two. Taking into account the inevitable post-debate followups, and three days before the election when everyone is just reading polls, we are down to just about 9 days when the Press is spending time attacking. If McCain can throw off one positive (or Obama negative) story that draws a couple of more days, then no story will gain traction to badly bring McCain down. With three full weeks the press can probably bring McCain at least 3-4 points below where he ends up following the debates.

    DSR (0586e0)

  15. Letterman on McCain. I think this will be known as the day the election was lost.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjkCrfylq-E&eurl=http://www.crooksandliars.com/

    Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. And for those who choose not to watch the point is why in the hell didn’t he have Palin continue the campaign without him.

    You know, kind of like stepping in and doing the Presidents job when the President isn’t available.

    Good call, Patterico.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  16. Multitasking is just another term for dividing your attention. McCain’s FULL attention should be on this $700B mess. Good decision on McCain’s part.

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  17. jharp, no, this won’t be known as the day the election was lost. Obama already had that day when he called Palin a pig.

    I still hear women, even Democratic women, repeat that comment. And Obama’s polling among Hillary supporters hasn’t moved.

    But that’s typical of your comments, jharp.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  18. Exactly how is Obama multi-tasking? He’s spending all his time running for President, just as he’s done since he was elected to the Senate.

    steve sturm (b68da4)

  19. Patterico,

    Initially – it did seem that he was throwing in the towel

    Until it became clear that McCain was putting the good of the country above the good of his campaign

    Its going to play huge, if McCain is on the hill saving our financial systems and Obama is giving speeches about how great he is

    Its game over

    EricPWJohnson (c00a5d)

  20. Jharp is an idiot. An obama supporting idiot.

    McCain knew exactly what he was doing, he knew what was going to happen, and McCain outsmarted Obama. Obama is falling for it hook, line, and sinker.

    Bush, in calling Obama to Washington, effectively allowed McCain a major win by forcing Obama’s hand.

    McCain will come out of this looking exceptionally stronger.

    Badger (1808e2)

  21. DSR–Very good observation and strategy.

    PC14 (ec0516)

  22. IF this is a genuine crisis, all lawmakers should give up all partisan interests and work for the people they are supposed to represent. However, I’ve long since given up the belief that legislators work for anything beyond their own perks and re-election. There is no possibility of understanding their bizarre world.

    I’ll believe it’s a crisis when politicians put aside partisan problems act like it’s a crisis.

    Leadership.

    Anonymous (27bdce)

  23. Obama is wrong. When the Chairman of the Fed warns of an imminent financial meltdown, it is not the time for multi-tasking. McCain is correct to focus his attention (and the nation’s) on a crisis that threatens America’s economic viability.

    Though doing so may be politically counterproductive, McCain really does put the country’s interests ahead of his own. I frequently disagree with him – in fact, he often drives me up the wall – but I have come to believe McCain really is that rarest of beasts…a true statesman.

    bob lane (165eca)

  24. I think McCain got the upper hand on this one. This will not look weak at all. On the contrary it will set him up as the decisive one. He took the lead, made a decision to “put country first” and go back and get things moving in DC. If time on the campaign is lost, the impact of this leadership move will provide him with the gain he needs in the minds of smart voters! Obama made another bad call as he was called back to Washington by Bush and the Dems just hours after his big macho stance to put campaign first. Obama got bitch slapped on this one…. Sorry Bambi ;(

    wales (7ddc86)

  25. This isn’t the first time McCain put his country ahead of his personal ambitions. The Surge, anyone?

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  26. SPQR,

    “jharp, no, this won’t be known as the day the election was lost. Obama already had that day when he called Palin a pig.”

    So I guess that’s why McCain is polling so well lately?

    You are a joke. As is your party. And your leader is the worst President in the history of the U.S.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  27. It is pretty clear that Obama can’t lead a One Man Band.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  28. Oh, and please share with me Mr. SPQR.

    Why didn’t McCain have Governor Palin continue the campaign without him?

    This ought to be good.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  29. Regarding the switch in debate topics, from the Wall Street Journal:

    “The debate commission had directed that this debate would cover domestic issues, but the two campaigns agreed to change it to foreign policy. Sen. McCain’s advisers wanted to lead off with his strong suit, foreign policy. Sen. Obama’s advisers wanted to have the last debate center on domestic issues, particularly the economy, which they believe will benefit their candidate.”

    Bob Loblaw (6d485c)

  30. Let us remember the “Ground Rules”

    Dems really care about the average citizen
    Repubs don’t

    Dems do what they do because its the right thing to do
    Repubs do what they do as a cynical “political maneuver”

    Democrats do no wrong (that’s news-worthy, anyway)
    It’s always the Repubs fault, whatever it was.

    Let’s remember who McCain is, at his best and his worse, “I’m John McCain, and I’ll do what I think is best.”
    “I’d rather lose an election than lose a war.” => “I’d rather lose an election than see another depression”.

    “What the average American thinks” for most is probably a function of their preconceived opinions and how well they’re paying attention. John McCain is a senior senator and a leader of his party whether he is president or not. His judgement, as is the judgement of many economic “experts”, is every day of indecision is making the market fall, making the situation worse with mounting momentum in the wrong direction. He previously wanted a series of “town hall” debates with Obama and was turned down. All crap about multitasking aside, one issue has real time implications for the country, the other is choosing to stick to schedule with little if any meaningful significance if it is Friday, Sat, or Sunday. Obama is the one who can’t multitask, because multitasking involves prioritizing if the number of tasks exceed what can be done this moment. Obama can talk on the phone with Reid and Pelosi in DC if he wants, he hasn’t done anything in the Senate before, why should things be different now.

    If there was even a luke-warm effort by the MSM to report accurately on Obama (or John Edwards, for that matter) he would have never had the nomination to begin with.

    McCain will win or lose being McCain, doing what he thinks is right, to h— with you if you don’t like it.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  31. GOP gets blamed for anything bad that happens on Wallstreet. That’s why McCain went from +3 to -2 (Rasmussen).

    Jharp, given McCain’s well documented history of service to this country, do you have any doubt McCain would sacrfice his campaign in order to save this country from another great depression?

    I doubt Obama would.

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  32. And for those of you wondering. Here is how a person in control handles things. For those of you who don’t know the term it is called “multi tasking”, something that is often required of the President. Something a real leader handles without missing a step.

    BECAUSE HE HAS THE RIGHT PEOPLE BELOW HIM TO HANDLE THINGS WHEN A CRISES ARISES.

    “A few moments ago, President Bush called Senator Obama and asked him to attend a meeting in Washington tomorrow, which he agreed to do. Senator Obama has been working all week with leaders in Congress, Secretary Paulsen, and Chairman Bernanke to improve this proposal, and he has said that he will continue to work in a bipartisan spirit and do whatever is necessary to come up with a final solution. He strongly believes the debate should go forward on Friday so that the American people can hear from their next President about how he will lead America forward at this defining moment for our country,” said Obama-Biden spokesman Bill Burton.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  33. Obama. The man who multi-tasks rather than leads.

    What a nothing.

    Yah, I’m gonna vote for guy because he multi-tasks. NOT!

    Oh gee, I’m multitasking now with IE and Outlook Express, vote for me.

    :)

    Tom (332829)

  34. “Jharp, given McCain’s well documented history of service to this country, do you have any doubt McCain would sacrfice his campaign in order to save this country from another great depression?”

    Yeah, I have a huge doubt. As a mater of fact I have no doubt that he puts being elected above the well being of our country.

    My proof. Sarah Palin as VP.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  35. Why didn’t McCain have Governor Palin continue the campaign without him?
    — Because he suspended HIS campaign, and because she is a part of HIS campaign.

    Icy Truth (d2ca3b)

  36. Nonsense, jharp, no one has been paying any attention to Obama’s opinions in this crisis at all. No one has even mentioned him as having anything to do with the resolution of the crisis – except his own campaign’s press releases. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi can’t even recall his name while they run around like chickens with their heads cut off.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  37. President Kennedy was not multitasking during the Cuban Missle Crisis. President Truman was not multitasking when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. Nor should President McCain be multitasking while trying to solve this $700B mess.

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  38. I’ve finally figured out why jharp is attracted to Obama – he wants a President as empty and shallow as himself.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  39. Sorry JHarp,

    You don’t multi-task on the most important financial bill ever to face the Senate since probably WWII.

    You get your butt there to Washington and you come up with a law that will prevent this from happening again and not concentrate so much power in one man.

    That’s Country First!

    If they finish up some time on Friday, maybe they can debate there in Washington or in MS if they can get there in a reasonable hour, but you don’t blow off the American people on this legislation. It’s WAY to important.

    Tom (332829)

  40. steve sturm – Exactly how is Obama multi-tasking?

    — Taking in millions of dollars with one hand, wasting it with the other.

    Icy Truth (d2ca3b)

  41. I agree most of us multitask every day. However, if you encounter an emergency, say your kid goes to the hospital, you don’t say, “Gee, I think I should probably go home and do the laundry as well.” You drop all the mundane things to focus on the emergency. Most Americans will get that if they get past the suspension headline (poor choice of words on McCain’s part).

    I thought it was cheesy that the Obama campaign then went on to list some of the headlines of the day during previous debates, which somehow managed to go on despite the crises. Here are some of the horrors that previous campaigns had to face on or near debate day:

    Oct 22, 1976: Swine flu vaccine leads news
    Oct 13, 1988: New stats on growing trade deficit
    Oct 11, 1992: Tuberculosis reemerges
    Sep 30, 2004: Fannie Mae agreed to “major changes” in accounting practices (HA!)

    Article here.

    kel (74946b)

  42. This election is simple:

    McCain: Service
    Obama: Power

    All McCain needs to do is make that clear (or let Obama make that clear) and he wins. The only good thing about this suspension is it highlights this point.

    Or would if the press’ response was less juvenile than Letterman’s. But these big media types could teach Putin a thing of two about how to “fix” an election.

    Kevin Murphy (eb4d6c)

  43. Yeah, I have a huge doubt. As a mater of fact I have no doubt that he puts being elected above the well being of our country.

    My proof. Sarah Palin as VP.

    He championed the Surge that cost him his early frontrunner status. He was actually running close to last place with Tancredo and Hunter. When a reporter asked him why he would champion such an unpopular strategy that was obviously costing him votes, McCain said he would rather lose the election than have America lose the war.

    McCain has convictions. Can you really say the same of Obama after seeing him get called back by President Bush?

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  44. McCain should show for the debate, but making it seem that he won’t as long as possible.

    Then he should excoriate his opponent for putting the debate first. When Obie uses the “multi-tasking” line, McCain should slam him with his votes “present”, quickly moving to Obie’s association with the Fannie-Freddie perps, and his financial gains from that relationship.

    Then move to how the democrats blocked reform that would have avoided this, and especially the roles of ACORN, Frank, and Dodd.

    McCain should rip Obie and his Demo-Cats a new one. He should step on the moderator, hard, if necessary, to take over the program. Dare them to turn off the microphone.

    But of course, McCain won’t do that.

    Born Free (1b76b7)

  45. Yeah, I know that the Harpster is just another troll, and is actually a snotty 24 year old working at Kinkos bragging all over the internet (and not very convincingly). I realize that.

    But this quote about Obama, misspelled and all capital letters, says it all:

    “..BECAUSE HE HAS THE RIGHT PEOPLE BELOW HIM TO HANDLE THINGS WHEN A CRISES ARISES….”

    Umm. Tell us again what kinds of people Obama has had working for him on his staff during this campaign?

    It’s also interesting that Harpster’s belief that a politician should have a staff to handle all those vexing tough issues doesn’t apply to Republican candidates.

    What a partisan prat. But then, his goal is to be irritating.

    But I’m guessing that he needs to brag to make up for other deficiencies in his life.

    Eric Blair (2708f4)

  46. Lots of blips on the radar that I’ll ignore, though I couldn’t ignore this one as I almost needed some Compazine:

    Senator Obama has been working all week with leaders in Congress, Secretary Paulsen, and Chairman Bernanke to improve this proposal, and he has said that he will continue to work in a bipartisan spirit and do whatever is necessary to come up with a final solution. He strongly believes the debate should go forward on Friday so that the American people can hear from their next President about how he will lead America forward at this defining moment for our country,” said Obama-Biden spokesman Bill Burton

    .

    I don’t know if Pres. Bush thinks this time things are bad enough that even the Dems want to do the right thing, or if he’s having another misguided moment of trying to be bipartisan that way it did work back in Texas.

    Besides, we already know what it would be like to hear Sen. Obama speak on this topic, “Uh, uh, just a minute, I think…., uh, I think that some serious action needs to be done to, uh, undue all of the damage the Republicans have done…” “How much did I get in donations from Fannie and Freddie? It doesn’t make any difference, uh, because, uh, Dems can get money from donors without uh, being, uh, influenced.”

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  47. jharp,

    Bone to pick on “Multi-Tasking”

    It only means, I start a lot of things but never complete them… It leads to a big tangled mess.

    So, what has Obama accomplished while in the Sentate?

    Thanks,

    DD

    DD (7de838)

  48. FWIW, I’ve lived a real life with real responsibilities. I’m sick of the “multi-tasking” BS. It means “not paying enough attention to any one thing.”

    Anonymous (27bdce)

  49. But of course, McCain won’t do that.

    McCain didn’t jump on that silly Barak Hussein Obama meme either. It pissed off a lot of Republicans (How dare he throw Bill Cunningham under the bus for stating a true face!). Of course, this paid off in spades when Obama tried to play the race card on him.

    McCain knows when to hold his fire. Going off on someone as insignficant as Olbermann would be tactless.

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  50. steve sturm – Exactly how is Obama multi-tasking?

    – Taking in millions of dollars with one hand, wasting it with the other.
    Comment by Icy Truth — 9/24/2008 @ 8:01 pm

    A three-pointer plus one!!! You’ll have a hard go at topping that one soon (but you can try!!)

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  51. MD in Philly,

    I am reasonably well-informed about President Bush and I firmly believe that, even after all these years, Bush is convinced leading Congressional Democrats will interact with him in a bipartisan manner. In my opinion, his wife and his father are similarly clueless about people but his mother knows better. That’s why it’s especially galling to me when Bush says “Always listen to your mother.”

    DRJ (c953ab)

  52. McCain probably didn’t make this decision today — it looks like Steve Schmidt called this one.

    Pretty good diversion… Kind of like in a NCAA basketball game… when the other team is winning and they have all the momentum and they get a big lead on you and they are scoring points on fast-breaks, what do you do? Ya gotta do SOMETHING or they will just keep on scoring! So, you do something to shake them up. Doesn’t matter what you do — maybe you call time out, maybe you just slow down the game a little bit — but you change something and it trips the other team up and often they can’t get their mo back.

    So that’s what McCain did today. Didn’t really matter WHAT he did — he did something and it actually WORKED! It took Obama off his game. He really didn’t know how to answer. He stumbled a bit and said silly stuff about multi-tasking and letting the American people know that they were seriously going to look at this problem. Obama looked weak and foolish by comparison — mainly because he wasn’t ready for this change.

    I’ve even heard analogies described as McCain using fighter pilot tactics, getting behind the other pilots OODA loop. That’s a romantic thought, but it was probably just good PR on Steve Schmidt’s part….

    And I think it worked.

    I wouldn’t worry about Letterman’s comments…everyone knows he is a Dem…if you don’t know that after all these years, YOU are living a sheltered life…so you expect him to dis McCain … It won’t have any consequence.

    By the way, don’t trust the polls — they are weighted VERY heavily to include more Dem response to generate those numbers.

    I think McCain is doing just fine and he is good in debates… he likes that stuff and is often pretty witty and fast on his feet.

    Calpurnia (ad936f)

  53. I guarantee you if he were to continue to campaign McCain would be raked over the coals. If he were to suspend the campaign he would be raked over the coals. There is no winning when you deal with Democrats. They will ALWAYS find the bad side of things and blame the Republicans! This along with the help of the MSM keeps people from really finding out how empty suited Obama is.

    It's Me! (de6042)

  54. Icy,

    Why didn’t McCain have Governor Palin continue the campaign without him?

    This ought to be good.

    “– Because he suspended HIS campaign, and because she is a part of HIS campaign.”

    You didn’t disappoint. That really is a funny one.

    And all this time I thought they were running together. So I guess Palin has nothing to do with his campaign.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  55. I seriously doubt dealing with the largest financial meltdown in 75 years is a time to be multi-tasking.

    This move seriously underscores the them that McCain is a doer and Obama is a talker.

    Plus, it interrupts the narrative, which has not been in McCain’s favor and makes him look more proactive on the economy.

    Within 5 minutes noboby, and I mean nobody will think McCain is dropping out. I agree, it makes for a jaw dropping headline, which is why people will read the story, and then realize that McCain is the one doing and not talking.

    It is odd that in a time when people are tossing around the D-bomb (Depression) that Obama would really think a debate (on foreign policy, no less) takes precedent over an economic crisis that if not solved within about 4 days will cause an interminable meltdown.

    It also gave him cover, in case an agreement was not reached and the markets tanked severely, he could have blamed it on Obama’s lack of bipartisanship.

    It was a seriously well-played chess move, especially since Obama is now going, almost being dragged like a screaming kid.

    It suggests that Obama really does not understand the enormity of the crisis that is going on.

    We are talking about 5 of the top 10 US banks going under…within 10 days.

    Do none of you realize how serious this is either? The resulting bank runs would bring down another 100 banks over time.

    Do you have any idea what that would do to the economy? Do you?

    It would be a catastrophe, and it may still happen if an agreement is not reached.

    Matt (5538e1)

  56. It’s a brilliant move if it pulls BO off his itinerary…..McCain’s got Federal money, but Obama has to do continuous fundraisers. Accordingly, Obama has them lined up with campaign events all around the country — there’s only one of him, so he has to jet in, have a fundraiser, do a speech, have another fundraiser, and jet out. Now McCain’s thrown a spanner in his spokes — how’s he supposed to do two fundraisers in some city when his behind’s in DC debating a bailout? Just to put icing on it, Bush has invited him to take a break from fundraising and visit the White House for a spell — wonder how many days that will end up being….

    cthulhu (4ff663)

  57. “Let me dissent from my colleagues’ view…”

    Request denied.

    Kevin (5ac156)

  58. Tom,

    “the most important financial bill ever to face the Senate since probably WWII.”

    “It’s WAY to important.”

    According to who?

    The group that lied us into Iraq?

    The money is lost. There is no crises.

    And forking over $700 billion ain’t gonna do anything but take from the taxpayers and give to the rich. Kind of like the past 8 years.

    Why are the republicans such scaredy cats?

    jharp (f4bed7)

  59. “If the house is on fire and your kids are in bed, do you multitask?”

    McCain should use that line…

    Her is another…

    “Voting To Regulate Fannie Mae, Doesn’t Pay” Which is why they send me nothing and my opponent gets the goldmine….

    Matt (5538e1)

  60. DRJ,

    Thanks for the inside scoop. I guess it is one of his biggest faults, being too generous of heart.

    We do tend to project onto others our own thoughts and ascribe to others our motivations.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  61. “I thought it was cheesy that the Obama campaign then went on to list some of the headlines of the day during previous debates, which somehow managed to go on despite the crises. Here are some of the horrors that previous campaigns had to face on or near debate day:”

    Oct 22, 1976: Swine flu vaccine leads news
    Oct 13, 1988: New stats on growing trade deficit
    Oct 11, 1992: Tuberculosis reemerges
    Sep 30, 2004: Fannie Mae agreed to “major changes” in accounting practices (HA!)

    And guess what?

    Lincoln didn’t suspend his campaign during the Civil War.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  62. It’s pretty safe to say that jharp is a bad person.

    Tabris (bc9ed2)

  63. “If the house is on fire and your kids are in bed, do you multitask?”

    First I have my kids aware of how to handle such a crises and then I call the fire department.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  64. jharp –

    Such the populist!

    Who do you think is defaulting on all these mortgages!

    I doubt they are taxpayers if you get my drift.

    Last I checked, a lot of wealthy people are wiped out already…and is not because they missed THEIR mortgage payment is it?

    We have become a nation of credit-thirsty freeloaders…

    Matt (5538e1)

  65. I couldn’t agree more with WLS in comment # 5 above.

    McCain must to seize and hold the daily agenda, and I don’t think most Americans REALLY would associate a suspension to deal with a crisis equates to quasi-concession. He needed a bold act to change the storyline, and it hows leadership – – which is a nice contrast to that other fella.

    TRAINED AUDITOR (aeb44a)

  66. he has to jet in, have a fundraiser, do a speech, have another fundraiser, and jet out

    Possibly, but I would bet that anyone supporting him at this point would just give the money up anyway. As Obama supporters, they’re used to the idea of getting nothing for something.

    Democrats. They will ALWAYS find the bad side of things and blame the Republicans!

    Which is why you need to coordinate a ‘message’ of talking points. The truth needs no help, while propaganda needs pushing.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  67. In fact, Matt most of the analysis I’ve seen reveals that the majority of problem mortgages have clear indicators of applicant fraud.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  68. I think the muti tasking arguement is off the mark here. This seems to be more about flexability and adaptability. Obama seems to work well when he is in control and things are running according to plan. He falls flat when a wrench is thrown in the mix. ie. Sarah Palin enters stage right…and pow! Or when he’s off tele-prompter he gaffes and stutters. His entire campaign hinges on things going exactly as planned. He’s a programed kind of guy with an incredible drive. But throw a boulder in the road and he freaks. This banking crisis threw him off his game. He really doesn’t know what to do about it. He’s not prepared to take a stand. He’s been gearing up for this debate and has to have it go forward right now. He’s ready. NOW. Actually Obama is showing a lack of flexability and adaptablity which tells me he is not capable of muti-tasking at all. Not one to improvise. Which as leader of the free world should be the most important qualification. ie. 9/11…

    wales (7ddc86)

  69. “Do none of you realize how serious this is either?”

    Yes, I do.

    Do you have any idea what that would do to the economy? Do you?

    Do you have any idea of the enormity of dumping another $700 billion on top of the $ 4 trillion already dumped in the past 8 years?

    And we’re supposed to do this because George Bush says so. The same guy who lied us into a $1 trillion dollar war.

    And all of this just came up in the last week?

    You guys are suckers and deserve to be parted with your hard earned dollars.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  70. jharp –

    So then you go for your cellphone and hope the kids make it out?

    Everyone, it is father of the year over here!

    Matt (5538e1)

  71. I agree with Patterico’s main point, although I have a slightly different take on it.
    Bear in mind that I’m not voting for either McCain or Obama. (At this point I’m mulling over the idea of writing in Lysander Spooner.) Also that I think letting things blow up now is in the long term much better than the massive takeover of the financial industry and the equally massive devaluation of the dollar that anything but the most minimal bailout will turn out to be. So I tend to think that the best result will be a situation in which the political wrangling blocks the passage of any bailout plan.
    My initial reaction was “he’s grandstanding again.” He isn’t President (at least not yet). He’s admitted openly that economics is not his strong suit. Yet he decides to act as if his presence is so important that nothing can be done without it.
    And for a Presidential candidate to go around exclaiming that this is the worst crisis to face the US since WWII can only weaken confidence among small investors. It’s not the best thing to say, even if it’s true (and I would submit that Black Monday and 9-11 were worse than this).
    Whenever a situation has allowed him to indulge in overheated rhetoric during this campaign, McCain had indulged in it. That’s not the quality I would prefer in the person who is serving as “the leader of the free world” (remember that quaint old phrase?)

    Also, he should have made a definite arrangement with Obama to stop campaigning before going public, if he truly wanted this to be above politics. (And it would be a no lose situation for him. If Obama refused, he could then make his unilateral announcement and conclude with a paragraph that said, “Unfortunately, I tried to work this out with Sen Obama…” and use that to blast Obama in a way that almost everyone would think to be reasonable. But instead he reveals himself as strictly partisan.

    And I think those people who think that McCain is putting his country ahead of his campaign or that Obama is putting his campaign ahead of his country are missing the point. Both of them must think (if they have any shred of honest patriotism in them, which I think they do) that the good of the country requires them to win this election and become president. Therefore, to do something bad for their campaign is in effect doing something bad for the country.

    kishnevi (2b3e28)

  72. jharp, that was just another vapid comment on your part that once again shows you don’t understand anything of the issues – and are willing to keep lying about the past even where you’ve had yourself spanked repeatedly.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  73. jharp – lots of noise and not much substance.

    Speaking of Obama, you seem to imply from your posts that the crisis is ‘no big deal’.

    If that is so, then why did Obama agree to come to DC at the President’s request? Bush is in the opposing party, and according to you, Satan! Yet Obama agrees to what he asks. Not orders, mind you, but asks.

    Why would Obama not take a stand on this, if it is in fact a scam, or not as serious as its made out to be? You can’t seriously believe that Obama’s supporters wouldn’t believe anything he tells them hook, line and sinker, would you?

    Apogee (366e8b)

  74. jharp:”the most important financial bill ever to face the Senate since probably WWII.”

    “It’s WAY to important.”

    According to who?

    Freddie and Fanny Mac. The Lehman Brothers. Merrill Lynch and some bigshot with the initials AIG.

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  75. jharp –

    You just proved you do not understand what a bailout is. It is a loan.

    We bailed out Chrysler and made money on the deal.

    The Resolution Trust Company technically made a profit out of the S&L debacle in the early 90s.

    It is a loan, not a blank check.

    Matt (5538e1)

  76. “We have become a nation of credit-thirsty freeloaders…”

    Yes, we have.

    And according to George Bush tonight he wants the taxpayers to cough up $700 billion in worthless paper so they can do what?

    Go out and lend more money.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  77. In response to the “why?” question, McCain’s answer should be simple:

    I suspended my campaign to resolve this crisis because I’m an American first, a senator second, and a candidate third. Clearly, my opponent’s has different priorities.

    E. Nough (0bb46d)

  78. err… “my opponent has.” Them typos, they gets me…

    E. Nough (0bb46d)

  79. Freddie and Fanny Mac. The Lehman Brothers. Merrill Lynch and some bigshot with the initials AIG.

    Comment by Roy Mustang — 9/24/2008 @ 8:43 pm

    Hate to break it to you but they are already gone and the taxpayers are already on the hook.

    We’re talking about an additional $700 billion.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  80. By the way, McCain succeeded in getting a free photo op today, looking very Presidential, making a speech in a dark suit in front of a couple of American Flags while talking about suspending his campaign to go to Washington so that he can roll up his sleeves and pitch in to do some bi-partisan work to get the American economy rolling again!

    To the average American (Joe and Jane Sixpack) it will look like McCain went to Washington and got everyone to get to work to solve the problem.

    They are not political Junkies or economists so they really don’t understand the whole “economic crisis” issue — they just want someone to fix it. And so now it looks as if McCain is a man of action and that he is doing something to get this American problem resolved.

    Joe and Jane Sixpack don’t know if McCain is effective or not or even if he was really instrumental in bringing about a resolution. It will look as if he did the right thing during this crisis. Appearances are everything. McCain’s poll ratings will go up and we will be back to a tight race again.

    By contrast, Obama will look like the lazy child who had to be called back to Washington by Daddy Bush. He’ll look weak and insecure.

    Calpurnia (ad936f)

  81. The “multitasking argument” is awful, just awful. Imagine you are a coal miner in Pennsylvania who already doesn’t like Obama because he seems like an arrogant prick. Then you hear this snide remark about multitasking and jetting around on planes when earlier you heard that McCain was rolling up his sleeves and heading off to Washington to do his job.

    Sorry, people who actually build and do “real things” for a living (blue collar folk) don’t putz around for 8 hours a day building PowerPoint presentations and running through action items. Obama sounded like a tool with that comment.

    Tabris (bc9ed2)

  82. Calpurnia, Obama looks like the empty suit, devoid of influence and gravitas in the Senate, that he is.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  83. SPQR, Obama’s suit isn’t empty. It’s filled with arrogance and a sense of entitlement. Yes, he can!

    Eric Blair (2708f4)

  84. The “multitasking argument” is awful, just awful. Imagine you are a coal miner in Pennsylvania who already doesn’t like Obama because he seems like an arrogant prick. Then you hear this snide remark about multitasking and jetting around on planes when earlier you heard that McCain was rolling up his sleeves and heading off to Washington to do his job.

    Ha! You just called Patterico an arrogant prick. But you are right. I do think Patterico is a little clueless on this matter.

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  85. Wait….so we’re supposed to like the guy who can’t manage to do a campaign without complaining about the stress– when the news folks LIKE HIM— because he can multi-task, although there’s not a single example of this offered by his supporters?

    Foxfier (15ac79)

  86. AIG is more of a victim than any of the others.

    They got hammered by 2 hurricanes, and had huge payouts at the same time these idiot banks were causing them all sorts of losses to.

    Fannie and Freddie are the main culprits. Lehman and Bear Stearns were in the back seat of the getaway car.

    Matt (5538e1)

  87. You didn’t disappoint. That really is a funny one. And all this time I thought they were running together. So I guess Palin has nothing to do with his campaign.
    — Thank you for reiterating the point I already made. He is suspending his campaign, and since she is a part of his campaign her work on it is suspended as well. Is it filtering through? They ARE running together, therefore they suspend the campaign TOGETHER.

    Icy Truth (ab2f41)

  88. “Speaking of Obama, you seem to imply from your posts that the crisis is ‘no big deal’.”

    Oh it’s a plenty big deal.

    It’s just that everything was fine a week ago and now they need to dump $700 billion on the taxpayers for the benefit of the guys who stole the money in the first place.

    And it’s urgent because George Bush (the guy who lied us into the Iraq war) says so.

    I ain’t buying it. Nor should you until you hear some compelling evidence from someone other than a know liar.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  89. Obama can multitask.

    He takes both sides of so many issues, his mind is in a million places.

    Clean Coal
    Drilling
    Strategic Reserve
    Gun Control
    Iran a threat?
    Preconditions?
    Campaign Finance…the list goes on.

    Multitasking is overrated. It means doing a bunch of stuff badly as opposed to just one thing badly.

    Matt (5538e1)

  90. Wow, Bill Heard also came by today and showed compelling evidence of a serious meltdown.

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  91. Obama cannot even memorize enough of a speech to ad lib his way through it. Teleprompterman.

    I would hate to see him add another activity into the mix.

    SNL should do a skit on that for the debates. Have him come out wearing some crazy contraption with those 2 tilted pieces of glass hanging off each of his shoulders.

    THAT WOULD BE AWESOME…then he could still just rattle off a bunch of meaningless platitudes out of sequence.

    I wish SNL had the nuts to do a skit like that.

    Matt (5538e1)

  92. The problem with jharp’s logic is that if nothing is done and there is an economic meltdown, it will be blamed on the Republicans, not on the Democrats who caused the credit crisis.

    Frankly, I think jharp and his fellow travelers want an economic meltdown – such occurrences make things much easier for Democrats politically. Note the Great Depression and the 1992 recession for reference. Never mind the hardship and ruined lives that will result. The only thing that people like him care about is winning and power. There are sick people like him on both sides of the aisle, and they are what is killing America.

    Tabris (bc9ed2)

  93. AIG is more of a victim than any of the others.

    They got hammered by 2 hurricanes, and had huge payouts at the same time these idiot banks were causing them all sorts of losses to.

    Fannie and Freddie are the main culprits. Lehman and Bear Stearns were in the back seat of the getaway car.

    Comment by Matt — 9/24/2008 @ 8:52 pm

    I have news for you, Matt.

    AIG was in the insurance business. That’s what they do to earn money. You know they accept premiums based on the risk involved, invest them wisely, and their main role is to plan for catastrophic losses and have a reserve to pay the claims.

    They aren’t victims. They are either horrible businessmen or crooks. I think the latter.

    And I have no idea they wrote hurricane coverage.

    You got any evidence of that?

    jharp (f4bed7)

  94. I agree, the multitasking thing is just such a stupid schoolyard taunt.

    McCain flew an A-4 and managed to drop bombs while avoid AAA and missiles, at least all but one.

    Obama just lowers himself to attack a guy like that in such a frivolous way.

    Obama has never remotely put himself in harm’s way for anything, not even his own outsized ego.

    Matt (5538e1)

  95. Icy got you there, jharp. It might seem nice to a liberal mind like yours to have a strong campaigner like Palin keep up the good fight while you deal with the national emergencies, but McCain is suspending his campaign. That means Palin, too.

    rfp (f4c1e0)

  96. jharp –

    They were an insurance company, you do know that. They were not a bank or a mortgage broker. They do business continuity insurance, and they lost a ton when all those oil rigs shut down for a week.

    Prove me wrong.

    Matt (5538e1)

  97. jharp there is a cool little website called Google. It’s very useful for finding information. They have added a fun little autocomplete function a while ago that quickens the search process for key terms. Here is the first thing that popped up.

    Discover the world at your fingertips: http://www.aig.com/hurricane-protection_20_21467.html

    Tabris (bc9ed2)

  98. They also insure contracts in case one part pulls out. Bankrupt parties tend to pull out.

    Get my drift? Probably not.

    Matt (5538e1)

  99. Yeah, I think McCain has jharp on computer literacy by a country mile.

    Matt (5538e1)

  100. Tabris,

    “The problem with jharp’s logic is that if nothing is done and there is an economic meltdown, it will be blamed on the Republicans”

    I don’t know where you have been but there is an economic meltdown. And it is the republicans who shame the largest percentage of the blame.

    And I am against throwing another $700 billion on the back of the taxpayers to benefit the guys who stole the money in the first place.

    With one weeks notice! Doesn’t that even arouse the slightest suspicion coming from our know liar President. Who has already pissed away $4 trillion with nothing to show for it.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  101. You know the only homes that did not burn down in those California fires last year were AIG insured?

    Apparently they were smart enough to know the local fire departments were typically unprepared government bureaucracies and so they had a private fleet of trucks that sprayed homes down with fire retardent foam.

    …but I am sure the foam was terrible for the environment, so we should hate them anyway, right jharp?

    Matt (5538e1)

  102. They also insure contracts in case one part pulls out. Bankrupt parties tend to pull out.

    Get my drift? Probably not.

    Comment by Matt — 9/24/2008 @ 9:06 pm

    No, I don’t. But it is quite clear they were terrible at their business. Or dishonest.

    So friggin what if they wrote hurricane insurance. I assume they collected premiums and had some idea of the risk involved.

    But I guess the proof is they are belly up at taxpayer expense.

    Republican logic these days. No one could have anticipated we’d actually have a hurricane and actually have to pay claims.

    Just suck in the premiums and if something bad happens lets dump it on the taxpayers.

    Heck of a business model.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  103. jharp –

    Google me this…who created the subprime mortgage market? It was not a bank, it was a REGULATION.

    Google the “Community Reinvestment Act” it is a gem.

    It says that banks HAD TO ISSUE $1 trillion in subprime loans in poor communities, loans they would never otherwise make.

    The Democrats called them “affordable mortgages”

    Turns out they were not so affordable, were they?

    That happened way back in 1995, which incidentally a year later is when home prices and inflation started to radically diverge…

    1996 was the year the housing bubble started…it just ended now. Funny, I remember another bubble starting around that time too…

    Matt (5538e1)

  104. Matt,

    To posit that this is a sub prime issue shows a complete misunderstanding of the problem.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  105. jharp – I ain’t buying it. Nor should you until you hear some compelling evidence from someone other than a know liar.
    With one weeks notice! Doesn’t that even arouse the slightest suspicion coming from our know liar President. Who has already pissed away $4 trillion with nothing to show for it.
    Just suck in the premiums and if something bad happens lets dump it on the taxpayers.

    Which brings me back to my original point, jharp. Why is Obama going along with a ‘know liar’ like Bush? Is he incapable of taking a stand, and wouldn’t his supporters cheer him on for doing so?

    Why does he get a pass from you?

    Apogee (366e8b)

  106. “You know the only homes that did not burn down in those California fires last year were AIG insured?

    Apparently they were smart enough to know the local fire departments were typically unprepared government bureaucracies and so they had a private fleet of trucks that sprayed homes down with fire retardent foam.”

    And they went busted with their business model.

    And you’re proud of this?

    jharp (f4bed7)

  107. jharp –

    Again, you have no concept of a bailout. It is a loan, not a gift certificate.

    If AIG does not pay back the loan, the taxpayers get 80% of the company, which only a year ago was worth $210 billion dollars.

    $85 Billion for 80% of a $210 billion company is a pretty good deal.

    AIG just had a cash crunch because it’s usual lenders went bankrupt. Insurance companies usually have lines of credit that allow them to even out losses over time.

    Without those, any insurance company would go out of business at some point. Problem is, AIG was so huge they needed a massive credit line. Nobody was solvent enough to provide it, except for the treasury.

    AIG will be back in shape within a year.

    Matt (5538e1)

  108. I don’t know where you have been but there is an economic meltdown. And it is the republicans who shame the largest percentage of the blame.

    Comment by jharp — 9/24/2008 @ 9:07 pm

    You mean, those horrible guys who have been harping on reforming Fan/Fred for ages?

    While being smacked down?

    As opposed to the Dems, who who pushed for more, more, more?

    How about The One, with him getting so much gold from these dead geese?

    Foxfier (15ac79)

  109. Hey, at least McCain showed that he really believes the situation is serious (as serious as a hurricane or a convention)and thought it proper to stop the sniping between Obama and McCain and get about the people’s business. I give him a point for that.

    Unfortunately, I do believe he will subscribe to the bail out and I don’t think it’s going to be pretty.

    Obama’s “multi-task” thing is a joke! He scaled back his campaigning during the hurricane.

    katablog.com (c1f9f9)

  110. jharp –

    This WHOLE thing is a subprime issue. Do you actually read the news?

    Matt (5538e1)

  111. “Which brings me back to my original point, jharp. Why is Obama going along with a ‘know liar’ like Bush? Is he incapable of taking a stand, and wouldn’t his supporters cheer him on for doing so?”

    And what do you mean by “going along”. Meeting with the liar? Or agreeing to a blank check with no strings attached for $700 billion?

    As far as meeting with him, since anything done will require Bush’s signature, it seems OK to me.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  112. If AIG does not pay back the loan, the taxpayers get 80% of the company, which only a year ago was worth $210 billion dollars.

    Well except for the fact that AIG is the guarantor of all that bad debt. I understand they have about 8 trillion (with a “t” folks) guarantees out there. This might be why Bush and Paulson are so desperate to get those loans off the table.

    katablog.com (c1f9f9)

  113. $85 Billion for 80% of a $210 billion company is a pretty good deal.

    Don’t try to spin this. We are eating a turd sandwich. It may be necessary to stave off a crisis, but we still eating crap on this one.

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  114. Tick . . . tock . . . tick . . . tock . . . tick

    Icy Truth (d2ca3b)

  115. I mean that you are implying that the bailout is a scam. If that’s true, then Obama’s complicit with those evil Republicans by agreeing to it.

    It also wouldn’t make sense that Obama would pass up an incredible opportunity to take a stand and be ‘post-partisan’ and ‘above politics’ by balking at the bailout.

    You want to gloss over his participation in and lack of protest over this thing that ‘doesn’t add up’.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  116. Ah, the stench of a non sequiter . . . so predictable.

    Icy Truth (d2ca3b)

  117. Matt,

    “If AIG does not pay back the loan, the taxpayers get 80% of the company, which only a year ago was worth $210 billion dollars.”

    $85 Billion for 80% of a $210 billion company is a pretty good deal.

    AIG just had a cash crunch because it’s usual lenders went bankrupt. Insurance companies usually have lines of credit that allow them to even out losses over time.

    Without those, any insurance company would go out of business at some point. Problem is, AIG was so huge they needed a massive credit line. Nobody was solvent enough to provide it, except for the treasury.

    “AIG will be back in shape within a year.”

    AIG is worth $9 billion today. You have $9 billion step up to the table and but it. The taxpayers are on the hook for $85 billion.

    Insurance companies are lenders you buffoon.

    As a matter of fact if you had any education at all you would know they are very much like a bank.

    They made piss poor ill advised investments and the shareholders got screwed. And the folks who were counting on them to pay claims were left empty handed.

    And the execuitves left with millions and the taxpayers are on the hook for $85 billion.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  118. ticktockticktockticktockticktock

    Icy Truth (d2ca3b)

  119. Matt,

    If $80B was such a great deal for 80% of AIG, someone else would have bought it. Buffett today just invested $50B for a fraction of Goldman Sachs. There are organizations with that kind of money.

    You may turn out to be right. You may turn out to be right. But the fact remains the government is taking a huge risk by buying AIG for $80B. This is not a good situation by any means.

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  120. Icy Truth –

    You can tell a someone is out of bullets when they start name calling.

    AIG was not a bank. They do some personal loans, but not mortgages. The reason they are in trouble is because they have nobody to give them the lines of credit they would otherwise do.

    They do invest premiums while they sit in cash reserves, and it was the combination of investments in securities issued by GSE’s (Fannie and Freddie) that are usually safe and the lack of available lenders that caused this.

    I love it when liberals start playing MBA and think they know what they are talking about.

    Matt (5538e1)

  121. Roy –

    Who was going to lend someone the money to buy them? You just do not understand, NOBODY IS GIVING LOANS!

    All sorts of business go bankrupt when that happens.

    Who is going to give a loan for that kind of money in a credit crunch?

    You do not have an answer do you? I do not know many companies out there with $85 B in cash, except for banks WHO ARE NOT MAKING LOANS.

    Understand?

    Matt (5538e1)

  122. I am not here to defend AIG, clearly they could have done a better job.

    What I am saying is that they are the effect, not the cause.

    In a normal credit market, they would be fine. 2 Hurricanes in the gulf along with the credit crunch and the bad investments they had in other banks put them in a pinch.

    As for the $8 Trillion in guarantees, they also get premiums associated with those. The $8 Trillion is not in the mortgage market, as the whole mortgage market is only $13 trillion combined.

    AIG is a going concern with a cash flow problem. Financing is what they needed just like a car needs gas. They car still runs, it just needs gas.

    So do we let the car sit and rust? The AIG bailout is not a bad deal for taxpayers.

    AIG is technically a “workout” not a “bailout” since AIG put the company up as collateral. An AIG with cash is worth at least $180 billion dollars.

    AIG with no cash is worth zero.

    Matt (5538e1)

  123. Roy –

    Buffet invested $5B in Goldman, not $50B.

    You are off by 1000%. Nice try.

    Matt (5538e1)

  124. “AIG was not a bank.”

    No shit. I’m glad you can grasp that concept. Only I don’t know of anyone who said they were a bank.

    “They do some personal loans, but not mortgages.”

    Do you the slightest idea of what their investment portfolio consisted of? Insurance companies invest in a very broad range of our economy.

    “The reason they are in trouble is because they have nobody to give them the lines of credit they would otherwise do.”

    Their “lenders” so to speak are generally the folks who pay them premiums. (though obviously not exclusively) They then take the premiums and invest them to earn profits to cover any claims they might incur.

    Please go study up a little. My fingers are getting tired trying to teach you the basics.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  125. Great Video…

    Burning Down The House, Who Caused Our Economic Crisis?

    Matt (5538e1)

  126. Cerberus paid several billion to buy Chrysler while paying several billion more to buy GMAC. And that’s just one company. If this was such a wonderful deal…no risk, all reward… people would have found enough money.

    Like I said, you may be right. You may be wrong. But it is clear that Government should not have been involved. If this wasn’t such a serious crisis, AIG should have allowed to fail. Hell, there’s a part of me that says, Screw it, just let it all melt down. I would rather die on my Capitalistic feet than live on Communistic knees.

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  127. Roy –

    Buffet invested $5B in Goldman, not $50B.

    You are off by 1000%. Nice try.

    Ha, sorry. Biden math on my part.

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  128. Roy –

    Buffet invested $5B in Goldman, not $50B.

    You are off by 1000%. Nice try.

    Comment by Matt — 9/24/2008 @ 9:58 pm

    Is that right? Invested?

    Try loaned at 10% interest though they are technically called preferred shares. And with strings attached to further benefit Buffett.

    A clear desperation move by Goldman.

    10%! Christ almighty, Joe Sixpack working at the local factory can get a better rate than that.

    And I think it was a brilliant move by Buffett. At 10% his investment doubles in 7 years.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  129. Roy –

    I am not arguing that it is good. I think we seriously need rethink how large we let companies get. The “too big to fail” phenomenon is turning into shadow socialism.

    I agree.

    But letting AIG fail would have had a ripple effect so large that it would have killed a lot of good enterprise.

    The fact that AIG execs got payouts is a travesty, but that is up to their board and shareholders to approve. That is their call.

    A world without Chrysler would not have been good, and the government saved them and came out fine. There is precedent that this can work.

    Do not get me wrong, I hate this as much as anyone, but I know enough about financial markets to know that AIG dying means a lot of small town banks and business die too.

    Matt (5538e1)

  130. I’m outta here and thanks for the debate.

    It is very reassuring for me to know how easy it will be for my son to succeed in this world if this is the brainpower he is up against.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  131. I liked WLS’s comment at #5. Yacht racing is like chess on the water. The players must watch the wind, clouds, sun, tide, currents, sail choices, sail set and trim, rudder, trim tab, course, buoys, clock, flags on all boats involved, and all of those things from the opponent’s POV (the clock is the same.) The pieces weigh 25 million grams, are blown about the course at a speed of 20 knots, and have no brakes. Let’s talk multi-tasking!

    I do not think that “suspending the campaign” has the same meaning to the McCain committee that it did to the press, the public, or the Obama committee.

    htom (412a17)

  132. Roy –

    “I am not arguing that it is good.”

    Matt

    “If AIG does not pay back the loan, the taxpayers get 80% of the company, which only a year ago was worth $210 billion dollars.”

    “$85 Billion for 80% of a $210 billion company is a pretty good deal.”

    Matt

    Wow. You have a very odd way of not arguing this is good.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  133. -Matt

    I don’t know. I think the world would have been better without K-cars.

    I agree that we agree. I think you’re just more optimistic than I am. If you told me a year ago that we would be discussing a $700B bailout package…..

    Then again, I would have never guessed Freddie and Fanny, Lehman, Merrill Lynch, AIG and Bill Heard Chevrolet(!) would all go under within 1 week. We’ve stepped into some bad shi*…..

    Anyway, I’m glad McCain is giving 100% attention to this crisis. You’re wrong Patterico.

    Roy Mustang (a7923d)

  134. jharp –

    I said they do not issue mortgages. Prove me wrong.

    Of course they invest in a lot of different things. You think you are some genius with a third grade comment like that? Heck, I invest in a lot of things.

    They invest in mortgage backed securities, that is different than originating mortgages.

    This comment:

    Their “lenders” so to speak are generally the folks who pay them premiums. (though obviously not exclusively) They then take the premiums and invest them to earn profits to cover any claims they might incur.

    Is so nonsensical that I will not even try to discern what you mean.

    What I can tell you is that their policyholders are the ones who pay them premiums. Their lenders are banks, just as a bank gives out any other loan.

    There are many policy holders who are not their banks.

    If I have AIG insurance, does that make me a bank? That is what your nonsensical comment suggests.

    I am sure you think it makes sense, but I can assure you, it is asinine.

    Matt (5538e1)

  135. K… I may have missed it… did jharp offer a single decent argument?

    Besides cursing, I mean…. That’s trying to pick a fight, so it’s kind of an argument….

    Foxfier (15ac79)

  136. I am leaving you to yourselves…educating you makes me hungry. I will read no further.

    Matt (5538e1)

  137. sorry one final thought.

    Jharp –

    There is a concept called the lesser of two evils.

    I can either take your left arm or your wallet. In a world of limited options, me taking your wallet suddenly sounds like a good deal, eh?

    You sleep on that. Cheerio.

    Matt (5538e1)

  138. “Please go study up a little. My fingers are getting tired trying to teach you the basics.”

    jharp – You are a buffon and as ignorant about insurance as you are about the mortgage market.

    Matt was largely correct about AIG but just not explaining it in depth.

    People who buy property and casualty policies from an insurance company are policyholders, not lenders you dolt. They may become creditors for claims or a premium refund if they cancel a policy early. Insurance companies also can’t prereserve for natural disasters in the manner you described.

    AIG has plenty of liquid investments in its regulated insurance subsidiaries, but getting cash out of those subs to where it is needed in a holding company operation is not always the easiest thing in the world. I already schooled you on this subject when it first came up. AIG needed cash or the equivalent for collateral for obligations written by its London-based AIG Financial Products operation, credit default swaps and the like. It got the NY State Insurance Commisioner to approve a $20 billion asset tranfer from the regulated subs to the operation, but that wasn’t going to be enough. It couldn’t line up a large enough bank syndicate to provide a line of credit for the shortfall. That’s when the Fed stepped in to avoid the ripple effect an AIG failure would have on the U.S. and world financial markets. My personal suspicion is that some banks probably didn’t want to help out a direct competitor in some lines of business.

    Why do you persist in argument by authority when in reality you are a braindead troll?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  139. I agree with you on this one. If Obama had suspended his campaign, we would have looked like a wimp, a grandstander and coward. It’s to McCain’s credit that he looks like none of these things, but he’s still wrong — we deserve a debate.

    Terrence (1a5dfc)

  140. McCain is now officially toast. His campaign suspension and request to postpone the debate are poor strategy, but the finance crisis will spell the end for him in many voter’s minds.

    wavynavy (441f94)

  141. We’ll have to see, won’t we, wavynavy? If I’m voting, I’d vote for McCain still. I suspect most conservatives would.

    And if that idiot old man would buck up and tell everyone really loudly I SAW THIS COMING AGES AGO AND TRIED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT BUT THE DAMNED DEMOCRATS WON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT, I’d bet every last dollar I have that he’d win in a bloody landslide. Mr MHOmbastic’d would hardly be a smear on the roadside by the time McCain’s done.

    Alas, though, that John McCain is a personally honorable man, and one who’s probably taking the ‘other cheek’ thing too far.

    Gregory (f7735e)

  142. I think McCain is absolutely right to do this. It shows leadership and character. Obama responded, per his usual, like a petulant whiner. That makes McCain look like the grown-up here–which of course he is. Notice that Obama grasped the opportunity to follow McCain’s lead and join Bush for a meeting? The whole argument about “multi-tasking” is what sounds desperate to me. Waa. Leaders lead because they can adapt to changing circumstances and focus on the immediate crisis at hand; petulant wannabees whine when their plans go awry.

    bmc (f36091)

  143. It pains me to say this, but Letterman and JHarp do have a point. The financial crisis is a good reason for all three U.S. Senators in this race to suspend their personal involvements in their respective campaigns. It’s no reason for either campaign to be suspended entirely. There’s no big crisis in Alaska right now, so let Palin campaign away.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  144. Or, to make it fair, let Biden and Palin campaign while McCain and Obama focus on their present jobs rather than campaigning for that promotion. I know, Biden’s a Senator, too, but let’s be honest: all he ever does is f*** things up, so the Senate should function just fine without him.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  145. Wow, JHarp — this is my first time to visit this site, and I have to say, you amaze me. You clearly really believe the stuff you write. It seems like being so out-gunned intellectually would have some effect, but you just keep right on. The rest of you, I hope you realize what a treasure you have in JHarp: immediate feedback — the more he howls, the more you know you’re on the right track.

    Do you think he’d be willing to lend his unique – er – “talents” to the McCain campaign?

    RegularJoe (80c698)

  146. To those who speak of letting the campaign go on without the principal: it’s not ONLY or even PRIMARILY the participation of the candidate that I believe warrants suspension of the campaign. Rather it is the need to act together, which will be undermined by campaign messages that necessarily drive them apart. They need to be cooperating, not trying to one-up each other.

    RegularJoe (6412ea)

  147. You are utterly wrong. Love your condescension to the “average american” though.

    McCain goes from spewing irrelevant rhetoric on the campaign trail to being THE central figure in the solution. Obama continues to spew irrelevant rhetoric on the campaign trail, with the only question being, will he even vote present on this legislation?

    Joel Mackey (aaac16)

  148. Regular Joe – It is an imbecile.

    JD (41e64f)

  149. It’s only a matter of lipstick

    gianfalco (3cdb73)

  150. This is just another one of McCain’s stunts. This time it’s not to distract from his gaffes, dishonest smears or his ill prepared running mate but the radical Republican deregulatory policies he’s advocated for decades that have brought us to the brink of economic ruin.

    McCain can run but he can’t hide from his record.

    markg8 (5ea1db)

  151. Burning Down The House: Who Caused Our Economic Crisis?

    Matt #129,

    Thanks for posting the great video… I have sent it along to lots of folks today. It does a pretty good job of explaining the issue…

    Calpurnia (ad936f)

  152. “radical Republican deregulatory policies he’s advocated for decades that have brought us to the brink of economic ruin.”

    markg8 – Can you outline the specific policies to which you are referring and explain how they caused this crisis please? You tend to assert a lot of things here but never explain them.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  153. McCain can run but he can’t hide from his record.

    Just like Obama can not run from his record.

    Michael Ejercito (a757fd)


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